le tour de napa

100 miles. Even though I think this was my sixth or seventh 100 miler and my third time doing this particular ride, it doesn’t get any easier. I think I might have been faster on the flats this year, but I was really dying on the hills. It’s probably because I’ve been fat and lazy this year, not really doing any training except for the buffet kind. (I like to think of it as carb loading, but in truth it’s just me being a fatty.)

This year for the first time I brought music on the ride to listen to. It’s funny how the music that was playing seemed to be appropriate to the situation. While I was pedaling up Mt Veeder Road, the first major climb, the song that was playing was “No Air” by Jordin Sparks. While struggling up that hill, it definitely felt like I was dying from lack of air. The second song that played during that climb was Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me,” which ends with the words “Are we having fun yet?” Afterwards I shut off my music and started listening for the sweet bagpipe sounds that signaled the end of the climb.

Sweet music to a biker’s ears. After a short break we started the exhilarating, white knuckling, bone rattling descent into the first rest stop. The song that was playing was “Down” by Jay Sean. “Baby are you down down down down downnnnnnn…….” I seriously hope not. Going down here equals shattered collar bone at the very least.

Up until lunch the rest of the ride is kinda uneventful, relatively flat and easy. There’s one section right before the lunch stop where the 65 mile course and the 100 mile course parallel each other, but in opposite directions.  So I was watching the 65 mile riders and noticed that all the cute athletic asian girl riders ride that course. I smiled at some of them from across the road and got a couple of cute smiles back. Last year I remember Paul saying that he got lost and ended up riding on the other course. I totally understand why now. I think if I ever ride the Tour of Napa again, I might get “lost” too and ride on that 65 mile course. Anyways, so what was the song playing at the time?  “Hey Soul Sister” by Train.

After lunch is the second climb, the dreaded “Ink Grade.” Last year I trained like crazy for the ride, so at the top I remember thinking it wasn’t that bad. This year I started the first half really quickly, actually hitting 11 or 12 miles an hour and thinking, “What the heck? This isn’t the big bad hill I remember.” Then at the halfway mark it started getting steep and I was dying. The last two miles were incredibly painful. It’s amazing how slow time moves when you’re struggling uphill. The 20 or 30 minutes it took to climb those last 2 miles felt like hours.  I guess by this time I had listened to all the songs on my phone, so “No Air” played again.

The descent after Ink Grade is amazingly smooth and fast. This year I hit 43 miles an hour. I was actually passing cars. It seems like my top speed on this portion goes up every year, which probably means I’m getting slightly fatter each year.

Me and Jiro met with Dave at the last rest stop, and then from there we rode the last 12 miles in paceline formation, taking turns pulling. At one point there was another paceline of 3 girls, they were taking up the whole bike lane so we ended up following them for a while. When there was finally room to pass them, they yelled, “You SUCK!” I guess they thought we were drafting off of them when in reality we were just waiting for them to move….. I totally would’ve let them draft off of us though if they were able to keep up with our line….Anyways the song that played at this point was, “Two is Better Than One.” Which makes sense not from the boy/girl relationship stuff, but in the sense that biking as a team is easier than biking alone. Taking turns pulling in a stiff headwind makes the ride so much easier.


  • distance: 99.26 miles (my cyclocomputer dropped out for a few miles, my total mileage was about 102 miles…)
  • ride time: 7 hours 11 minutes
  • avg speed: 13.8 mph
  • max speed: 43.2 mph

With this last ride the odometer on my bike is just over 3000 miles. It’s kinda hard to believe that this lazy fatty has actually biked that much over the last three years….

4 thoughts on “le tour de napa

  • August 25, 2010 at 9:14 am

    very nice.. yeah getting lost was so easy last year ;p

  • February 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Wow, you rode all that with the bianchi?


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