Ferrell had a late spring epiphany - "I'm making 2015 my last year in triathlons!" Hmmm. Let's hope that decision changes. But for now, that means 3 more races added to the original schedule of 5 races, just to go out properly. The first of the new races - The Vineman Monte Rio Triathlon. I immediately was interested, with many fond childhood memories of the Russian River where my grandfather built a cabin way back in 1929. I contacted Leslee and got the OK - so Rick and I were going to get to spend the night before the race at The Pergola. With lodging settled, I got online to register... but to my surprise and dismay, it was sold out! Rebel racing or not, we were both going to race.

We left Santa Cruz on time, but it was a long 3+ hrs on the road before we arrived at Monte Rio, a sleepy little town on the Russian River about 4 miles downriver from Guerneville. Rick got his race packet, I tried again to late-register, but no-go, and so I had to scout a location from which to do my own "transition", and also decide if I was going to try to do all 3 venues.

Arrival on Saturday, and there was an extra charge if you didn't rack your bike before Saturday night.

Getting the logistics of the transition flows.

The bike exit (orange arrows), put you on to Hwy 116 and a ride to Jenner and back

A prelim walk-through. Bike checked in, and my alternate transition spot decided, it was time now to drive the few miles up river to the cabin.

We make the turn off of Hwy 116 to the cabin, childhood memories triggering!

My grandfather built this cabin in 1929 out of heartwood redwood - you can't find quality wood like that any more, and it hasn't change a bit

My last visit here was in 2010 for the Vineman Half Ironman Triathlon, and I just had to repise a classic shot from that adventure

86 years and the paint's still good. Not like today's.

A beer to celebrate, and get dinner started correctly

75 year old pictures, unmoved, on the same dresser as I remember seeing them in 1960 as a child.

At night, ants swarmed on the front deck bannister...

...big ones... lots.... thankfully they did whatever it was that ants need to do at night, and were gone again in the morning

Ferrell settles in, after setting up Mr. Coffee in the kitchen, and setting Him to go off at 5:15am. For entertainment, we tried to play cards, but the half dozen card decks (all had been there since the 1960's at least) were a few cards short of a full deck. What ever. We played some 5-card poker and 21

6am, On the road before dawn, 52F is our temperature. It would get up to 55F but no higher, till the end of the race. Never did see the sun.

We cross the historic Hacienda Bridge; the beach below was our favorite destination during vacations in the '60's.

Rick dropped me off in Monte Rio while he drove on to Duncan Mills, for the mandatory timing chip pickup and shuttle bus

The totally unpretentious Monte Rio theater, across the street from the official transition zone...

...was my personal transition zone.

Interesting hand-painted movie posters by local artists, but due for a change I think. Somehow the fabulous good looks of James Dean and Tippi Hedren didn't translate to the canvas.

The swim course. The start is actually ~200 yards up river from the timing mats, since the water was too shallow here to swim.

Rick's shuttle bus finally arrives - 15 minutes before the gun for his wave goes off at 7:45am

I wander down to the river, where the early waves are swimming, er, slogging in. I don't see any happy faces. Those river rocks are sharp, it seems.

Meanwhile, Rick's getting body marked, clock ticking...

About now, the gun goes off for Ferrell's wave, still 4 minutes of river slogging to go before he reaches the start line

Another happy swimmer. It was time for me to start my race, sans swim.

Four miles in, going through Duncan Mills

Enjoy your race, now, Nolthenius - which I very much did

After the Austin Creek leg, we're back on the Russian River

At Jenner, I see the familiar restaurant with the "Jenner By The Sea" sign on the roof, again flashbacking to a childhood 50 odd years ago, with a day-trip and a clam-chowder lunch. This whole lower river area is one long time warp.


Rick and I crossed about Duncan Mills, he on the way out, I on the way in. My bike split was good; 1:30. Ferrell came in at 1:13. Then the run - would my left (metal) hip act up yet again? I've been on a 1000 mile pace again this year, but suffering much lately. Alas, it was going to be a tought painful run for me. Psoas irritation again.

Got a spectator to snap my bike/run transition

The run was along Moscow road, on the north side of the river.

Ferrell's caught up with me at the run turnaround. His furrowed brow is not because HE's in pain, he's looking at my pained look, as my inflammed left psoas makes these last 3 miles miserable.

Monte Rio Bridge, just before the finish line

Not the finishing sprint I'd hoped for, this time. I limped in with a 1:19 run. Worst ever - a new record! Clearly my thinking that the one-legged exercises I'd been focusing on were going to finally solve my left psoas issue, are going to need another look

Karen Chequer-Pfeiffer - former pro and over-all winner of many tri's, was up for another good performance, winning her age-group. Rick's all smiles

3 ibuprofen's in, here's my status. As Schwarzenegger said in Terminator 2 "I need a vacation"

Finishing times were slow to get posted, but they did provide personal timing receipts... 11th in age group for Rick

Time to wind down... mount bikes, head to Duncan Mills for the car...

...and packing up, a quick shower and change of clothes, and a goodbye to the Pergola. We avoided bridge tolls on the trip by making the "great circle route", north on the Golden Gate, south on the Richmond Bridge! Sweet!