Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ride on

Since returning from Japan a few weeks back, we have been doing two things: working, and getting our ride on. We've managed to get some good back-to-back-to-back weekends in (riding, not working):

Weekend one was a nice ride in the Napa Valley. I had yet to cycle there, so I just pulled up Google maps and made what appeared to be a logical loop, starting in Yountville. What I did not realize was that I had put a climb from the Tour of California in the middle of it; the Oakville Grade. It looks like a small bump on the official tour map and is only rated a category 4 climb by the pros, but it almost killed this amateur. Very short, very steep. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, with great weather and a wine tasting thrown in for good measure.

The next weekend took us to Marin county, with a loop from Petaluma to Tomales. Sunny and 82 degrees at the start. The first half of the ride was westbound, which meant a pretty steady headwind. Once we arrived at the halfway point in Tomales for lunch, we were under the coastal fog and the temperature dropped to 59 degrees. Lunch was sandwiches with a side order of goosebumps. We sprinted east soon after and finally hit the sun again. The temperature in Petaluma was the same as when we left. Hmmm.

Over the next holiday weekend, we met up with Giro Dave and Ellie to participate in the Northwest Tandem Rally, held this year in Medford, Oregon. This was the 25th meeting, and its held somewhere different in the Northwest every year. We are not the most experienced tandem team out there, but when I saw this event a few months back, I knew we had to try it. It seems 325 tandems were pre-registered, and Giro heard that the final tally was about 500 tandems at the starting line. And by the way, riding through a town with a police escort and 499 other tandems is a pretty cool thing to do.

For each day, there were 3 routes to choose from (short, medium & long), and the organizers did a great job with creating tandem-friendly rides (read-no epic climbs) with great scenery. Everyone we met was very friendly. We saw tandem teams in the their 70's riding like rock stats. Team Phinney Ridge and Team Oakland may have stopped for a wine tasting. We camped at the local high school baseball field; our tent was playing shortstop. Overall, a lot of fun. We're thinking about doing it again next year.