Is it possible that serious cycling and Zinfandel can mix?
That's a lot likelier to happen when one of the 2009 Sierra Century cycling ride sponsors is local favorite, Dono dal Cielo Vineyards.
I admit to being a little partial to the Dono grapes as my in-laws, Bill and Karen McGillivray own this up and coming boutique winery nestled in the Sierra Foothills enclave of Newcastle. They are very active in promoting their region as one of California's new wine meccas on the rise. Every Saturday and Sunday Dono dal Cielo is part of the Auburn Winery Trail teaming up with four other great regional wineries to complete a Sierra Foothills vintner's circuit.
Last Saturday, however, they not only opened their new wine tasting room, but also hosted the biggest rest stop for the weary Sierra Century cyclists to catch their breath, hydrate, nourish and even taste some great Zins.
Here my sister-in-law and cycling buddy, Kristy Sanden, poses in front of the Dono dal Cielo entrance on Wise Road while herds of hungry and thirsty cyclists flock to the Dono rest stop in the background.
Could even solid rock be some relief after so many miles on a bicycle seat?
I am from the coastal town of Santa Cruz where the weather is usually a lot milder than the Sacramento area in June. It could have been 106 degrees on this ride but mother nature was super cooperative and even tossed in some beautiful scattered clouds. Shown here is the brand new Dono dal Cielo wine tasting and barrel room.
Most great organized rides conclude with food and the 2009 Sierra Century was no exception. The ride began at Whitney High School in Rocklin and the post ride activities took place at the adjacent Whitney Park. Sometimes I think you can exceed the calories expended on these rides by all the food along the way.
My parting shot is of Dono dal Cielo owner, Karen and her son, Hunter who will be carrying on the family tradition as events manager for the winery. Dono dal Cielo is Italian for "A Gift From Heaven." And for the hundreds of Sierra Century cyclists it was also an oasis and much deserved treat near the end of this great ride through the amazing Sierra Foothills.
Newcastle, California. Where even velos and vintners can meet.