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Wine Country Century Ride Report

Old 05-03-08, 10:26 PM
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Wine Country Century Ride Report

I'm starting a new thread for this. Everyone is expecting me to provide the first ride report ... well, sorry to disappoint, but too tired to think now. I'll post one in the morning.

Pete, you can do the honors of posting the first one. Oh, you might want to make use of the "Enter" or "Return" key.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:42 PM
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There was, like, bikes... and stuff. And wind!
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Old 05-03-08, 11:20 PM
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My husband and I were there with the Santa Rosa Cycling Club making sandwiches at the Warm Springs Dam rest stop. It was great seeing all you folks! What a beautiful day for a ride.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:24 PM
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And the sandwiches were great and welcomed. Thanks a lot for the support. Beautiful ride but, boy, I am tired tonight. Report and photos tomorrow.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:30 AM
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Potatoes, PB & J sandwiches, PF Sausalito style cookies for the win. I think I slept about 10 hours.

Marco, Henry and I made the turn left for the last section of the 200k after the lunch rest stop and the lady tells us we are unsupported. Whatever, we'll manage. Two full water bottles will be enough in the heat to ride 30 something miles. This section of the ride was non-stop headwinds the bulk of the way. We took turns pulling and ate away at the mileage. Turns out the last rest stop was still open. I chomped a couple cookies and drank a coke. Used the small tube of chamois cream which really helped after so many miles. At this point it was destroy mode. Anything that moved in the distance got dropped. Marco set off on a great pace and I did my best to keep up. It was more or less a 15 mile time trial with a hill tossed in the middle. There were three older gentlemen who were off at a furious pace earlier in the ride but we spotted them and gobbled them up near the end. Marco will need to tell his 'BONK' story later.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:58 AM
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I drove up to Santa Rosa (actually Windsor, to meet up for the BF dinner) with Blastradius. It was a last minute agreement to drive up together ... much better to carpool, so that the drive wouldn't be so monotomous. Didn't leave the office till 3:20 pm, and had to go back home, and mount the friggin' bike rack to the car.

After all those delays, we made pretty good time and got to the dinner a little after 7 pm, and just in time to meet Taxi777, who need to do a few extra miles (as if he wouldn't have enough for the real ride in the morning).

It was great to meet BigBossMan and Mhendricks. Mike (Mhendricks) is hilarious. Our food was late in coming, and Mike gives the waiter a line from Goodfellas, something to the effect of something missing, if ya know what I mean. Anyhow, it was great chatting with them, and finally meeting them.

Blastradius, Bostic, and myself rode to Starbucks for quick grub, then ride over to the start. We took our sweet time getting registered, and meeting up. I recall my watch read 7 am, and I said "7 am, time to go!" 200k riders had to be on the road between 6:30-7:30, so I was not kidding. Then, as we were ready to roll, we had to wait to get a few group pictures together.

Uspspro and X136 didn't make it to the start at the same time we did. They, ummm ... went the wrong direction on the way to the start, so we figured they would meet us on the ride.

The rest of us started out together, and at the 100mile/200k turnoff, we regrouped. Mhendricks and BigBossman decided to continue on with the 100 mile route, while the rest of us did the 200k.

The hardest part of the ride was the steep climbs up Coleman Valley, but when we finally got to the top, and the rest stop, we were greeted with amazing views. First thing while there ... red potatoes ... OMG, something about this hits the palate soooo goood. I had 3 just at this rest stop alone. Pete has to drag me away from the potatoes. Then, as we were about to leave, uspspro shows up. Woohoo! Only thing is, we didn't see X136. I later found out he did start on the 200k, then did some short cuts, so he actually did get in his 100+.

The descent to the coast was amazing. Sorry guys ... if you didn't make it, you missed an incredible view. Pictures do not do it justice.

By the time we made the trek up Hwy 1, that's where everyone darted ahead of me. I missed the paceline, but that's okay. It was a nice peaceful ride across Hwy 116. Practiced on my time trialing. Caught up with everyone at the 2nd rest stop. Taxi777 was doing a shortcut, going to Windsor to pick up Kathy, so myself, Curtis, Tricia, Tony, and George decide to go with them. Henry, Ramon, and Marco continued on the rest of the 200k route.

We all met together at the lunch stop. We also got to meet TruF there ... nice meeting you there. And thanks for all the on demand sandwiches ... they really hit the spot.

The same group (200k vs. modified 200k) went back on it's own pace and route. We started on the route, but then averted the ride through Alexander Valley, and continued a route parallel to the freeway (quickest route possible, and skipping a few extra miles). About 5 miles from the end, I kept wondering does anyone know where to turn? At this point, I was on auto-pilot, just concentrating on turning the crank. And this coming from the Triple Crown endurance guy ... what happened to me?

Finally made it to the finish, and met up with everyone. A good time was had for all. SRCC puts on a great ride, beautiful scenery, and great food. Oh, did I mention the potatoes? They were awesome.

Drove back immediately after the ride, and didn't fall asleep. Thanks Blastradius for keeping me company for the drive up and back. Thanks Taxi777, for the modified route, and the entertainment.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:00 AM
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Wcc

Probably the best supported ride I have ever done. I felt like a king at the lunch stop with dozens of pre-made sandwiches and 5 people offering to make me a custom one.

Great course -- not much flat, all rollers. Wind was bad but not devastating (I guess I was early)

Pretty challenging for a "no climb" century (I picked it over Grizzly).
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Old 05-04-08, 09:55 AM
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The fun started Friday night before the ride when we met up with our internet gang from NorCal Bikeforums.net. We had about eleven of us show up. The food was grand, but the service, with a smile, was slightly screwed up. It didn't matter, they comped a lot of it and we had fun anyway.

The actual ride launched at about 7:00 the next morning from Wells Fargo Event Center. We started out through Santa Rosa farm lands., mostly pleasant small roads with not much traffic. After our first long climb we turned to do a section of the 200K ride that would take us up some stunningly steep hills (20% plus in a couple of spots) with beautiful views then dump us almost into the ocean.

The decent was so steep the ride organizers have a woman in a skeleton suit holding a warning sign and calling in a Halloween voice "Slow down." What a blast.

We had planned on a 100 miler, but our friend Pete, being, well, Pete, had other ideas that involve combining, subtracting, improvising and generally scoffing at the official map. He supplies us with "Pete-isms" as well. Starting up a steep climb he yelled "I'm in the wrong gear!" quickly followed with "No, I'm outta gears!"

After riding with Pete a few times Tricia has started to be able to decipher his comments:
Before starting a climb, when Pete says "It's not that bad" he means "You'll be in your lowest gear, standing up, and will perhaps make it, the following decent will be the skiing equivalent double-black-diamond death run.

"It's not that far" translates to "Maybe less than 20 miles."

"We'll be there in 10 minutes" leaves off the "if you were driving a car" part.

Tricia was glad she wore her "We can do it" Jersey as we ended up riding 112 miles out of 100 miles.

The actual ride the organizers put on was well run, the rest stops were stocked with goodies and the rest rooms lines were survivable. The only part I didn't like was riding right past winery after winery and not stopping at one of them. That just seems wrong.

The biggest plus: Tricia's bars didn't slip. Her chain ring didn't fall off, and there were no bee stings.

Flickr slide show of a few MORE photos




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Old 05-04-08, 10:29 AM
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Here's mine...

So I roomed with Alex (x136), and we are both kind of slow moving regarding getting ready in the morning, which was admitted by both of us

We rolled out of our hotel at like 6:28, and headed off. Alex had the directions, and they had us going south. I immediately thought that wasn't right. BUt Alex got the directions from the geniuses at Google, so we figured they were right.

turns out we were at a shopping mall in downtown Santa Rosa across from a Wells Fargo Bank. Haha.... So plugged in the directions on my blackberry, and found out we were pretty far away. I called Henry, and told him we were going to be late.

So Alex and I rode toward the start, ended up we already got 10 miles before the start. So we registered, and called Henry again. He said he would try and wait up at the first rest stop. They were already over 4 miles in. I convinced Alex to do the 200k route so we could meet the group at the first rest stop. But, as were leaving Alex noticed his brakes (cantilevers) were dragging pretty bad. So he had his allen wrench out and was trying to fix them. After several minutes, it turns out his wheel was in the fork crooked. At this point the group must have been way ahead.

The start time for Alex and I ended up being 7:40 (the registration says that the 200k riders must start between 6:30 and 7:30... most were on the road right at 6:30). So we were on our way, I tried to stay with Alex, because I felt bad that he would be riding without anyone. I did this for quite a while.

("BONK" Story)
Then we get to the first hill (around 15 miles in). I have to go fast on the hills. So I sprint away up the hills, passing many people, and wait at the top for Alex. As I am waiting, a group of nerds from TnT yell *BONK* *BONK* *BONK* *BONK*. Yep, like 4 of these doofuses yelled "Bonk." I was so pissed, and was not about to hear that from these guys. I said "Are you frigin' kidding me! I'm waiting for my friend." Ugggghhhh.

PS - No offense to anyone in TnT. I have friends in TnT, and think it is great. But these guys.... ahhhh.

So Alex caught up, but then we hit the first long-ish climb. I had no choice, except to destroy that hill. I sprinted up the hill, almost the whole way. I passed our little friends from TnT like they weren't moving, and yelled *BONK!!* Now I was happy. The "bonk" dudes were not my only motivation. I also wanted to catch the rest of the group. So I stuck it in TT mode, and just started ripping up the hills. That one hill for the 200k turn off was pretty damn steep.

I arrived in Occidental, and caught up with 2 other guys. We were met with a guy telling us the route was unsupported at this point... That worried me as far as catching the group. So I took off still in TT mode. I was alone for what seemed like forever, not another rider in sight. Finally I see the rest stop... far from being closed. Still plenty of riders there. I spot the PF group.. YES!!!! I was so happy. I seriously thought I would be alone for most of the ride.

After the first rest stop, we were greeted by the best par of the ride. The costal part was so beautiful. This was my favorite part of the entire ride.

The 200K route ended up being just Ramon, Henry and I. But we worked together well, with similar pacing. The rest of my rude report reads like Ramon's. Around mile 80-90-ish I felt pretty worn, but came around.

My second favorite part of the ride came after the first rest stop (mile 110). I got a second wind. Ramone and I decided to crush the last 15 miles. Just go all out. Were were spinning up to 26+ mph at some of the flat spots And jamming it up the climb in the middle. No team work, no rotating/drafting. Just all out GO! Other than the coast section, this was my favorite part of the ride

Anyway it was great. I had a good time. Thanks to everyone.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:51 AM
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Curtis,
Great pics. I really like that panaroma shot with the whole group. The Pacific Ocean in the back, even though it didn't show in the pic, is a great back drop.

Oh, and passing by winery after winery ... yeah, I agree with you on that. But I think if you really wanted to do that, we'd have to do the 35 miler ...
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Old 05-04-08, 11:06 AM
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mhendricks, eagerly waiting to start the ride


MyLilPony, cccorlew, Bostic, BigBossMan, mhendricks ready to roll


mhendricks rolling up to regroup at 100 mi/200k split




First Rest Stop


uspspro ready to attack the descent!






That's mtnwalker in front


View from alongside Hwy 1
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Old 05-04-08, 11:12 AM
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I had my mind set on just doing the imperial century, but once I (eventually ) got to the tent in the morning, that all went out the window, and I ended up with the pink sheet and armband, indicating that I was very nearly certifiably insane.

The first 15-20 miles were pretty fast and flat, and full of people, so I was keeping a fairly respectable pace (at least for me). Then the hills started and everyone else pulled away, so I reverted to "slow and steady" mode (also known as "I need a triple so bad" mode). The first rest stop was very welcome by the time I got to it. Between a late start and my slowness, there was talk of closing up shop when I was there, which wasn't a good sign for future stops.

The descent down to the ocean was pretty insane. The person in the skeleton costume kind of freaked me out. I was staring from pretty far back, trying to figure out what the hell I was looking at (Is it a sign, or a real person?), and once I got close, the guy in front of me slammed on his brakes, forcing evasive maneuvers. At some points of the descent, I was squeezing the brake levers for dear life, and was still flying along at over 20MPH. Yikes. Very scenic, though, as was the next portion along Highway 1. Couldn't have asked for nicer weather, aside from the wind. I just tooled along, taking it all in.

This tooling meant that the second rest stop was just about done for when I arrived. All I managed to do was fill my bottles, and scarf down some pretzels and M&Ms. I'd feel it later, and was at one point giving consideration to quitting. Not long before the third rest stop, the route split off onto the 35 mile route, which would have been a shortcut back to the start. I thought about it, assuming that the rest stop would be closed. I talked to a SAG guy who happened to be driving by, who said it was actually still open, so I pressed on. At worst, I figured, I could turn around and come back to that split-off point.

I got to the rest stop as they were starting to pack up, but there was still plenty to be had. After a short break, I got back on the road, and I was feeling better, so I decided to continue. At that point, I was actually feeling the time constraint moreso than being completely worn out. I had 40-50 miles to go, and about two hours to do it in, and on top of that, there was little or no chance of making the lunch stop. So I decided to take the bail-out route near Healdsburg. It wasn't the greatest route, what with being on city streets with moderate traffic, and having a headwind the whole way, but I guess that's why it was a bailout route. I picked up a riding buddy along the way, which was nice. Kept each other company and kept the pace up as much as possible, but I lost track of her in the parking lot at the end.

All in all, it was a great ride. I enjoyed myself, and I feel surprisingly okay this morning. Grand total for the day was 106 miles. So hey, 170k, close enough. I think I might have been able to do the full 200k, if I didn't feel so pressed for time.

Due to the rushed feeling, I only managed to pull out my camera once, on one of the only two or three times I had to stop and take a breather on some of the steeper climbs. The result is this crooked-ass panorama.

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Old 05-04-08, 11:16 AM
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gpelpel, Bostic, uspspro, Blastradius




Gee, ain't that purdy


Nice descent into Russian River Valley


Russian River


2nd Rest Stop
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Old 05-04-08, 01:50 PM
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Here's my report with pics on the 50+ forum. Didn't ride, but had lots of fun at Warm Springs Dam cheering everyone on. But just wait until next year; I'll be riding!
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Old 05-04-08, 03:13 PM
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Here's an elevation report on teh Wine Century, Pete version, via my Garmin

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Old 05-04-08, 03:19 PM
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21.6% and 23.1%?!
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Old 05-04-08, 06:04 PM
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When I was noting peoples plans for getting up to the WCC, nothing was really fitting too well so I was
planning to drive solo. Well green-guilt got to me and I messaged Spingineer to see if I could ride with
him. As he noted, he had to go home to get his rack but in the end things turned out A-OK. Thanks
for the ride and for helping me keep somewhat green. I ended up rooming with Ron too as Bostic
(whom I was originally going to room with) ended up with only a single bed. We were only a room
away so he could nearly hear us snore anyway .

The next morning we headed out pre-dawn and hit up a Starbucks before making our way to
the Well Fargo Event Center.


The first part of the ride was fairly fast as everyone was pretty fresh. We mostly regrouped at the
100mi/200k split and the 200k riders contined after seeing mhendricks and bigbossman off. They're
great guys and a total riot. It's nice to chat with someone from the networking old school.
(BTW, BigBossMan, did you know a John Collins at INS?).

The ride to the coast had some very steep but short sections but the reward at the top
was worth it, a Pinarello love-fest. (No, none of them were mine )


Oh and the descent to the coast wasn't bad either... (click for a bigger pic).


After the descent, the ride along to coast was breathtaking. Once we turned inland Pete, Marco,
Ramon, and I tried giving a paceline a go. We got into a decent rotation and were soon joined by
four other riders. Between the eight of us, we cruised at 21-22mph all the way to the second rest stop.

gpelpel and bostic


After the rest stop, Pete's short-cutters took off in one direction and Marco, Ramon, and I in the
200k route direction. The rollers between there and the lunch stop really killed me for some reason.
I was tired and considered following Pete from the lunch stop. The lure of my longest ride ever got
me to continue onward on the 200k route. It was tough going and my legs felt like lead on the
climbs and in the battle against the headwind. I was sucking wheel big time.

After the last rest stop I hung on to Marco and Ramon for as long as I could, which wasn't very long. After being dropped, I continued on solo. Still tired, I did manage to reel in all the riders I saw in front of me .

Bonus miles: When I got back into town, I saw the WCC arrows for Mark West Springs Rd
and made the turn. Unfortunately, as with most of the arrows on the course, they were too small
and I read them wrong. I rode a mile in the wrong direction before double-checking the street
addresses, it's 50 Mark West Springs Rd, not 510.

This was a great ride, my longest ever, and was with a great group of riders. My only complaints
are the aforementioned arrow sizes, the rough sections of road, the section along highway 128 with
no shoulders and speeding cars, and the STINKING HEADWIND. The wind may not have been too bad
if it didn't get so late in the day.

Thanks everyone,
Henry

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Old 05-04-08, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
Oh and the descent to the coast wasn't bad either...
I was glancing at all the graffiti on the way down, and my favorite by far was the one at the very, very bottom, where some smart-ass had written "HILL!" facing the people about to climb that sucker.

Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
Unfortunately, as with most of the arrows on the course, they were too small and I read them wrong. I rode a mile in the wrong direction before double-checking the street addresses, it's 50 Mark West Springs Rd, not 510.
Not only were they small and easily missable, but there weren't enough of them. I often found myself wondering if I'd missed a turn, and who knows how far I'd go before I noticed? A small marker of some sort every mile or two would have been nice, as reassurance.

Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
my longest ever
Ditto, by about forty miles.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:30 PM
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Our longest too. By 12 miles or so.

The photo of gpelpel and bostic is really nice. It looks wide angle. My point-and-shoot isn't wide enough fo rmy tastes.

BlastRadius, what did you shoot that with?
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Old 05-04-08, 06:34 PM
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Actually, every year that I have done WCC (whether it was 200k, 100 mi, or modification of the two), I've always had headwinds in the last 30 miles or so. I think it just comes with the territory.

Even though it wasn't my longest, I still felt very fatigued at the end. Not sure why, because I have done 200+ miles, and felt just as fatigued as I did at 120 miles! I guess it may be because I haven't built up enough miles. This was my first century of the year. Imagine that.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:34 PM
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BTW, you cool hill photo looks really flat and colorless on BF.
I couldn't stop myself
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Old 05-04-08, 06:36 PM
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Curtis, for those of us novice amateurs, what did you do to add life to it?
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Old 05-04-08, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
Curtis, for those of us novice amateurs, what did you do to add life to it?
Photoshop:
Crop, color balance, bump up contrast, bump up saturation a hair, smart sharpen.
The big things were the contrast and color balance.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
Our longest too. By 12 miles or so.

The photo of gpelpel and bostic is really nice. It looks wide angle. My point-and-shoot isn't wide enough fo rmy tastes.

BlastRadius, what did you shoot that with?
That pic was the best amongst all the blurry ones

It was a Minolta DiMAGE Xt. It's OK but the battery doesn't last long enough.
Our Canon A710IS is better but it's much bulkier.
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Old 05-04-08, 07:35 PM
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Addendum to my original report. I have to give Blastradius kudos for using geek tools to a practical level for our ride.

So we had to find a route to get from our Motel 6, to Starbucks, then from Starbucks to the start of WCC. He happens to bring his laptop and EVDO card (networking directly to Sprint's network to access the Internet). So go to google maps, and plot out directions. Then, emails it to his phone, and we have directions right there on his cell phone. Only in Silicon Valley. Now that's using technology for the ride!

I'm jealous ... I don't have an EVDO card for my laptop.
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