Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mt. Tam Century-Version 2 (2010)

(July 17, 2010) Mt. Tam Century Version 2.0-99 & change miles, 7540' climbing. 15.3 mph; w/ Ward *full route* & Dr. Dave *most o route*)

Great ride and great small group. Dave is one of the best long climbers up a steady grade and no one goes over a roller faster than Ward. We'll have a long climb, many short but steep climbs (Italian rollers) which I like, and plenty of rollers. Best of all we keep watching for each other on the parts where we might lose the group, so I don't have to go hard to be first over a climb knowing that Ward and Dave will slow for me on the downhill. A real relaxing day.

This time we did Mt. Tam early (the big bump above) going up the great climb on twisty Fairfax Bolinas Road with its noticeable hairpins. Blue dot-Alpine Lake, Pink dot-Stinson Beach, Yellow dot-Cheese Factory hill. (WI)

Dave and Ward bsing on Alpine Dam.

Climbing Mt. Tam from the Fairfax side is "different." First is the short but steep climb to Big Rock, then after a long descent 2-3 attention getting Italian rollers to Sir Francis Drake, and then another climb before dropping into Fairfax. Here we passed a woman I've done 200 mile rides with who was on a short brevet. From Fairfax you start going up almost immediately by then suddenly drop down to Alpine Dam--"wow-Tam was an easy climb." "Hee Hee Hee" after crossing the dam the road suddenly kicks up into a long shaded climb with a series of real hairpins that kick up the elevation +5%.

Dave and Ward going up Fairfax-Bolinas Road after Alpine Dam--twisty--shaded--steep hairpins--shitty descent from two weeks ago makes for a great climb. Not too many cars--at one point two guys came up and I shot off--they finally caught me and I was hanging on their wheel when a passing car jumped around me and created a gap--wouldn't have caught the little guy but could have stayed with his friend . I gotta remember for the Mt. Tam Double that this segment of the climb ENDS at mile sign 10.28. But unlike Mt. Hamilton or Mt. Diablo which ends in a steady climb, the nature of Mt. Tam changes. The steady climb is over and now you have to transverse a few miles of rollers/ Italian Rollers, along the ridgeline. Dave/ Ward on the ridgeline--the Pacific Ocean is below them to the right--blocked by the cloud bank that always seems to be 1000' below the ridgeline.

Ward talking photo with a no lens, no viewfinder camera. Dave is in trouble, he is taking a photo where he is smiling.Jay & Dave riding along the Tam ridgeline. Jay pulling over after passing the giant golf ball. Almost to the end of the road (long downhill then steep parking lot uphill) but the view from here is better than at the top. (Ward-o-photo)

If we looked South we'd have a clear shot of San Francisco (well not clear 'cause it usually is covered in fog. Looking East we see Mt. Diablo. After riding Mt. Shasta last week, strange that there is no snow on this peak nor seen on Mt. Diablo. (Ward-o-photo)
At the end of the road--Ward walking back from the snack bar.

Really cute kid giving his dad mountain biking lessons. This is the area where Mountain Biking started and many mountain bikers on Mt. Tam.

Do you know this stupidass??? DODGE PICKUP CA. 7G76064 from Autoworld Petaluma--in the running for asshole driver of the year. Long descent from top of Mt. Tam to Highway 1/ Stinson Beach. It is decently paved, with some wide sweeping turns. Ward/ Dave letting me go first so I can set the pace. I'm only pissed because the temperature plummets as we go into the fog bank. I'm going at the speed limit--in fact on some turns I'm slowing as a group of cars are slowing even more ahead--then they'd open up a 100'+ gap on the next straightaway which would become less than 100'. DODGE PICKUP CA. 7G76064 ass revs his engine and brakes hard behind Ward and Dave and tailgates them all the way down, then fires by on a curve. Of course he's in the traffic jam below--Ward engages him in a metaphysical conversation while Dave pats the truck and congratulates the driver for getting down the hill first. For once I'm the quite one.

(Postscript--yes I do know why some drivers get wacked off--the next day I drove back to Bolinas and passed scores of cyclists. I had to slow for some and wait (eg. after a curve) to pass, no big deal. But twice there were some idiot cyclists riding next to each other blocking the road. But no different than when I was going home and a half dozen times a slow car was in the left ("fast") lane--with a few drivers with their heads down as they were texting. Most cars in Northern California change lanes without signaling (in Southern California they still use the turn signal.) As I can't get pissed at ALL drivers because of this, likewise, you/ I can't get pissed at ALL cyclists because of the clueless few)

I had planned to do the Marshall Wall which Dave wasn't going to do, and Ward indicated that the preferred route back would get us WAY over 100 miles. A little up the road (Hwy 1) after clearing crowded Stinson we go inland just a bit but that causes the sun to break out--and we all pull over to take off our vest. We pull over near the end of Fairfax-Bolinas road. Now we always ride through Fairfax but have NEVER been in Bolinas--the secretive place where the townsfolks always tear down any directional signs put up on the main road. Taking a side trip to Bolinas may get us a century without doing the Marshall Wall, so we take a nice little detour.

This was an incredible find on the outskirts of Bolinas, local craftman travels to Burma and makes latex casts of statuary there and then does concrete duplication. We only saw the front with the small pieces and David Jaap told us a little about the process and his trips to Burma. As I no longer take care of my yard, I'm always looking for real interesting statuary to "plant." I told David I'd be back to buy some stuff, and when another ride in Marin fell through the next day, I jumped in my car very early to avoid the Stinson Beach traffic snarl, and became David's first customer of the day. He then showed me his "front yard" with more statues and two incredible fence/ gates.
***Bolinas lagoon Bike art hanging in Bolinas (Ward O Photo)

Interesting folk painting job which has the year I was born. Dr. Dave and Ward both indicate they were born in '57 and are younger--which I don't understand.

Truly the end of Fairfax-Bolinas road.

After Bolinas it was back to Highway 1 for the series of rollers to Pt. Reyes Station--where we passed the hippie-dippie faire outside town for the second straight year. A BIG dispute occurred at the Bovine Bakery that threatened to tear the group apart. On the bakery radio, they were playing the WORST "rock" song ever--it had been big in the late 1960's as a tame alternative to the dangerous Stones and Beatles. Not only is it bad but it goes on and on and on. I hadn't heard it in @35 years as it quickly disappeared after a short but intense playing of this sanitized drivel. I claimed it must be the LONGEST "rock" song ever played on AM radio--Ward countered with "Stairway to Heaven" and he is correct 7:55 to 7:21. But somehow rising guitar riffs speed time up quicker than......well, pull up a chair, have an empty stomach, and press play below. (If you manage to listen to all 7:21 you deserve a prize.)

Dave and I ride hard by the Nicasio Reservoir to get away from Satan's music. (Ward-o-photo)

OK--we got some Patti Smith or James Brown in our heads again. (Ward-o-Photo)

Ward across from Hicks Valley School.
Ward and I continue up the climb to the Cheese Factory and a little past to turn around at the Lincoln School at the start of the run in to the Marshall Wall. It will be the 3rd rest stop on the Mt. Tam Double. Coming back we get the usual afternoon tailwind on the run back to Nicasio--what a kick going an easy 22 uphill after 85 miles. The fun continues in the dense redwoods from Nicasio back to a short/ steep climb up to Big Rock--where I go real hard as this is the place where you can mive up a few places in the Mt. Tam Double results. The road kicks up a bit and I'm po'd as I can only hold 19.5 mph when I'm trying to stay over 20. Then it's the short/ steep Big Rock climb, which I love, and the 22 hairpin descent, which I hate (posthole on turn 16.) Counting the hairpins and humming "Dancing Barefoot" relaxes me on the descent, and I usually can fire when the road straightens out. I regroup with Ward, and he pulls at 29 mph.
Last few miles go by to quickly.
Great ride. Unfortunately damper is put on the proceeding by some vehicle vandalism at the parking lot.

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