Bicycle Touring  |   Bicycle Racing  |   The Comeback  |   The Bicycle  |   Gallery of Pictures  |   Favorite Bicycling Links 

June 13, 2010 during American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride at Palo Alto, CA May 1, 2011 at the start of the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride at Long Beach, CA February 1013 May 5, 2013 at finish of American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride at Napa, CA March 2013 June 5, 2012 at American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride at New York City, NY April 2013

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Bicycle Touring

"The Past"

My love for bicycling started when I was a kid riding my bike to school each morning in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. I built some strong legs riding the stiff headwinds often experienced in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. I joined the Navy and eventually was stationed in Virginia Beach, VA in 1977. It was a year later that I purchased a new ten speed bicycle and started riding the local roads. A good Navy friend at the time introduced me to some members of the Tidewater Bicycle Association. A couple rides later I was riding a Schwinn Le Tour III bicycle and completing my first 100 mile ride round trip from Virginia Beach, VA to Elizabeth City, NC. The Tidewater Bicycle Association (TBA) in Norfolk, Virginia is still a very fine club. The following year I decided to brave the cold weather and ride a 300 mile (Triple Century) round trip from Norfolk, VA to Buxton, NC. Gee, I was nuts then but it was a really fun challenge. A good friend of mine gave me the nickname "Sprocketman" after a number of rides. and I have decided recently to put the name back on my bicycle helmet. There is something to be said for getting out there and enjoying nature and your surroundings on the open road. I made lots of friends and attended various cycling events and TBA club rides.

There were a lot of fun bicycling experiences in Virginia and North Carolina. Two of my favorite rides included the Great Peanut Festival Ride out of Skippers, NC. I rode that ride when it was just getting its start. I kept a small newspaper article listing the names of the participants that year. These days the event is bigger and more of a weekend event.

TBA's annual Knotts Island Century is another fun ride worth riding if your in the area. TBA's organized Eastern Shore Weekend outing was a lot of fun but I am not sure if they still have such a club event these days. Generally everyone would gather their bikes and gear and carpool across the Chesapeake bridge. We would unload the bikes and enjoy two days of wonderful cycling with a night of camping. I enjoyed TBA and the small hardcore group of riders (Scotty, David, Don, Chris and Frank to name a few). I usually rode with on club rides or small cycling camping trips. We'd have fun trying to outsprint each other on the country roads.

In 1981 I purchased a new custom built McLean frame and parts from Colley Avenue Bicycle shop in Norfolk, VA and then moved to Vallejo, CA which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to a bicycle shop in Napa, CA to have my new touring bicycle assembled. THe next day I was on my touring bicycle riding the scenic roads of the Napa Valley wine country in the California sun. The cold and sometimes snowy Winters of the East Coast were no more. I discovered a whole new brand of bicycling in California and the clubs here really know how to throw a party. There are many Century & Metric Century bicycle ride events held throughout California each year. Some of my favorite rides I completed include the Death Ride in Markleeville, CA and the Davis Double Century out of Davis, CA sponsored by the Davis Bike Club - both rides held annually in the Spring. The Death Ride is still looked upon as one of the toughest rides in the country due to the amount of climbing required to complete the three different courses (all varying distances). During this timeframe I joined the Valley Spokesmen Touring Club home based in Dublin, CA.

My enjoyment of long distance cycling has primarily been through participation in Century and Double Century rides over the years. The ultimate experience was completing a solo Trans-America bicycle trip on the backroads of America. The crossing was achieved in two stages; Reedsport, OR to Denver, CO (July 1983) and Denver, CO to Virginia Beach, VA (June 1984). I was not able to get enough time off from work to do the whole USA crossing at once. The memories of the people I met and the beautiful scenery made this a memory I will cherish for a lifetime. Check out Adventure Cycling Association's web site for maps for your trip across America. I rode the TransAmerica Trail during my first stage of the trip and then elected to parrellel the trail route from Denver, CO to Virginia Beach, VA. I took a solo nine day trip from Seattle, WA to San Francisco in 1982 as a warm-up for the USA crossing.

(Just click onto the image below to see page)
Dave's Two-Stage Solo Trans-America Bicycle Tour

"The Comeback of 2009-2011"

I enjoy coming out and watching first hand professional bicycle races in Northern California and the experences bring back past memories of bicycle touring and racing. I decided it was time to take my De Rosa race bike to a bicycle shop in Davis, CA for a full overhaul. On March 14, 2009 I went on my first bicycle ride in a very long time on some country roads near Winters, CA and Davis, CA. I completed my first century ride in over 15 years on March 12th, 2010 by completing the Solvang Century out of Solvang, CA. The ride featured some stiff headwinds the first 52 miles and some mild and step climbs near the end of the ride. I feel so good and it's wonderful to be on the road again and enjoying bicycling. These days I ride primarily on the weekends. You might spot me cycling in the San Francisco East Bay. My favorite ride locally is riding what cyclists refer to as the "Paradise Loop". The ride orginates from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and heads out to Tiburon, CA and back via Sausalito, CA. I am a member of the Different Spokes Bicycling Club home based in San Francisco. You may spot me on their monthly Jersey ride.

Event Date Distance Time Summary
Davis Bike Club Ride 3/14/09 30 miles 3.0 hours w/extended breakfast stop Davis, CA to Winters, CA roundtrip. First ride on the bike in over 9 years. A flat ride with some headwinds.
Tour of Napa Valley Metric Century 8/16/09 69.5 miles 6.5 hours First major goal of two accomplished with this ride in personal comeback to long distance bicycling. Course included 3,000 feet climbing elevation and most miles road on single ride in over 9 years.
Different Spokes Club Ride 1/15/10 45 miles 4.0 hours w/extended lunch stop First ride of the year with only about 500 feet climbing elevation and first ride after about 2 months off the bike. My legs muscles were feeling it on the mild climbs.
Solvang Century, Solvang, CA 3/12/10 100 miles 9 hours, 5 mins First century ride completed in over 15 years. My Comeback is complete and now I am back to long distance cycling. The ride had stiff headwinds and 5,000 feet of climbing elevation on route.
Wine Country Century
Santa Rosa, CA
5/1/10 100 miles 9 hours A great ride with good support, food and beautiful green valleys and vineyards in Sonoma County. Perfect weather conditions and mild climbs, total climbing elevation approx. 3,000 feet.
Lodi Sunrise Century
Lodi, CA
5/15/10 100 miles 8 hours, 15 mins A nice ride with good roads, scenery and great weather. A lot of green valleys and vinyards.
Great Western Bicycle Rally 5/29/10 45 miles A beautiful hilly ride through the vineyards west of Paso Robles. Paso Robles, CA
Tour De Cure
American Diabetes Association
6/13/10 42 miles A special pledge ride for a very good cause. Thanks to the generous donations by friends I was able to raise $550.00 toward the fight against diabetes. Palo Alto, CA
Bike Around the Buttes, Sutter, CA 4/16/11 70 miles xxxxxx A Diabetes fundraiser
Tour de Cure, Long Beach, CA 5/1/11 62.5 miles xxxxxxx American Diabetes Tour de Cure fundraiser
Wine Century Century, Santa Rosa, CA 5/7/11 100 miles xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx

"The Present"

These days I am still cycling and each year I raise money, train and ride in the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure. My husband Dennis lives with Diabetes and I want to see a cure for this disease. I thank everyone who made donations toward my American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride in Napa, CA on May 5th, 2013. I raised a total of $1,106.00 and over $1.2 million so far raised at the event for the fight against Diabetes. I have tentative plans to participate in the 2014 Tour De Cure in Portland, OR

-- Dave McGrath-Wagner

(Just click onto the hyperlink below)

ADA Tour de Cure - Napa, CA - May 5, 2013
Pictures taken at the event in the beautiful Napa Valley of California

ADA Tour de Cure - New York City, NY - June 3, 2012
Pictures taken at the event in New York City and portion of New Jersey

ADA Tour de Cure "Ship to Shore" - Long Beach, CA - May 1, 2011
A ADA fundraiser to fight Diabetes at Long Beach, CA.

Bicycle Racing

I decided to purchase a cherry red color De Rosa SLX Professional racing bike in San Leandro California and take up racing in 1984. I competed as a licensed USCF racer for a few years and proudly wore the racing jersey of the California Pedaler Team when I raced. There were many fun times hanging with the pals at the California Pedaler Bicycle Shop in Danville, CA. I had the need for speed and bicycle racing fulfilled my fix. Most of the centuries I rode were usually done within 7 1/2 hours and I was always trying to beat my personal best. I decided it was time to test and compete with the racers. I managed to make a lot of friends within the racing circles of Northern California. The criteriums were the most exciting making those tight turns in tight packs of racers. The road races seemed long and very tough. The majority of races featured a lot of climbing. The most enjoyable race I participated in was the Tour De Comstock Pro/Am in Reno, NV. The desert terrain was just beautiful. The time trial was started out of a casino in Sparks, NV and I participated in the criterium in downtown Reno, NV. Most of the races I rode were in Northern California. I did have the wonderful opportunity to do some races in Canada near Vancouver along with training and racing in Japan for a little over a year. I believe I as probably one of the tallest riders among those Japanese racers in the peloton and they could easily spot me if I was making an attack in the field. Some of the best training rides locally included the "Oakland Twilights" series" near the Oakland Airport and training rides up Mount Diablo once a week from Danville. On a clear evening you can see the California Sierras in the East. In early 1992 I was experiencing some burn-out and it was time to put the bicycle away for a while with the exception of a ride or two each year at South Lake Tahoe. I took up interests in international freestyle wrestling.

I enjoy attending professional races and watching the racers compete. I have included some pictures below and I hope you enjoy them.

Lance at the starting line at the first annual San Francisco Grand Prix in 2001.  He raced twice in San Francisco in 2001 and 2002.  Lance did well in the races but did not win, it wasn't his type of race course. Picture of Lance Armstrong in San Francisco in September 2004.
Lance Armstrong winner of seven Tour De France races in a row.
Lance is only the second American to win the Tour De France since Greg LeMond in 1986.

Greg LeMond pictured above at the Coors Classic in San Francisco in 1985.  He won the Tour de France in 1986.

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COORS BICYCLE CLASSIC, San Francisco in 1985
This section includes pictures taken at major bicycle races in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Bicycle

I currently ride my old classic Cherry red 1983 DeRosa Professional as my primary bike for my comeback to long disance road cycling. The DeRosa is 59cm c-c ~ Columbus SL ~ Campagnolo Super Record ~ Cinelli handlebars ~ San Marco Rolls seat ~ Mavic Open Pro road rims ~ weight @ 20.5 lbs. I would love sometime to purchase another road bike but the prices have skyrocked so I'll stay with my bike that has carried me on many fine roads along the countrysides of America, Canada and Japan.

1983 DeRosa Professional Road Bike

(Just click onto website link)
derosanews - il ciclismo del mondo De Rosa on-line

The Gallery

This picture was taken upon completion of my Trans-America solo bicycle trip across America on June 30, 1984 in Virginia Beach, VA
I am cycling up another big climb during the I'm coasting downhill near the end of the Solvang Century on March 3, 1990 I am on yet another tough ride participating in the XVI Sierra Century near Auburn, CA on April 29, 1990
(Left to Right) I am finally at Virginia Beach completing my Cross-Country USA Solo Trip (1984),
Climb on Death Ride - Tour of the Califoria Alps (1990),
I'm near the end of riding the Solvang Century (1990),
Downhill during XVI Sierra Century (1990)

(Left to Right) Dennis and I in Sausilito, CA, Dennis riding across the Golden Gate Bridge (July 19, 1998)
and I'm competing at the Olivetti Tour Du Japan 3rd Stage race north of Tokyo in 1987

(Left to Right) I am on the starting block for the Time Trial at the Tour De Comstock Pro/Am in Reno, NV (1985),
I am finishing American's Most Beautiful Bicycle Ride around Lake Tahoe, CA (April 1998),
Posing for a picture upon completion of the first Rainbow Center Metric Century at Santos Plaza, Concord, CA (April 2002)
I'm riding the Tour of Napa Valley Metric Century Route (August 16, 2009)

(Left to Right) I am celebrating with a surprise cake from Dennis after completing the Solvang Century ride on March 13, 2010,
I am once again surprised with another cake after completing the Wine Country Century ride in Santa Rosa, CA
A picture of me during the Tour de Cure ride. The start and finish was out of the HP Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA on June 13, 2010.

(Left to Right) Dennis and I hangin out at the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles, CA Memorial Day Weekend 2010
I'm posing for the camera before the start of a Different Spokes Club ride on January 8, 2011.

Favorite Bicycling Links

I am a Life Member of the League of American Bicyclists. If you would like to really get involved in supporting bicycling on the national level this is the right organization. I recommend checking out the California Bicycle Coalition to support bicycling in California. I held memberships locally with the Different Spokes Bicycle Club and the Valley Spokesman Touring Club. Both these Bay Area clubs are superb. If your interested in becoming a amatuer racer check out the USA Cycling web site.

I have placed below some links to local clubs that sponsor some very good bicycling event rides. I can personally recommend these rides to you since I have done each of them once or twice in the past. My favorite rides of the ones below are the Most Beautiful Bicycle Ride in South Lake Tahoe and the Sequoia Century. I encourage you to participate and ride a metric or century ride at one of these fine events. Also, I included toward the bottom of the list some links to some good web sites regarding the Bicycling Hall of Fame, Versus TV and Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary.




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