King’s Ridge Ride Report

The funniest thing about this pic is, I honestly tried to NOT look like that….it was pouring….

I had only ever heard about the King’s Ridge Ride, I’d never done it. I had an appointment in the Santa Rosa area last Saturday and so I planned in advance to stay overnight in the area and do this ride on Sunday with one of my favorite training partners. He said that Levi Leipheimer had been known to say that this ride has built him up and broken him down and made him into the rider he is today. I’m pretty picky about who I ride with, otherwise I just ride/train alone. Rich reminds me of another one of my favorite training partners who is in Southern Utah – Dave. They both know right where to push me to that edge, and then they push a little harder. They don’t mind if I talk or if I’m silent for 20 miles.

The weather said ‘showers’. One hour into our ride it started to rain, and I mean ‘monsoon sheets’ of rain, and it rained for 3 1/2 hours straight.

‘You got mud all over your face woman’
‘Yea? What guy doesn’t like a dirty girl’
‘Yea……and I ain’t gonna clean you up’

We got to the top of one of the climbs where there’s a buddhist retreat and a water fountain. It was still pouring and I went and stood underneath a tree for cover…..and immediately fired it from its’ job. We were delirious at this point and there was nothing to do but laugh. I laughed so hard I got a side-ache.
‘Man girl, I admire you for being out here’
‘You’re out here with me!!?’
‘Yea, but I’m just stupid…….’

We passed a guy running in an over-sized poncho and 70’s style running shorts and Rich said ‘Hey, I see that guy out here running all the time!’ The conversation went like this as we passed him:

‘Hey I see you all the time!’ ‘Hey I see you all the time too!’ ‘Have a good ride!’ ‘Have a good run!’

I couldn’t help but think of all my running friends and realized that we’re all a little bit….nuts.

We went for long periods of silence and then had all sorts of conversations. We geeked out on gear ratios, watts/kg and training plans. We talked about the recent devastation in Japan. We talked about the amazing training and racing grounds we have here in NorCal and everything I’m doing to keep ‘chasing my dream’. About half way through the ride (still experiencing 25 mph cross winds and side-ways rain) I was super stoked because this was my third hard day in a row and my body was responding! I felt sooo strong!
It rained so hard we couldn’t see 50 feet in front of us. It rained so hard that on the climbs, the water came pouring down the road in miniature waves. It rained so hard that as I kept squeezing my hand into a fist, I could watch the water swell to the surface of the fingers on my gloves and pour out onto the pavement.
‘And I was ALIVE.’

We finally reached HWY 1, which runs along the cliff and I could see the ocean. It felt like there was as much water in the ocean as there was in the ether directly over it. I said ‘I have to pee’ and he said, ‘We can stop in Jenner – it’s 5 miles up the coast.’ We descended down the coast and it just got colder and colder and colder. After 3 hours of rain, the novelty had run its’ course. I felt like my body had crossed a line…into survival mode. We stopped at a gas station in Jenner and I got off my bike and realized I couldn’t walk a straight line. I also couldn’t see straight. I went inside to get water and walked aimlessly around and slurred the sentence ‘There’s no water?!’ Rich pointed at an in-your-face-wall-of-water-bottles and said ‘Grab one!’ I still couldn’t decide which one I wanted. I don’t really remember everything I ate, but I do remember sharing a bag of salt and vinegar potatoe chips with him, burying my face in my wet gloves. We walked outside and I started to shiver uncontrollably. He looked at me with genuine concern and said

‘Are you going to be okay?’

‘How much further?’

’19 miles………but I can TT all the way back to the car and come back to get you!!’
I threw my leg over my top tube and said ‘ We have to ride hard all the way back or I’m going to go into hypothermia….’

He kept a close eye on me and I counted……it took 8 miles until I was warm enough to crack another joke…

‘Hey, it stopped raining…..’

We pulled into Occidental, hurried into the car in our wet clothes as it started to pour down rain again and laughed all the way until we got to a place to grab some dinner. I actually felt strong at the end of that 5 hour, 71 mile, ~6,000′ climbing, character building, mental and physical training, bike ride that I will never forget. Those are the rides that ‘break you down and build you up and make you into the rider you become.’

And I was grateful for the experience. I can’t wait to ride it again.

8 Responses to “King’s Ridge Ride Report”

  1. velogirl says:

    written like the true bad-ass you are! LOVE those roads and it seems you had a GREAT ride.

  2. John C says:

    Holy shit…you really are a S T U D.

  3. Jason Thorpe says:

    Awesome. Rules #5 and #9 in full effect!

  4. Bob B says:

    Loved your comments re: 25mph crosswinds and being stoked as well as “It took 8 miles…” I take my helmet off to you.

  5. Fantastic read. I felt like I was there experiencing it too. Living in Upstate NY, I deal with enough wind and rain, and I understand how it can drag you down. Amazing ride. You are inspiring.

  6. […] only ever done one ride report before this one, and that was for King’s Ridge. The trend then seems to be for those rides that hold significance in both length, scenery & […]

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