Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wine Tour

The Willamette Valley, the river that runs north/south here into the Columbia, is very fertile land.  I guess some ungodly amount of the United States grass seed is grown here.  Plus grapes.  Lots of em.  Including this finicky one called the Pinot Noir.  What do I know though?  I'm a beer conisseour not a wine one.  In fact this was my first time.  Yes.  A virgin.

So we had to get up this morning at like 5 am to drive an hour south to Salem, OR for a wine tasting tour by bicycle.  Cool idea eh?  Heidi actually set it up (even cooler) and she's been training for it all summer.  She's been saying the whole time "30 miles, I have to get ready to ride 30 miles".  I guess they usually have a long and a short route.  I never bothered to go to the website and check.  So when she picks up the regstration packet I start reading and the short route is 45 miles!  And she only starting riding a bike this year!  Her longest ride was the bridge pedal two weeks ago at 26 miles.  This is almost double!  I'm thinking "Wholly sh*t.  She's going to die out there."  But I just try and play it cool so it doesn't freak her out.  I can tell she's a little worried though but she always tries to make the best of it.  And for that well... I'm here aren't I?

Anyway, there were quite alot of people there today.  180+ in fact.  I was actually surprised at the number of tandems.  Pretty cool.

The short route basically was and out and back.  Out to 1 winery and back to the starting winery.  We tasted some wine and I had Heidi all faked out thinking I'd done it before.  When we got back to the starting winery and did our second tasting I told her this was my first time and she was all surprised.  Anyway there just all sour grapes right?

They had 2 water stops plus served lunch at the 1st winery.  At the finish they served a whole BBQ and more wine.  This was top notch food too.  All very good and all this for just $65 bucks.  Not bad.

So how'd Heidi do?  Well after a lot of mental struggling throughout the day.  We kind of thought I should ride ahead and get the truck and come back for her.  At the first winery we were at 22 miles.  She started faltering a little though.  The hill climbs were taking their toll and it was hot.  High 90's.  She was getting baked going 3-4 mph up some of the hills with the sun beating down and the pavement reflecting that heat back up.  I bet it was 100+.  I felt really bad for her.  Anway we decided to take it in steps.  I would also ride in front so she could draft.  This was her first time doing that and she did it very well.  I had to keep looking back in case she fell off to slow down but I think it went well.  Anway she made it to 30 miles no problem.  So she thought, "Let's just try and see how far I can get."  So we start riding the 15 miles back.  At about 33 I thought she was cooked.  The heat.  The sweat.  The hills.  And she ended up walking, her first time ever, up 1 of the hills.  This was definately her "wall".  Well, she kept going.  After leaving at 8 am we rolled into the winery at 3 pm and she had completed a 45 mile ride.  Well done I must say.  There's alot of people out there who couldn't do that, nor wouldn't even attempt it, or would have bitched and moaned the whole way.  I can't say enough about how impressed I was.

Of course we can't stop there can we?  Next year we need to do the 70 miler because it adds an additional winery and a ferry ride across the Willamette.  She's in bed sleeping right now totally exhausted (it's 6:30 pm) - poor thing.  Maybe I should schedule it now and tell her it's only 45 miles...

Pics here.  I'm too tired to style this.

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