This upcoming weekend marks the 2nd annual Stetina’s Sierra Prospect, the official road bike event of Interbike Marketweek, located in Reno Tahoe. The Prospect was created by Pete Stetina, an American pro cyclist who now calls Wine Country home. Poppy & Vine had the opportunity to chat with Pete to learn more about the Prospect, what brought him to Wine Country, what keeps him here, and the all-important relationship between cycling and beer…
Cycling runs deep in SoCo.
Cycling is a staple in Wine Country and as Pete describes it, “the cycling is second to none. The variety of roads, the climbs, the scenery, you can do one ride and pass through vineyards, pine, redwood and ferns, coastal and more! Also, the community is real people and supportive. I appreciate that, especially coming from the awesome but sometimes elitist scene in Boulder”. Yes, you’ve guessed it, originally from Boulder, CO, Pete has called Santa Rosa home for a handful of years now, after his wife found a job in the area. Pete, already familiar with Wine Country from training camps knew it would be a perfect fit and so they jumped on the opportunity.
But don’t be fooled by the ever-increasing number of weekend road warriors and nationally recognized cycling competitions. Wine Country has been a training area and home base for many over the years. As Pete points out, “Lance Armstrong and his Postal team used to come here for their winter camp. Levi Leipheimer, one of the best Americans ever, set up here because he thought it was the best riding in the nation. It has become a cycling destination, and with that the tourism aspect has caught on. There are a few pros living here, but it is a very strong and supportive local scene for both MTB (Mountain Bike) and road”.
Cycling and its booze bond
There is clearly a connection between cycling and beer. Take Trail House for example, it recently opened, and it’s a bike shop meets beer shop meets coffee shop. You can also buy a kit from almost any brewery in town. So, I asked Pete why he thought there was such a connection and he came back with this, “The best part of cycling is the camaraderie, and there is no better pastime than kicking back after a fun ride and reminiscing over the day’s adventure than with a cold one”. And it’s not just beer, wine has started to play a larger role in the cycling scene, which makes sense as Pete states, “Cycling has its history from France and Italy and wine has always been a part of that. Now there are a lot of tours through wine country, where you pedal and exercise to beautiful locales and finish with a tasting”.
Cycling to the Prospect
Pete had won numerous national titles as a junior and amateur before turning pro in 2010. Since then he has cycled in 7 Gran Tours (4 Giro d Italia, 2 Tour de France, and 1 Vuelta Espana), and represented USA in the world champs! 2015 brought a life changing crash, many wrote him off, but Pete returned in 2016 to the top level in the sport. Now as he looks to the future he’s focused on more than just cycling, as Pete explained, “I wanted to do something more in my career than just race. I created the SSP (Stetina’s Sierra Prospect) to celebrate all the things I love about cycling: Epic routes, camaraderie, competition, and the beers afterward. It also has a major charitable component that is dear to me, the High Fives Foundation. It is a way to give back via passion and dollars. www.sierraprospect.com”.
Did Pete just mention beer? He sure did, don’t get me wrong there is tons of fun to be had during the SSP, Poppy & Vine just thinks these next pieces are pretty cool… Starting with a beer unveiling at Revision Brewing, Friday, September 14th. For Pete, this was a no brainer, “Revision is one of the top breweries in the USA. The founder, Jeremy Warren, has the nickname of “Pliny Slayer” because his beer beat Pliny the Elder in tasting competitions. We met through a mutual friend and he not only supported the Prospect but decided to collaborate with me on a CUSTOM beer. I mean, the Wheaties box is cool and all, but my face is on a beer now! Life goal: Achieved. The 2018 version has been revamped and will be a Hazy NE Style IPA; flavorful yet thirst quenching after a big adventure”. An added bonus this year, a custom label wine, “Lucas Meeker of Meeker Wines loves to shred on 2 wheels and we became close. This year Meeker is producing 2 custom wines for the Prospect with proceeds benefiting High Fives. There will be a strong red blend named Sticky Bottle (cycling term), which is a Dry Creek homage of Zin and Syrah. We also have a Mt Rose Rosé because the Prospect finishes on Mt Rose”.
Recommendations from a Pro
But first, here is my pro tip… If you see me on two wheels… move B!%&h, get out the way! I mean seriously, I’m going to run you over and or hit an object that isn’t moving. But if two wheels is your jam here are a few of Pete’s go to spots, “A great easy spin in Santa Rosa is the bike path out to Sebastopol for a coffee and back. Also Chalk hill road is popular, quiet and gives you access to major climbs like Pine Flat and Geysers Rd. In Napa, Silverado Trail is great with a wide shoulder and gives you access to a lot of climbs in the Mayacamas Mtns. In Placer, The Tahoe Truckee Triangle is popular. Barker pass on the west shore is my favorite climb; quiet, twisty and full of wildflowers”.
Not a local and need a bike rental? Pete has a few recommendations, “We have a lot of shops in town and due to this being a cycling destination all offer anything from beach cruisers to high end race bikes and MTB. A few of my favorites are Trek Store Santa Rosa, Echelon, NorCal Bike Sport and Trail House. In Tahoe go to Olympic Bike in Tahoe City”.
Once you’re done on the trail, kick back and enjoy a few local favorites of Pete’s: Las Palmas, Bird and the Bottle, Riviera Ristorante, Bravas in Healdsburg or Sunnyside in Tahoe. Depending on his racing schedule, you may see Pete out and about exploring the craft beer scene, which as he puts it “isn’t always best for the racing weight, so I have to choose my time and place! West Coast is great for that, there is always something new and exciting”.
Cheers and happy riding!