Grizzlies in Mendocino County, Campovida Gran Fondo (Sept. 4, 2011)

well, thanks to Ivan (and the Marks) for leading the TM & M rides to Davis on Saturday. Sounds like all had a grand time…
meanwhile, Ben & I were up in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, mapping out a shortish warmup ride on the quiet roads around Healdsburg (Lytton Springs, Dry Creek, West Dry Creek) and wine-tasting on Saturday, followed by the Campovida Harvest Ride on Sunday ( Pleasant surprise to see Chris Bailey, also up for that event, at rest stops 1 – 3 and at the finish (finished well ahead of us), as well as Tom Darcy (Dancy? oops? i don’t think i have email address, or would have cc’d), at the top of Hwy 253 (between Booneville and Ukiah) and at the end.

For those not familiar with this ride (or perhaps more importantly, for those who may have ridden it in the past), I encourage you to try this century in future. This is a small-scale century ride that benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah, also offering shorter loops (11, 26 and metric-century) for less-addicted family members. Last year Ben & I did the ride for our first time and enjoyed the low-key element. At that time, the start/finish was at Fetzer Winery in Hopland, which has since been purchased by a Chilean wine company, Magnanimous, but continues its tradition of organic gardening and land stewardship. The new “caretakers” of the land, Gary and Anna, have renamed the property “Campovida” and done some remodeling since they moved there, and also seem to understand cycling better so were more involved in the planning: for instance, the ride (now in its 13th year) has finally been re-routed to include less pointless meandering around the flats/neighborhoods of Ukiah, and more climbing into interesting areas of the countryside between Ukiah and Hopland in the second 1/2 of the course, including a nice traverse with beautiful views across the top of Lake Mendocino Dam. Another nice addition this year was a “time-trial” ascent from Rest Stop #2 at Anderson Valley Brewing Company ( in Booneville to the summit of Hwy 253, which for me really removed some of the pain and mental focus on the rising heat out of the climb, providing a tangible goal and a lot of motivation to continue grinding out the meters to the top, and a reason to try to pass those folks up ahead who had started in front of me! I think many will agree I put in perhaps the most exuberant finish to that time-trial portion, as it comes immediately after the hardest, steepest portion and right before you get to it you are rounding a corner and can hear folks talking …. so a chance to put on full power for a sprint to the end. FUN!!

A minor drawback (but characteristic of multiple-course events with a “family” ride component, as opposed to an event which offers only “century” or maybe “full and metric” versions of same), is that about 1/2 of the full-century participants return after beating against the wind for the last 20 miles to find the party almost over, musicians packing up, BBQ chicken and pulled pork all but depleted (while those who did the 11, 26 and 60-mile courses — or many who signed up for the full-century but bailed out to shortcuts, rounding out their ride to a metric length — had enjoyed a full meal w/ live entertainment. And that’s not necessarily because we were so slow (Ben’s saddle time was 7:02, mine was 7:20 and we finished about 3:15pm), but because the event planners forget to plan to accommodate those who have actually done the whole ride and earned the meal…. harrrummmph!! That said, there was certainly an abundance of food and support throughout the ride, with 6 or 7 rest stops (including sandwiches at mile 65), so one is almost too full to eat at the finish anyway…. one thing the planners also did which I thought was special was that the sponsors of each rest stop were acknowledged on the route sheet, as each stop literally was provided by/sponsored by a different organization: Redwood Health Club, Anderson Brewing Co., Barra Winery, Boy Scout Troup #xx, Schat’s Bakery, etc..

large woven shopping bag filled with various flyers and coupons for area businesses and non-profits
Mendocino County Visitors’ Guide
woven shopping bag from Raley’s
pocket sized sun screen and lip balm (provided by Skunk Train)
tire boot (provided by Dr. Sprocket)
water bottle (provided by Dave’s Bike Shop in Ukiah)

Good time had by one and all. See you next year on the ride, maybe?

Photos to come (still in Ben’s camera), possibly with another entry to his blog???


Sherie Reineman
bikedive at

p.s. – driving distance to / from the event in Hopland from the Bay Area (we’re in Albany, for instance) is approx. 2-1/2 hours, so quite manageable even after a long bike ride. I would have opted to make it a 3-day weekend, but am actually happy today to have returned early evening (6:15pm) last night and to have today for chores, etc.

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1 Response to Grizzlies in Mendocino County, Campovida Gran Fondo (Sept. 4, 2011)

  1. nuptiopter says:

    Aha – i also forgot about the other, very important and appreciated piece of SWAG: cycling socks! (to fit Women size 6+ and Men 6-12???); lucky me, the socks are acrylic or polypro, so I get Ben’s pair, too!!

    I do support the concept of multiple-route, family-component loops… it’s wonderful that Chris and others could do their cycling thing and bring the family to enjoy the time, too. I have some good response/feedback from Tom Zimlich (organizer) who says they made a miscalculation on some wrong information about how many riders were still out on the course … and were also serving overly large portions to the early birds

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