Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mt Tam Via The Marshall Wall Century (2012)

(June 9, 2012)  Century XIX Mt. Tam Via the Marshall Wall Century, w/ Ward, Toby, Rebecca, (104 miles, 8500' climbing), for large part joined by Dr. Dave, Cisco Dave, Blinky Ray (75 miles, 6000' climbing)

7 Days to the Great Sierra Century
21 Days to Alta Alpina Double. 

Thanks to Ward Worldwide Industries--the leader in Self Supported Century Information, for
the elevation graph (WI)

Today's pace turned out to be the hardest of any our self supported doubles, I had a minor crash, and my front derailleur blew apart.  Good group so though painful it was lots of fun, and figure good training ride for two events I'm psyched for later this month.

A slight digression.  I'm stoked from Mt. Diablo Wednesday climb.  Back in 2003-2004 when training for (and scared shitless of) the Death Ride I did a few Mt Diablo climbs from the hard side in 66-67 minutes on a steel bike.  Fear is a great motivator.  I figured that if I ever dropped some weight I could do the climb in 60 minutes.  Since 2004 I dropped 10 lbs and my new bike is almost 5 pounds lighter and I never came close to what I did in 2003-04.  Some years since I couldn't hit 70 minutes.  Figure its the effects of getting older and I'm F'd..

So Wednesday we had a group pushing the pace.  Rebecca, an elite runner now on a bike, took off like a cannon shot and just about when I caught her I blew up.  Soon Fredrick and Ray, DMD vets, zoomed by when I was gone to the wind.  Rebeca stopped at the Junction (1/2 way up,) but Ray and Fredrick kept going and were about 1/4 mile ahead when I got my second wind.  I kept pushing hard to catch them while hitting my bike stereo to blast out a favorite tunes over and over.  I forgot my legs still hurt from the Sequoia Century and the extra crap I was carrying in my handlebar bag--I just went hard.  I never caught Ray or Fredrick--they were 1/2 way up the steep Diablo ramp when I arrived.  But when I looked at my time to the top I was elated--well under 70 minutes.  Fredrick has posted his best time ever.  I was doubly elated when  the next day I discovered it was my BEST since 2004.   Funny--instant motivation is trying to catch other riders but the important thing is trying to beat yourself, so even though I couldn't catch anyone last Wednesday night I was stoked that I went up faster than any time in the last 7 years.

That takes us to today's ride.  Club doing a 60 mile loop in Marin via the Cheese Factory, Marshall Wall and Pt Reyes Station (Bovine Bakery--#2 Bakery in California)  Great route--its the beginning of the Mt. Tam Double--my favorite race.    Area is a hotbed of cycling, we'd see lots of good cyclists on the road.   The bonus mile group would continue down the Coast to Mt Tam where we'd go up Fairfax-Bolinas road.  Debate all week if we should continue on the fun rollers on the top of Tam with great great views of San Francisco.  So eventually we had a double bonus mile group. 

Diablo Cyclists group together on Lucas Valley Road for the 60-75 or 105 mile ride. (PC)
Bonus mile group joined by Rebceca and Ray from the Wednesday night zoom up Diablo, and the usual cast of characters as noted above.   Someone was always pushing the pace--usually two people--Rebeca, the perpetual motion machine, and _________(take your pick.)     I was mostly guilty when some unfriendly people from other clubs would pass with nary a shout out.  Toby joked at the beginning of the ride "are we really going 100 miles.." The pace for 100 miles was nuts.

Ride started off ominously.  We started in a huge paceline on a slightly uphill Lucas Valley Road, and Toby and I bs'ing.  Rebecca in front of us and she's following Ward with his new carbon wheels (man he looks fast.)  Rebecca is from a serious running background but hasn't ridden in large groups--as such I shouldn't have been as close to her back wheel as I could be with someone I am familiar with.    But I was and at one point Ward's wheel made a strange noise, Rebeca suddenly braked and went left, my front wheel touched her back wheel and you know what happened.......

Luckily I landed squarely on my shoulder and on my left knee.  Shoulder bruised and knee scrapped up, but I was happy that didn't land on head or stick out my arm (broken collarbone) etc.  Bike OK.  Though knee looked like covered in red cottage cheese and getting tight I had an adrenaline rush and just jumped back on relieved that nothing worse happened and rode hard on the course that I love.    For the rest of the day my left knee felt fine when I got going, but torquing when first starting after a stop or on a climb hurt.   I usually have my bad right knee covered by a knee wrap, but I used it now on my left knee so my right knee bugged me whenever we hit a cool patch.

Anyway, ride to Nicasio eventful.   Motivated to go hard up the short but steep Big Rock Climb as its followed by a long fast downhill where I'd have trouble staying with the group--so I went over it with Cisco Dave and the bonus mile group caught me when road flattened out.  After group rejoined we're easily riding pace when Dr. Dave played Rusty and attacked once (poor Rusty imitation--Rusty would have attacked numerous times.)  Dr. Dave soon caught and we're back riding pace when this big triathlete comes storming by.  OK--that's for our tri-Toby to catch but, but, but--where is Toby?   So I sprint up and get on the guys wheel which makes him go faster but I stick with him and thank him for the pull to Nicasio (I think he grunted.)

Bonus mile group arrives and then rest of Club, where we tell them we're doing 100 miles so we can't wait at rest stops for long.  Here is where I pull my knee wrap off of bad right knee and put it over bleeding left knee.  Club already leaves when I'm doing this but they are going slowly waiting for me to get back.  Get back I do--two guys come by flying and I jump on their wheel, when we are about to go by Club I yell out the "hop on" code "Postal" twice but no one joins me so I drop off for a regroup a little down the road.

Our club comes up slowly when a female triathlete on a pink bike roars past.  OK, I'm done chasing cyclists when  everyone is apparently riding a sane pace for 100 miles when Toby, who was sane when the big tri guy passed earlier, now jumps on pink tri wheel with Ward in tow--so I jump at the end of the train.  She was moving, pulling us to the guys who I was with earlier, but then she turned to Toby and told him NOT to draft her wheel.    Toby took off, the two guys followed and I got behind them--when they caught Toby (a perfect "2001")  I jumped ahead of them to the end of the road--where we'd make an uphill turn for the Cheese Factory Climb. 

Two guys turned the other way.  I slowed down for our group to rejoin which pissed off the pink tri girl closely behind.   Well we would have drafted behind you and caused no problems but you fussed when we were behind you. On the climb Rebecca takes off and roars past pink tri girl.

First regroup at the Cheese factory (PC)
Regroup at the Cheese Factory and now for the Marshall Wall and run in--a nice rustic road that gently goes up for 11 miles and then kicks up for another 2 before going down to the Coast.  On the old Mt Tam Double I loved this section to push the pace--and I did today.  Dr. Dave, Cisco Dave, Toby, Ward, Rebecca and Ray also liked pushing the pace on this section.  Great run in to the climb until some cool ocean air came in and slightly locked up my right knee--uncovered for the first time since a crash in Italy also had me  change knee's to wrap.  Parked car blocking a good photo of the Peace Bell.   Ward notices a bulge from his tire on the new wheel so we stop at an oyster house so he can do some tire maintenance before the @10 miles of rolling Highway 1.

Bonus mile group on Hicks Valley Road--11 1/2 miles to the Marshall Wall.  (above) Rebecca. Ward and Dr Dave in front  (below) Cisco Dave, Toby and Ray coming up (PC)

Highway 1 up here much much less crowded than it was in San Mateo last week. Ray has one of the biggest tail lights I've seen on a bike--almost as big as the Pt Reyes Lighthouse--visible a couple of football field away in daylight.   And it was very visible down the Coast when Cisco Dave and Ray took off, Rebeca soloing in no mans land, and the rest of us pacelining a football field behind.

Pull into Pt Reyes Station filled with cyclists, most in front of the Bovine Bakery (#2 Bakery in California.)  For once had plenty of Vegan Wholewheat Scones--so large that I  just ate half and took the rest up Mt. Tam.  Stephen-June-Jack rolled in, Stephen & June talking about their recent stay at the Pigeon Point Light House.  They were now going back to the start while we continued down the Coast to Mt. Tam--but first a visit to the Toby Bathrooms in Toby Park on Toby Street across from Toby Weed and Feed.   The Queen was honored by Elton John and other 1970 has beens for her something jubilee that evening--I think naming the park in Pt Reyes Station after Toby a greater honor.

(above) Toby using the 'Where is Vince?' app on his Smartphone (homage to WI) (below) Toby at his intensive tri training park in Pt Reyes Station--looks rough (PC)
We should all have made sure to buy Rebecca something from the bakery--we didn't so there was no slowing her down.  After a side loop to take us off Highway 1 we were soon on Highway 1 with serious rollers and the perpetual motion machine took off--with Cisco Dave and I on her wheel.  The road eventually levels off but Cisco Dave and I didn't volunteer to do any work, and with fast folks like Ward, Toby, Dr Dave and Ray behind us surly they'd work together and catch up.   They never did and we waited at the nondescript Fairfax-Bolinas turnoff to regroup before climbing Mt. Tam.

No thanks to Cisco or myself,  Rebecca and the two freeloaders are well up the road (PC)
Someone Rebeca then pushed the pace up the Mt Tam climb with Cisco, Ray, Toby and me hanging on.  Great photo ops of the ocean below but who had a time to dig out a camera.  Toby was in a good mood, insulting Cisco for his use of a triple.  Sun was out and nice and warm--grove of redwoods at the top and even though we stopped in the shade I then broke out in a delayed sweat while we waited for Ward and Dr. Dave.

Dr Dave climbing Fairfax-Bolinas Road (WI)

Rebecca at Ridgecrest (WI)

Toby and Ray at Ridgecrest (WI)

Dr Che Dave at Ridgecrest (WI)

I'm at Ridgecrest--Cisco Dave is being camera shy (WI)
 Both Daves and Ray had enough punishment and they went back to Fairfax and then a hilly bike trail back to Lucas Valley where our cars were parked--I think they secretly wanted an early start to the tye dye booth at the Hippie Faire in Fairfax.   Ward, Toby, Rebeca and myself would now continue on the 4 miles of 7 long uphill rollers and assorted climbs to the eastern side of Mt. Tam which affords a great view of San Francisco an Mt Diablo.  I mentioned to Rebeca that the bonus mile group usually sticks together--with that she was off like a shot on the rollers while "the guys" took it easy and looked for Kodak moments.   At the big junction that veers off to Muir Woods/ Stinson Beach Ward worried that she may have taken a wrong turn--but as it turned out she was down the road at an overlook of a very clear San Francisco.

With Toby on Ridgecrest--Pacific far below us (WI)

Toby in front of me heading towards one of the seven rollers on top of Tam (WI)

The Double Bonus Mile Group on the top of Tam  (WI & PC)

Nice picnic at the top of Tam (WI)

Our lunch entertainment (WI)
 Nice snack bar picnic area on top where they had more bananas than on the Sequoia Century and we all sat around and bs'd for awhile--entertained by a mountain biker who made a series of sliding crashes nearby.  A road cyclist wanted to know if we were training for the Death Ride (well two nuts are training for Alta Alpina--the Death Ride on steroids).  He was doing the Death Ride for the first time and asked for some tips.
Tip #1-Get a mini light so you can start at 5:00--a half hour before 90% of the riders start and clog the road.
Tip #2-Get a mini light so you can start at 5:00--a half hour before 90% of the riders start and clog the road.

Tip #4-Get a mini light so you can start at 5:00--a half hour before 90% of the riders start and clog the road.

Tip #11-Get a mini light so you can start at 5:00--a half hour before 90% of the riders start and clog the road.

Tip #12-Don't chase anyone and go over your aerobic threshold--at altitude hard to get it back
Tip #13-Stay well hydrated, air is dry
Tip #14-Try to finish as early as possible as always a chance of a sudden afternoon thunderstorm
Tip #15-Did I mention, get a mini light so you can start at 5:00--a half hour before 90% of the riders start and clog the road.

Rebecca chasing Toby on the return trip on the ridgeline (WI)
Two short climbs out of the rest area and then downhill on 7 Sister rollers, but the knee I crashed on had stiffened up when sitting around and it took awhile for me to get going.  Group let me set the pace going down twisty Alpine Road--I much rather be climbing it.  Kodak moment at the Alpine dam and then more climbing out.

Alpine Dam/ Lake looked great--now we have to climb out of it (WI)
On one roller I shifted and dropped my chain--then I couldn't get the chain back in the big ring.  Strange.  Ward and Toby are real good at assembling bikes so we pulled off at golf course before the big decent into Fairfax for emergency bike repair--they determined my front derailleur was out of whack but couldn't get it to line up straight.  So plan was for them to go to 7-11 in town and I'd go to bike shop.

Well, if Mr. Robinson ain't going on our rides, then Toby and Ward are great to have around for emergency bike repair.  (RE)
Picked through crowded Hippie Fest in middle of town and to Sunrise Bicycle.  Nice folks at shop and took bike right away for derailleur repair.  Instead it was derailleur replacement as they determined that the one I had was bent beyond belief.  Trouble is they only had a slim choice of replacement derailleurs and while an hour later they could get it to shift nicely they couldn't get it to NOT rub the chain in the big ring.  At least I could put bike in big ring and will have my bike shoppe--Mr. Robinson's--look at it this week.

I had earlier given Dr. Dave the printed instructions for the bike path bailout from Fairfax so we had to go back the regular route though getting late--two short but steep climbs out of Fairfax into the headwind, two shorter climbs back towards Nicasio and then the beautiful tailwind assisted climb through the Redwoods back on Lucas Valley Road.  Again Rebecca took off but for once she slowed as she was struggling--this was her first 100 mile ride and the miles finally caught up to her.  She took my suggestion that we should now begin to repay her for all the work she did earlier, so she sat in the back while we blocked the wind.  So for the last 15 miles or so our bonus mile group was great--sticking together and pacelining back to Big Rock (almost a roller in this direction), the 22 curves on the downhill we rode up in the morning, and a fast return to the cars so the ride was over too quickly.  And as I laugh at Ward when he thinks its HOT at 80 degrees--he laughed at me when I bundled up in the shade as COLD at 65.  At least Toby no longer says "are we going to MARE-IN"--those English and pronunciation.

No comments: