Our First (Organized) Century
Yountville, CA (5/4/08, 6:45 AM)
A staggered start at the Napa Valley Tour de Cure allowed us to avoid most of the early morning traffic (there were fewer than 10 single bikes listening to the pre-ride instructions with us). Tour volunteers (and the Yountville Police Department) forced us to stop at every stop sign in the deserted town of Yountville, making for a very slow first couple of miles.
Easy Napa Valley rollers marked the first 20 miles up Highway 29 through Calistoga, followed by a short climb (we were passed by many single bikes) up 128 to Sonoma County and a long descent (we passed no single bikes) into the Alexander Valley.
We hit the 50 mile mark at Ridge (Lytton Springs), but the stoker would not let us stop; I guess it was only 10 AM, and they would not have been open for another hour.
The hill (128 again) was a little steeper on the way back into Napa Valley (we were passed by many more single bikes); immediately after crossing back into Napa County, I noticed that in Sonoma they are far better at maintaining their roads. My only mishap during the 100 mile ride involved running over a water bottle (both stoker and I hope it was filled with water) to avoid two giant potholes.
More Napa Valley rollers and a strong headwind (more single bikes passing us) made the 20 or 25 miles down the Silverado Trail rather unpleasant. Finally we turned back onto 29 (with the wind behind us), and rode the final 5 miles at 25+ MPH (passing over 50 singles, though many of them were doing the 50 or 25 mile rides).
Pedaling time: 6:15
Total time: 7:15
We stopped at every rest stop, but still made it back in time for tasting at Domaine Chandon (next door to the Veterans' Home) and Milat Vineyards (where we were staying), and dinner at the French Laundry.
No other tandems on the 100 mile ride (I saw two doing the shorter routes). Next up: a mere 100K at the Long Beach Tour.
Was the French Laundry worth it, and how long in advance did you have to get the reservation?
If it possible for dinner (for two) to be worth $800, then it was worth it. I am having much difficulty going back to regular food today.
Reservations at the French Laundry are taken 2 months in advance...actually, it might be 60 days (so be careful if one of the months is February, you might end up calling a day late). They open their phone lines at 10AM, but it is impossible to actually get through to the single person taking reservations...all the tables (for that date two months in advance) are typically gone in 15 to 20 minutes.
Here's a little I have written during previous attempts to get reservations: http://takealotofdrugs.blogspot.com/...french+laundry
Congrats on your team's first organized century on your twicer. We love the Napa /Sonoma area but are more Black Bear Diner folks, not so likely to step up for the French Laundry....we were down the road from you on Sunday in the vineyards of Lodi for the Delta Century. Also had a bit of the afternoon wind you were dealing with but none of the rolling hills as the Delta (at least the Metric portion) was totally flat so there were tandems everywhere...least 25 to 30 of 'em. We think vineyards are great places to ride!!
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