Monday, October 8, 2012

Ride Report: Tour of Napa Metric Century

On August 19 I headed up to Napa to ride in the Tour of Napa metric century.  We did the ride last year and had a great time!  I mean, really, how bad can spending a day on your bike in the wine country be?

Ever since I decided to do a century back in 2010, I have not yet done an organized bike ride without Samantha.  She is my cycling partner in crime.  Unfortunately, a week prior to the ride she got a nasty burn that left her sidelined for this ride (but still came out as an awesome spectator and who took all the photos I am using for this post) but Kevin had decided he wanted to join me for the ride and my parents were out there as were friends from ALC so I had some familiar faces on the course.

My family and I went up the night before so we could get up at 6:00 am instead of 5:00.  I have to admit, ever since ALC and Rev3 Portland I have been a little burned out on cycling.  For 4 months there 5 am and 6 am were the normal wake up times for weekend rides.  I haven't spent too much time in the saddle since but around mile 10 I turned to Kevin and said, "I miss cycling!" Good thing I have some fun fall events to look forward to.

It finally started to cool down this past week but the two weeks leading up to the ride had been hot (for us).  I wanted to be on my bike as soon as the course opened to get as far as we could in the cool weather.

The first 15 miles are completely flat and Kevin and I kept a good clip to the first rest stop.  We saw Samantha waiting at the corner right before the first rest stop.


Just like ALC my "masher" jersey was a big hit!  Got lots of comments - "hi masher," "they used to call me masher," "what is a masher?"

Kevin and I made it our goal to get to rest stop 2 (mile 34ish) before the fog burned off.  About halfway there he made a comment about how he must have gained weight because his cycling shorts were cutting off his circulation.  He said they were tight when he put them on in the morning but thought maybe he grabbed his new pair so they weren't quite as stretched yet.

When we got off our bikes at rest stop 2 he kept on about the shorts.  I said I would check the size - maybe the new shorts were the wrong size.  As I pulled out the label I burst out laughing.  The size - a medium - he was wearing my shorts.  His reaction, "thank god I am not getting fat!"

I should note we have the exact same brand of shorts and minus the obvious (hopefully) size difference when you put them side by side they look exactly the same so it definitely would be hard to mistake one for the other.  He said from the minute he put them on they just didn't feel right but knew they were expensive and just sucked it up because he thought he had put on a few pounds.  I don't know what it says about me that he could even pull them on.

We had quite a good laugh about it and I asked whether he felt better or worse about the situation and he said at least he knew he hadn't gained weight.

Side note - my poor husband has such bad luck when it comes to these organized rides.  At one event I packed his stuff for him and grabbed my jersey for him instead of his (this should have taught me that we shouldn't have the exact same stuff when it comes to cycling gear) and he had to borrow one from my dad that was too small.  At another event his cleat broke and he had to ride the hardest 15 miles of the ride without his cleat being clipped into the pedal.  It is amazing I can still convince him to ride with me. 

Anyway, after we calmed down from the short debacle we had the toughest climb of the day ahead of us - Ink Grade.  1110 of climbing over 4 miles.  Ink Grade is deceiving as the first mile is actually fairly easy and then it hits you.  Although I am finding as we do these same rides year after year what I remember as the "hard part" seems to get easier and easier.  I guess that means I am getting stronger!  Another great thing about Ink Grade is it is shaded which was especially nice as it was starting to get hot out.

Samantha was waiting at the top with a cooler full of ice cold coke.  There is nothing like an ice cold cold while riding your bike.

After Ink Grade there is the most amazing downhill back down to the Silverado trail. 

It was starting to get really warm at this point and I was starting to feel my IT band act up.  At the last rest stop some stretching in the shade and freezing ice cold water rejuvenated me just enough and with Kevin's help we took turns riding each others wheels to the finish where my family, Samantha and our ALC friends were waiting.

Now, before you see this picture I have to share a back story.  Like I mentioned, Samantha was our course photographer that day and sent me copies of the pictures later on that night.  Just as the pictures came through we were visiting Kevin's family and having {in good fun} a good laugh about how "old" Kevin was getting as he had just shared a story about his need for glasses, injured shoulders from playing hockey among some other ailments.  As I opened my email and saw this picture I just about died - it couldn't have been more perfect timing!

Here is Kevin and I finishing the ride (the ride finishes at a Veteran's hall).  Everyone was on the ground dying of laughter.  Poor Kevin, we had quite the day at his expense but he a good sport about it (and with me hobbling around with my IT band you could make just as many cracks at me about being "old").

Regardless of the timing of the story this picture has to go down as one of the best finishing pictures ever to be captured!

After a quick change (Kevin was happy to get out of those shorts) we all headed to the BBQ.  I remembered from last year they had generous free samples of Ben & Jerry's and that cold ice cream sure hit the spot after the long ride.

Total Time: 4:56
13.8 avg/mph
3,350 feet of climbing

I am sure we will be back next year.  We are lucky to have such beautiful riding right in our back yard.
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  1. OMG that picture - I still howl with laughter every time I see it. Glad to see you're writing posts! And poor Kevin.

  2. Fabulous finishing photo...that needs framing.


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