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Saturday, May 1, 2010

WCC 2010 - A Tail-Wind Home

I actually didn't intend to take this picture, but realized it is a perfect parenthesis to my day.
The day started with hot coffee and ended with ice cold Coke.
(Neither of them Decaf - Both of them good friends)

I'm not sure that a legitimate comparison is possible between the 2009 and 2010 Wine Country Centuries. Last year's ride and more specifically, weather, was in a word - Disaster.
The weather for the 2010 ride was stellar. 45 degrees rose to 75 by lunch time, and the skies were never more than streaked with wisps of cirrus artistry.

125 miles in just under 8 hours on the bike. 15+ mph average speed.

However, the weather word for the day was WIND.
We fought it all the way to lunch, and then threw up a sail and blistered the pavement on the way back. I raised my average speed by about 1 mph in the last 25 miles, and we had sustained stretches of nearly 30 mph on relatively flat pavement.

It was wonderfully uneventful regarding equipment too. No flats, and not even so much as a slipped chain, except for the one I tatoo'd my fingers with while helping a lady get her ride back on the road.

A special thanks to a temporary friend named Bruce, who "towed" me into the wind for the last 15 miles to lunch. He must have been resting his legs, because I managed to gain on him, and then drop in behind him on a particularly windy stretch. When he saw me back there, he lit out like a rabbit, but I wasn't about to let him get away and lose the great draft. In a calm stretch I pulled up beside him and thanked him for the pull, and informed him that I would be remaining in the rear, lest our little train lose momentum. We passed dozens of riders, often doubling their speed with me holding his slip-stream with tenacity and thinking "if only they knew." At lunch he thanked me for the company, and I thanked him for the help.

Driving home I passed Six Flags in Vallejo, and saw the roller coasters twisting and spinning loaded with Red Bull dinged adolescents. Though I have a modicum of appreciation for those rides - they don't compare to the thrill of a great bike ride. Descending the twisties with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, or dropping in behind a pace line going nearly 30 mph far surpasses anything an amusement park has to offer. You see, that descent and the ability to hang onto a pace line are a reward. A reward we earned at great cost over months and years, not $22.95 charged for admission.
Earned joys far outstrip cheap thrills.
This was a great ride.

For any who may be concerned about the quality of my pictures, bear in mind that most of them are taken at between 10 and 30 mph with just a passing glance at what's in the shot. But then, anyone that regularly sees my pictures knows I have no likelihood nor aspirations of winning prizes for them.

1 mile into the ride. 7:30 am
Milt, Kevin, Vince, and Steve over my right shoulder

One of several gentle climbs

Nearing the coast.

Rest stop #1

Dropping down the other side toward Hwy 1 and the vast Pacific.

Somehow I didn't notice that 10mph sign till just now. This was an insane descent.

A beautiful day for a ride.

HWY 1 - into a 15mph head wind. But you can't beat the scenery.


The finish.
I saw a few other Death Ride Finisher jerseys on the course today.
Only a few months till the D.R. 2010.

I shot this video at the end of the ride.
That's what my bike felt like a few times out on the course.

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