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Tour of Napa Valley - Ride Report

Old 08-17-08, 08:10 PM
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Tour of Napa Valley - Ride Report

Hey, I’m first with this?!

A gorgeous day in Napa. Just 3-4wks ago, I’d not ridden further than 30miles at one go, today I finished up the 65mile route. I rode with a guy from work who served as my pace maker (as he’s a way better rider than me). With all the parking shenanigans and walking back and forth, we started just around 8:30 or so, a little cloudy, but pleasant. Leaving Rutherford, Pope Valley was a really nice scenic gentle climb for about 10miles or so, some really pleasant descents and flats where upper 20’s were easy to maintain.

We skipped the first rest stop at mile 11, so pulled into the second at mile 31. We arrived just as what looked like a med-evac helicopter was leaving. Rumor had it that someone suffered a heart attack – anyone heard anything more?

I noticed that I’d been pushing a little harder than I thought up to that point (I was hoping to get in with under 4.5hrs of saddle time), and my knee that I had been carefully rehabilitating over the last 3-4months was starting to remind me of its presence. I was also acutely aware that we hadn’t started the ink grade yet, which I had noted as the place to save my energy for. Great spread laid on by the organizers here – very nice pastries and fruit. I was a good boy, and contented myself with a piece of Danish pastry and a hammer gel, before refilling my bottles with two more loads of HEED and hitting the road.

We hit ink grade at about 10:45, and it was quite a nice climb, not much traffic, not too steep (compared to bay area standards) but had some distance (didn’t check, but I’m thinking it was a good 3miles or so). After the climbing had finished there were some glorious downhills to be had, the sun was warming up the air nicely by then, and we were rewarded with some fantastic views of the valley.

We wound our way back to the Silverado trail before checking into the third rest stop (2nd for us) at mile 53. I have to say the signage could have been a little better – there were a few turns that I think I made by sheer luck of having someone else call them out from afar (hairpin at Crystal Springs and Deer Park for instance). A quick pit stop and another HEED refill and the last 12miles looked easy. Actually a little tougher than I was expecting, an annoying headwind and a fairly constant false flat made that more work than I was hoping for, I was also sensing the first hints of cramp about mile 58, also my Avatar saddle was starting to convince me that it was an A-hatchet in disguise, despite me riding with Beljum budder this time. Glad to say that, that cramp never materialized, and once we were off the Silverado trail the headwind wasn’t a factor. I even think I managed to mug for the PhotoCrazy close to the end. All that and some great carnitas at the post ride lunch – I was SO ready for that.

So my final stats:

Miles 65.5
Riding time: 4h 4min
Elevation Gain: a modest 3600ft (according to Bikely)



Setting out:



Climbing Pope Valley



Parked up at rest stop 2



Climbing Ink Grade



Looking back down Crystal Springs


Last edited by Beaker; 08-17-08 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:48 PM
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Nice report Beaker.

We started at 7am as I rolled out with fellow FFBC members.

I saw two major accidents today. One was a little after the second rest stop in the hills. An older gentleman was down with open wounds on his head. The second might have involved a car and occurred near the end of the ride.

Specs from the Garmin 705 for my Napa ride today:

distance: 99.7 miles
total ascent: 4705 feet
avg speed: 17.2 mph
time riding: 5:46
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Old 08-17-08, 08:57 PM
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Here's mine: http://www.mattandjosey.com/cycling/...008/index.html

I saw rumbutter out there, but didn't get a chance to say hi - we were going opposite directions both times.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kster View Post
One was a little after the second rest stop in the hills. An older gentleman was down with open wounds on his head.
Aw The fire truck and CHP passed me in Pope Valley. I was hoping that wasn't for a cyclist :\
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Old 08-17-08, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nachomc View Post
Aw The fire truck and CHP passed me in Pope Valley. I was hoping that wasn't for a cyclist :\
It probably was for that rider that was down. When we went by, there was one CHP officer with him and then a number of CHP vehicles and one ambulance crossed us a little later.
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Old 08-17-08, 09:11 PM
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The day started with some pretty farcical parking. They were parking us in a field and directed some poor woman to park near a tree. Unfortuately she ended up parking her Pinarello in the tree (it was on the roof rack). It looked pretty badly beat up.

The scenery on the Century was very nice and I got into a couple of fast pacelines so that made the ride go Quicker. I didnt like how crowded the rest stops were but thats what you get when you enter such a popular event. There was a huge line for portaloos at the first rest stop. My Garmin 305 reckoned it was 98.9 miles and 5200 feet of climbing.
There were a lot of FFBC out there but I only recognised a couple of FFBC buddies on tandems.
I didnt see you "nachomc"
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Old 08-17-08, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kster View Post
Nice report Beaker.

We started at 7am as I rolled out with fellow FFBC members.

I saw two major accidents today. One was a little after the second rest stop in the hills. An older gentleman was down with open wounds on his head. The second might have involved a car and occurred near the end of the ride.

Specs from the Garmin 705 for my Napa ride today:

distance: 99.7 miles
total ascent: 4705 feet
avg speed: 17.2 mph
time riding: 5:46
I think your second rest stop must have been the first that I skipped. I didn't enjoy the riding on Silverado trail as much -- not much of a shoulder and quite of a lot of fast moving traffic.

It's too bad to see injuries like that -- I noticed a couple of cars/trucks travelling down Ink grade while I was climbing, given that folks were all over that road during the climb, I had my fingers crossed that no-one met one those guys head-on.
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Old 08-17-08, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nachomc View Post
Here's mine: http://www.mattandjosey.com/cycling/...008/index.html

I saw rumbutter out there, but didn't get a chance to say hi - we were going opposite directions both times.
Hubcap ranch - what can you say?
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Old 08-17-08, 09:35 PM
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It was pretty good, made a long weekend out of it with my buddies.
Went to Napa yesterday morning and rode the metric century trail for warm up. It was real hot on the way back. The wind on Silverado trail changes direction at around noon, so we we rode with tailwind going west and headwind coming back, so I cut it a bit short to save energy for today, went to a nice Italian restaurant and reloaded on pasta and beer
Today, we started at 6:40. I took it semi-relaxed for the first 50 miles until start of Ink Grade, high cadence pedaling going into Mt Veder and the headwind on Silverado, stopped at all rest stops to fill op on that cytomax stuff. Then on Ink Grade, I sucked down an espresso Gu and opened the taps, and sprinted the rest of the way. Total ride time was 5:22. I noticed that at high cadence I can keep going for a very long time with very little fatigue, so I am going to start using my lower chain ring on the triple more on endurance climbs.
The story I heard about the airlift was some elderly guy was riding tandem with his wife and had a heart attack, fortunately close to the rest stop, so he got some EMT aid real quick, hope he's alright.
Also, whoever set up the crazy photo camera is an idiot, who in their right mind sets up a camera on high speed turn and then distracts a tired rider with a megaphone telling him to pose for the shot? I heard someone saying there was an accident there, and I would not be surprised.
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Old 08-17-08, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rumbutter View Post
I didnt see you "nachomc"
Yeah both times I saw you, you were distracted. The first was just before the lunch stop on Aetna and the second time was at the finish.
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Old 08-17-08, 10:21 PM
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Nice report. What was the temp like? Every time I ride up Ink Grade, it's been hot or at least no breeze.
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Old 08-17-08, 10:30 PM
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I had a great time on the century; I for one liked silverado trail, for 2 reasons: 1) caught onto a tandem-led line both ways, and made good time, at least until around mile 92 when I fell off the back - gassed. 2) fresh pavement - super smoooth, but made the backroads bone-rattling.

Heard a lot of sirens, saw a couple fire trucks rolling, but didnt'see an accident. And yes, that right turn
The low point - when I squeezed a pack of gel, which exited a hole in the side of the packet, and all over my jersey, shorts, and bike. a sticky mess - what a klutz!

6:13 rolling, 15.8 ave, ok for a geezer like me.
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Old 08-17-08, 10:36 PM
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For me, it was pretty nice -- pleasantly warm in the open sections, but it felt like there was enough shade to avoid feeling cooked. No idea on numbers - 80's, perhaps? I'll bet it was worse at 12 and beyond.
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Old 08-17-08, 10:36 PM
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Thanks for the reports. I was a great weekend to be in Napa. Well done.
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Old 08-18-08, 11:18 AM
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Well here's my report on the ride. I did meet up with one forum member but his group was doing the 100 mile and because my back was still a little sore declined and went with the metric. Instead met up with a woman from Los Altos and decided to ride with her. Like others said, great weather, great food, but not great signs. In fact, right at the beginning my friend (Jodi) made a wrong turn and at about 10+ miles later realized we were going the wrong way. My mistake. After getting back on track, we cruised along and took in the beautiful scenery. We also missed the Ink Grade turnoff and ended up going a couple of miles past but went back and got on track. That climb was pretty good! Definitely got my heart rate up! The descent was really great as I heard my Garmin gop off at 45mph but the crazy part of that descent was the sharp right turn at the bottom of that descent. A lot of us didn't see that coming so instead of taking the corner right there, I opted for the second turn about 25 yards up and so did the girl behind me who was drafting me when I heard her say "I'm following you!" We also saw that big train of riders sucking the wheels of the (2) tandems right at the end of the ride. Also saw the carnage and the end of the ride where the Highway Patrol and Emergency Services were pulling people out of the ditch. I saw at least 3 bikes in that ditch with one of them looking like crumbled paper. My friend Jodi said she thought she say a Highway Patrol officer taking a bottle of wine out of the car that was involved in the accident. We both prayed that it wasn't fatal for any of those riders. For us, a great day in the saddle. Here are some pics.

View from Pope Valley Road



Quintessa Winery



Ink Grade Climb



Farm House



Lunch Rest Stop

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Old 08-18-08, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kster View Post
Nice report Beaker.

We started at 7am as I rolled out with fellow FFBC members.

I saw two major accidents today. One was a little after the second rest stop in the hills. An older gentleman was down with open wounds on his head. The second might have involved a car and occurred near the end of the ride.

Specs from the Garmin 705 for my Napa ride today:

distance: 99.7 miles
total ascent: 4705 feet
avg speed: 17.2 mph
time riding: 5:46
Here's more info on that accident at the end of the ride.

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/ar...7903717363.txt
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Old 08-18-08, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mhendricks View Post
Here's more info on that accident at the end of the ride.

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/ar...7903717363.txt
It was nice meeting you yesterday morning.

I'm glad that bicyclist will be okay; it didn't look very good when I saw a number of people surrounding him in the ditch.
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Old 08-18-08, 03:36 PM
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We had a great ride too. Did the 30 mile route on the tandem, which was j3n's longest ride ever. We also made a weekend of it: my parents flew in and my brother drove up from SLO. We stayed in San Rafael Saturday night and those of us who were riding headed out at 8 and had a nice drive up to the start. I guess we got lucky with the parking - they directed us up to the dirt lot right above registration and we quickly got underway. After stopping at each and every stop-sign on the way out of town (no mean feat on a tandem), we turned out to the country. Just gorgeous country roads and grapes as far as the eye could see. On the first highway road it started out a little sketchy but we stretched out into our pace and my dad and brother fell in to the paceline as we whisked along. Nice rollers along the silverado trail, out and back. We stopped at the Pope Road rest stop and I saw another della santa leaned against the tree and had a nice chat with the owners. The tandem got some good comments and attention too. We had a little mechanical problem with the front derailleur, probably just due to the new cable stretching a bit, but we threw the chain shifting up to the big ring once and had consistent problems going from big to middle ring. Gotta trim it up a bit before the next ride. Things got a bit windy on the way back but no big deal, we just tucked in and hauled butt. Jen did a great job motoring along and she had a great time and great sense of accomplishment. We met up with the non-riding family members, loaded up on tacos, and headed home for showers and siesta.

Overall a great day. I could have done with a bit less highway riding but I liked how the routes came together towards the end and the scenery, support, etc, were all top-notch.
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Old 08-18-08, 03:50 PM
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Photocazy pics are up.
Here is me:


Gonna DL full size when I get home.
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Old 08-18-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mhendricks View Post
Here's more info on that accident at the end of the ride.

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/ar...7903717363.txt
Holy moly. 70 feet!
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Old 08-18-08, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bigredgrad01 View Post
Photocazy pics are up.
Here is me:


Gonna DL full size when I get home.
OK - since I'm not at work today, I'm all over this. Here's me

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Old 08-18-08, 05:49 PM
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I did the 100 miler and bonked at Ink Hill...needless to say, I was a bit overly exuberant in the first half. Little girls in streamers were passing me on Ink Hill--okay maybe not that extreme but close to it. I was hoping to achieve a 6 hour time record--but this ride has giving me second thoughts about centuries (my 2nd since Giro di Peninsula); when you feel busted up, it really hurts and I'm not sure I'm gaining any fitness from all the thrashing.

The highlight was descending Ink Hill Road. The views were fantastic, and the road unencumbered. The low-light were the rednecks in pickups, and the several accidents.

The food was decent but if this was Zagat's, Giro di Peninsula would rank above.

The photocrazy instructions were really a bit confusing--my head was looking completely the wrong way; and I saw a few other riders similarly confused. Anyway, I've attached the most expensive bike I could find from photocrazy.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:55 PM
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heres me
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Old 08-18-08, 10:23 PM
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And here's me.

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Old 08-19-08, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Steverino View Post
And here's me.

Great pic. That must be what PhotoCrazy was trying to capture with their odd camera placement.
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