California Trip – Eat up the miles, drink in the culture

Already a couple of years ago Katharina found out about a guy who was part of the Pro-Peloton, became a journalist and slightly unsporty before he found his way back as a rider in the Pro-Tour Peloton for the Cervelo Test Team. We followed this guy on twitter and were amazed by what he achieved. One day he decided to retire as a pro rider and founded a company called “fatman tours”, specializing on showing people around on the roadbike in places he loved to ride and train and sharing his passion for good food, good wines and of course the perfect ride.

We always wanted to take part in one of his travels, but never found the time for it until that moment when he or rather Ted King announced that there would be an ingamba (the new name for fatman tours) trip in California. We decided that this would be the perfect location and as it also was the perfect timing we decided to sign up for it.

So we booked the trip, the flight and a hotel for some days of sightseeing in San Francisco just before the actual trip, and off we went.

The first days after we arrived we went for a proper sightseeing in San Francisco. We saw it all, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Lombard Street, Alcatraz Island, Legion of Honor, Fisherman’s Wharf, the painted ladies, drove the cable car, had a guided tour through China Town and so much more. We spent some amazing days there and even got a bit of a taste of the Halloween festivities in the US – neither of us had seen it in real life in the US before…

After two and a half days of sightseeing it was time to get on our bikes and get moving…

On the first day we started together with a race out of Mill Valley and took part in the first couple of kilometers before we said good bye to the racers and continued our way along the coast to our first stop – lunch break with fresh oysters right from the sea. After that we continued to Bodega Bay. There we were treated with massages and went out for a great dinner.

The first part of the the first day:

Download file: Day one Lap 1-2013-11-2.gpx

The rest of the ride after the break:

Download file: Day one Lap 2-2013-11-2.gpx

The second day led us away from the sea and into the Napa Valley. From Bodega Bay our route led us to Healdsburg. What a great day in the saddle. Even though it was pretty hilly, the views and impressions were so great, that we enjoyed every single minute. And again the stop for the break as well as the hotel and the restaurant in the evening were just the icing of the cake and made the day just perfect.

The route until the first stop:

Download file: Day two Lap 1-2013-11-3.gpx

From the stop to Healdsburg:

Download file: Day two Lap 2-2013-11-3.gpx

On the third day we went from Healdsburg to St. Helena. The majority of the group also found the correct way only the one person (me) following Joao did a little detour. Now I also know how incrumpy looks like 😉 However in the end we found our way and enjoyed again a wonderful dinner together at the Bottega, a great restaurant led by the well known chef Michael Chiarello.

Our ride on day 3:

Download file: Day three Lap 1-2013-11-4.gpx

The last day we did a short loop around St. Helena accompanied by Chef Michael Chiarello who showed us some vineyards and explained a lot about grapes and how to grow them. After the ride we had the chance to visit ZD Wines – a Winery founded by two aerospace engineers (that’s the reason for the name – ZD for Zero Defects) famous for their Abacus Cabernet Sauvignon.

With that special wine they try to blend the elegance of an older Cabernet Sauvignon with the intensity of fruit found in a younger wine. They do this by producing a multiple-vintage blend of every ZD Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ever produced, which is held in barrel until bottling. The first bottling, with the 1992 – 1998 vintages, was released November 1, 1999. Approximately 15% of the total blend was bottled in distinctive custom bottles, totaling 200 cases. The remainder was returned to barrel to await the next infusion of youthful fruit. Prior to the second bottling, the 1999 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was added to the blend. This is the ongoing cycle of the ever-evolving solera. Next to several other of there wines we even were able to taste an Abacus and can confirm that it is an extrordinary wine.

The last day’s loop:

Download file: Day four Lap 1-2013-11-5.gpx

It was a fantastic tour and with all the memories of a great trip with extraordinary treatment and wonderull people we were sure that we will book another trip with ingamba. Until then we will just watch that little movie over and over again…

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