No no, I haven’t switched careers to become a photo journalist. Fret not. Rather I’ve taken some photos of late. In particular, this week here in Napa. It’s been an extraordinarily productive week on the bike as well; I’m not at Tour of Turkey nor Romandie, so after a post-Classics bout of rest in New England, I’m laying some smack down here in NorCal with Tour of California on the horizon. This is the aforementioned TdK-TdC-TC.
A series of thank yous must be extended to my support team throughout the globe. The very good people of LymanPR have been nothing short of spectacular. Having met them last fall, all I can say now is a sincere thank you for your abounding generosity. Duke and the crew down by the river – namely, Napa River Velo – big thanks for helping me out the other day. Plus they’re a great shop to just go hang and chat bikes. J.I.M. isn’t my chauffeur, per se, but I’m using his car so it’s kind of like he’s my driver. Kind of.
So jumping into the thick of things, there’s talk of Maine and Pennsylvania vying for whoopie pie supremacy. Turns out ABC has something to say about that too. I did a pre-BIG-ride breakfast chow and witnessed their pumpkin whoopies. Careful: those things are crazy good! Turns out so are their cornmeal pancakes.
That was followed by a digestive walk throughout downtown Napa. Don’t be confused, friends, they were nearly expecting me with this TUSCAN(y) photo. I wonder if there are restaurants in Tuscany called Napa? I reckon no.
Let’s now fast-forward through yesterday‘s post and straight to the Grasshopper. This sort of thing is entirely new to me. I’ve never paid for a ride when not pinning a number on my back, and while admittedly I was a bit wary of the idea, in truth, it was worth it. They have a lockdown in something pretty darn cool. These Grasshopper put together a group ride, it’s lead by a moto but people know the route for the most part, there is beautiful laminated route card (see below), yada yada yada. Truly, the whole thing was a pleasure.
In a bit like a kermess, the day unfolds in a series of attacks that whittle the field down to a select few. 80 miles and 8,000’ of climbing will do that! Again, fast forward through the even itself, Dario and I found ourselves off the front going over the Geysers and then there’s the descent, flat, and climb to the Pine Flat finish. I maaaaay have sat on the front for the final 50km and I maaaaaaay have been “pumped” in the finish. But I will only saying may, and Dario did in fact win. HERE‘s his take on the day, well said.
With the chasing bunch a safe distance back, I thought documenting the Pine Flat ascent would be wise. Hi Dario. Despite the dramatic black and white motif, the background is actually pretty jaw dropping lush greenery.
Also along for the ride was Richard here with the yellow domepiece. Dario on the left. We’ve made it to the finish, which kicks up for a country mile at between 19-22% OUCH. There’s Richard’s moto in the background. The final 90 minutes was virtually a three man breakaway except Richard has the luxury of a crapload of horsepower whereas I think collectively Dario and I produce 1 and 3/4 HP.
The top of Pine Flat is barren. Like middle o’ freakin’ nowhere barren wasteland. Dead bush.
And to the victor go the spoils! The winner took home a bottle of syrah. Okay, so I maaaaay have been purchased for the win. And I maaaaay have recommended my purchase price. And it maaaaay have been a bottle of syrah. Just maybe.
And next stop is the Ridges. Napa, you’ve been truly great. Altitude, and I mean a whole lotta altitude, here I come.