We started with a very small group, just Ward, Jack and Dr. Dave. Johnna & Christine absent as tap dancing, or tapeing a realtity show, or is it tapering for the Death Ride next weekend.
I didn’t know if I was going to do the ride either. In a year of planning going down the toilet bowl First anniversary trip to Crater Lake ended when I crashed 2 months ago, we wife and I set sights on a baseball week in NYC & Cooperstown. Then two weeks ago planning suddenly ended when wife’s parent spiraled downhill and she had to go back to get them in assisted living, and we’ve been attempting to salvage refunds for airplane tickets and the like . A week later the was celebration of youngest 21st, which went haywire when mother-in-law went into intensive care—and it looked like I’d be joining wife back east for a funeral some time next week. So every nite this week felt like a hangover. Luckily medical condition improved somewhat but things still look bleak, and father in law still had to be put in assisted living. So in a year that everything got screwed up the general theme continued. Being strung out and not having done a 100 miler for two months wasn’t sure how this would go, but gotta build up for the Mt. Tam Double.
From winterlike spring, this July day was beautiful. (At 9:00 in Olema Valley, which is close to the Pacific, sunny and 69 degrees, at noon 79 degrees) With so few people in our group we set a record getting out of the swim club bathroom stop and the cheese factory.
The concept of lightpole banners for quaint special tourist destinations completly goes down the toilet with Richmond participating, though they left out what their town, unfortunately, is known for. Fairfax pays homage to Mt. Tam and Mountain Biking (supposedly invented in the area) thought would be more accurate if mountain biker would be riding on Sierra Club hikers trail as hiker swings his walking stick at mountain biker--with chubby hippy chick falling out of her tank top nearby.
On way out to Marin noticed the “designer banners” that decorated Richmond lightposts. At first just hung in historic districts, it seems de rigor that every town must decorate with them—and this concept has hit tock bottom with Richmond—a poor suburb know mostly for the high murder rate.
En route to the Cheese Factory (WI)
Could stand and pull on the bars for first time, albeit a little elbow soreness first time felt great on a bike since the crash, so I decided to open it up. Found out I need to build my endurance up and no quickness, but a series of rollers was fun. Flew up Big Rock (short but steep) climb and got my butt handed to me three times when someone came by on Cheese Factory climb and I attempted to join them, when (after a moment of hesitation due to the accident) I was passed and then sprinted up to a triathelete flying on the run in to the Marshall Wall, and hung with Dr. Dave for ¾ of the climb up Tam on climb up Fairfax-Bolinas Road Highway 1—until he started yelling it was time for the “The Recumbent DEMONSTRATION” and zoomed off –later remembering he wasn’t on a recumbent. My feelings were ameliorated later when I found out later I found out that Dr. Dave is a regular Hammer pharmacy user-taking Race Caps and Lance Caps made out of frozen blood.
After the Cheese Factory rinding to the Marshall Wall. (WI)
Triathlete with a Coeur D'Alene jersey comes by and I get on his wheel for a few miles to the Marshall Wall--Ward joined me when he stoped taking great action photo. Why doesnt team motorcycle have a spare wheel on the back. (WI)
When you reach the top of Fairfax-Bolinas Road you still aren’t near the top of Tam. The serious climbing has been done but there are a series of Italian rollers (“The Seven Sisters”) that I enjoy (short semi steep climbs) that many people don’t. But the clear view down to the Pacific and San Francisco (both usually covered in clouds) made it worth it.
Rest spots were great. Earlier, after Marshall Wall and before Mt. Tam we stopped at a crowded Pt. Reyes Station for the great whole wheat vegan scones. On the top of Tam we went behind the snack bar and found a shaded picnic grove that faced a tram car barn—no one in our group had even noticed this before. Even Jack was in no hurry to leave.
We now made the “mistake” of going down Fairfax-Bolinas Road heading toward Alpine Dam and Fairfax. I say a mistake as for a long climb this is one of my favorites going up—a narrow, tree lined, twisty road where the hairpins kick up +5% more than the straightway portions of the climb. But now we had to go down, the pavement on the road is “not the best,” and downhill on a twisty crappy road in the shade is not my favorite. Luckily after Alpine Dam there is a reclimb up which is in the sun, so as my compatriots hated life I was trying to get a jump on them so I wouldn’t be passed to early when the downhill continued into Fairfax.
We had strange group dynamics. Dave zooming up climbs all day, and Ward riding hard in the flats, taking a lot of pulls, and doing intervals to catch up after slowing to take photos. Early on Jack would do his share of the work but his speed was one-two notches below everyone else’s, and when we had sudden accelerations chasing someone (aka doing a fun interval) we’d lose him. But no one can “smell the barn” better than Jack and from Fairfax in—about 20 miles—he started to hammer. On a set of serious rollers he lost Ward, so I just sat on Jack’s wheel hoping he’d get tired and then we could slow the pace—but he never did. Then Dr. Dave cramped up going up Big Rock, which Jack flew over. I knew he’d lose me on the twisty downhill with 23 turns but as on the Mt. Tam double I come off of that well, and I sprinted back to Jack, who continued to pull the rest of the way back to Highway 101. Suddenly a great ride was over.
Postscript—the next day Ward, Jack and I (Dr. Dave has too much sense) went for a metric ride over Palamares with Super Joe, and we were all suffering, dehydrated from the day before. This turned out to be the hardest weekend of cycling all year.
Mt Tam Century------- 105 miles, 8500’ climbing (190 ride rating)
Sunol-Palomaras Metric-65 miles, 3000’ climbing ( 95 ride rating)
170 miles, 11500’ climbing