Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Cheep (Sic) MT. TAM CENTURY

(June 13, 2009) Nicasio-Cheese Factory-Marshall Wall-Pt. Reyes Station-Mt. Tam (almost), $$FREE$$, 90 miles, w/ Jack, Ward (who cheated getting into sheriff's car) , Chris and Diablo Cyclists for for first 60 miles.

"You Can't Control Everything"-James Brown

This has been the year of bonus miles suddenly ending by bike failure. A few months ago my wheel crapped out while coming down Mines Road. Now it was Ward's turn.

We had a great club ride scheduled, a metric tour of the rolling hills around Mt. Tam. Unfortunately great March weather--in June--been dreary and cold since a week of hot weather in May. We had a nice sized group and a spirited ride around Nicasio, to the Marshall Wall, and looping down Highway 1 and back to Pt. Reyes. With racer (sprinter) James and (climber) Mark the pace was always high, though everyone did a good job keeping the group together albeit assorted James + 2-3 off the front at different times. I'd try to open it up at the same places I try on the Mt. Tam Double.
Rumor has it Ward will be exhibiting photos at next year's Art At the Cheese Factory show--this year the winning art were the bathrooms.

Good stop at Bovine Bakery in Pt. Reyes Station--the pastries are so big that most folks soon looking to share what they bought. For once they at loads of whole wheat vegan scones. I think this is 2nd best bakery in California.

I thought a finishing climb up Mt. Tam and back would be perfect prep for the Terrible Two, and Jack (also upcoming Terrible Two) and Chris (upcoming Death Ride) jumped in, as did Ward. So plan was to add 45-50 miles to the 60 mile group ride. Thought we'd have a few more join us as after all, everyone is bitching at the $75 it now costs to ride the Marin Century/ Mt Tam Century--and this was free!!

(above) I'm ringing the peace bell (below) Diablo Cyclist women's group also contemplate peace and how to match their bar tape and drink color to their outfits. (ward-o-photo)

So after 50 miles we departed from the larger group and headed to Mt. Tam, usually quiet hippyville Fairfax was crowded with a street faire--I haven't seen that much tie-dye in years. Quick stop at 7-11 where it actually started to get warm and the climb up to Tam among the densely shaded road was nice, even with the arm and knee warmers finally off. Chris had never done this climb and we kept trying to fool her--on the drop down to Lake Alpine where we have to start reclimbing "we're at the top, we're at the top." She's too smart to believe me.

At one point Ward stops as his wheel has a little play--which foreshadows things to come. But up the modestly graded road until a hairpin appears, where the road kicks up significantly. I kept trying to note where the end is, so I'd know where I could open it up on the Mt. Tam Double--think the last mile marker to the entrance to the park is 10.22.

We make the turn onto the top of Mt. Tam which now means 6 miles of rollers along the top. We hit the 2nd one and Ward powers up. I go to close the gap and Ward looks like he's been hit by a Klingon tractor beam--his chain jumped in the space between the cassette and the spokes--and after 15 minutes he couldn't pry it loose. I'd go back to the car and drive back for Ward--but that would probably take 3 hours.

On the way back we passed a parked car that looked like a park ranger--so we went over to ask him if he could drive Ward off Mt. Tam. Got close--oh shit--it's a sheriff--that ain't gonna happen. Oh what the F, still rode over and asked and to my surprise the sheriff said sure--he'd rive up the road and drive Ward down to Fairfax.

Some time later Jack, Chris and I were going down when we heard Ward yell from the sheriff's truck "car back." He was waiting for us on the corner of Fairfax, said he'd check out the hippy chicks and then go a few blocks down to a bike store where he'd wait for me to drive back.


Luckily Jack had come across a "shortcut" between Fairfax and Lucas Valley Road--where we were parked, that involved a hidden bike path. The good news is that Jack found the shortcut--the bad news is that it involved two 17-18% climbs. (What kids use this path for cycling--the next Greg LeMond??--Butterfield, Fawn Drive, Trail Though Sleepy Hollow Open Sapce, Freitas Parkway)

So we cut about 10-15 miles off the return trip and drove back to pick up Ward while it actually got sunny. OK--didn't do the 110-120 miles as planned, but still wound up with 91 miles of climbing.

No comments: