Last week was about homecomings and the first one involved my return to the Cycle Analysis team. After a little over a year of riding for another shop, I realized I was still spending most of my group riding time with my old teammates. I missed those guys and Jana was gracious enough to welcome me back. But, enough about that. On to the other homecoming.
This one was a literal homecoming. My friend, Ruth, and I loaded up our bikes and headed down to the land of my forefathers (well, a couple at least), the land of big trees, the land of green: Humboldt County. With so many reasons to be excited about a trip, the one that matters most to the few of you out there that will actually read this is the new bike!!
Cycle Analysis is the new local dealer for Masi bikes and I had just picked up my Evoluzione a couple days earlier and was itching to get my first ride in. I decided it may as well be somewhere worthy of a first ride so we headed to Ferndale, CA. Most of you have heard of the Unknown Coast. Some of you have experienced it. For those that don’t know, it’s a stretch of Northern California coastline with very limited access and, consequently, even more limited traffic. Oh, and hills. Lots of good hills to climb.
Due to time constraints, we decided to park at Cape Town and start our adventure by immediately heading down South and up a climb after a very short warm up.
We warmed up plenty fast and after having climbed 900 feet in just over 1.5 miles, we were ready for some descending. Descending the roads in most of Humboldt county isn’t just fun, it’s an adventure. I would estimate the vehicle to pothole ratio at 1:1, as in the number of vehicles in California is equal to the number of potholes in just the 16 mile stretch of road we enjoyed over our out and back ride.
But, they are worth it. The coastline there is amazing and after the steep, fast descent we were cruising south on a relatively flat course making our way to the small town of Petrolia, which is about 5 miles inland from the ocean.
Always looking for an excuse to chomp on a Payday bar, we took a break at the halfway point and did some people watching for a few minutes. Petrolia is right in the heart of pot country and despite a lot of dirty looks from the locals trying to decide if they should comment on our amazing lycra badassness, we managed to escape unscathed.
While the sky had been overcast on the way out, it hadn’t been too cold. Now, the sun was starting to peak out and it became downright nice.
Like I said earlier, I grew up in Humboldt County, lived there my first 28 years, and have ridden the Tour of the Unknown Coast century 3 times. I know what’s there and what to expect. It’s still an amazing experience and, being Ruth’s first visit to the area, it was even more fun being able to share in the awe with her.
By the time we were approaching the infamous “Wall” I was ready to give the new steed a true test. It passed with flying colors and got me up to the top of the “Wall” climb a full 6 minutes faster than my previous best! It was a joy to climb with the Masi! Well, as much a joy as it could be under the painful circumstances.
While it wasn’t close to the big rides the Masi can expect to see, it was still a good gauge. Overall, the ride was smooth, the Ultegra 11 speed shifted flawlessly, and at 17 lbs, it was light enough to dance (plod in my case) up the hills! Truthfully, though, my favorite thing about the bike was my ability to ride easily with no hands. I’ve always thought I just wasn’t good at keeping my balance. Maybe I’m not, but as soon as I tried it on the Evoluzione, it felt like freedom. Now I know what it’s like to remove a jacket while riding without the fear of taking out an entire peloton thanks to the balance this bike has.
So, that’s it. I was happy to go home to Humboldt and I’m so excited to be back home at Cycle Analysis.
Thanks, Ruth, for pushing me up the hills and for the photo of the Wall!
Thanks, Jana and everyone on the Cycle A team for taking me back. I know I’m the problem child.