I finished Levi’s Gran Fondo on Saturday and didn’t think I’d be riding much the rest of my trip. 


My original Sunday plans didn’t work out, so I had the entire day until my 6:30 pm flight to find something to do. I had my fast bike, an extra change of clean clothes, a ride buddy, and a route with promised spectacular views. Why not?!

It took some figuring out — would the timing work so I could still return my bike for boxing and shipping? Could I do it and not miss my flight? Could my legs do another ride after Levi’s the day before??

Yes, yes, and YES!

And oh man, I’m so glad I did it. That ride ranks up there among the most beautiful rides I’ve done so far, especially the first 20 or so miles. Holy cow. Here are some of the pictures I got along the way.

Levi's Gran Fondo 2018
Click the bike picture to see a full album of all the pictures I took.
Marin Ride: Alpine Dam
Alpine Dam and an alpine dame.
Marin Ride: This Is Great
Partway to the top.
Marin Ride: The View
Dang, I was hoping for a view. (!!!)
Shooting Meteor 3
Rare action shot… John got so far ahead on the descent that he took a nap, woke up, and then got this picture as I went by.
Marin Ride: San Francisco and a Blue Angel
It was Fleet Week in San Francisco, so we got to see Blue Angels doing tricks.

Once we got about 15 miles from the end, I was really ready to just head back, honestly. Plus it got substantially less picturesque and substantially more suburban. So no more pictures. 

Oh, on that ride I also met a gal named Lexi Miller (very fast and fit-looking, like every other woman I saw on the road that morning. I felt very humbled. I used to feel fast; this ride reminded me that there are a zillion women faster than me. Get out and work harder, girl!)… anyway, this gal Lexi Miller designs women’s bike clothes! She was wearing this design and now I want one. So cool.

We finished riding right about 2:00 pm, leaving me plenty of time to get back to Santa Rosa, drop my bike off, take a shower (my fellow airline passengers probably really appreciated that touch, or would’ve if they’d known the alternative), gas up the rental car (holy crap, gas is expensive! And I had a Prius!), get a Subway sandwich, and arrive at the airport with tons of extra time.

I was on a turboprop. It was loud and uncomfortable, but when I took a picture of the props with my phone…

What the Propeller
What?!!!!1 and also, WHY?!

In any case, to summarize, I really can’t overstate how great it was to spend Sunday on a low-key and super-scenic ride with a friend who wasn’t trying to crush it. Just to ride for fun. Levi’s Gran Fondo was great, but I had so many hopes and anxiety about it. Sunday’s ride washed all that stuff away. It really took the trip from an 10 to an 11.

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