The 2010 Konocti Challenge

7 Oct

Lakeport sign welcoming cyclists

Lakeport sign welcoming cyclists

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to ride the 100km 2010 Konocti Challenge– a beautiful and, as its namesake implies, challenging route around Clear Lake. The ride began on the lake’s western shore before sunrise, winding around the perimeter of the lake and up a few moderate climbs- one of which is fondly nicknamed “The Wall” by locals.

Curiously enough, my first challenge was just getting to Clear Lake, a 2 hour drive from where I live. A 4am wake up was required to compensate for travel/exploring time. Luckily, the directions to the starting point in Lakeport were relatively straightforward, perfect for driving at dark-thirty-in-the-morning.

Sunrise from the eastern shore

Sunrise from the eastern shore

I arrived, checked-in, and received a map, cue-sheet and elevation profile for the day’s ride. The 100km total climb was 2,200′ with low and high points at 1,330′ and 1,820′ respectively. Without a moment of pre-dawn to lose, I took off following the lake’s perimeter northward with whispers of sunrise shimmering from the western shore.

Around mile 45 I hit “The Wall” a steep, short segment of a longer 9% graded climb. The ascent received its endearing namesake because it hits right after a welcome, but ultimately deceiving descent. I lost all momentum a few meters (if that) into the climb. It was a good time.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

There were a few sweet descents with incredible views of the lake. In fact, for safety reasons, I had to stop and take a picture mid descent rather than ogle without regard to the twisting road ahead. While the roads were relatively traffic free, this particular descent was a slightly technical, winding its way down from a peak to the lake’s shore.

Sporting the B&B jersey!

Sporting the B&B jersey!

But what would a ride be without its rest stops? The 100km had 4 themed rest stops along the route and at the end of the ride, riders would vote for their favorite. The rest stop winner would receive funds for their particular charity, so each one was chalk-full of goodies and good times vying for rider’s final votes. While I never tarried long, the second to last rest stop was right at the crest of a climb so I opted to get of the saddle and mingle, giving my bum a rest and letting my legs stretch out for a bit. This particular rest stop, was run by a charity which sends care packages to soldiers abroad, and since it was the one rest stop I actually stopped at, it received my vote in the end.

Boats on Clear Lake

Boats on Clear Lake

I finished the ride midday and was greeted by the scent of BBQ and the sound of music playing from Main Street where the Lakeport Oktoberfest was just getting started. Despite the myriad of festivities during the day, I didn’t stay in town too long. I had a long drive home and Sunday’s Surf City AIDS Ride was already at the forefront of my mind.

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