Friday, June 19, 2009

8th Edition of the Tour de Trash

"Smells like victory..."

We had a group of 10 eager trash hunters collect at Helen Putnam Plaza last Saturday as we waited well past 9:00AM for the stragglers to roll in from their groggy Saturday morning rituals. Even a call from Eric Schleth claiming to have forgotten his riding shoes did not deter the zeal for the day's mission. Last to arrive was a pale looking Red Neck that succumbed to the virus for a brief period but through his dedication to our "Tour de Trash" managed to put his physical weakness in the parking lot.
We rolled out of Petaluma on I-Street where we posed for our victory picture after confirming that Sonoma's county's efforts in using signage and video surveillance has indeed had an effect on the would-be trash holes. With nothing to log into the failing GPS (due to overcast skies), we upped the pace in preparation for our first KOM climb up Red Hill. We unfortunately lost our more casual riders along the roads leading towards the first climb but suffice it to say that rumblings about "taking it easy on us" were churning at the rumor mill. Once the prem was announced, the riders had no lack of motivation as we set a high pace up the climb just like the well oiled professional teams over in Europe. Meanwhile, the objective of the ride was not lost as the early pace setters settled into a sub 200 heart rate pace and tracked the trash strewn on top of the hill for Marin county public works to come collect. KOM winner up Red Hill was Jason Mathies who battled hard with Charlie and a handful of other riders to lay claim to a brand new pair of Kaenons.
Around the bend and onto the base of Wilson Hill found the "gruppo compatto" and the second KOM was underway before we could even recover from the last blistering climb. Again the tempo was set high and only the Red Neck and Charlie from the Red Peloton could launch away from the rest of the pack with catapult force. Clearly the sick Red Neck showed no signs of weakness as his urge to win the Clif Blocks prem was well merited. Before the wheels got spinning too fast down the hill, a quick look over the side of the road proved that the classic trash sites are just that. More work for the Marin county public works and we were off to Chileno Valley Road where a sprint for the next prem awaited us.The "Cipo Soul" train was rolling hard as we neared the straight section of Chileno Valley Road and the prem was announced. Camelbak Hyrdation pack, hydrate or die...We sweeped up some Petaluma Chicken Pluckers along the way who were totally confused by the erratic pace we were setting. They looked for the Race Marshal's Audi A4 but found nothing of the sort. The tree trunk legs in our gruppo took over as the front of the train had riders popping off like rivets shearing off an airplane's skin undergoing extreme de-pressurization. By the time I got to the front all sprinters were spent as they went off too early except for Jason Hoorn who easily claimed the win and just as quickly donated the prize over to Demolition Derby Vanessa's High School MTB team.
Back to work after a couple of squids on their motorcycles distracted us, the Chileno Valley Kemmelberg hosted the usual trash sites with evergrowing litter added to the rusting rot in the ditches. This time we have a jet ski added to the pile.
Getting back to a more reasonable pace was a welcome change as we exited the backroads from the valley and headed towards the coast. But the "El Conquistador" who just turned 50 years old on the same day would have none of it. He constantly monitored his Polar watch in preparation for the Terrible Two this weekend but upped the pace nevertheless. And then, just like a mirage in the desert, a rider appeared in front of us with the unmistakable silhouette of a real Soulcraft rider. It was none other than Eric Schleth himself. He made it afterall, just in time to help track the usual litter at the top of Carmody Road.
Onwards towards Dilon Beach was no small task as every rider's legs were starting to feel like lead reminiscent of Grasshopper rides. Attempts to break early were teased upon us as we neared the HC climb of the day but ended up nowhere. This time Norcal Velo's Patrick found his rythm and dropped everyone like they were standing still claiming the prem to a breakfast for two at Della Fattoria. Well done.
Back into Tomales and after some local delicacies from the Bakery, everyone agreed to take the short way back home without losing the opportunity to track the usual litter on Spring Hill Road. As expected, we were not disappointed.
Most of the riders showed up for a BBQ at your's truly place except for the Director Sporty (of course). Nonetheless, we had a screaming time and it was great to see everyone smile and enjoy themselves after a hard day's work. Amazing how a few beers in the body makes one forget all about the lactic acid bubbling in the legs. See you in Fall for the next Tour de Trash.

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