(Back left) Leon Sorhondo, Joseph Almirantearena, Joe Choperena, Matt Etchepare, Martin Bachoc, Michel Tristant, Jon Oliden, Dan Sampior, Joseba Inaki Luzuriaga, Gratien Etchebehere, Nicole Cabalette, Jon Gouchon. (Front left) Philippe Acheritogaray, Will Law, Matt Potts, Angel Legarrea, Celeste Chain, Stephanie Etcheveria, Michelle Sampior, Jeanine Salaberry, Inaki Arostegi, Daryl Keiper, Joxerramon Bengoetxea, John Falxa, Christian Iribarren, Andoni (son), Andy Chain.
Another successful ride was had by 27 bike riders and one, 4 yrs old passenger, who kept an eye out for trouble for his father, Christian Iribarren, while sitting on the front handlebar for several hours. Besides the participants that were there, there were 27 more riders from previous rides that responded to me that were unable to make this ride for various reasons (weddings, birthdays, baptism, operations, knee and back problems, special cooking needs etc). Thanks for responding to me. I don't know what I would do if everyone showed up at the same time.
I want to offer a special "Thanks" to Philippe and Cathleen Acheritogaray for hosting their house for a wonderful time on a warm and sunny Saturday May 12, 2012. Without them and all of the previous hosts, these rides nor the commaraderie that goes along with the rides would take place.
Along with the riders we had 3 sag vehicles made up of 7 (Zazpiak Bat) outstanding sag members that kept watch on the riders. They handled an almost impossible task given by the organizer who gave complicated directions to follow but being flexible (like any good sheepherder) they were able to be where they needed to be at the right times and places. I was almost nominated for the "Xabie Award" but they didn't have the signature it takes to make it official. I must admit I had some take my side and Yvonne (my sister's vote was overturned). There were 12 new riders and 1 sag member most of whom I've never met before. It's wonderful to see people come on bike rides to get in shape and to meet each other in a neutral setting. The riders made up of both men and women from ages 4 to 70 years (Jeanine Salaberry). While we started with three routes: a short 26 mile, a medium 34 mile, and a long 44 mile distance ride to accommodate most riders abilities, we ended up with just a few short distance riders and over 20-22 riders made it a long ride for the 44 mile distance. No one did the medium ride in the end.
We will thus return to the 2 route choices in the future to simplify choices and headaches for the sag wagon crew who make it possible for most riders to chance the longer ride.
We rode from Corte Madera north to San Rafael and then east toward China Camp with stops at Roger Minondo's Chalet Basque for a rest and onto San Anselmo to the west. From there we proceeded south past Ross, Kentfield (through the commercial and back roads) and over into Mill Valley. We then headed eastbound over into Tiburon where a round trip over the rolling hills (and some awesome views of the bay looking toward SF) finished the ride back north to Corte Madera for a scrumptious lunch.
We had a couple of men (Daryl Keiper and Angel Legarrea) on mountain bikes who seemed to team up and kept with the young ladies, saying they were there to protect them in case anything happened. Then there was, Nicole Cabalette (who looks and rides like a triathlete) who decided that she was going to give the men a run for their money if they insisted on showing off. You go girl, next time Yvette (as in Gorostiage-Fantham) will hopefully join you. There was also Gratien Etchebehere who needed a bike at the last minute had someone drop one off and he hoped that his shoes would fit the pedals let alone wonder if the gears would work properly or the brakes would stop. If you get a chance to look at the slide show that Philippe put together for us, Gracien is the one who rides with his top showing with the straps over his shoulder that held his riding shorts up. Michel Tristant came from Turlock as he has for every ride so far, even with a sore back and resulted in getting the motivational award. Next time he promises to practice a little before trying out the hills of the Bay Area. Christian Iribarren, on the other hand, received the "Xabie Award" for bringing a found rusted old bicycle that only has one speed and the brakes are the type where you pedal backwards to stop. For those of you old enough to remember, those were the bikes back in 1960 when the road bikes were only 10 speeds that had shifters on the lower bar and you had to fiddle with them to get it in the right gear. His son seemed to enjoy it though, always with a big smile on his face. The decisions for giving out the awards are becoming more difficult as so many others were eligible to become recipients of the awards on this ride. We had Delfina Krakau (sag member) who is joining our Basque community in the Bay Area from Boise (I wonder why, it's a nice place to visit). We also had the Basque teachers (Joseba Inaki Luzuriaga -who gave the presentation on the movie "Guernica" that was shown at the BCC recently and Joxe Bengoetxea) joined us for the ride. Someone forgot to give Inaki a bike with a higher seat and it took its tole in the end as he changed his mind and went with the short ride. I understand that he also is training some members at the BCC on Txallaparta playing. Something to do with bouncing logs on the ground to make a beat or music (just kidding). I also heard you can build some strong arm muscles doing this.
We also had Joseph Almirantearena join us from Chino area who is also a Basque bay area plant and friend of Martin Bachoc. Speaking of Martin Bachoc, he obviously has learned the value of practice on his bike cause he got a major cramp on last year's SF ride in October and this year he rode the full 44 miles like "No Sweat Baby!" We had a Biscayan (Inaki Arostegi) from the Napa area who's been here 20 years join us on the ride as well as Stephanie Etcheverria and Celeste (Matt Etcepare's sister for ID) and husband Andy Chain. Philippe's riding buddies and neighbor also partook and had a great time with us Basques.
Everyone brought something to eat or drink for the lunch and you would think it was a food competition (see what you started, Gerald Hirigoyen - who couldn't make it the last minute). There was so much food that the Acheritogaray's had another party with the left overs. I made that up but it was quite possible.
Our next ride, hopefully, will be sometime between mid September and mid October depending on who will host the next ride. Don't be afraid to volunteer as you will have the choice of when the ride actually takes place and where the ride will start and end. Our committee will work with getting food, organization etc ASK ANYONE WHO HAS HOSTED ONE BEFORE AND THEY'LL TELL YOU IT'S VERY EASY. If you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible since each location is unique and offers different challenges that must be worked out early.
Here is information and points of interest of the ride in Marin County on May 12th, 2012.
The ride will start on Yolo Street in Corte Madera and head north to San Rafael along the bike bath towards the Larkspur Ferry Terminal (17).
As we approach the ferry terminal we will ride by the old Larkspur Trestle, which is where Clint Eastwood (Harry Callahan) was waiting for Scorpio in the 1971 film Dirty Harry. A multiuse path will eventually replace the trustle and connect to the Cal Park Hill tunnel.
The tunnel will take us to Andersen Drive, which we will follow to downtown San Rafael (5 to 22), where we'll take a right on Fourth Street, which will lead us to Point San Pedro Road (22 to 24) and past the San Rafael Marina.
We'll pass McNear's Beach (24 turns into 26) and the road will turn into North San Pedro Road as we ride through China Camp State Park, along the shores of San Pablo Bay. China Camp was an historic Chinese shrimp fishing village and was the location site for the 1955 John Wayne film Blood Alley.
We'll contiue down North San Pedro Road to the Marin County Civic Center, a landmark builing desgined by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
At this point riders on route 1 will continue on North San Pedro Road, going underneath Highway 101 and will go left on Merrydale Road, which will take you to a bike path (5) back to downtown San Rafael along side Highway 101. You will then take a right on Mission Avenue, then a left on Court Street, then right on 5th Avenue, pass Mission San Rafael and head toward San Anselmo (24).
Route 2 and 3 riders will turn right onto Civic Center Drive at the Marin Civic Center and then go on the over pass of Highway 101 at Manuel T. Frietas Parkway (28) and follow it to then end where a bike path/pedestrian way will take you to Fairfax and then San Anselmo (20).
From San Anselmo you'll ride into the town of Ross via Shaddy Lane, which comes up to Ross School, which is where one of the scenes from the 1972 film The Godfather was shot, where Michael (Al Pacino) makes Kay (Diane Keaton) an offer she can't refuse.
In Ross you will make a right on Ross Common (15) and will ride through Kentfield and Larkspur (15). Route 1 riders will make a left onto Williams Avenue and get on the bike path at Chanticleer Avenue (16), which will take them back to Yolo Street (17).
Route 2 & 3 riders will continue down Magnolia Avenue to Corte Madera and then to Mill Valley and will make a left on East Blithedale Avenue heading to Tiburon (10). At Blackies's Pasture, Route 2 riders will take Trestle Glen Blvd back to Corte Madera (17).
Route 1 riders will continue to Tiburon and then back to Corte Madera (10 turns into 17 after downtown Tiburon).