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Sunday, May 3, 2009

WCC - Completely SOAKED

Saturday May 2 - 2009
Wine Country Century - 200 Kilometers.
It never crossed my mind that it might rain.
It didn't. It poured.

For several weeks we have been training with this ride specifically in mind. Known only as a moderately hard ride, it hasn't exactly dominated our lives or changed lifestyles. But paying over $50 to register, tends to make one want to at least make it to the lunch stop.

Within the week prior to the ride the weather report started literally casting shadows on the event. I would check the weather several times a day, starting on Wednesday, and by Friday afternoon it was getting harder and harder to find a weather report that my optimism could cling to. My companions (Vince, Kevin, Milt, and Dick) had begun jesting about cutting the ride short and settling for the 100 mile course or worse yet the 100 kilometer. I clung to the 200k threatening to ride it alone. It didn't seem to bother them

Friday it poured rain. By Saturday morning the first blast of the storm had saturated the Bay Area and the clouds were hanging ominously at around 1000'. The air was thick. But it wasn't raining. We said good by to Bec and Ella (who would spend the day with friends in Santa Rosa) around 7:00 am and started the ride not even needing the rain gear.



I was prepared to compose my perspective of the day's events. But before I was able to sit down, Milt sent the email seen below. He must have had far more energy left over on Saturday night than I did. So, with some of my own editorial comments embedded, here is Saturday's ride...
Dick, Vince, Me, Milt, Kevin


Sent From Milt at 10:23 PM, Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hi All,
This is kind of long, so be warned....
Wellllllllllll, today's ride was great. It wasn't without it's trying moments, but it was a lot of fun just the same. I have to come clean with Vince, Scott and Dick though. I don't know about Kevin, but I only rode 111.?? miles today. I skipped the lunch stop and headed for the finish. Vince and Scott rode ESI (Every Single Inch) for 124 miles. By chance and misfortune ( for Vince) I found myself about 25miles ahead of Vince at the end of the day. I couldn't help it. When he asked I just told him I rode the whole thing. In fact I told him I got lost, and even rode extra miles :)) Soooooo here's the real story of a great ride. (Scott: Milt, I would have believed you, but boy I didn't think we had lost THAT much time working on the flat tires. I figure we lost an hour.)

We almost left my house on time this morning at 5am. After loading my new 4runner ( actually it's 9 years old ) with all the bikes, gear , and riders, for it's maiden trip. It wouldn't start. I now have a new pet name for it."Titanic". We quickly unpacked everything and loaded it into Kevin's trusty Ford 60000 Diesel and left for Santa Rosa at 5:20am. When we got there the parking lot was almost empty. Despite our late arrival, we were able to park very close to check in. We checked in under cloudy skies then walked back to the truck to put our gear together. Still no rain, and the temp was in the high 50s - low 60s. I remember telling Kevin I thought we'd get rained on because it was just too warm...
7:30am... We were off. (Scott: It was actually 7:00)





video

Light wind, still no rain, things were looking great. Then, about 10 miles into the ride we made a sharp left turn, and as I was coming out of the turn I could hear the sound of metal grinding across the pavement. Kevin was down, and he was in a group of about five other riders, including Vince and Scott. Turned out Kevin swerved wide to miss a metal grate, and his front wheel slid across some loose gravel. Vince narrowly missed rolling over Kevin's head and some how managed to keep his bike right side up. True to form, Kevin quickly got up, gave his bike a quick once over, and got back on the bike and promptly dropped everyone. We didn't catch Kevin for about 30 minutes. Vince thought Kevin was just working off the adrenalin, I think Kevin just didn't want any of us to see him cry:))

We rode over Grayton road, and as we did the rain came. Grayton Road is also where some of us would be tested.

Look Mom - No hands!!

Vince (in blue) Coming to the Top of Grayton Rd.

At the top of the first climb we became separated. Vince, Scott, and Dick, being the studly ones, rode over the bonus hill into Occidental. Kevin and I stayed on Grayton Rd figuring we would need a little edge to complete the Coleman Valley Rd climb with Vince and the gang. Did I say it had started raining?.... Kevin and I stayed together for the Coleman climb and when we reached the rest stop at the top we waited ( in the rain ) for Vince and Scott. After 15 minutes we left, thinking they would catch us along the coast. What we didn't know is that Vince would suffer two flat tires ( in the rain ) along that stretch, and his group would fall farther back.

Kevin and I descended Coleman Valley road in heavy rain. I can't ever remember using my brakes so much on any descent. The wheels stayed wet no matter how much water you scrubbed off by applying the brakes. It could take a couple of hundred feet to stop the bike while riding as slow as 20mph. Every time I rolled over a cattle grate I was worried I might drop the bike. (Scott: There were at least a half dozen of these - slick as ice. One rider went down just seconds behind us on the first one of the actual descent.) On the way down Coleman I stopped to put on my glove liners and Kevin pulled ahead, not to be seen until we reached Monte Rio.
Bottom of Coleman - Still alive, soaked, and now wearing the wind breaker

Once on the coast highway it wasn't quite as cold, and we did have a tail wind while we rode in the rain. I reached River road in about 30 minutes and headed for the second rest stop. The Russian River area is mighty nice, and the ride into Monte Rio was uneventful. At the second rest stop I rejoined Kevin and we filled our water bottles. We hung out a while waiting for Vince and the gang who never showed. By now we figured they somehow were in front of us, so we started to push a little. We rode through Gurneville, in the rain, and over the hill to Whorten Bridge where the next rest stop was. We didn't wait all that long now because we were sure everyone was ahead of us. We rode across Dry Creek Road in the heavy rain" with a mission", and skipped the lunch stop in a effort to catch up with Vince, Scott , and Dick. Then it happened again... Another left had turn, and when Kevin came up behind me he touched my wheel for just a moment.... Luckily, he saved himself at the last second. (Scott: I'm hearing differing reports of this. Some are saying that he actually cleaned another section of pavement. Hmm??)

What we didn't know is that Vince would have three flats for the day, and replaced a tire.
Vince flatted immediately upon leaving the Whorten Bridge rest stop. Good timing at least.

They were about 90 minutes back. Kevin and I continued to push ( in the rain ) as best we could. The final 30 miles was into a light but steady head wind, and it rained very hard at times. After the Whorten Bridge rest stop, Kevin and I rode the final 60 miles in without stopping. We just wanted it to be finished. I don't know about the others, but I rode for 5 hours today without being able to feel my feet. (Scott: Vince started complaining about numb toes about an hour in, and never got them back till 5:00 at the finish, 9 hours later - Mine came and went) At the end of the ride we found that Dick experienced knee trouble, and had found a quick way back to the truck. Vince and Scott came in late in the day, but looked like a million bucks despite having lots of road trouble.


Did I say we rode A LOT in the rain today ? It was a blast... maybe one of the best rides ever... my feet are warm, and I'm not riding in the morning ....LIFE IS GOOD.
Take Care, Milt.


And so there you have it.

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