I have already established the fact that I didn’t finish – along with a lot of other people who were doing one of the 4 races held Saturday. So now for what was good about the trip and what’s next. And this will be multi-part because I have more to say than I realized.
I came out on Wednesday to give myself some time before the race to test my rental bike and to get used to the time change. Two hours doesn’t seem like much but time changes can throw me off sometimes. Also, packet pick up was only on Friday so I had to be here for that.
First stop was the Doubletree San Francisco, after my GPS tried to take me to Miami, Florida and directed me miles out of my way. I would never have seen San Bruno and some other industrial sections of San Francisco otherwise. (Ok, I am trying to be positive :))
On Thursday morning I headed to Santa Rosa to pick up the bike I rented. It was much easier, in my opinion, than trying to bring my bike along. I rented from Echelon Cycle and Multisport, a fantastic LBS in Santa Rosa. They had this sweet bike ready for me when I arrived.
I was not familiar with BMC bikes, but I loved this one. It was full carbon. They fit me to the bike using Joe Wenning’s bike fit but also made some adjustments once I was there to make sure everything was right on this bike and that it had been set up correctly.
Mariko swapped saddles and gave a Fitzik saddle that was wonderful to ride. The gears were different than my bike so I knew I needed to ride to make sure I knew what I was doing.
Then it was on to check into Applewood Inn. This is a wonderful inn tucked in off the road to Guerneville. It has lovely rooms and a fantastic restaurant, as well a great spa. This was my room:
After I checked in, I went off to drive the bike course, which made me a bit crazy on Thursday. It looked like it was all up hill. Everyone talks about Chalk Hill at mile 45, but I had not heard anything about Westside Road, which seemed to be 11 miles of uphill climbs. Thanks to Jeff Spires and Sam Morgan for talking me off the ledge about the course that evening.
I had a lovely dinner of seabass and a butterleaf lettuce salad. That helped as well.
Friday with Ashley
Ashley arrived on Thursday and came up on Friday to drive the course and also go to packet pick-up. After intermittent internet access, we connected and drove the bike course. I felt much better about it on Friday since I could see where the flats were and was able to figure out that the downhills were going to give me the momentum for the uphills.
We ended at Windsor High School, attended the mandatory meeting where they tell you a few things about the course, including a warning about the first sharp right turn where several people evidently wind up in blackberry bushes. The packet pick up was a breeze. Brad Rex was doing his running commentary from the Vineman podium – always love seeing Brad – and we saw Krista Schultz too. After we dropped our run stuff in transition, we went back to Johnson’s Beach for a short bike ride and swim. Ashley had also rented a bike.
This race is unusual compared to other longer races I have done since you don’t drop your bike the day before.
So that was Friday. Next part will be race day.