Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gran Fondo Gourmet d'Capo: Day 2

Day two greeted us with damp roads but we were optimistic that the skies would eventually clear. We started off with a great breakfast at Ella's, just across the street from the hotel. From there it was in the van and off to Half Moon Bay. The plan was to get a head start on the peloton in hopes of beating them to Bonny Doon on our way to Santa Cruz. We would blast down the coast, climb Tunitas Creek, skip the backside and head straight down to the short 2nd climb, then to the coast and PCH and grind up Bonnie, before descending back into SC.

We started, like I said, with overcast skies and damp roads. Today we were all kitted up in the limited edition Giro kit, looking way too pro for our talent level. Love the maglia rosa pink on the sleeve. As we rolled out PCH was littered with riders on the same program as us. Our hope of sunny skies would come crashing down as we hit the first climb of the day.

Photo Credit: Forrest Arakawa

About three miles up the 8 mile forrested climb the rain began to fall, and then it fell heavier, from the sky first, and then from the trees. I really enjoyed the climb up Tunitas Creek. It starts at a very rideable 6-8%, then ramps up to 11-12%, and then back down to 4-8%. You can really fly over the summit.

Our group split as we suffered our first flat of the day, and a handful of us rode on as we didn't want to get too cold before the descent. We'd regroup at the bottom before the next climb at Pescadero. We ended up waiting quite a while as one flat turned into two for the guys behind. Eventually we rolled on and as we arrived outside Pescadero we linked up with Kelly and the lunch spread.

Gary and boys know how to put on a ride as the days lunch totally hit the spot. Pasta, sandi's, fruit, cola, peroni, brownie cupcakes, the works. We were pretty behind schedule and after a quick check-in on someone's iPhone we realized we were only about 10 miles in front of the race. So we settled in for and extended lunch and waited for the peloton to arrive.

The pre-arrival is kind of funny as it's an ever increasing wave of vehicles. The race announcers vehicle came zooming up asking us why he can't get Capo in Detroit. I refrained from the "you can order it from velogear.com" comment. He sped off giving the race situation over the loud speaker.

Within a few minutes the break arrived and then the peloton in full. It was cool seeing the TV helicopter getting closer and closer as it drifted down the valley.

Popo blowing kisses with LA on his wheel

Double jersey, double stage winner Peter Sagan

Hulsmans and Boonen

After the Peloton blew by it was time to hit the road. We had a date with the sous chefs from Incanto that were meeting us at the Casa di Sconi in Santa Cruz. The lunch stop was just enough time to dry our rain soaked clothes as we rolled on in search of sunny skies and a tailwind on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Photo Credit: Forrest Arakawa

Finally the sun came out and it wasn't long until the tempo ratcheted skyward and Matt and I were driving the train trying to pull in Kent, Matt and Kam. Forrest did his best to make us feel like pros as we sped along at 28 mph, 3 feet from a truck with a camera lens in our face. We regrouped at the base of Boony Doon and prepared ourselves for the 3 mile 11-13% climb. I was now cursing the sun as within minutes I was dripping with sweat and looking for any hint of shade. As we crested the summit it was on with the wind vest as we took the long way home after the climb and rolled through Santa Cruz to the occasional cheer as people thought we were with the ToC.

We closed out the day with 92 miles and 6500 some feet of climbing, through 50 degree rain and 70 degree sunshine. Enough to proclaim the day my Century of the Month for May. We were welcomed with open Peroni's and a great spread of food, again, thanks to the lads from Incanto. We soon transitioned to Vino and then onto the Branca Menta. Stories were told and new friendships were solidified late into the night and morning. Breakfast  burrito's from the Chill Out Cafe were the call in the AM as was the view at pleasure point. A fine end to a fine couple of days.

I have to throw out a huge thank you to all the guys at Capo for inviting us out. Including the 70 miles I got in pre-trip, I ended with 275 miles with 13,000 feet of climbing in four days and I got to do it in some of the best riding clothes on the market. Thanks for the opportunity fellas.


mw said...

that kicks ass.

i've gotten two gravel SS centuries in the last two weeks. ramping up for the kanza.

MOD 2.0 said...

You guys are going to kill it down there. Kind of wish I was going but the 150 at gravel worlds will be more than enough.

erik said...

tunitas is one of the best climbs around.