Friday, January 25, 2013
Let's get back to it!
Its been over a year since I put up a post. Plenty has been happening in my life, and I did put in another 5000 mile year, enjoyed plenty of good ......in Sonoma County. Wine, beer, food and music. But I feel like my blog has run out its focus,as I am no longer a stranger in a strange land, writing back to my homies. I am a Sonoma County CA dude with NC roots, I am excited when I meet someone out here with similar back history. But this is more and more my home. I am fascinated by the place and it's people, its history and wildlife. My blog voice is changing, kind of a adolescent transition. It still seems I am speaking to people who don't experience this place first hand. I just finished a most amazing event this past Saturday. The 15th annual Grasshopper Adventure Series was begun with its Old Caz (short for Cazadero) ride, race, oh its not a race, but then why the results? It began as a club ride attracting a bunch of tough local racers/riders on rather bizare excursions. It developed a kind of underground popularity amoung the cognoscenti and attracted a following of regional hardmen and women. What was once a dozen then thirty has become three hundred riders taking on mostly remote sections of NW Sonoma County, very rural at best. Not much in the way of course marking, no marshalls, no police or road closures. You had best be prepared. People have gotten lost and there is no course sweep. Even my Garmin got "lost"' the download of the route I rode is wrong! I had heard of the event and was kinda overawed until this year, by god this is my home! I can do it! Its 53 miles this year with 4900' of climbing. Maybe 15% of the distance is off road, old unkept logging/fire roads, lots quite smooth but a fair amount anything but. Think trees down, washed out sections, and a stream crossing that has been waist deep some years. Most people ride CX bikes, quite a few mountain bikes and some road bikes for the real tough. The fastest, think U23 Garmin pro Peter Stetina finish in about 3 hours. Thats a measly 18ish mph, so thats how tough it is. A pro, LL, does the same. This year saw carnage in the first five minutes as we crossed a section of unexpected black ice, unconscionable on the part of the organizers,in my opinion, but then its kind ofa be prepred for everything kind of event. I rode rather conservative, since I wasn't really trained for what I expected would be 5 hours in the saddle. I got through the first climb OK then the off road decsent as well. Fun, mostly flowing, double track but plenty of opportunity to mess up or run out of luck. Saw some, but my mojo was goin good. Got down to good pavement and tried to ride with two guys, but decided to let one go as I watched my heartrate just edging too high. The remaining guy knew the course, I would have missed the turn up this road that looked more like a driveway. I couldnt down shift fast enough to ride this STEEP section so he took off w/o me. Others came up behind me as the road came to a gate and turned to a steep off road section, after maybe a 10 min. grind I came to a turn but was told by a couple fixing a flat, that was not the way. The way was not more than a deerpath throgh a thicket that became a very sketchy fire road and worse, cool! Then back to pavement and passage through an old neighborhhood of getaway cottages from the 1940s and 50s, then a steep five mile climb to anther gate and a rather steep offroad twisty descent to the stream crossing and yet another climb. Finally back to pavement and a return to a semblance of civilization. West county version anyway. Think cattlemen, pot farmers and meth heads. Yup got it all. I settle in with some riders to make some good time as we approach the last climb, the descent we did earlier! About four mile of lovely double track. I finished up feeling like I still had something in the tank so to speak. Great, great day for me.