The 51st Great Western Bicycle Rally has been going on the past few days here in Paso Robles and the surrounding countryside. On Friday I was one of the leaders for the earlybird coffee ride to Coffee Station San Miguel, then on Saturday I was part of the ride leader team for the Salsa ride out to Hog Canyon. Last year I also was on the team, as chronicled here.
On Sunday, instead of riding, I was driving in support of the 100 kilometer and 100 mile “Giro di Paso” routes for the rally (most readers of this blog will know my role today as “SAG” – Support And Gear”). Both routes headed from Paso Robles west to Pacific Coast Highway, south to the town of Cayucos, then back to Paso. Over the span of 7 hours I drove around 150 miles back and forth and ’roundabout, visiting with other volunteers, chatting with riders, and actually helping a few.
Let’s see, I gave directions to a few people, one fellow needed to use my floor pump, and I helped one fellow who broke a spoke. My crowning achievement was to pick up a woman on the steepest section of Old Creek Road who had broken a cleat and was trudging up the pitch pushing her bicycle. I packed her bike onto my rack and drove her to the nearest rest stop where Mike Milby was parked with his Paso Bike Tours trailer, thinking he might have some spare cleats. Alas, no, so I drove her back to the start of the ride in Paso Robles.
Along Willow Creek Road, which was part of the 100 mile route, and which I ride almost once every week, there is an oak tree along the side of the road with a hollowed out trunk section down at ground level. Apparently there is a bee hive up in the trunk and some literary local has placed a small statue of Winnie the Pooh inside the trunk. Check out the picture below and say hi to Winnie and his bee pals.
Several posts back, I commented about how I might be getting older and slower, but my memory still seems to be working OK. Today I had another, similar, memory magic experience that is cycling related. But first, let me set the stage. Back in 2004 I was in the French Alps during the Tour de France on a two week cycling tour. Short story is that I crashed on the third day due to overenthusiastic descending meeting a blind turn strewn with gravel, resulting in a grade 3 Acromium/Clavicular shoulder separation.
Rather than sit around hotel lobbies watching the tour on TV5 for the next 10 days, I cut it short and had the tour company drive me to the airport in Lyon. There, while waiting to check in and awkwardly trying to maneuver my bike box and luggage while wearing an immobilizing cloth/velcro device on my right arm, another Yank offered assistance and we got to talking. Turns out he was from southern California like me, and in the course of the conversation we discovered a mutual friend by name of Rick Rietveld, an artist and surfwear designer, former art honcho at Maui & Sons. Small world, but keep reading.
Back in the present, while rolling up and down on Peachy Canyon Road supporting riders, I decided to mix pleasure with pleasure and pulled in at Nadeau Family Vintners to taste a wee bit of their wine. I know both Robert and Patrice Nadeau, both are cyclists with groups I often join, and expected them to be in the tasting room. Indeed, both were there entertaining another couple, Robert indicating that they are friends of his. I had an instant flash of recognition and pretty much said “July 2004, international airport in Lyon, France.” Yes indeed, it was the very same fellow, and it was absolutely amazing to run into him during a spur-of-the-moment visit to a small wine tasting room along Peachy Canyon Road 11 years later.