It’s a simple event, really. Drive to the starting point, get on your 6 speed bike that doesn’t shift very well, ride up small hills and down bigger ones that make your eyes water, stop once in a while to take a picture or have some water, complain about your butt being sore and look forward to the big stop at the Chandon Winery where the second event takes place. This is no ordinary test of endurance.
Part 2 of the Ironman requires that you sample at least 4 different bubblies, identify their complex flavours, share a cheese plate with your spouse where you both avoid the blue cheese but manage to make it disappear almost completely, all while enjoying the lovely gardens and not complaining about how sore your butt is.
The final challenge – get back on the bike for the last mile or so, trying not to weave too much as that 8 oz of bubbly has gone to your head in the hot California sun. After 14 miles (22.4km) and about 4 hours, you cross the finish line which is cleverly disguised as your camper!! Victory!!!
We had a fabulous day, but it wasn’t over yet. Once we poured our tired legs back into the camper, we headed to Mumm Estates for one last glass of the bubbles, this one in honour of my mom who loved Mumm’s Champagne. Leon had the less alcoholic, much trendier Mumm’s water in a designer bottle.
Back at the campground, which is really a local fair ground, I made what I like to call “Napa Valley Salad”. The recipe is as follows:
1 can each of chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans, well rinsed
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
1 cup of cilantro, well rinsed
1 cup of fresh salsa from Walmart
1 cup of green beans, freshly cooked
a few black olives left over from our snack at Domaine Chandon
a few grape tomatoes
one avocado – chopped
a drizzle of olive oil
Serve with grilled chicken breast pieces and tortilla chips. Yum!!!
Tomorrow, we plan to go a bit further north and stay in the Sonoma Valley. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to bike much more, but we might have the opportunity. Hopefully we will have a chance to visit Mendocino, closer to the ocean.