California 2013

California 2013

Heidi, Mark, Gina and I had been planning this trip for a couple of years now…  We loaded up my bike, golf clubs and Gina’s ‘handmade animals on a plaque’ and flew to San Jose, California.   It was a super early flight and my bike box on the car rack made everyone nervous except for me, but it didn’t fall off.  Our flight went super smoothly, we rented a mini van that fit all of our stuff and drove straight to Carmel Valley Village, California.  We had an excellent lunch at Corkscrew (including a meyer lemon pizza), unloaded all of our gear and relaxed in the California sun at Fattoria Muia.  Heaven.

The girls had dinner at Rancho Cielo for a charity dinner.  I understand it was really cool.  Carl, Mark, Jeremy and I went for sushi.  Um.  I like California.2013cali01


The next day, we all got up and began setting up for the annual craft fair the Muia’s put on.  There were a ton of vendors with a lot of amazing items for sale.  It was really great.  Heidi loved it!2013cali07

Mark and I loved it too, but after a few hours we decided to do a ride he’s been promising me about for years.  Cachagua.  The climb starts 5 miles east of Fattoria Muia and climbs for about 2 1/2 miles.  Beautiful, winding pavement that apparently heats up by noon.  We were there at 10:30 and it was already smoking heading up that hill.  It was great!

Strava Link


This is what we arrived home to!  Homemade pizza straight out of the outdoor pizza oven!  Perfect!2013cali03

Carl and the dogs joined us in our post-ride relaxing session.2013cali042013cali052013cali06

The next day Mark took me out for a ride over Laureles Grade, through Monterey, down 17 Mile drive past Pebble Beach and through Carmel-by-the-Sea and back to Carmel Valley.    49 miles of awesomeness.  I was beginning to see what Mark’s fitness level was and I was scared.  Crazy strong boy.

Strava Link


Once we got back from the ride, we jumped in the minivan with the girls and headed north to Moss Landing and specifically, Phil’s Fish Market.  The line to get in was long, but totally worth it.  Great weather, excellent food.2013cali10

The next day, Mark and I played golf at Rancho Canada while the girls went by Tina’s work and then got mannies and petties.  Not bad.2013cali11

We spent the early afternoon hanging out at Fattoria Muia and Mark took some pictures with my XE-1.2013cali122013cali132013cali14

We’d been hearing about this crazy little restaurant that only operates one day a week and is located out in the middle of nowhere.  So, the entire group loaded up in the minivan and headed over the Cachagua Pass to the Cachagua General Store.  What an experience!  Incredible food, interesting ambience, a fun band and incredible food.  Wait.  I already said that.  That’s just how good the food was.  REALLY, REALLY good.2013cali152013cali162013cali172013cali182013cali192013cali202013cali212013cali22

The next morning we got up late, didn’t ride down HWY 1, but did stop and get coffee and breakfast at the Carmel Coffee Company.  Then we drove the 4 hours to Santa Barbara.  What a beautiful town!2013cali23

Heidi and Gina had breakfast while Mark and I did our death ride up Gibraltar.2013cali24


Gibraltar: Almost 4000 feet in about 10 miles.  10% grade for most of it.  Brutal.  Mark put me to shame, again.


Strava Link2013cali25

We spent some of the rest of the afternoon laying by the rooftop pool at the Canary Hotel.  Boy, was this luxury.  The drinks were FAAABBBULLLSsssss.  Mark and I had places to go, though…2013cali26

Like the Amgen Tour of California.  Here Mark is waiting for someone to come by at 45 mph…  Who would it be???2013cali27

It’s Tyler Ferrar (in blue), who passed Ken Hanson in the last 50 meters for his first win in a LONG time.  It was awesome.2013cali28

Mark found his hero, 2011 Paris-Roubaix champion Johan Vansummeren.  He’s 6’6″ tall and weighs 170.  Pretty ridiculous.  He wasn’t in a great mood to have  photos taken (understandably after a tough stage), but it was cool mingling with the pros.2013cali292013cali30

My favorite of the day was world champion Thor Hushovd, twice green jersey winner and 10 stage wins of the Tour de France amongst his huge palmeres.2013cali31

Heidi was even having fun!2013cali32

Andy Schleck was in a good mood.2013cali33

The next morning we walked down to watch the start of the next stage.  Here’s Dave Zabriskie yucking it up with some of his other Garmin teammates.2013cali34

After a great breakfast and packing up, we drove up the road Solvang and Los Olivos, where we did some wine tasting.  Randomly along the freeway, we spotted a helicopter filming the live coverage of the race.  We were only 15 minutes from the finish, so we zipped off the freeway and down to Avila beach.  We grabbed spaces along the railing and watched my all-time favorite rider win in an amazing breakaway.  Jens Voigt.  Boy, was I stoked!!!2013cali35

The next morning, Mark and I beat the heat and again rode up Cachagua, then up to Arroyo Seco Pass.  Beautiful.

Strava Link2013cali36

That evening we headed down to Carmel-by-the-Sea and watched surfers at the beach.  Boy, was it beautiful out there.2013cali38

Carmel beach near the ranch.2013cali37

We met up with Tina, Carl and Charlotte at the Carmel Ranch for a fantastic meal.  Apparently Clint Eastwood bought this beautiful piece of property to preserve it from development.2013cali39


The next day, we drove down to Monterey, hit the beach and then the pier for a yummy seafood lunch.  That afternoon we went up to the Village and did some wine tasting at Talbots, followed by dinner at the Running Iron.  So good!2013cali40

Mark was having fun, especially when the boys proved our dominance at Bocci.2013cali412013cali42

Thanks so much to Mark and Gina for entertaining us for 10 days.  It was really great.  And thanks to Tina, Carl and Charlotte for hosting us at their beautiful Trattoria Muia.  We couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

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