Tight legs, tight back. What the hell? Let’s go for it, or as something Kevin Childre would say “do something heroic”.

I suppose I’ve finally adjusted to the time zone change, or I am just tired enough to actually sleep. After a solid 8.5 hours of shut eye I was up and ready for breakfast. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I knew I was headed back to Omelet Express. After a solid meal it was time to prep for the ride. Today and yesterday when I brought my bike out I realized it was overcast and rather cold. But both days the sun started to come out and I knew I wouldn’t need my jacket or arm warmers. Not the case for most of the other riders. It was cool at the beginning, but I prefer to stay a little chilled.

After a neutral rollout the pace stayed casual until Mark from San Clemente made the first move. I almost went with him, but realized my legs were not warmed up enough for an attack yet so I settled in at the front of the peloton with Tommy. Andrew said “I’ll get him” and took off after him. Actually there was Tod off the front too, but he wasn’t really enticing a chase. Our pace started to pick up when Tommy decided to start closing the gap, and I started to feel warmed up. As soon as the gap was closed I saw the opportunity to attack. There was a series of attacks, over and over and over. Myself, Mark, Mike Armbruster, and Scott Duncan were leading all the attacks for about an hour, and then Scott Waterman jumped in the mix. When I saw him I was surprised because I hadn’t been riding with Scott and I didn’t recognize him. I was wondering who the hell it was at first, but then I saw the black jersey he had just been awarded.

The pace was swift enough that we only had eight with us. I heard Tommy and Andrew talking about Tommy’s brother, Mike, having a flat and Kenny was back with him. I also heard them talk about blocking to allow Mike and Kenny get back to the group. I was slightly amused because every time Andrew or Tommy moved to the front I surged right past them. None of their blocking worked. I figured if I couldn’t race smart, I could race stupid and burn the few matches I had in reserve. I knew I was not match against anyone in this group on the climb ahead, but certainly not against Tommy, Mike or Kenny.

As we were rolling up to the van stop around mile 40, near the start of our big climb for the day, Andrew was pulling me back by grabbing my jersey and asking me to stop at the van. Again, I was currently tied for first with Tommy for the KOM title, I am no match head to head against Tommy on a climb. I had to resort to other tactics. I chose to forgo food and water (but in all fairness announced to all that I was going for it).

The climb up Geyser Ridge started off awesome. It had some rollers that provided my legs enough rest to create some momentum and charge up the next section of the climb. I knew their break would be short, and I didn’t have much time to get to the top. I saw a fenced off area at one crest and I actually hoped that was the top. As I would soon learn, it wasn’t even near the top. My legs started to lose all their oomph, and I was out of water. I began to hear some talking before me and I was hoping I was hallucinating rather than being wrapped up. I knew what was coming, but I was still motivated and kept pushing. I wasn’t going to give it up. I kept hearing “don’t race to lose” in my head. It wasn’t much longer when Tommy and Scott Duncan flew by me as if they were charging downhill instead of climbing. Geeshh. It was time to go after third place since there are KOM points awarded three deep.

I wasn’t hallucinating, but not thinking clearly when I came upon a T intersection that wasn’t on the route sheet. Of course it would have made sense that the climb was probably where the road when UP. Maybe I was hoping the climb was over. Anyway, the sign said Geyser 2 miles left and Healdsburg 9 miles right. Well, I think we are riding to Geyser. I started the descent and my Garmin started beeping “Off Route”. Uggghhh. I don’t want to climb up when I am finally going down. I actually went all the way to the bottom where the road ended at a gate with a large truck at it. Crap! I had to turn and start climbing back to where I was. When I got back on track I saw Andrew and Jerry Logan up ahead of me. I had no steam left though, and I decided I was just going to cruise in. Little did I realize this was no cruise. The climb was steep enough that I was having front wheel lift off. My 39X25 gearing wasn’t helping the situation. It may have only been a ½ mile further, I don’t really know. It felt like many miles. As I was trudging along with a cadence of about 40, Kenny flew by me. Ok, so that is what a hill climber looks like. Kenny just won the Mt Baldy climb for 50+ a couple weeks ago.

The summit was awesome (they usually are) and the view of Sonoma Valley below was incredible. I thought about stopping to take some pictures, but really just wanted to move on and minimize the gap between myself and the ten riders ahead of me (I discovered later that Mike Brown had passed me too when I was on my wrong turn). The descent was awesome, even though there were gravel sections and washed out sections that kept it interesting. At the bottom was the final van stop. It was my first stop of the day, 72 miles in, and I needed it. I downed two Cokes, ate some cookies, and filled my water bottles. Twenty five miles to go, and I was just going to relax and enjoy them, unlike yesterday which was team time trial turned solo time trial.

Nine miles from the finish I rolled up on a couple cop cars, and all but the first two riders (Tommy and Scott) were on the side of the road. I wasn’t sure if I should join them if they were in trouble for something, but it ended up being an accident involving Kenny. The info I have is third hand, so I’ll let him tell you the story if he wants.

We chose to end the ride there, and slow roll into the hotel. Besides the accident it was a great day.

Here is my ride today on Strava.