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016: On the Road With Rapha.

Day One.
Rode out of Sacremento. Actually we first rode the time trail loop. Which took all of 10 minutes around the capital building. It's strange to go out on such an intimate ride with new people. Usually you ride with people in larger groups before you would head out on something "epic," or even close to it with other riders. Yet, here we are trucking along at 26 miles an hour and I'm tucked in behind Benito like we've been riding together for years.

The way that this man climbs is inhuman.

This isn't Ben by the way. It is Cole. We first rode together last year before the Tour of California, so I guess it is fitting that we should meet up again to do this ride. His beard is out of control this year.

I'm trying to get some of this stuff down before I forget it. Days are starting to blend together. Did the big climb with the trees on the side happen yesterday, or the day before...the one with the raptors pulling apart a dead skunk.
(I've got a list of roadkill for later.)

Day Two.

I'm starting to lose myself in some of these climbs. I didn't know that they had climbs like this in California. They go up, and up and never need to take yourself and put it away for a while to get to the top of them. Head into the Hurt Locker Room and pick out a locker for yourself....then just fucking climb in and hang out. Hopefully some of the people you came with with pick lockers next to you so that you can at least have a conversation or two while you're in there.

Michael from Velodramatic is with us. His Audi makes a nice rabbit for us to catch and the throaty growl of the engine makes me smile as I attempt to catch a draft up Tunidas Creek. However, landspeeder's would have made a better choice as the Redwoods leaning out over the path are very reminiscent of the ewok scenes in Return of the Jedi. Plus, he's got a good post about our little adventure going on at his site right now.

This isn't like any other Rapha Conti ride I've done. Most of them have been one, maybe two days at the most. But Six. Shit. Jesus, take it easy on me. My body is starting to fall apart. Pain is creeping up my right side and I don't like it. Not one bit.

Brian from the Washingmachinepost also put something up today. Be careful over there though. This man doesn't use capital letters.

Day Three.

Out of San Jose. Up the first climb.
I realized soon out of San Jose that we were heading to a climb that I've actually done before. Two years ago the North American Handmade Bicycle show was in San Jose, CA. I snuck out early one morning to ride with Kent Erickson and his crew. Mr. Erickson was the founder of Moots Cycles but broke off to form Erikson Cycles. We left early in the morning to head out to the climb. It was like nothing that I'd ever climbed before. The climb seems to go on for days, and just when you're about to give up. To pull over to the side of the road and get off your bike, you catch a glance below you...a glance that produces phrases like "Go Levi!" or "George Hincapie, Do It!" As you see these spray painted messages, they quite literally propel you forward. Some of them are still there...

The Sachs road bike is holding up well. Climbs like a dream and tracks downhill like nothing I've ever ridden on the road. Ira claims he knows the secret as to why the bike is so smooth. But so far he isn't telling (instead he's out looking for Ritchey Breakaway bits.) We miss you Ira.

Day Four.

It's 2pm. Hahn and I are already in the van. My IT band has officially exploded so I'm ultimately relegated to the van. The only thing I would be doing if I was out there would be slowing people down, as the 14 mph that I can push is too slow for this stage. Flat and fast. The morning was kept cool by some early showers (broken only by the SRAM support car that showed up a couple days ago.)

"Can you radio back to that team that I got that county line sprint"
-Hahn from the car.
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