By Carmen Price
2012 Bicycle Adventurer
The ride was from Ukiah, CA. to Redlands, CA., which is my stomping ground! I was more than ready to start the day and had every intention on riding with Sarah Doren at a medium (for her) and my average pace of 14 mph. As we took off from the church we rode strong behind Geezerman Tom for the first 25 miles at 16 mph, which for myself is rocking it out! I had never kept a pace that strong before today. The beautiful scenery of which we passed amazed me: vineyards and the rolling hills of Mendocino and Sonoma California. Absolutely my favorite places to be. The roads were smooth and basically flat which was a helper on my speed.
Once we made it to the rest stop I wasn’t ready to slow down, Turbo Tom was ready to take off from the trailer for another strong 25 miles I decided I’d give it a shot to ride with Turbo. Never in my days on The Fuller Center Bike Adventure did I think I’d ride with the front of the pack. Geezerman Tom and Sarah Doren were short to follow and kept a steady pace as Turbo Tom and myself sped off in the distance. Of course my minutes with Turbo himself shortened as he sped on the hills of Sonoma. After losing Turbo Tom I remember entering a race! I wasn’t competing, but rode amongst speedy Triathlon riders going the distance in the Ironman race. It was a thrill to be riding behind the intimidating riders. I was for sure a sore thumb in the sight of all these talented and graceful cyclist, swimmers, and runners, but it was so exhilarating to ride in a pack! I wanted to turn and continue the race, but I watched Dan go straight past flaggers and cheerleaders for the race and I had to follow.
As I climbed the hill past the Ironman I made it to the second and final rest stop. Sue, Turbo Tom, and Jason (the fast riders) were there amazed by my speed that day and we all decided to ride into Santa Rosa together! The last leg of this ride brought us to another section of the Ironman; which was more exhausting than the first. By this time we had caught up with Speedy Petey and he was riding as if he was a racer. Keeping up with him, Sue, Jason, and Turbo Tom became a chore for myself, as the race kept it’s high pace. Finally we lost them again on a turn and I regained my speed with our pack. We strolled into towns I had frequented when I lived in Sonoma County like: Healdsburg and Windsor. I spoke of the malt shop and the bike shop and even a local cup cake shop that helped support my ride in these towns. It was such a great experience to share with this amazing group of cyclists, but the best has yet to come.
We were riding into Santa Rosa Sue, Jason, and Pete just made this green light that was turning yellow as Turbo and myself were rolling up. We slowed and stopped to wait for the next green light as they sped off to the church. I was bummed that I wouldn’t be riding in with the pack. I looked to my right and saw a red cycling jersey! I had recognized this jersey as the Red Peloton. I looked to Turbo and told him that I’d be stopping to talk with this guy. The Red Peloton is the cycling team my friend Matt Wilson rode for, so I knew this guy would know him and I had to tell him I was riding in memory of Matt. I learned his name is Star Stevenson and he rides short distance races unlike my friend who rode distance. We: Turbo, Star, and myself rode in together to Santa Rosa. I know that if we had sped on through the yellow light I never would have seen that jersey so what once saddened me made me joyful. Today has clearly been the best day ever in my eyes and that phrase truly means a lot to me and many cyclist in Sonoma County, Matt Wilson coined that phrase, he often would brag that he had the best day ever on his bike. I never fully understood until I started to bike that everyday can be the best day ever!