2009 Note: This was my first Mt Tam Double, the ride that would become my favorite. I have to laugh at some of the things I wrote in my 2005 ride report.
Ride description indicates that though a touch under DMD and TT, this is a very hard double with 15,000 climbing, with its inaugural in 2004. However, though training hard and wanted to do some course prep, after doing TT well couldn’t concentrate as much, as fear no longer a motivator. Unfortunately still +7 lbs (142 on scale so 148-49), unfortunately have to plan DC trip at same time, unfortunately daughter wound up in hospital and wife chose the time to have her summer shit fit as to my riding so much and her doing EVERYTHING for the kids as she’s under the weather and has not ridden since Death Ride.…
Felt like I was coming down with a cold leading up to the event, and focus not the best. And Jack who I finished other two doubles with would not be on this ride. But I had done most of these roads before, and figured a pace that would get me in by 8:00. As this event has four routes going at once, hard to get the precise information as offered for the Terrible Two. Terrible website and download of map on it—tried to take a road map and sketch out the route—the northern half was kind of like a backwards Holstein 100.
Took Friday off, week very warm in east county but fog reported early in Marin. As ride starts out by climbing Mt Tam, figured would be OK with just one jersey and vest. Week before Domo Tom had called from motel to wonder “where I was”—he thought bike ride one week early, and told me motel right off freeway. Motel (Days Inn) a dump-looked like a restored garden apartment complex. About 1 mile from San Rafael but in furniture showroom section, which bordered on poor peoples housing. Later found out that only 1 way to get to downtown San Rafael when I tried to walk there through the barrios and met all the dead ends at the canal.
Took a spin from Nicasion to Pt Reyes Station (Bovine Bakery calling) and back. Cooler by Pt Reyes Station but not cold, and great tailwind back to Nicasio. Thought of Kevin’s Delta Pedaler rides in the past were an out and back from Marinwood to Pt Reyes Station the longest ride I ever thought I’d do—and passed the spot where Gruppo Pumpkincycle photo from 2003 was taken, at the time seemed like one of the great photos ever of 3 people enjoying bike riding. What a sham.
Met CA Mike in downtown San Rafael where we had dinner at Joe’s, and he insisted on picking up the tab. Good guy who is one of the slower riders on the hills in the DC, but has made himself into a good long distance rider with perseverance. He already has nutty goal of doing B-P-B, and if he signs up for a brevet series I’ll help him out on the shorter ones. (Bonanza at Mike’s Bikes-3 tubes for $7 and mini mini tool)
Over to registration which was kinda bare bones but nicer than Davis (actually indoors—so it has to be nicer than Davis table on the street setup.) Lots of sample Hammargel and Endurolites. Domo Tom pulls up, and he wonders if tee shirt is free, can he see it, what does it look like. Told him he only gets a tee shirt if he finishes by 5-. We go back to motel and I am beat so go to sleep at 10- while Tom watches movie. Kinda restless sleep, wake up 3x.
Wake up at 3:15 and it is surprisingly warm. Figure I want to leave at 4:00 so can get to start at 4:30 and prep for 5:00 mass start. Can’t figure out why they start us at 5:45 instead of 5:00—45 minutes no big deal as course 1-2 hours slower than Davis but 1-2 hours faster than Terrible Two, and wouldn’t have to start in the Dark. Maybe it has to do with rest stop convince, as they are running rest stops for 4 routes—some with a dual function.
Also strange is that mass start not enforced, when pulling into parking lot at 4:15 saw at least 3 cyclists already hitting the road.
Mt Tam Double was strange, except for Mt Tam and climbing up Coleman Valley Road, I think the 15,000 climbing is all in 100' increments. Coupled with a nasty NW wind which is NOT supposed to pick up until late afternoon--it seems we had a block headwind/ crosswind from Lincoln School (mile 85) to Valley Ford #2 (mile 143) And weather—nice and warm inland-top of Tam and sudden -15 drop each time you’d get on Highway 1, on the Coast.
While I remember, got to give kudos to Marin Cyclists for BEST marked century course. I didn't take their map with me, just an area roadmap that didn't have the back roads marked. Every turn was visibly marked 50-100' before turn and then turn itself, and with many turns involving 4 different routes we'd get a nice colorful display of arrows--Well done.
Didn’t like mass start at 5:00 (in the dark), especially when a downhill is involved. (Terrible Two mass start at daybreak was fine. If I do this ride next year will probably start 15 minutes later. ) Was originally pissed when dropped chain 2x--first time on climb up to Big Rock when was right behind lead group--had to pull off to left side of road and pull off bike light to fix. In retrospect probably a good thing, as don't think I'd want to go downhill in the dark in a screaming pack, and it was still l very very dark going down to Nicasio and over rollers to Sir Francis Drake.. But took about 3 minute to fix dropped chain as had to go to left side of road (no shoulder, luckily car wasn’t coming down) as lots of cyclists—at least their headlights- coming up right side of road with no shoulder. CA Mike saved my butt on this section, as I caught him by top of Big Rock and I paced off of him all they way on the downhill to turnoff a little short of Nicasio.. Then I dropped my chain again on first roller on Nicasio Valley Rd, and rode with Mike until real steep hill in middle started. (Think in the dark I wasn't anticipating hills so I shifted too late--I didn't drop chain the rest of the day but was shifting very very early.) Luckily I had taken shity cateye light (along with Opticube) so every time dropped chain had light I could hold in my teeth while I fixed it.
Sun started coming up on Sir Francis Drake towards Fairfax. Nice and warm and I started motoring past riders. Gingerly shifting—in fact for most of day I’d early shit-not pedal when doing so. Later on I started shift back to normal. Caught a paceline that pulled me to big climb into Fairfax and I went downhill OK-probably my best downhill all day until the end-o-day.
Turn into Fairfax-I knew what to expect and I started motoring past lots of riders. Probably going to hard but had to catch up to the front—at least to Tom and Don, so then we could paceline down the Coast. See Steve B. on this climb.
Suddenly to rest stop 1 a little after golf course. Mile 25, 6:33-7 minutes at stop. I made big mistake here, along with lights I gave in my arm warms to be waiting for me at last rest stop.
Warmer climbing Tam than I could recall for most 10-11 climbs, and it was about 6:45. Surprised how many riders had never climbed Tam before, when we kinda leveled out before plunge to Alpine two riders asked each other “this is it?” Then told them that we shoot down to Alpine Dam and have to reclimb what we just did—and more.
I did a good job o the narrow descent to Lake Alpine-think passed by only 1 rider and took most of the left turns well except fro one. At dam ubiquitous Marin cyclists was ringing bell-juts like a Twilight zone he’d appear and reappear throughout the ride.
Start off on climb up Tam when a thin guy shot by me. We then did the century two step. I powered past him and he caught up with me, he spun past me and I powered to him. After this “dance” we each decided that we’d ride up together instead of trying to blow each other out of the water. Guy was from Fresno and had never climbed Tam, so I told him about open top with possible headwind, and steep rollers, false tops, where you go down at 20mph and think you can crest the next one-and all of a sudden your at 6 mph and stalled on the middle of the climb.
When we got to the rollers on Tam I took a quick glimpse off to the side and saw the beautiful ocean, at the next opening I took another look, shit--it's not the ocean but dense clouds/ fog hanging about half way down.
Rode with Fresno guy almost the whole way—we’d pass other cyclists in unison-he like to pass on the right and I’d go by on the left. We went past Panatol Parking lot and started climb to summit when first SERIOUS cyclist was tearing downhill. Ish came down, about 8th, around 7:23. We got to summit at 7:43 so figure I was about 40 minutes BEHIND the leaders at this early point. Then the big plunge down towards the summit-Fresno guy dropped me on the descent (like everyone always does), hit steep parking lot ramp and quick call out number-turn around-and head back down.
Actually had to climb the steep decent and I was playing “tag you’re it’ with an annoying recumbent that made strange sounds while motoring (like a toy car) On uphill I’d pass guy easily, on downhill recumbent would shoot by me. Repeated 2-3x—luckily I talked to guy as later his friend would help me out. Wanted to put on vest but didn’t want to waste one minute with Tom and Don up ahead—though what was Turn down Panatol which is a little to steep for my liking and then cutoff to Panoramic toward Muir Woods, a section I had never done. Was going to stop and put I thinking as I’d lose time to them on the descent and they’d be pacelining north on Hwy 1 before I’d come down. But Tom slow to get out of rest stops so maybe a chance to catch him at rest stop 2. But Don probably gets out of stops like Jack… Around turn rider on the side fixing flat—it’s Don.
One of the shocking moments was going down towards Muir Woods and on a sharp left turn the subdivisions begin, so does the fog, and the temp drops -20 degrees. If I wasn’t already going slow due to steep unknown downhill I now was going slower as glasses fogged, breathing screwed, and I’m freezing. See someone pulled off to side of road to put on arm warmers and vest—well at least I have vest. Ass about 100 ft up the road throws banana peel on the road-if I could catch him I’d say something but I can’t catch a cold on a downhill. Take a minute to put on vest and continue cold downhill as I curse why I didn’t keep arm warmers. It is fn cold, and passed by lots of riders. A few of us pass a rider wearing #1—“passed rider jokes-“show some respect, you’re not supposed to pass #1.” I respond that I did check if he was Johan Museeuw before we passed. Lots of cars on narrow road behind me down to Muir Woods, I pull over once to let a few of them that had stacked up behind me pass. Some sharp hairpins that I’m taking at speeds slower than I climb. So happy to get to foggy rest stop #2, 50 miles, 8:21, 6 minutes in stop. Each rest stop would have a good assortment of bulk Hammergel, endurolights, Hammer Heed and Endurolites. Bananas but not much in way of cereal bars. I think at each rest stop I’d have a banana and a cookie (macademia nut) and take a mini Cliff bar or fig cookie in pocket to eat while riding. For some reason only had one Cliff bar all day—somehow not in the mood for them. Wish they had more cereal bars on this ride. Unfortunately no Cytomax-Hammer products or Gatorade. (Note from 2009—shit, have I changed what I eat on these rides)
I got cranking hitting Highway 1-socked in with fog. Actually it was so foggy didn’t realize I was on Hwy 1—a few steep rollers, with mild descents, but in the wet fog I treated them gingerly. I joined 3 guys over one climb and we stayed with each other but I lost them on the next downhill roller.
Highway 1 then flattened out but trio long since gone up the road when along comes a recumbent, passes me and I jump on his wheel. For whatever reason doesn’t blast off but holds a 22-23 in slight headwind. I figure I’ll stay on his wheel until we get to a group of “real bicycles”—ones I can draft well off of. But for some reason, unlike Chico, I could draft of this guy and he kept a steady pace. We soon passed the trip and instead of getting back with them I stayed with the recumbent. Guy had on a TT jersey and we started talking about it—he had done ride a few times—this year he had to DNF when his light failed. I rode behind him (except for a very very very short pull by me) all the way to the rollers to Olema, I thanked him before the first uphill, and luckily his buddy-the recumbent from the top of Tam, came by just when I left.
On Olema rollers (nice rollers-ones that are short enough to power over, not like the ones later on) got into a small paceline, which then formed into a bigger paceline. Now warm again, and in my terrain, so I did lots of pulling--and we caught up to guy from Fresno. We had big paceline until we hit the Marshall Cheese Factory Climb. Think 22-23 were popular number son my odometer.
One car pissed that we were “blocking” the road and honked, and then when we got to intersection he wouldn’t move so everyone started yelling at him. A course marshal was right in front (where usually someone sells strawberries) so driver pulled over to no doubt complain about us.
On climb up Nicasio Reservoir—one I had “waited” for Mike & Reene's Tandem in 2002, I was in the front and kept the speed up at 18mph. I couldn’t hold speed the whole way and had to drop off the lead. Guy behind me said he wondered if I could hold the speed the whole way up, pointing to #3 guy in paceline—guy from Fresno, I said “blame him for kicking my butt on the Mt Tam Climb earlier in the day.” Over cheese factory hill only 2-3 riders stayed with me and we pacelined to rest stop #3-mile 85-Lincoln School on Hicks Valley Road., 10:31. Don’t tell Jack-15 minutes here. 16.5 average, which includes climbing Mt. Tam!.
Don’t know what I did for 15 minutes except a little tired from the morning festivities. Thought of first year doing Davis Double where I burned myself out racing everyone. Know I pissed 2x, filled up water bottles. Saw Tom who was enamored with talkative woman who had started Death Ride at 4am and did all the passes. Sun tan lotion., More bananas and cookies. I might have even stretched—which I’m not doing enough of. Told Tom time to go but he said he was staying at rest stop-thought he may catch me but he emphatically said “I doubt it,” sounded like either he ran out of energy or he wanted to talk to lady. Hopefully the latter.
After that ride became "sucky," steep climbs into a headwind, cool again on Hwy 1 with crosswind. (2009 note again—am I high when writing this—Marshall Wall run in is GREAT) Did Marshall--Petaluma road the way I had done it with the delta Pedalers on Olema Camping Trip, with Donna on Jo-Jo ride, opposite way from Holstein Hundred. Riding alone for a long stretch—one rider passed me but my energy as low and I didn’t bother chasing. I was actually a little tired—like going to the rest stop after Skaggs on the TT, but that was after mile 130. Apart from that some left knee pain, and left foot discomfort (but far from hurting.) Desolate and some headwind. Later a group of 3-4 paceline passed and I just jumped onto their wheel—just going 16mph but I was resting well. This was fortuitous as they pulled ma couple of miles until the start of the big climb back to Highway 1 past the “Peace Bell Church.” When the climb started I motored away from gruppo and caught a few riders on the climb.
When I got downhill to Highway 1 time to turn up the Coast, Cool but not cold like earlier—sun was out, but still a headwind. Joined by talkative local rider joined me w/ lots of nervous energy ("his first double, everyone tells him he is a strong rider, his girlfriend is a Cat 1 who blows him away, he is a good all rounder, owns a Campy Nueveo Record ________(Italian name ?) bike an this new Time.......') However, he was able to tell me when the hills were coming up, and listening to his monologue passed the time/ kept me awake, and we could alternate pulls when he wasn’t bs’ing off to the side.. Earlier in the day we were on Hwy 1 for 25 miles, now only 7 and it passed very quickly. He warned me about Dillon Beach Road after Tomales--steeper than it looks with headwind, and he was spot on. Was in totally wrong gear as my bike went from 12-10-8-6 mph on what looked like a slight uphill. Damn headwind.
I tried to power over climb, which was not the right thing to do, and I felt beaten up. Tried to get yapper to go to the front but he didn’t. Then suddenly two girls from Ophera Milano-racing team shot by—I think they were on the regular century. . I held their wheel until I could recover than went to the front to pull them for awhile. (One looked like Holly from Sierra, but wrong team.) On downhill one blasted by me, I caught her on then flats, and then we raced for awhile. I got ahead of them and then hooked with another rider, who pulled me into the Valley Ford Rest Stop (first time), mile 114, 12:38, 9 minutes in rest stop.
One problem with this Double, you didn’t get the special attention like you do at Davis or Terrible Two. This was a rest stop we hit again after doing a northern clockwise loop, and it was open to riders on other courses. Unclear if we needed to check in (one of two times we didn’t have to), unclear if this was our lunch stop our when we come back. I heard conflicting information, and later Mike would also hear conflicting info. As I had started to get tired I vowed to sit in a chair for first time all day and have a half can of soda while pulling off shoes. Here they had a cereal bar, and cookie and banana, and saw Don come in while I was leaving after remembering to stretch.
The next part of the ride was terrible, back to the Coast with a huge headwind/ crosswind. Climb back on a ridge and battered by the wind. Caught a few solo riders and passed on the downhill. When I hit the Coast again no one to paceline with but only a two mile stretch before hitting the serious climb of the day Coleman Valley Road.
The Santa Rosa Century goes DOWN Coleman Road, with a skeleton at the top to warn riders how steep the plunge is. Now we had to go up it. Not incredibly steep or long—probably 2 miles at 12% max but at mile 125 ranked behind Ft Ross Road on TT and Slug Gulch on Sierra, but not much behind the latter. I repassed all riders who had passed me on downhill. Ubiquitous guy with cow bell was ringing it half way up climb,. I kept trying to remember where skeleton is-signifying end of climb. Stood a lot, and enjoyed rollers back over ridge. At some place over ridge a sag wagon playing classical music loudly passed by.
Ubiquitous guy was again on side of road—asked him where special water stop was. He said there was none (ride description said there would be one at mile 1230) and next stop was 1 2 miles away, if I wanted water. I said no as didn’t want to stop but then realized that water bottles almost drained. Luckily secret water stop was a little after mile 130—no porta potty sop pissed on side of road right before Mike’s friend, Lori pulled in.
Needed 9 minutes at water stop, 2:03, grabbed chair which was in the sun. If it had been in the shade would have probably still been there. Drank a lot, took off shoes, stretched, had mini Cliff bar. Trying to regain energy.
Coming back to Valley Ford was great--as it got us off the COLD coast and we'd have a tail wind (finally) to Petaluma, and when it warmed up I’d get more aggressive,. Joy Road had a few to many screaming downhills for my liking, where I was of course passed by a couple of riders. But otherwise quickly into Valley Forge 2-mile 143- at 2:58 for 10 minutes. Many less people here now-don’t think anyone was there to check numbers (there would be a surprise check in somewhere on the road) Some sandwiches provided for us but I’m not really hungry.
When I left VF I was riding solo--no one behind and one rider 1/4 mile up the road and two more 1/2 mile up. Road was going slightly uphill with tailwind-my favorite--so my plan was to catch the solo rider and then paceline to the couple. Ponytail tie off-time to hammer. Two miles on Middle Road-riders still in distance, 4 miles on Two Rocks Road and I start to make up some ground. Got to the solo rider--he pulled for awhile, and then when it was my turn I inadvertently paced him off my wheel. Finally caught riders ahead--turns out one being Lori, CA Mike's friend from Fresno, who I met the night before, so we pacelined to Petaluma together along long-10 mile stretch of Chileno Valley Road. One rider shot by-fast-and I just muttered “in my next life.” But another guy came by without saying a word, got about 100’ ahead of us, and then stayed there. When the hills to Petaluma started I decided to reve it up and get on the guys wheel. On three successive rollers he stood and tried motoring away, I just sat and spun on his wheel. He finally pulled over.
Around some suburban streets and mile 170-rest stop #5, at 4:44. Aware that I didn’t want to lose time only there for 8 minutes-in a nicely shaded park and I could have easily stayed there for 3x as long. Complaint at this rest stop especially, but a feature of many of them, the porta potties were a long block away from where the food was. But “time to go.”
Interesting way they got up back from Petaluma, some more esoteric back roads, but again with headwind. A couple of riders caught me (noticed when riding solo had little energy, when I was trying to catch up to someone or if another rider joined me I'd pick up the pace to match.) We hit the Marshall hill, one guy a good climber and we picked up the pace--his friend dropped out w/ foot problems (damn, my left foot and knee hurting also) but I had company again, as when we made the left hand turn to Niacasio, and had that tailwind, could trade pulls at speeds I hadn't seen all day-28 mph.
Another observation-Marin roads have No shoulders and I was riding 1 ft from the sideline. Marin Sheriff comes by and bellows move to your right. Where. But I guess they are just thinking safety as Marin drivers come very close to cyclists and are in a rush, much worse than East County drivers.
(Need a way to station Big Mike, Chris, and the other strongmen of the DC pelaton on the course, on long headwind section of these doubles--and they could do time trials back and forth as they bring each of us over the more nasty segments)
Into Nicasio School at 5:58 and my knee isn’t any sorer than it was earlier in the day. I grab my lights and arm warmers-it is nice and warm outside-probably high 80. Jack's voice ringing in my head all day (well at least after Lincoln School Rest Stop) "time to go", and got out of Nicasio in 6 minutes--not wanting to be passed by anyone for final placement. Unfortunately, no one else coming down the road or I would have waited for paceline. Again saw a couple of riders about 1/4 mile up the road, but would be hard to catch them on fast track back to San Rafael. Only on straightway as I'd catch a glimpse of the rides ahead, then they'd disappear. When I hit Big Rock I stood the whole way and didn't slack off on downhill. When we hit the uphill on Los Galindos they were only 2-3 blocks up the road so I dug in again and caught them right before we flew through the yellow about to change to red traffic light.
Came in about 6:45-6:50. Putting on changing kilt when Don pulled in. He had two punctures—so we came real close to riding in together. (Don’t think I would have taken as long at Lincoln School if I was chasing up to him) Funny, on this double few noticeable clubs except for ours-would have been cool if we both were hammering the Nicasio stretch together in our DC kits. Steve comes in about a half hour later—and pulls a Mike when he almost twist out of his seat when a looker passes by. Don, Steve and I had a good dinner--Steve-knew every rider who came in. Lasagna, pizza, salad, 2 ice creams. Total rest stop time 80 minutes plus 6 minutes for chain drop fixing, and 1 minute for putting on vest.
Good support considering they are running 4 events at once, but didn't have that unique doubles focus that Terrible Two support crew has. Gained a few pounds on ride--think at every rest stop I'd have a cookie and banana (I'm sick of Cliff bars) Guy with cowbell that would drive from spot to spot ringing it cool. Coleman Valley climb from opposite end of Santa Rosa Wine Country route (mile 125) ranks up there with Slug Gulch on the Sierra. Will sign up for Knoxville-Quackcyclist event--will be great way to compare.