Samstag, 18. Mai 2013

Echelon Gran Fondo Sonoma

Today the program of the day is clear. Got up at 530, drove to Sonoma and arrived at 700 to get ready for the 75 Mile / 6600 feet climb (120 km / 2000 m climb) ride. There will be more than a thousand riders taking at the 11, 50 or 75 Mile tracks.  

0750 and 10 minutes till the “race” will start...

Looking at the people around me and the bikes they ride I really reconsider, if this is right for me and indeed the pace on the first few, flat miles was horrendous and the bumpy routes did not really help. Well I was in the very first section of the “peloton” and I thought if this goes on like this, the 120 km will be very great “fun”. But I must say that riding in a peloton like group with some 100 riders is really special. The first very light climbs near Napa however assured me, that everybody here is only cooking with water and although I am really a terrible climber I found out that most people here are even worse ones.  
I am sorry that I do not have more pictures of the ride, but in racing mode there are no Photo-stops scheduled. Most of the route I have actually already ridden before! E.g. I now have have climbed Mt. Veeder from both sides and also Bennet Valley Rd in very familiar to me. There were some sections like Trinity Rd and Mt. Sonoma Rd that I had on my wish list and now I have finally ridden, so it was very complementary.

After 5h 5’ with all stops the course was done and according to the ratio overtaken/been overtaken I am quite happy with my performance.

The after ride party in the city square was great too. For the 75 Mile riders there was a hot buffet with Curry, Macaroni an Chees, grilled Chicken and Pasta Bolognese which really tasted great (the hunger after the ride might has influenced my judgement here!) and one should never underestimate the refined taste that an ice chilled beer can develop.

My time here in California draws inevitably to its end and though I am looking forward returning back home, the bike-lifestyle could really be addictive to me ( Four more days to go, Wednesday is booked for the Club ride. Tomorrow Sunday there is the option to watch the “Tour of California” final stage here at Santa Rosa City Square or to go to San Francisco and watch the “Bay to Breakers”. As my legs do not feel too tiered I think I will say “good bye” to SF. This means two days remain; one is reserved to the SF-Stinson Beach Loop which I absolutely need to ride once more. So only one day, which is not yet defined, remains, but most probably it will be Bodega Bay – Fort Ross.

What will I miss? The weather, the views, the lifestyle, the freedom...

and the "bike chicks", a very abundant species around here... Seriously, really many women living up to the true "road bike spirit" here. 

What will I not miss?

Pot holes the size of platters and 10 cm or  (much) deeper. 

“Rough” might be an adequate adjective to describe the surface of sand paper, but is a joke when referring to the structure of many back roads here. Actually I think that I can trash my rims after my rides here...   

Price question: "Is it just the color comming of the welding joint or is it a full grown crack of the inner rim ?" Need to check with a bike mechanic here...

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