Sunday, October 4, 2009

Levi's Gran Fondo

Saturday, October 3, 2009
After staying the night before in a romantic B&B (aka Best Western in Rohnart Park), The Boyfriend and I arrived for Levi's Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa. The proceeds from this sold out first time event benefited the City of the Santa Rosa for a stage at next year's Tour of California as well as the Sonoma County Humane Society's Forget me not Farm. The media and pro cyclists were also in attendance.

3500 cyclists, including biking budette A and a guy we met on the Tour of Southern Utah shot off in waves at 8:15am. I got to be part of a pelaton for 10 miles or so, going at a fast pace, too fast for lazy me. Police officers were at intersections making our journey smooth and safe. I wanted to take them home with me. My friend A said I had a one track mind. Oh alrighty, today I was going to focus on my biking and not give in to distractions.... But it was hard with all the fine looking police officers and firefighters.

The 61 mile and 100 mile route took us through farms, redwood forests, Russian River and the coast. The 100 mile included Kings Ridge, a long long climb. The scenery was ever changing and lovely. The male cyclists were ever changing and lovely. Okay, I snuck a peek now and then. Several of them told me how much they liked my colorful leggings. Hmm, since when do men comment on your clothing? The BF said it was code for something else that I shall not include in this blog entry ....

We didn't have route sheets with mileage. Instead, we were directed by giant green arrows as well as by volunteers.

Ah the coast.

I wore my Amgen Tour of California shirt so that Levi could easily spot me. :)

The biggest challenge for the 61 milers was Coleman Valley Road. Quite a few cyclists had to walk it. Several of us stood around looking at the steepest part of the climb. I took the lead and prayed I wouldn't topple over. It was swell when the group cheered me. I caught up to a guy:
Me: Say, feel like racing?
Guy: Don't make me laugh! I need my air.
Me: I know. I can't believe how hard I'm breathing.
Guy: Pant pant pant. [heavy breathing]
Me: Say, do you breathe like that during sex?
Guy: Stop it, you're killing me with the jokes!
Me: Say, when we get to the top, wanna do it all over again because you know, once is never enough. Hee hee hee.
Guy: I'm giving it all I got. Nothing left over for more.
Me: Yeah, I've heard that before, Mister.... hee hee hee.
Nearing the top, suddenly 3 male cyclists whizzed by us in a blur. Whoa. They had to be pros. It was amazing. Kind of took the hot air out of me and made me feel small! At the top, the wind was so fierce that it blew me across the road and into the field. I nearly fell over. Definitely took the hot air out me! I proceeded with caution.

A shot of Occidental. At the rest stop, I met a woman who said she loved my voice and thought I sounded like someone on NPR. The people I meet....

Oh lookey who showed up at mile 45! He arrived with no fanfare and quietly proceeded to the food table to thank the volunteers. Levi then posed with cyclists for a round of photos. What a sweet fella.

Lookey who showed up at the finish with no fanfare, only 55 minutes after me and he did the Gran Fondo to my Medio. Yep, The Boyfriend. Thank you to the people of Santa Rosa for letting us descend upon your city and for being out there on the roads cheering us. That was unexpected and much appreciated. Thank you to the volunteers, firefighters and police department for working the event. And of course, thank you Levi L. We had a wonderful time.
61 miles
33 mph on a descent
12.9 mph avg
4 hrs 42 min.

1 comment:

Alison Chaiken said...

Cheering spectators, even at 5 PM, was completely unexpected. I have never, ever seen motorists and passerbys be so friendly to cyclists as on Saturday. Big up to Santa Rosa! I hope that the city can afford the Tour of California again this year.

I also have never seen so many riders resting, walking and SAGging as on Saturday. Out-of-state tourists, welcome to California!

Interesting that Levi is still in his Astana kit. Perhaps The Shack doesn't have a uniform yet.