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Hi Rio – this is Marilyn with Trips for Kids. I get a google “trips for Kids” alert each day and found the link to your blog today. So glad you discovered our Bike Thrift shop and now know a bit about our program. We hope you will shop often and encourage your friends to both shop at and donate their used bikes and bike gear to us. Our thrift shop raises over 50% of the income needed to operate our TFK Marin program and our National TFK program (we have 76 chapters around the US and Canada and 1 in Israel.)
[…] Bike 65-miles across Napa Valley along with other IDEO folks […]
Sometimes it takes a couple of bubble teas and a week’s worth of rest to be able to muse over a weekend of pure awesomeness. Back in early August I decided on a whim to participate in the Eagle Cycling Club’s Tour of Napa Valley as a group of IDEOers would be headed to it as well, and there was an organized barbecue and camping trip they were going to set up as well. While you could choose from 30, 65 or the 100-mile route, I decided that 65 would be a nice challenge, what with it being about 23 miles more than any other ride I had been on (the NY Five Boro bike tour).
On the day before the ride (last Saturday) I met up with Sean, who also works at IDEO, and headed up towards St. Helena, where we would have dinner and camp at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. On the way, he mentioned that there was a second-hand bike parts store for a charity called Trips for Kids in San Rafael and we decided to stop over. I felt like a kid in a candy store, though, what with so many good bike parts (frame, gear sets, forks, handlebars, jerseys, shoes!) and I ended up grabbing a pair of Cannondale gloves and Louis Garneau shoes. Realizing we had to stop shopping and start moving we headed northwards, arriving in St. Helena around evening. We pitched camp in the dark and headed to bed early.
We were up around 6am, just around the time the 100-milers were headed out. They encouraged the centuries to leave early, and the 65-milers to leave by 8:30, so we made plans accordingly. The departure point was the veteran’s home in Yountville, a massive complex capable of handling the 2000 or so bikers. Since Sean and I were relatively early, we grabbed breakfast along the way before registering and starting the ride around 8.
The extent of organization was truly impressive. From home-baked cookies to sandwiches, fruit and snacks all the way to a superb BBQ finale, everything was really well planned and thought through. They had 3 rest stations along the route, and the 2nd one was just before a grueling 1000ft 5% grade climb. I like climbs though, because the only impediment to climbing well is getting over the fact that you need to go down to the lowest gear and just keep cranking.
I definitely was tempted to go to a wine-tasting along the route, but I didn’t think that was part of the program (nor would I imagine the wine-growers being keen on seeing a bunch of people in spandex).
Towards the end was a beautiful downhill stretch during which I was able to push the bike to 36mph! See the video below.