Sunday, June 5, 2011

Great Western Bike Rally

Two weeks ago, the JPR met her maker. So to speak. We packed up the car and headed down to Paso Robles for the 47th annual Great Western Bike Rally, where the JPR (as a newly minted Schwinn Paramount Series 3) was raffled off back in 1994.

We met Ralph and Laverne Boethling, who were the dynamic duo behind the GWBR for several decades, and who we learned purchased two identical 1992 Series 3 Paramounts from a friend who owned a local bike shop to include as the grand prizes for the raffle. Apparently both bikes were bought for $500 of Ralph and Laverne's own money! It would be cool to find out who won the other Paramount that year (1994). Maybe some day they'll see this post and get in touch?

We displayed the JPR at the Concourse de Elegance at the Rally, and although it didn't win a "best in show" honor, a lot of folks got to see the final result and read up about the project. It was a lot of fun to tell the story, and some people actually remembered the raffle from that year - I created a little a sign summarizing the rebuild:

Here's some iPhone video of Ralph and Laverne (who, incidentally, won the coed 60+ time trial earlier that day) checking out the JPR, and a few other shots of the display:

JPR on display at the Great Western Bike Rally
Talking to Ralph about the rebuild

The GWBR features over 20 different rides, including short, kid-friendly rides, wine-tasting rides, and metric or full centuries. We took the JPR out on her inaugural tour (non-commute ride) on Saturday, cycling about 22 miles out to Star Farms, a private residence with a giant pond and smoothie cabana, complete with sandy beach and palm trees. It was a bizarre scene to find in a landscape of back roads and vast farming plots, but it was a good ride to see how the JPR would handle longer distances - very comfortably, as it turns out!

Star Farms

I had signed up for the metric century on Sunday, but ended up going for a ride with a bunch of folks who were camped next to us, several of whom were riding custom Rivendell bikes:

Custom Rivendell, all Brooks'ed up
I rode the JPR with them on a route out to the Pacific and back, racking up 62 miles and 4400 feet of climbing. About halfway, right after lunch, we had a 10-mile stretch fighting brutal 20+ mph headwinds up the coast. I took my turns, along with the two gents featured in the following clip, pulling the group along. Both of these guys, each twice my age, then proceeded to catch and drop me on the final climb. So I would say I've got a little more training to do before next year...

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I highly recommend next year's Rally to anyone who might be interested. Here are some more pics from the weekend:

10 miles into the first "real" tour with the JPR, trying out a camelbak on the front rack. It was actually more of a pain that simply wearing it on my back, which I did on the following day's ride.
JPR overlooking a reservoir on one of the big climbs along Sunday's 62 miler
Father-in-law re-debuting his Roubaix on the way to Star Farms
Climbing out towards the coast
Returning to Paso...
...along the scenic route

At some point in the past, I got the notion that the Central Coast was devoid of hills. I was wrong:

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