Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ride Report: Tour of Napa

This past weekend, August 21, I rode the Tour of Napa metric century (67.5 miles).  This was originally supposed to be the 100 mile ride but I made a last minute decision to do the metric.  While I know I could have ridden and finished the 100, Samantha was recovering from a bad flu bug and my parents decided they would be better off doing the metric (even though my dad could have ridden the 100 in his sleep) so I decided it was more important to have people to ride with than go at the 100 alone.  My cycling has been more focused on training for Big Kahuna anyway so it wasn't like this had been a century I was dying to finish - I was more just looking forward to going out and having a fun ride.  Plus, I still have Levi's 100 miler in October and that will be a beast in and of itself.

We headed up the night before, loaded up on pizza, got a good laugh out of our hotel neighbors, and set the alarm for 5:15 am.

Heading to the start I could already tell it was going to be a good day - 55 degrees and foggy - my kind of weather.

It was fifteen flat miles to the first rest stop.  The road took us past some of the big wineries in Napa.  Usually Napa is crawling with cars and tourists but this early on a Sunday morning the roads were relatively calm and quiet.  It was so peaceful to be riding among the vineyards on a cool, crisp morning.

I could tell it was going to be a good day when we got to the first stop - look at the abundance of potatoes!!  Seriously, the all time BEST cycling snack.  Despite eating breakfast I was oddly already hungry.

and cookies!

Seriously, I am sure I consume more calories than I actually expend.

It was about 20 miles between rest stops so our next stop was around mile 36.  The majority of the next 20 miles were uphill.  Nothing to difficult but it was a lot of steady climbing.  Luckily, it was still foggy and cool out.  Of course I don't have any pictures but the scenery was just breath taking.  It is rides like these that make me realize just how lucky I am to live where I do.

Just as we were rolling into the second rest stop the sun started to peak out.  My dad was riding out as we were riding in and my mom was riding in as we were riding out so it was fun to see them.  I grabbed a half a sandwich as I knew the biggest climb of the day was next and I needed the fuel.

Within 3 miles of leaving the rest stop we hit the bottom of Ink Grade - the biggest climb of the day - 4.5 miles and 1110 feet of climbing reaching an elevation of approx 1893.

The base of Ink Grade
Samantha had overheard some guy who said that the first mile of Ink was the hardest.  About 1/2 mile in I was thinking to myself "if this is the hardest part, I am stronger than I think."  Ha, never think that on a climb because it will turn around and kick your butt.  What a liar!!  The saving grace of the whole thing was that the majority of the hill was shaded and there were a few good places to take a break if need be.  I was slow but steady and slowly climbed all 4 miles.

The top of Ink Grade

At the top people we congregating catching their breath/waiting for friends to make it up.  I met up with my dad who was waiting for my mom at the top.  Samantha soon joined us and we began the decent back into town.

Literally the decent.  The next 6 miles had us flying downhill hitting speeds of 35 mph.

About a mile before the last rest stop I looked across the street and saw one of my old co-workers riding her bike but not part of the ride.  As I yelled to her I felt an extremely sharp pain on my right arm.  I looked down and there was a wasp on my arm.  As I swatted it away it left its stinger in my arm.  I pulled it out but it stung like crazy and started to swell.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one.  At the finish I must have heard at least 5 people say they had gotten stung in various places.  I had never been stung by a wasp before and it hurt like hell.

We pulled into the finish around 2:15 pm - 67.5 miles, 5:15 minutes of total ride time, 7:04 minutes of elapsed time, 3095 feet in elevation.

At the finish line there was a bunch of delicious food (and yet MORE eating) including generous scoops of Ben & Jerrys.  For the price (only $60) it was a wonderfully supported ride - one of the best I have done (second though to Levi's - I am not sure anything can beat that).  The food was great, the volunteers were awesome, the roads were well paroled - I couldn't have asked for anything more.  Samantha and I both decided we will will be back tackle the 100 next year.  That route adds an additional 2000 feet of elevation.

I am not worried about my ability to complete the 56 fairly flat miles for Big Kahuna (just praying for no wind or heat) so my focus will now be turned to preparing for Levi's 8000 feet of crazy climbing.  Sometimes I question my sanity. 
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  1. That looks like an awesome ride but OW! I cannot imagine how painful that wasp sting must have been.

  2. Jen was stung a couple of times while riding during her IM training---I've gotten hit in the face by bees and bugs but thankfully not stung.

    Way to rock that metric! You're going to do so great at Kahuna.

  3. I did a metric century in Petaluma - Tomales Bay, etc on Saturday!
    Last June I was doing a ride in Palo Alto and it was a warm day so I had my jersey unzipped beyond the top of my bra. A bee flew in my bra!! I got him out before he could do any damage but can you imagine if I didn't? Holy crap. Sorry you got stung though.

  4. What an awesome ride! Your such a strong rider.

    I'm glad you didn't have some kind of reaction from that Wasp. My freind just got stung and had to go to the hospital because she swelled up so bad. Scary.

    You rock girl!

  5. go Napa! (thats my hometown). 67 miles sounds like forever to me. The most I've ever biked is maybe 8 miles? I dunno. I imagine wine country is a dreamy place for bike riding. I am mad impressed by your multi-sport skills


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