Sierra to the Sea

Kudos to the Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC) for hosting the 30th Annual Sierra to the Sea Bike Tour this past week—a 450 mile/7-day ride across our beautiful state.

About 120 riders plus staff enjoyed an impressive 7-day route from South Lake Tahoe to San Francisco on some of the most scenic and historic backroads our state has on offer. Each day of tough riding wound through little known towns, up memorable climbs and with views that remind us why we spend so much money to live in this state. I felt giddy, like a kid at Christmas each time we headed down yet another stretch of backroad I had never ridden. After sitting in a frigid river or swimming pool post-ride drinking cold beers, we’d then enjoy splendid meals while camping under the stars.

Since I am not one who tends to participate in organized tours of any sort (unless I am organizing them!), I initially signed up because the route looked fabulous and it was an opportunity to get in some long miles before  the upcoming Tour of the Dragon, 165 mile, one-day mountain bike event in Bhutan. Riding 450 road miles on a mountain bike was a ‘special’ sort of challenge, one that left me desiring my road bike many times over while at the same time reveling in the odd handicap. I also signed up because I don’t tend to enjoy large organized group activities. I figured it would be a solid opportunity to step out of my insular, free-wheeling ways a bit. I was not disappointed.

ACTC did such a fabulous job and the other riders were all quite amiable so it was easy to just sit back, pedal along and enjoy the ride, literally. Which was done with an enormous amount of fun and laughter as I rode with Dave and Diane Delucchi and Judy Sambrailo.

Our little crew opted to omit breakfast for a couple days to start riding extra early because temperatures soured well into the 100’s for our initial long days of riding. When it finally dropped down to about 95 in Calistoga, we all sighed with relief. The socked in fog on our first day on the coast was a welcome homecoming and broke up just enough on our last day to give us stunning misty views of the ocean from high on Mt. Tam. The words that keep popping in are—pure joy.

Big thanks to ACTC and all the other riders for making this a memorable week and big hugs to my riding buddies. I wish we were still out there!

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