Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving fog and fun

ride with dan_tricia crop
Road? Pavement is for the weak. And those not on a LanceOldStrong tour.
wet bars ride with dan_0653When LanceOldStrong promises a ride with an an interesting local jewel you know it's going to be good. And he wasn't even talking about his road-ends mostly-dirt cut-through after the main feature. Tricia loves going on his custom tours, so we joined him on this forty-three-mile, foggy, cold, post-Thanksgiving Sunday for an adventure.

We spent more time on the multi-use paths than is strictly allowed by real roadies, but it was, after all, a turkey burn off fun day and not a hammer fest. And we looked totally cool, cruising the MUP in our Northern California jerseys.

The highlight of the day was Donald Rd in Orinda/Moraga. I've lived in this area forever and didn't know it was there. It's a big climb off Moraga Road with a lot of double-digit (at least a little 17+) of up-ness.

But the pay off is the view from the top. At least that's LanceOldStrong's story. For us the view was fog.

We finished up with his super-secret sneak through between Pleasant Hill Road and Walnut Creek and got back in time to hear the Raiders start their win over the Bears.

Thanks Mr. OldStrong!

dan with Tricia
Yep, lots of fog to see up here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Giro d' Vino 2011

giro d' vino 3

giro d' vino 7I was pretty sure it was going to be a good day when BenRidin of NorCal directed us to the most primo, best possible parking spot at the Woodbridge Winery starting point for the 2011 Giro d' Vino in Lodi, California. It was a might chilly, but we dressed for it, and carried our rain wear just in case. We were very happy we didn't need it at all.

We opted for the 100K plus route, and decided that it was a wine tasting on bikes, not a bike ride. The first winery came up so quickly we were hardly warmed up, but at 8:40 AM or so, there we were, tasting a nice Tempranillo and sampling Portuguese cheese at the St. George winery, buying a bottle, and riding on. We'd repeat this pattern numerous times as the day went on.

giro d' vino 1

We hooked up with BigBossMan, Bikingsheer and MarcoPolo from Bikeforums, and spent at lot of time on the road with them, trading insults, discussing the Paleo diet, child rearing and solving most of the world's problems.

giro d' vino 5

Among the highlights of the day was the Cycles Gladiator stop. I've loved their wine label forever, but never bought their jersey. They had last year's Hincapie bibs and jerseys on sale for 65% off. We each bought both, and some wine too. The photo is this year's jersey, you'll have to wait to see us in our new ones.

giro d' vino 9

Not only did we get to taste and buy wine (delivered back to the ride start) but we got to talk with wine makers and label designers as well. There were a couple of labels I just loved. I'm looking forward to sharing them with my graphics students, whose current project is to design a California wine label.

giro d' vino 4 The ride was stunningly flat, but the organizers managed to find what may be the only bump in Lodi. It wasn't long, but it did hit 18%. I was impressed, so I bought more wine.

One flat tire later (Thanks for the tube, BenRidin and sag support!) we were on our way back to the car. Total time: all day. Ave rolling speed: 15.3. Miles 67. Wine purchases: 10 bottles. Rain: Zero. Fun: Max.

giro d' vino 10

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Summer cycling vacation 2011 part 1

Cycling vacation 2011 card 1_2854

I'm having trouble getting motivated and organized enough to post our fantastic cycling vacation of 2011. Tricia suggested I just try to do a lot of short posts. Because I always listen to her, that's what I'll do. Here's part one.

measure for measureWith bikes on the roof, we left beautiful Antioch on July 7, headed toward Ashland Oregon, with plans to visit the Columbia River Gorge, Washington, Victoria and Vancouver, BC, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, and cycle everywhere we stopped.

Our friend Joyce made us a traveling CD mix (complete with custom cover), filled with songs about bicycling and the places we'd go. I couldn't wait and had it on the CD player by the time we hit Interstate 5. It was a blast waiting for each song to come up.

theater ashland

We'd purchased tickets to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland quite a while before our trip. When we arrived the theater it was supposed to be in was closed due to a structural issue. They had erected a huge air conditioned tent in the nearby park as a replacement venue. We were impressed with the ingenuity, but not as much by the result. Still, the play, Measure for Measure, set in the 70s of all things, was a lot of fun and very creative.

photographer ashland

tricia in spaWe camped at Jackson Wellsprings, a campground with hot springs that feels like 1969. The aroma of sulfur from the hot springs, patchouli oil, and magic medicinal herb floats about the place. There also were some "interesting" fellow campers. We watched a young woman with a 4x5 camera photograph an aging hippie/homeless/strange-agent. She said she was photographing campers in similar places all across America. The hot springs themselves are nice and warm. We didn't stay around after dark during the clothing-optional hours.

ashland cattleWe managed to get in a good bike ride as well. There are some delightful hills nearby, and the drivers don't seem as intent on running over cyclists as they are in Antioch. We saw actual beef on the hoof as we pedaled on roads with names like "Dark Hollow Road."

All in all, Ashland is a delight. They have a charming downtown, a brew pub, bike sharing with covered parking, banjo players in the park and Shakespeare.

ashland banjo