Monday, February 22, 2010

Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks

For me, there is nothing quite like clipping into the pedals and starting a ride with 40 or 50 other riders.  To me, the sound of all those shoes clipping in says it’s time to go have fun.  Yep, there’s nothing better.  That is unless you know that the ride is going to end with a 3-course meal at one of our finest restaurants. 

SSCF #2 That is the concept behind the Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks rides.  A group of like-minded cyclist all get together for a little riding, a little chit-chat, some great food and a lot of laughs.  It’s hard for me to imagine a better way to spend a Saturday.

The latest rendition of this monthly ride was last Saturday.  We were starting in downtown Santa Rosa since lunch would be at Bistro 29.  As we gathered at Peets Coffee, you got the feeling this was going to be a great day.  By the time we rolled at the appointed 9:15, there were close to 50 cyclists of varying degrees heading out to enjoy a beautiful morning on the bike.

We roll out of the city along the bike path on our way to West County, which by the way is the same name of the bike shop that host these rides.  Ok, it’s really the West County Revolution Bike Shop but let’s not get caught up in the details.

We roll along chatting, laughing and enjoying the ride until we hit our first climb of the day on Graton Road.  Everyone settles into their own pace and starts to climb.  Since I know we are regrouping at the top, I feel there is no need to get there quickly.  I am actually riding with Coach Tim so we decide to do low-cadence power intervals up the climb and that worked out quite well.

Side note – I tried to hold Tim’s wheel to the top but he has been mountain biking a lot lately and that always makes him a kick-ass hill climber.

At the top, we are splitting into 2 groups.  As we are waiting for others to finish their climb, I notice my rear wheel is very soft.  Just then our SAG wagon appears.  So as everyone else heads out, I am pumping up the back tire.  Then Tim and I chase down the group to start the next big climb.

I was about a half mile up the climb when I notice the rear wheel going soft again.  Damn!  I tell everyone to keep going and start to change the tire.  Once again, just as I was starting to pump it up, a cyclist in a car stopped and offered his floor pump.  Sweet!

Then things turned ugly.  As I was remounting the rear wheel I noticed the chain had a loop in it.  WTF!!!  Ok, don’t panic.  I solved that problem and try remounting the tire again.  Now the tire will not completely slip into place.  No matter what I try, the tire is sitting at an angle and rubs the frame with very revolution.

SSCF #4 Eventually, I walk the half mile back down the hill to Occidental.  I get there just as the group is finishing their loop and Tim heads over to see what’s up.  Embarrassingly, the spring on the skewer is backwards but since I have had the tire on and off numerous times, I never thought to check that.

So tire fixed and humble pie consumed, I get to head out with the group once more.  The rest of the ride was awesome.  We powered back up over Graton and then bombed down Harrison Grade.  The  lead-outs and attacks for the city limit sign started early and resulted in all of us pushing a solid pace to the end.

sscf #1Then we got our just reward.  A scrumptious 3-course meal prepared specifically for our group by Brian Anderson, an accomplished cyclist himself, of Bistro 29.  Although the main course was simply divine, I think the real winner was the salty frites already on the table when we arrived.

So there you have it.  Another Saturday of cycling and eating my way through the best Sonoma County has to offer. 


PS.  Once again I would like to thank Carmen who is becoming the semi-official photographer for this blog.  Thanks for the pictures Carmen!

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