Archive for June, 2011

Sierra to the Sea 2011

| June 27, 2011 10:05 pm
Sierra to the Sea 2011

Franz and Anne just completed a 425 mile bicycle tour, called Sierra to the Sea.  This tour starts high in the Sierra mountains and transverses much of California, ending in San Francisco.  Being on the staff of the tour, we have done in a few times before but this was the first time for Anne to ride it on her single bike.  See individual entries for each day where you will see some photos.

 

 

Combining the GPS files from each day into one file, shows some interesting information.

  • Total Miles: 425
  • Total Climbing: 22,000 feet
  • Average Moving Speed: 14 mph
  • Total Biking Time: 30.5 hours

This is what the overall map and elevation profile looks like.

 

Sierra to the Sea Day 7 – The Finish Line

| 1:34 pm

Day 7

The final day of Sierra to the Sea is the shortest route, but with some significant climbing.  From Olema we headed down the coast on Highway 1 to Stinson Beach, where we made a stop for some hot chocolate.  That tasted good because the air was crisp that early in the morning.  Then we had our final major climb, up to the Panoramic Highway.  At the beginning of the climb they stopped us to warn us to be careful, because a couple of cyclists had been hit by a car.  While stopping at Stinson Beach we saw a large group of Ferarri car club owners driving their gas wasting vehicles by us so we supposed it might of been one of them, trying to drive up the windy climb at too fast of speed, especially considering the large number of cyclists, not only from our tour but local cyclists.  Also on this day was the Double Dipsea, a 15 mile cross country run. So not only were there runners on the road but also cyclists.

After riding along the Panoramic Highway, we descending down to Sausalito.  From there we made our way up to the Golden Gate Bridge.  This proved to be the most difficult part of the ride because the one side that is traditionally only open to cyclists was closed for maintenance.  So all the cyclists and pedestrians walking along the bridge were together.  The pedestrians were not too bad, but those tourists and the rental bikes were the real hazard.  We were glad we made it over the bridge without hitting anyone, but we did have some close calls.

From there it was riding through San Francisco to Golden Gate Park. We finished our journey, with 425 total miles and 22,000 feet of climbing.  It was a great adventure and despite the wide swings in the temperature, we had a wonderful time.

Route

Sierra to the Sea Day 6 – Along the Coast

| 1:24 pm

It was cool in the morning when we got up, before 6 am.  The fog had rolled in and the temperature was now in the mid 40’s, a huge change from only a few days ago when it was very warm even early in the morning.  Franz dressed light because he knew the ride to Occidental would be a little climb and also more inland.  Anne decided to wear tights, like most of the other riders were wearing.

We made the 9 mile ride to Occidental and sure enough it was now sunny and getting warmer, so Anne shed some clothes before the climb up over Coleman Valley, a beautiful route, but with some significant climbing and a few very steep pitches.  It is mostly flat on the summit for awhile, which probably is why they call it Coleman Valley.

After we finished the ride over Coleman Valley, we ended up on Highway 1, right on the coast.   Then the route took us down Highway 1 to Olema, where we were camping. We did stop at Tony’s Sea Food place to have lunch. Clam Chowder, fish and chips and a coke… Really hit the spot. Many of riders had stopped there to eat and the place was packed.

Although the temperature was similar to what we had experienced when arriving at Casini Ranch, we did not have the strong wind so it felt much nicer.  Ken Kennedy had arrived just before we did, so we made a jersey switch so we could get a picture of the 3 of us wearing Caletti jerseys.

After a nice afternoon in the sun, and a great dinner, we entered our tent for our last night of camping, something Anne was happy had finally arrived.

Route

Sierra to the Sea Day 5 – To the Coast

| 11:38 am

We finally had to say goodbye to Calistoga, one of our favorite spots on the tour.  Usually the ride out of there in the morning is foggy and cool, but today the sun was shinning and it was beautiful as we made our way along a place where Franz finally found himself.

After finishing the climb over Franz Valley School Road, we made a fast pace dash along miles of vineyards.

The first rest stop was 30 miles into the ride so we made the traditional stop at mile 20 at the Jimstown store, and enjoyed a big cookie and a drink.  The first rest stop was a new location, another wonderful place.

This rest stop had a nice garden Anne explored.

From there we rode on one of Anne’s favorite parts of the entire tour, twisting on a country lane through vineyards.  Franz saw some roses and decided to stop and smell them.

After passing through Guernville, near the end of the route, we stopped at out usual spot, the Garden Cafe, to get our favorite Tri-Tip Sandwich and Parmesan Fries for lunch.

It was then only a few miles to the Casini Ranch were we were camping for the night.  The temperatures were very pleasant now, being only a few miles from the coast.  But when we arrived it was very windy and putting up the tent was an interesting adventure.  We could tell it was going to cool off even more so after our shower we dressed in long pants and put on our jackets.

That evening there was a wine and cheese party.  It was getting cool but the location for dinner was protected from the wind so it felt very comfortable.  Before dark we decided to go to our tent where we watched a TV program on our iPad, and then went to sleep as it was just getting dark.

Route

 

Sierra to the Sea Day 4 – Cool Down in Calistoga

| 9:58 am

Day 4

It was not until the middle of the night, camping at Lake Solano that it finally started to cool down.  After the heat we had experienced the last two days we decided to get yet another early start.  Up at 5 am to pack the tent and haul out bags over to the truck, we were ready to ride as we made our way down to Breakfast before they opened the line at 6:30 am.  By 6:45 we were on the road, headed toward Calistoga.

It was not long before we started to climb up Cardiac Hill, not real steep but still a long climb.  After 20 miles we made a stop at the rest stop, then headed to Lower Chilles road, up Pope Valley.

We have a new rest stop this time, at a winery before Ink Grade.  It was one of the nicest rest stops of the tour.  We enjoyed a few moments relaxing and playing with our new friend who insisted that we throw sticks for him to catch.

Within a mile of the rest stop we started the long 4 mile climb up Ink Grade.  Not particularly steep and thankfully much of it in the shade.  We were also thankful that the heat wave seemed to be waning and it was not nearly as hot as the prior day.

From the top of Ink Grade it is a wonderful descent down to the Silverado Trail, then flat into Calistoga.  This time we had a nice motel room with air conditioning, but the temperatures were not nearly as hot as the prior day.  We enjoyed a great staff dinner in town and really enjoyed a nice nights sleep.

Route

Sierra to the Sea Day 3 – The Heat is On

| 9:18 am

Day 3

After spending a too warm night trying to sleep, we were anxious to get started early for the ride to Lake Solano.  We were all checked out and the bags delivered to the truck before the breakfast line opened.  By 7 am we were on our bikes.  The weather was fine at this time of day.  The normal route includes taking a couple of ferries, but one of those was not operating, so we had to take a much less enjoyable  alternate route.  We were glad when we finally made it to Rio Vista.  We usually stop there but kept moving today up through the wind farms.

 

Usually this area has strong head winds but with the hot weather, there we not much wind today.  We arrived at the first rest stop, which is at a neat church.

We then headed through what is the least enjoyable part of the 7 day route, on Highway 12 and along the outskirts of Vacaville.  It was turning very warm by the time we reached the second rest stop.  We decided to go from there, off route, to a sandwich shop we knew about in Vacaville, where we not only enjoyed a sandwich, but also air conditioning.

It was now only 11 miles to Lake Solano park, where we would be camping.  Normally that distance would be no issue, but it was now about 95 degrees and Anne was really feeling the effects of the heat.  Franz kept splashing her with water as we road along the country road to our destination.

We were glad when we finally arrived and setup our camp.

We headed down to the river to cool off, but we could only get up to our ankles in this fridged cold water.  A few brave people would go all the way into the water but we had already had enough pain for the day.

After taking a shower in what is the worst facilities of any of the camping sites on this tour, everyone was kind of just sitting around camp, checking the temperature as it continued to rise above 100 degrees.

Finally we headed over to a mini market, about 1/4 mile walk, across a bridge that spans the river.

We saw one of the many peacocks in the area.

There was no way to keep cool, except go into the air conditioned mini market. Dinner at this location is usually one of the best on the tour and this proved no exception.

After dinner we walked around, enjoying the river.

Route

Sierra to the Sea Day 2 – Ticket to Ryde

| 8:52 am

Day 2

Day 2 for this bicycle tour is a ride to Ryde.  Ryde is not really a town, more like an old hotel near Walnut Grove, California.  It is the longest ride of the tour, at 75 miles, but the climbing is much less than the first day.  The heat wave was starting to hit the central valley of California so we keep moving along trying to beat the heat.  Although there were two rest stops, we added some additional stops near the end to keep cool and get some lunch.  We arrived at the Ryde hotel before most of the cyclists and setup the rooms the tour rented for the campers to use to take a shower.  We were staying in the hotel that night but it might have been better to camp.  It was really turning warm by evening and this is an old hotel with no air conditioning.  We slept all night with fans blowing on us.  Our plan was to get an early start the next day to beat the heat.

Route

Sierra to the Sea Day 1 – No Tandem

| 8:46 am

Sierra to the Sea is a 7 day bicycle tour that Anne and Franz are on the staff for, so we get to join in the fun.   We completed this tour twice before, but both times on a tandem so this year we decided to give it a try on single bikes, since we have not been riding the tandem much lately.

Travel Day

On Saturday, those who are taking the bus to the ride start meet in the morning in San Jose.  We decided to stay the prior night at the start hotel so we could park our car for free.  The bikes are loaded on a truck and the tour participants travel by bus to Bear Valley, California, up in the Sierra mountains.

After arriving at Bear Valley we found a place for lunch, then setup the registration desk where we would register the 150 guests and 25 staff members for the tour.  Franz wanted to go for a bike ride in the area that day but there was no time.

Day 1 – Bear Valley to Jackson

Sunday is the first day of riding.  It is an interesting route because it starts at 7,000 feet elevation and ends up at around 1,200 feet.  That would seem like just all downhill but this day has a lot of climbing also.  It was cold when we started to ride so we dressed in all the extra cycling clothes we brought.  About 10 miles into the ride we made a stop at a vista point.

It was now warming up so we took our jackets off and continued to the first rest stop at mile 30, where we shed all the cold weather clothes and continued on in short sleeves.  Now the climbing started, in a interesting back road called Sheep Ranch.  The pavement is rough and there are some steep descents and climbs.  Franz really liked the climbing along this route, but Anne was not quite sure about how much fun it was.  Although it was only 17 miles from the first rest stop to the second one, we were glad when we finally arrived.

We finally made it to another great descent, down to Mokelumne Hills, where the 3rd rest stop was located.  But even this descent had some climbing sections.

It was now turning quite warm so we didn’t want to take too long at the final rest stop because we knew there was a climb up to Jackson, on a busy road in the heat.  Once we arrived a Jackson, we setup out tent and tested out our mattress.

After taking a shower, we rode out bikes down to the town to get our traditional Root Beer Float, a treat for Father’s Day.  We ended the day with 72 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing.

Final Training Ride

| June 13, 2011 10:05 pm

Anne and I are on the staff for a bicycle tour that our bike club puts on each year, called Sierra to the Sea.  This is our fourth (and final) year on the staff.  We rode the 7 day route once, the 10 day route once, but both on our tandem.  Last year we only did the 3 day route using single bikes., so this will be Anne’s first time on the 7 day route on her single bike.   We have been training to get ready to ride the 420 miles, with 22,000 feet of climbing.  The first day is probably the most difficult with 70 miles and 5,500 feet of climbing.  With travel and some illness out training became more like cramming for finals but we felt we needed to get in at least a couple of 60+ mile rides.  The first was last week and out second one was today.  We put on our cycling jerseys from last year, to get in the mood.  Franz took his camera also since Anne said we were going to stop and smell the roses.

The weather has turned much warmer so we left earlier, around 10 am and made our way up to Morgan Hill, a 12 mile ride before we started the climb up to Henry Coe State Park.  After making the first climb we pass by Anderson Reservoir.

From the valley floor it is 10 miles to the Park Headquarters, the end of the paved road where to parked the bikes and rested from the 3,000 feet of climbing.

Then it was the long descent back down.  Near the end of the descent, on Thomas Grade, Anne stopped for some reason.

Then I could see why.

Once we reached the valley floor we biked over to our usual lunch spot at Erik’s Deli.  After our usual lunch, we headed out to do a loop around the Reservoir.  Anne told me to stop taking her picture, which I ignored.

She finally made us stop so she could take my photo for a change.

It was getting hot as we reached the far side of the reservoir.  But we had a nice tailwind that propelled us through the rollers.  We were moving so fast that Franz only briefly saw some roses as we zipped by.  “Hey we have to go back and smell the roses”, Franz said.  Anne said forget it!

When we made it back home Anne was amazed at how the mileage came out so I had to take a picture of her cyclometer.

62.62 miles.  We also climbed 4,400 feet.  So this was a good training ride.

 

Sports – A Family Affair

| June 10, 2011 1:44 pm
Sports - A Family Affair

We are very lucky as a family. Many people we know need to find someone to bike, run or golf with and often rely on a cycling or running club, or some personal friend, or they may ride, run or golf alone. We bike with 3 different cycling clubs and some friends and sometimes bike and run solo, but most of our biking and running is with each other. Since our kids are all grown we have the luxury of biking and running together. Sometimes we get a chance to bike and run with our kids, but since they live away it is not as often as we would like. It lets our sports often be a family affair, instead of something that always takes us away from each other.

Cycling

We live in great areas, both in our California and Utah homes.  The weather in California allows us to bike year round and most of our rides are right from our house.  No wasted gas driving to the start of a club ride.

Franz has a rather detailed training log and have revised it so there is real data on who we bike and run with, or when we are solo. These charts tell it all.  The UtahVelo percentage will increase significantly when we go to our Utah home this summer.  The family percentage is even higher than it appears because when we bike together with a bike club, it is recorded it as miles with that club.

 

Running

When we lived in Japan, we would get up at 5:40 am every morning and go run 6 miles together.  Over the many years, that was a wonderful experience.   After returning to the US, Franz started to run a lunch time with co-workers, but since retirement Franz and Anne get to run together once again.   Since we do not run with any running club, our running is predominately together.  Franz has run two marathons with our son John, how has qualified to run the Boston Marathon, and still hopes to run a marathon with our daughter, Sara, who has run several marathons, including Boston.

Golf

While two of our children love to run and bike, the other two boys are more into golf.  Last year we bought some new golf clubs and try to get back into the sport a bit more.  Although Franz has played golf since he was a kid, he never learned to do it very well.  But all of our boys are great golfers and Greg had two hole-in-ones in one year.