Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Grape Fun 63 mile Bike Ride.......That Really Wasn't.

The forecast said rain, rain and more rain. But we had already plucked down our $50 per person for the Grape Fun Ride and Wine Tasting and we had set the day aside to celebrate our friend Gary's 55th birthday, so we were going forward with our plans. Who cares if it's cold, and rainy and miserable? We could get our ride on and put those 63 miles behind us with no problem. And anyway, the rain really wasn't going to happen. You know, the weather man is wrong ALL the time in Southern California. So we went to bed with thoughts of sunny skies, a lovely bike ride, and wine tasting. Then I woke up.

Rain, rain and more rain. The weather man was right. But we went forward with our plans anyway, because surely, the sun will break through at just the right time for our ride to start and it will be a fabulous ride. Maybe not the original 63 miles we had planned, but we could easily pedal out the 30 mile ride. So we loaded the four bikes in the back of the Suburban and drove in the pouring rain the 25 miles to the start of the FUN ride.
Carolyn and Gary (Happy 55 Birthday Boy) at the Starting Line!

photo.JPGRobert and I at the starting line.
Notice how both Robert and Gary are wearing SHORTS in raining weather, but Carolyn and I are either wearing long cycling pants or capris. Also notice that everyone has a bicycle, but the four of us.

We never even took our bicycles out of the back of the SUV. We checked in, got our numbers, our goody bags, our tshirts, and quickly got back into the car. We decided to go the whole route and travel the entire 63 miles...RAIN OR SHINE!

Three rode and I drove them on the 63 mile adventure. Birthday Boy Gary started whining about mile seven that he was hungry. We looked for something along the route, but soon it was obvious there was nothing along the route. We did come upon the first (and only) SAG stop, which was just an easy-up in the Home Depot parking lot with about 15 cyclists huddled under it trying to stay out of the rain, but we didn't dare park and check out the food. There wasn't even-potty...Yikes, and we needed to pee! We made a quick stop at Starbucks and unfilled, then filled up on coffee. Still raining out, we suffered and ran back to the bikes (in the car) and continued our route.

Even though we had a route slip which hadn't been desimated by the rain, we managed to get a bit off course and ended up at an unplanned, but greatly appreciated SAG stop.

This SAG stopped Gary's least for a few miles.

We didn't fuel up with bananas, or Gu, or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We went for the hard stuff - bacon, eggs, hashbrowns. It was raining, afterall, and we needed our strength and endurance.

The route took a turn uphill and we were in utter alarm/awe at the cyclists who were riding in the pouring rain in tennis shoes with flapping shower curtains whipping out behind them. Okay, they weren't shower curtains, but they sure looked like it. Especially, the woman in the pink shower curtain, er, I mean poncho. They all looked drenched. They all looked miserable. I turned the heater on our feet up a notch and mashed my foot into the pedal as we wound our way up Mountain Avenue into the foothills of Mt. Baldy.

We said it - outloud, to God, to ourselves - "Oh my God, we could be riding out there in this." And then we would silently give a salute to those fellow cyclists that were either too stubborn or too stupid and had ridden in the horrible weather and taken on the 63 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing.

Another 20 miles and we were in need of another SAG. We never saw another official SAG along the course, so we had to find our own.

Now we were comfy and cosy, driving along in our warm coccoon with our bikes tucked safety in the back, thinking how lucky we were not to be really riding this route because there were not enough SAG stops or signage, when we came upon the first rider on the side of the road not pedaling.

We pulled over and asked if he needed help or if he had everything he needed.  He had a flat. He had a tube, but no air. We could fix that!

Robert jumped out with the bicycle pump and the cyclist was soon on his way!

Not too much further along the road we saw two cyclists on the sideway, a bike turned upside down.  Should we turn around and see if they need help? "That's what we do," said Gary.

 I know it is hard to tell, but he is holding his route slip in his hand...paper plus rain water equals MUSH!!!!! He had a mush slip, not a route slip! We gave him directions for the rest of the route. He thanked us for the SAG support!!!!

The last 10 miles of the route were torturous! We just wanted to be finished. Driving in the car was wearing on us. Even though we were all wearing padded shorts or pants, our bottoms were getting tired. We were tired, hungry and we needed that wine tasting! And the men in the back seat were starting to complain about being carsick!

The Finish Line!

We passed on the lunch (white rice, beans and BBQ pork) because it was too cold to eat out in the wet parking lot at the winery where the event was held. We did partake in the wine tasting.

Happy Birthday time, the ride is ON!

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