Friday, February 19, 2010

ride leader

A week ago Monday,Presidents Day, I lead my first real ride in Sonoma County. I have lead many rides back in Catawba County NC, but this was a benchmark of sorts, maybe a way of belonging even. I say real ride because I posted a ride the week before and one guy showed up. That is fine and all, but having a group is a different matter. Different synergy or possibilities in group dynamics. As I approached the start I realized I was kind of anxious, how well do I know the route, can I exert the right amount of control to make it enjoyable, do I need to? Fifteen folks showed up and we got under way. The group really split up in the first four miles but then formed two groups and finally merging mostly into one at the sixteen mile point. Groups here are not quick to get in pacelines, the rough roads are a discouragement to most. Pacelines do keep a group more together. The sun came out and we finished the day with a good climb, a mini Bakers Mtn. 45 miles. I will continue these Monday rides as that is a day off for me at the shop. All the club rides I've done, have a coffee break midway. Very different. But this is a social club, and they all seem to look forward to it. They are also mileage fiends, lots of members have done century length rides already this year. My sole rider mentioned earlier, has done three in Jan. and three in Feb. and no he isn't retired! The clubs first big event of the year is the WineCountryCentury, May 1. It's sold out -2500 riders in four days with zero promotion. I hope to volunteer in support duties, but a Saturday in May, in bike retail, it's tough to get away.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Off-Day Dump

Off work and an off day in cycling leads to a collection of recent goings on here in Wineland. Wine tastings are a regular feature in our local entertainment. There must be over a hundred wineries in Sonoma County, so that is a big job. We also added an olive oil tasting as well as a chocolate tasting recently. If you like dining out, holy smoke there are lots of resturants too. We are also a coastal county, oysters are farmed, if thats the correct description. They are fantastic, a little more briney and less sweet than the NC oysters I've grown up on. You can usually find them raw, in supermarkets at .75-$1.00 a piece and they are big.

Oyster Roast

Then there are Dungeness Crabs harvested in winter. These are smaller than Alaska Kings but similar in flavor. I made some fantastic Crab Cakes with them, but they are fine plain with a glass or more of Sauvignon Blanc Back in January we stopped in Armstrong Redwoods State Park I suppose you can call this a typical Pacific Maritime forest. Lots of mosses, ferns and some big trees. I guess over the past hundred years a gillion board feet of lumber came out of these forests. Its like western NC, that was the source of employment.Now a lot of these small norcal towns are very depressed, those that have embraced viticulture have developed a whole new economy, of course its not the same people. Anyway, one tree is named Colonel Armstrong in honor of the guy who settled in the area and worked to preserve the area in the late 1800's. The tree is estimated to be 1400 years old, it's nearly 15' in diameter and 308' tall. It makes a person feel kind of small in more than just size, but that is a good reason to visit the place and preserve such places.

Speaking of trees, how about this mash-up of arboreal styles

then here is a nice normal looking orchard on one of my rides near home.

This week also had me leading my first group ride. One person showed up.It makes me think back to starting group rides in Hickory many years ago. Lots of faces over the years, many people came and went and now I an one of the "went". Anyway, 45 miles in winecountry, it was a nice morning. Oh, the guy rode a hundred miles the day before, largely alone. I think he said he's ridden six century length rides this winter. Sheesh! I also have my own spin class at the Y now,after several months of being a sub. I think that will do it for today. Thanks for reading, if you are following from NC, cheer up, warmer weather will come. HH