The Great Western Bicycle Rally is great!
It's maybe the best bike event in the state.
For twenty-five years now we've gone there in May
To visit with friends while we camp out and play.
Our favorite ride isn't one on the list –
We ride to the mission with one tiny twist.
On Saturday morning when breakfast is done,
We're slathered in lotion to block out the sun,
And mounting our trikes we roll out and go forth,
Then head down the river (which, oddly, flows north)
We ride to the mission in old San Miguel
Past hills of ripe wheat and alfalfa as well.
The bridge into town is a nice downhill cruise,
Where bikers can go just as fast as they choose.
The mission's the heart of a village that seems
Like some dusty relic of John Steinbeck's dreams,
A piece of the forties still living today;
It's almost a ghost town just off the highway.
The mission is much more authentic than most
Of those in the series that runs up the coast.
We visit the mission (its bathrooms are clean)
And chat with some tourists and cyclists we've seen,
Some folks who are riding with trailers in tow,
And dreading the climb back up on the plateau.
We're happy to share such a wonderful day,
But hop on our trikes and we pedal away.
We climb up the bluff as the day starts to warm,
Then take a sharp left and we head to Star Farm.
This small private farm is the rally's real treat;
Its pool is a great place for cooling our feet,
To rest weary muscles, enjoying the shade,
With frozen fruit smoothies the kids there have made,
We nibble some cookies, bananas of course,
Then ride away feeling a tinge of remorse,
'Cause Star Farm is one of those places we'll miss
And think about later as we reminisce.
The tablelands east of the river are dry,
The fields are soft beige with a brilliant blue sky.
The road is a series of steep ups and downs;
We smile coasting down but then climb back with frowns.
Estrella Creek's barely a trickle most years;
We cross it and shift down to moderate gears
To climb up again as we ride Airport Road
Enjoying the sweet smell of hay freshly mowed.
The Wellsona turnoff comes up pretty fast,
Halfway down a hill, so it's quite often passed
By bikers enjoying the breeze on their cheeks
Descending the last of a series of peaks.
Just after the turn there's a long shallow drop;
Back down to the river we're coasting nonstop,
Then back to our camp by the route that we came –
But cycling the opposite way's not the same.
The road runs upriver, but seems to slope down,
We're whizzing along as we roll back to town.
It's narrow, with traffic, but after the bridge
Right under the highway, we ride past a ridge,
That looms on the east with the river just west;
The shade in this section is what I like best.
An odd little fork, two quick right turns and then
A gradual downhill and we're home again.
Our ride was quite nice and we all had good times;
Star Farm and the mission were well worth the climbs.
But after it's over it's almost as nice,
To head for the shower; it seems like a vice
To linger and soak in the wet splashing spray
Removing the sweat and the dust of the day.
Then wearing fresh clothes, well-earned glows, feeling clean,
We walk to the Saturday night social scene.
GWBR - Part 4: The Social Scene
Last updated May 6 2005