Last weekend I volunteered as photographer together with Ginn at the two day Wine Country Ramble bike tour organized by Cindy, Scott and others.
This was a women-only bike tour with its ride starts at the Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua. Saturday afternoon after the rides featured a wine tasting at the Gardens and then in the evening dinner at the Culinary Center. Each day had different routes of different lengths. Saturday mostly on the west side of the lake and Sunday mostly on the east side of the lake. Especially the 88 and 103 mile rides on Saturday had a serious amount of climbing in them. But also the short rides on each day featured a few hills that had to be conquered.
Cindy had tricked Ginn and me into volunteering. She sends us an email saying “I’m looking for two photographers. Can you help?”. “Yes!” we said. Cindy told us we could take whatever pictures we wanted and then gave us a long list of photographic suggestions.
This was the first time this event was organized. About 80 women signed up. Some from this area, some from elsewhere in New York state, from Pennsylvania and other places. Some were experienced riders but for many this was their first organized bike ride, their first time climbing our hills, their first century ride.
Luckily, the weather fully cooperated. While on Friday there were some impressive rain showers, both Saturday and Sunday were really nice.
It was an amazing event to be taking pictures at.
Everybody smiled for the whole two days. Some of the smiles were perhaps a bit nervous before the start of the ride on Saturday. Some of the smiles became a bit strained halfway up the hills around Naples. But the smiles stayed nonetheless.
An important focus on the event was to introduce more women to riding, help them feel comfortable not just riding their bikes on country roads but also fix tires, how to shift and so on. For this both days there were several clinics. Trek sponsored the event and made very nice racing bikes available women could try out on a ride on Saturday or Sunday.
While these were two long days (getting up at 4 am on Saturday, hello), it was a blast. Many of the riders moved their boundaries. Everybody was smiling. And everybody said thank you each time Ginn or I took their picture. And we took a lot. So much that I heard one woman proclaim, spotting me taking yet another photo, while climbing up from the Vine Valley rest stop: “Oh, all those paparazzi! I can’t live like this.”