Yeah I trained... until June. At which point I left for South America and didn’t sit on a bike saddle again for 3 months. When I returned home, Sheila the Wonder Bike was pretty beat up from her rough life in a dirty storage shed. I fully intended on fixing her up to start training, but then school started, then the odd jobs started, and suddenly I realized the event was in a mere two weeks! Frantically, I tried to sell my ticket but to no avail. So I started to train.... slowly.
|SO MANY cyclists waiting for the race to begin.|
|snacks --- yummmmy|
In Monte Rio, a sign split the riders into two groups. Right for the "Gran" riders to continue north into Cazadero and up the dreaded King Ridge Road, an intensely brutal climb at the moment being plagued by thunderstorms and slick roads. OR left for the "Medio" riders to skip that hell and go straight to the coast. Given the two scenarios and checking in with our sanity (and remembering that we didn't train for this event) we chose to head left down Moscow road to the little town of Duncan Mills. After refreshing at another break area we continued west on highway 116 and up the road toward Goat Rock State Beach. Just past Sizzling Tandoor (a DELICIOUS Indian restaurant) was a sign guiding those who desired a steep off-road experience up Willow Creek Road. But since The Dark Knight and Sheila the Wonder Bike only had skinny road bike tires we opted to stay on Highway 1 and headed south along the coastline. The ride was beautiful! Rolling hills along a rugged rocky coastline. And then at the next break area at Schoolhouse Beach we ran into Levi.
Feeling punchy, I asked him if he would take a photo with my bike Sheila. The converstation went as follows:
Me: Will you be in a photo with my bike Sheila? She's almost as famous as you are.
Levi: (looks confused) Don't YOU want to be in the photo?
Me: That's not necessary.
Levi: I really think you should be in the photo.
Levi checked out Sheila and seemed shocked that I would take a 1980s Nishiki on such a rough ride, but I reiterated my theory on bikes: it's not the bike, it's the rider. I don't need a better bike, I just need stronger legs. Then a few other people asked to take pictures of Sheila and inquired about her. I found the whole circumstance so hilarious that I laughed my way up Coleman Valley Road! Note: Coleman.Valley. Is. HARD. The first ascent is SUPER STEEP and occasionally when I put my foot down for a quick break I couldn't get back on the bike because the slope grade was too much! Nevertheless I pulled through the burn and made it to the top. Other cyclists cheered me on and several complimented Sheila. I was feeling great by the time I reached Ocean Song (an intentional community/another break area) at the top of the mountain. Kevin and I did some stretches and mentally prepared ourselves for the two more climbs ahead of us before the descent back home. Only 20 miles to go!
|Kevin & The Dark Knight|
Although the roads from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa were pretty darn flat, I felt like my legs were going to fall off. Nevertheless, Kevin and I powered up and raced to the finish line. VICTORY! After parking our bikes we crawled over to the beer booth for our complimentary IPA (courtesy of New Belgium) and grabbed a free plate of paella. After resting awhile in the grass amidst the festival we summoned the energy to bike back home. Each press of the pedal felt like 1000 daggers and I could barely get upstairs to my apartment. But you know what? It was worth it! I was given the opportunity to go on a super fun bike ride through freshwater marsh, redwood forest, riverine valley, rocky coastline, and coastal grassland with spectacular views, with an awesome friend. Life.Is.Good. :)