Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Century Doubleheader-Game 2-Tour of Middle of Marin Double

(7/24/2011) Middle of Mt Tam Double Century, 100 miles, 6,666' climbing, w/ Ward. I had to promise Ward that there would be no chasing today, but even without a promise my legs at the start screamed "get off the bike." I could feel every one of the 10,000' climbing from yesterday. But had to do this ride--even though I've done Mt. Tam Double numerous times and always finish in the top third on the course full of rollers that I love--last year they ran the middle section backwards--going out to the Coast. Great--instead of a tailwind we'd now cross Marin in a headwind. No doubt the organizers want to get us out of Petaluma, the largest city en route, in the morning instead of late in the day. I figured after last year they'd change back--and due to death in family I didn't do the double last year. But organizers didn't and I wanted to become familiar with the course.

As mentioned I love the Double--with two tough climbs we wouldn't do today. But the rest of the Course is filled with "Italian Rollers*"--the ones that are too long and steep to attack and have to grind up, and "Eddie Stanky Rollers*"--the ones you can fly over if you get a running start off the downhill section if the previous roller. I like the Italian Rollers, Ward flys over the Eddie Stanky Rollers. (*In Italy seemingly every roller looked gentle at the beginning, and after a curve in the road suddenly apparent that the road still went up another 600' and grade had jumped 10%+. Eddie Stanky was "The Brat" of the NY Giants who, on third base tag up plays would stand 10' BEHIND third base and then get a running start just before the catch--baseball had to amend the rule book to ban this.)

Ward and I started out near where the Double starts, but instead of going towards and over Mt. Tam we kept inland through the very familiar Nicasio. Near Big Rock (short
but steep climb near the beginning--some co-eds wondered if we were on the Tour de Marin ride. At Nicasio--12' miles down the road the co-eds pulled in, pulled out terrible maps and an I phone (they needed the gadget pimped in San Gregorio during the TdF)--no one could figure out that their turn around rest stop was about 500' down the road. "But the ride arrows make no sense!" Turns out that turn around rest stop was about 500' to the right of the stop sign in upper right hand corner.

While almost ready to leave an English (or Australian, or Kiwi (Ward's guess), or South African (my guess) pulled in yapping and wanted to know if we were on the ride or training for a Century. When I told him training for a Double he whined "oh, doubles are for girls--I do back to back doubles--you must be a type A personality." I was too tired for his shit, so just walked away to take some photos.

Yappy New Zealand guy will have trouble at this point in the course.

Flat for a few miles out of Nicasio--some friendly guy passed us saying hi--Ward gave me the"NO CHASING" sign, and again that was my last intent. Then we turned right heading East towards Petaluma and had to go over the attention getting Cheese Factory climb. Loads of cyclists going over it--many struggling, we came off it with two young guys wearing U of Michigan jersey's and their buddy wearing the wrong Domo (Lotto Domo) jersey. When we hit the flats they pushed the pace and ward jumped in behind them. This hurt---luckily Ward decided to jump off when we hit the small hills outside Petaluma.

Glad doing the route as we diddled around missing a turn or two. Ward had done the Century run the same day as the Double so he was familiar with where we should be--but both of us a little challenged as on how to get there. Houses nice and unique in Petaluma but roads the shits--full of cracks and potholes.

Front yard decorations in Petaluma.

Leaving Petaluma a familiar subdivision climb, a few sudden turns, but soon on a 12 mile stretch of Chileno Valley Road though cow country. Yep--a headwind. We passed a guy in a Garmin-Cervelo kit--he joined us and shared the workload for part of the road. Slow course, but more from headwind than rollers.

Cow crossing in mid Marin--at least sign doesn't smell.

Looking for the map in cow country. Another uniquely landscaped yard.

As we got closer to West Marin the rollers picked up and the sky turned cloudier.

Did we miss a turn-emergency map check-Ward photo

Alright, I'm stoked--less headwind and more rollers-Ward photo.

Slow course across Marin--seemingly slower as not sure where we were going. Over every rise we expected Highway 1--so we'd be near a town--but it was about 15 miles zig zagging around. Finally reached Valley Ford--tiny town with lots of traffic.

Valley Ford is in background--apart from pavement little has changed -Ward photo

Sunflowers in Valley Ford.

Ward capturing the interesting architecture.

Long stop at general store in Valley Ford, we had really been hoping for the bakery in Tomales that Cervelo guy had told us about. Of course I wanted to go the wrong way leaving Valley Ford--Ward properly turned around and all was good until the first short 12% climb followed by a short 10% climb followed by.... You get the idea. Ward kinda knew where we were as he remembered the pain from these hills in the Century. I didn't remember much until we hit a fast downhill outside Tomalas, and first advantage of doing course in reverse became apparent--usually have to do this as a tough climb into strong headwind.

Great bakery stop--bakery in a converted barber shop/ gas station. Ironic that yesterday on Skyline a clusterfuck of motorcycles around, today 1-2 rides and we bs'd with one motorcyclist and compared all of the same rodes we do.

Ward doesn't care that NO Hammer products at bakery.

The Bakery-Ward photo.

I wanted to get some money here but no ATM as "Not A Bank."

Legs had loosened up a little and energy started to come back--either from brownie bar or loss of the headwind. Now 7 miles down Highway 1 until another significant climb--"The Marshall Wall."

This part of Highway 1 full of semi Italian Rollers and Eddie Stanky Rollers, so Ward and I alternately enjoyed life. Ward's fun ended briefly when he came off a roller hard and steaming into the next one a car looking for a parking spot making a U turn on the Highway blocked the road and the momentum going up the next roller.

Suddenly we are at the Marshall Wall and stop at the Peace Bell 200' up the climb in order to take off knee warmers. When we were ready to go two riders came by like bats out of hell--one wearing the 2011 Barney Death Ride Purple Jersey. We started up a little after them, never thought we'd see them again--but soon these guys had died out and we were passing them. More importantly--found out that the Marshall Wall from the Coast is relatively easy--shorter and a tailwind on the climb. Sunny and about 75--when Ward and I regrouped at the top a few cyclists also stopped--one bug guy was dying from the HEAT. What heat?

Ward at the top of the Marshall Wall.

Instead of the slow 9 mile East to West run in to the Marshall Wall (slightly uphill rollers into a headwind) the West to East reverse course was fast. Soon at the Cheese Factory for the last rest stop. Cheese Factory climb was easy--and the usual fast run in through Nicasio and back up to Big Rock--it is mostly a gradual climb but we have the usual tailwind and while the Big Rock portion is steep it is real short from this direction..

Finally a good photo of Big Rock with Ward trying to show how big it is.

Coming off Big Rock I count the 22 turns--downhill here used to terrify me but counting the turns was a good calming mechanism and I still have fun doing same. Now 4-5 miles of a slight downhill with a wind and Ward is pulling me along at 25mph+, amazing with 199 miles in our legs from the weekend. This was a great ride--a lot more climbs than yesterday--luckily climbs alot shorter. Another ride to do again when 100 degrees in the East Bay. Luckily Mt Tam Double will have arrows in the ground but great to become re-familiar with the old sections of the ride and familiar with the new reverse sections.

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