In early October 2009 I participated in Levi's King Ridge Granfondo.
It was the finale to a week long visit to Santa Rosa, California.
It was a great week of riding and the weather was excellent! Being a city bound lad, the ability to ride for just a few minutes from home and find yourself on country roads winding through the vineyards was fabulous!
I am especially grateful to my very generous hosts, the Palladino clan. Steve, Sharon and Shannon went out of their way to make me feel very welcome, and Steve not only loaned me a bike for the week but also took me out for some great training rides in the week leading up to the Granfondo. What a great place to live and train!
A couple of pictures:
Out training in the days before:
On the morning of the Granfondo, Steve, Sharon & Shannon hosted a Team Boba breakfast, with Shannon cooking pankakes. Yumm!! They were gooood.
I was an honourary "Fightin' Boba" for the day and wore the team kit:
Here's Steve enjoying the ride along with some of the Boba crew:
The roads had some pretty steep sections at times and I saw signs like this indicating an 18% gradient a few times along the way:
Of course going down also means going up, here I am with Steve making my way up the final major climb of the day from Coleman Valley:
One of the funnier moments was on this climb when a few riders were passing a cyclist who was off his bike, hunched over and leaning on the top tube of his bike, no doubt wondering how he was going to be able to continue.
As we were approaching him, another rider started yelling in that uniquely enthusiastic American way "Come on buddy, don't stop now, you can do it, c'mon!! C'mon, get back on!!"
To which the reply from the hunched over rider was, "Shut up, I'm praying!" No doubt he was!
And here are some shots of the scenery encountered along the way:
I also managed a close up view of the redwoods with a little off road excursion when I overcooked it a little on one steep winding descent (and didn't quite have the emergency braking finesse I am used to as the brakes on Steve's bike, while very good, are opposite handed to what I normally ride). It was funny enough and no harm done to me, the bike or the local flora and fauna. Climb back up to the road, dust myself off and get going again. Last time I did something like that was about 25 years ago on a motorbike.
Anyone for lemonade?
The ride itself is pretty challenging, a 103 mile (166km) ride with ~ 9,000 feet (~3000m) of climbing. The more difficult sections were an average gradient ~ 10%.
Ride stats for the Granfondo:
Duration: _______ 6:04:27 (6:29:27)
Work: _________ 3882 kJ
TSS: __________ 389.4
Intensity factor: __ 0.802
Average Power: __ 178 watts
Normalised Power: 224 watts
All up, a great week. I can certainly recommend it!!