**Fast top end of the field--1st (non pro) rider and 25th rider has best time of any of the Mt Tam Doubles I've done. But new course wasn't fast--median finisher and % of people dropping out around the average. I'm not getting much slower but much more excellent riders now doing Doubles.
2005 13:48 (6:48 finish), 36th of 211 riders, start w/ Don, Steve, Mike, Tom (11:20 winning time; 13:32-25th rider; 14:00-median finisher; 85% starters finished)
2006 14:15 (7:15 finish), 35th of 233 riders, whole ride with Don (11:13 winning time; 13:57-25th rider; 15:26-median finisher; 81% starters finished)
2007 13:42 (6:42 finish), 23rd of 247 riders including Steve Cozza who finished @3 hours ahead of me (but he also did Paris Roubaix), solo (10:50 Steve Cozza 10:50, 11:39-2nd place; 13:47-26th place; 15:24 median finish; (82% starters finished)
2008 14:35 (7:35 finish on slow windy course), 28th or 29th of 199 riders, most of ride with Jack, whole ride and finish with Don (11:32 winning time; 14:33 25th rider; 15:47 median finisher; 72% starters finished)
2009 13:34 (6:34 finish), 33rd of 289 starters (Triple Crown race so field enhanced, Mt Tam closed so climbed 2x halfway), start with Don and Jack (11:29 winning time; 13:17-25th rider; 15:03-median finisher; 84% starters finished)
2010 Did Not Start-Death in family
There is one thing I can do well on a bike, stand and grind up short but steep climbs. To this skill the Mt. Tam Double course is great for me. At 14,500' in elevation gain its 7th out of the 22 doubles on the schedule (range is Alta Alpina at 20,300' to a few tandem friendly ones under 8,000'.) Has a big climb up Mt. Tam but climb is a series of steep hairpins and recovery points and rollers, most of the rest of the course are Italian rollers (long ones you can't power over), a few Eddie Stankey rollers (never mind, see post for Tomales-Petaluma Century last month), and a hard steep climb up Coleman Valley.
Usually I'm sky high for this event and its the focus of my year (I used to joke on the Death Ride that it was a training ride for the Mt Tam Double) but I'm a little nervous this year. Alta Alpina was my focus this year. I missed the Mt Tam Double last year. Middle of course is being run in reverse and while I like a slow course full of steep rollers this would also throw in headwind and I'd be unfamiliar with course run the first time last year. Also after Alta Alpina I stopped watching weight, and while I was focused dove down to 145 two years ago year before this event I gained up to 144 coming in, whereas if I had teh same foxus from two years ago I could have come in at 140. Also faded at Knoxville last year at mile 160 and same on Alta Alpina this year--hoped that this was not a trend. Worse thing is NO teammates starting this ride--it will be a long day. Hope to come off of the Mt. Tam climb before Grizzly Mark and then we'd ride together like we did in DMD. Things going for me are good endurance training rides. and luckily scouted out the middle of this course a few weeks ago.
Mass start ride starts at 5:00, about 45 minutes before daylight. This year the Mt. Tam Double is one of the three tough Doubles combined for the stage race series so the field is enhanced. After short snooze I start getting bike ready at 4:30 at a school in residential neighborhood, and enjoying the quiet, but that doesn't stop some of the yentas from throwing a party (seems the same few hundred crazies do these rides.) One yenta is yelling from across the parking lot about some Grizzly Peak Cyclist who broke their collarbone last week (oh shut up), and a woman who took 147 photos on their last ride. When we cue up for mass start nervous energy continues a guy next to me yacks on about this being his first ride not on his fixed gear, even Mt. Baldy?--then with 5 minutes to go he notices he still has on slippers and not his cycling shoes.
Then race director says something no one can hear (I used to start in the rear, now solidly in middle of pack as don't want to miss out if only traffic light on ride-500' from start/ finish--turns red as it did a few years back,) and its balls out in the darkness up a neighborhood hill and then a left turn on Lucas Valley Road, with an almost immediate steep climb up to Big Rock and then downhill in the darkness through Redwoods. I always have motivation to go hard up the Big Rock climb, though descending doesn't scare me like it did a few years back, I still want to go downhill with as few people as possible. Turn onto Lucas Valley Road marked, but can't be seen when we started at night. This year no road markings used but signs. Unfortunately at mid course some signs were stolen so a little confusion and backtracking to stay on route.At night no one would see the Indian guarding the base of Big Rock Climb.
I'm passed by a few riders on twisty descent to Lake Alpine but this starts one of my favorite long climbs. Next few miles of climbs is steep hairpins joined by shallower road--like a series of rollers. I love this climb with good legs and ride just began so I'm feeling great. Here I pass many riders and can't wait to get to Ridgecrest--the 7 miles of rollers on Tam where it is always clear above the clouds.
It's so foggy at the top can hardly see the two bikes who just crested the roller 100' in front of me. In fact soon I can't see 10' in front of me as glasses steamed. I ride most of Tam's Ridgecrest peering over my glasses on the tip of my nose, so at least I can see 3' out clearly. After Alta Alpina debacle where I overdressed I only had a vest/ undershirt/ arm warmers with me today--no jacket or knee warmers or cap, now I wished I had everything I left behind.
Luckily this part of the Course was familiar; when I came to the fork that splits the road going directly to Stinson Beach instead of the long way past Muir Woods and miles to the south of Stinson I couldn't see any road signs. I went left and didn't see any riders ahead, and slowed down and for a few minutes no one passed me--so I really thought I took the wrong turn and was off course. (Usually there are packs of riders going down at this point.) I was never so happy to suddenly be passed by two riders--yippie--going the right way.
Out of Pt. Reyes Station, pointing the way to Petaluma, 20 miles away.
Out of Pt. Reyes Station some mini rollers. One guy from Peninsula Velo does most of the pulling, while another guy makes sure he never gets to the front. We are now cutting across Marin County, West to East, in a new direction. All of the earlier Mt. Tam Doubles I did eventually turned North and came back to Petaluma at the end of the day well after the Century ride was well over. But now we'd see Petaluma early in the day, and when we merged with the Century riders just starting out havoc reigned.