Liz and I took a trip this weekend to California, Santa Rosa. Once there, we met up with a few people to do @levisgranfondo (www.levisgranfondo.com). The summary if you do not want to read further is that it was quite fun. Done.
If you do want to read further, here goes. Liz has not done a lot of domestic travel. As silly as that seems, she has done more international travel in the last 10 years than domestic travel. In fact, the last time she was in San Francisco was about 27 years ago. So, when we got into the rental car, the first thing we did was head across the city. There are ways that you can get to Sonoma county without going through the city, but that would have meant skipping the bridge etc…
We drove around the city, got lost and then ended up at Fisherman’s Warf for a fish sandwich and some clam chowder (heart attack in a bowl). We looked at the spot where the Coors Classic time trial started (dating myself, as that was about 20 years ago), then headed across the bridge. The drive up through Marin is always one of my favorites, and brings back memories of riding my mountain bike there and hanging out with Gary Fisher – many moons ago. (We were old then, what does that make us now?)
Made it up to Santa Rosa, checked into the hotel and headed out for a quick ride. Ben had set up bikes for us through Trek Travel and the local Trek dealer in Santa Rosa (Trek Bicycle of Santa Rosa). We went for just a short little spin, check out the bikes and to make sure everything was ready to go for the next day. Then we went over to the ride site and picked up our packets, signed waivers etc…
We had a great dinner at Riveira Ristorante. In fact, it was so good we would go back the next night as well. We decided it was close to our favorite place in Madison, Lombardinos. We were hoping for Mexican food one of the nights. As you know, I normally gauge my enjoyment of a trip or a place by the Mexican food. And, I normally do not ride my bicycle without having Mexican food within 24hours of that event. (If you are playing along at home, you just asked yourself if I must have Mexican food almost every day. That would be a yep.) but, it is pretty hard to pass up something that rivals Lombardinos, so there you have it.
On ride day, we were running a bit late so arrived at the start at the same time as the ride started. Pretty much rockstar status.
The ride went through vineyards, through the redwood forest, along the Northern California coast, up and over a super steep grade (might be called Coleman Grade), back through the vineyard and then along the bike path home. We just did the 60 mile ride, there was a 100, but we decided that was plenty. Could have done more, but we might not have all finished with a smile on our faces. That of course is way over simplifying. Coleman is 18% in places. That is damn steep.
Liz said it was the best ride she has ever done. Could have been because she had her picture taken with Patrick Dempsey at the VIP tent afterward. The food was spectacular afterward.
We saw Bill and Liam, from www.fathersontour.com. Liam did his 1st 100 mile ride, and finished it with style I guess. I know he dug it, as he always does seem to like riding his bike. Good deal.
We drank too much beer in the beer tent afterward, rode home on the bike path a bit crooked. Dropped by the Trek store one last time and then back for more Italian. Woohoo.
On the plane home we got to hear the big guy behind us clear his throat every few minutes. That was special, and no wifi on the plane. WTF?
A great time was had by all.