I met up with my friend Bob Cullinan at the first rest stop at yesterday’s “Levi’s Gran Fondo,” and ended up riding the rest of the way of our “Medio Fondo” (100km; the “Gran Fondo” was a full 100 miles) with him and his pal John Schmier. He’s posted some pics from the ride on his website CycleTo.com, and I’m in three of them!
The ride itself was spectacular, but although it was also for a good cause (to support the City of Santa Rosa’s quest to host another stage of the Tour of California, which takes boucoup bucks), I can’t say I’m game to ride with 3500 people all at once ever again. I have enough problems staying focused in races with fifty riders. 3500 people was just a whole lot. We had to start at the same time, and there were many times that I felt aggrivated by some riders’ aggression.
Look,” I said, many times. “Your legs are hairy and your gut is huge. You’re not going to ‘win’ the Gran Fondo. Get over it.”
As the ride progressed, it became clear that some of the women on the ride didn’t take to kindly my outbursts, so I eventually opted to just let them all drop me.
Then again, I couldn’t imagine a more splendid way to ride through Sonoma County. The Medio Fondo bypassed the King’s Ridge, which I’ve never climbed before, but I’ve heard stories of its difficulties, but we still were able to climb Coleman Valley Road from the coast back to Occidental, which was just long and steep enough to feel like I deserved all that food and beer at the expo afterwards.
Anyway, I am pilfering some of Bob’s photos until he tells me to take them down immediately, because I may never make it into a cycling news outlet again. Before he does so, I just want brown nose a little bit and reiterate that CycleTo.com offer’s a unique perspective into the world of professional bike racing, as Bob, although a strong cyclist himself and a steady wheel (except when he’s chasing down cars and Allison Starnes), only took up the sport just a few years ago, after a knee injury ended his amateur running career. Talk about turning a lemon into lemon aid. Now he travels the world covering bike races, and sometimes, they even let him into the VIP tent.