“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The word faux means “false” or “to pretend”: Therein formed many Grippers’ strategy for this year’s Tour of the Unknown Coast. Having participated in this grueling 100-mile bicycle ride every year since 2007, the Grippers fully understood the level of fitness and commitment to pain required to complete “California’s Toughest Century”. After a little introspection, most of us quickly concluded we had little enthusiasm for the torturous climbs up “The Wall” and “Endless Hills”.
This year’s event was the tale of two rides. Five Grippers took on the tradition 100-mile “loop from hell” while ten Grippers opted for a much less taxing Faux TUC (100K ride to Benbow). The later turned out to be a fortuitous choice as it started to pour minutes after the start. The only recourse was to pedal steadily to keep from freezing to death while avoiding wet cow manure sprayed from the tire in front. Thirty miles down the road at Deyerville the two courses diverged and we wished our 100-mile brethren safe travels. They would endure pounding rain, exhausting climbs, treacherous descents, horrific pavement, and a brutal 25mph headwind. It was everything they could have hoped for…
The main group continued down the spectacular (albeit wet) Avenue of the Giants. I cannot understate how beautiful it was on that stretch of the ride. Our fabulous SAG crew kept us feed, watered, and encouraged along our journey. The rain eventually petered out and the ride ended with an exhilarating 1-mile descent to the Historic Benbow Inn.
Once there, we expected to celebrate with a grand lunch and beers all around. Despite efforts to notify the Inn in advance of our arrival, our lunch plans were dashed. Let’s just say they won’t be making the “Gripper Approved Restaurant List” anytime soon.
Things worked out as many of us made it back to Trinity Village by 5pm to begin the celebration in earnest. Danny “Bro” made his first visit to the G-Pound and brought along “a handle” of some of his moonshine whiskey (which was tremendous…really!)