This year’s Wine Country Century, a club favorite, took place on a rainy day. That’s the first time I can remember that happening in quite a long time. The prediction was for “showers”, which turned out to be technically true—it rained off and on—but it was mostly wet and occasionally very wet. It started raining steadily not far from the start and I grimly thought it was going to be one long day in the saddle. But eventually it relented and the rest of the day when it did rain it was less daunting. Yet we rode the entire day in rain gear. I even brought up my rain bike (which is heavy) because I thought fenders would come in handy and boy, was I glad I had them.
There were supposed to be a fair number of fellow Spokers up there but we saw nary a one. Since we were doing the metric, my guess is that you all were out in the hills doing the full century and fighting the same rain and wind—if not worse—that we were dealing with along Westside Road.
In Northern California we are coddled by such good riding weather that rain almost always means waiting until later in the day or the next morning to do a ride. This winter with El Nino I finally developed a Portland mentality and rode rain or shine. It sure helped today! Unfortunately one old habit I still retain is that when it rains my focus narrows to just finishing the ride as fast as possible rather than enjoying it. I’m sure there were occasional beautiful sights—as there usually are—on the Wine Country but I ended up revving the engine and making for the barn door as quickly as possible. We definitely didn’t linger at the rest stops despite the admirable display of goodies. So I can’t say I truly relished the Wine Country even if I did finish it.
Despite the weather it is worth noting that the Santa Rosa Cycling Club did their usual stellar work in hosting this ride. The rest stop food was copious and not perfunctory. Having coffee and hot chocolate especially on a rainy day was soothing and encouraging. The food at the end was, as usual, yummy: we both had the tri-tip and thought it was well prepared, and the food line was not at all stingy at dumping more food on our plates!
Observations along the way: (1) Sag wagons were kept busy all day. It seems a lot of people were abandoning the ride. (2) There were a lot of flats. We passed more groups of cyclists repairing tires than I have ever seen on a century. That happens when it rains. (3) I was surprised at how many riders did not bring any rain gear at all. But SRCC gave out garbage bags for emergency rain wear at the rest stops and we saw lots of riders using them. (4) We saw just one crash, outside of Geyserville. (5) People were happy to be riding despite the rain!
We were done by 1 p.m. As we drove down 101 we were hit by yet more rain. We were thinking of poor you hundred-milers!