Our get-away in August included a day of cycling in Marin and Sonoma counties on the Holstein 100. Kem found this ride online and it looked like it might be perfect for us to do while we were out in the Sonoma area tasting wines and otherwise just hanging out and enjoying the scenery.

With the ride being in its 17th year, we expected a fairly well organized and planned event. Generally speaking, that was true, but I was surprised to find minor details overlooked. The ride started in Tomales at the local high school and looked to be pretty well attended. The parking lot was jammed with cars. Tomales is small and the high school locker room has only two stalls. To be specific: rent a few more portable toilets next time – especially for the ride start/end. I think I waited 20 min or more just to use the toilet at the start of the ride. It was never quite clear whether there was or wasn’t going to be a mass start. We just took off ’cause it looked like others were already going.

Having just flown in from Texas and our typical hot August weather, it was a bit of a jolt to the system to start the morning off in the low 50’s with a steady drizzle. Ugh! I was freezing. Thankfully we’d planned ahead enough that we had jackets, but neither of us had packed anything for our legs. The day before though, we figured that might be a problem and we’d stopped in at Mike’s Bikes and I got some leg warmers. I was sure glad I had!

Conditions were not ideal for riding that morning – it was foggy and there was a steady drizzle going – but we came to ride and we were not disappointed with what we found. The route was interesting and the terrain varied. We started with the idea that we’d do the 100K ride. On that route we had a couple of really good climbs. The 2nd of those climbs was referred to by other riders as “the wall” but we found it wasn’t as hard as the 1st big climb of the morning.

The rest stops were great. There were plenty of interesting food choices and the folks tending the rest stops were nice and fun to talk to. The first one we pulled into was especially fun. They had set up wooden cutout cows and we took some pictures next to them. (See the one in this post.) They also had a big ‘hat with horns’ you could put on that was just perfect for a photo op. Sorry, no links to that one. 😉

Around 40 miles in though, we ran into trouble. Kem rounded a corner and caught the lip of the road and fell! She was really hurting and EMS came and carted her off to Petaluma. There she got some xrays and thankfully we concluded there was nothing broken or serious enough that it was going to require a further stay at the hospital. Just plenty of shoulder and thumb pain and a pretty good knock on the head. The EMS guys from Tomales were a great help and so were the other random riders that stopped to help and make the call to EMS. The crazy guy in the pickup that came by before EMS though and essentially told us all to “go to hell” was more than a little disconcerting. A big thanks to the guy from the coast guard whose name I never got that carted both Kem’s and my bike and me back to Tomales. That guy was a saint and more than did his good deed for the day.

All in all, despite the trouble we had, I liked the ride and route and would certainly recommend it. Maybe we’ll get a chance to ride it again some time but that’s a pretty big maybe, considering the logistics involved.