Monday, October 18, 2010

MC's Birthday Ride

Almost to Alpine Dam
I think our cycling crew has started a new tradition...Birthday kid gets to pick the ride.  MC decided she needed to keep all of us honest and suggested a killer route for her day.  She somehow "forgot" how hard it really was...I guess that is kind of like a lot of things, once you forget how painful it was, you're ready to do it again.  Kind of like marathons and having kids (that's what I'm told anyway). 

Anyway, from SF, we headed north through Mill Valley to Fairfax, a hippie town where we refueled and reapplied sunscreen, then up & down to Alpine Dam, a beautiful reservoir, that even has it's own "Yelp" review!  Onward to a killer climb, and then to 7 Sisters, named for the 7 "rolling" hills on this section of the ride.  Rolling is not how I would describe them...Then to the final "wicked step-mother," Mt. Tamalpais.  According to Wikipedia, which is always right, nicknamed Mt Tam, it's the highest peak in the Marin Hills.  The view from the top is amazing--San Francisco off in the distance, the Farallons, Marin County.  All in all, we traveled almost 60 miles with 2500' of climbing! 
At the top of Mt Tam

As motivation, we nicknamed our crew, Team Tacos & Beer...hey, we needed motivation to get through!  And it worked!  Afterward, we refueled at one of my favorite restaurants, Tacolicious...No beer after this ride though...I had to bike home.  With the "reserves" low, I figured it'd be in my best interest to abstain!

MG & I are already planning our shared Birthday Ride...coming soon!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wine Country with Ron & Betsey

Last Saturday, I went up to UC-Davis to visit with my grad advisor and his wife.  We took a brief drive through the beautiful Davis-campus and then headed to Napa.  Ron & Betsey are wine connoisseurs and both have taken wine tours and classes all over the country.  Ron now even teaches a wine course at NDSU!  So, of course, our trip to Napa was strictly "research!"

It was a perfect day--the weather was gorgeous, the vines were ripe with huge bunches of dark red grapes. After refueling with sandwiches and fruit at Dean & Deluca, we drove down Highway 29 and marveled at all of the beautiful wineries, and we wished we had a seat on the Wine Train!  We stopped at Peju, one of my favorite wineries, mostly because the folks leading the wine tours/tastings are animated and colorful.  The wine is pretty tasty too!  We stopped at Grgich Hills Winery to learn more about their biodynamic and organic wines.  Next, we headed to Robert Mondavi Winery.  The UC-Davis campus has several research plots devoted to wine growing, plus a beautiful event center on campus, named in honor Mr. Mondavi.

Betsey, Ron & I at Robert Mondavi

We had so much fun catching up on the happenings of ND and CA, trips, kids & grandkids (their's!), and adventures and trips!  It is the sign of true friendship when you can get together and never miss a beat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lake Lagunitas Crew

As you may have noticed by now, I love to bike.  I try to get out a few times each week--by myself or with friends.  It's great exercise, a stress reliever (usually--see Tourist post!), it's a quick way to get out of the city, and I get to hang out with friends--and meet new.  It's a party in 4 hours--only I feel good afterward!  I have met some of my closest friends in the city through bike rides and/or other cyclists. I have gotten pretty good at navigating through the North Bay, right across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Though, I still could get us lost! The sights are amazing--homes on cliff-sides, views up the coastline, wild turkeys & deer, prairie, redwoods, beach!  We join a few thousand other cyclists out on any given day.

Our "silly" pose

A few weeks ago we headed north to Lake Lagunitas, a reservoir in Marin. Here is the crew before we headed to Cibo, our favorite coffee shop, and back to the city!  You'll notice one "lucky" guy in the middle!  Yes, usually we let other guys join us (we aren't "girls-only"!), but this particular day, he was the only one.