Monday, July 30, 2012

Marin Century (2012)

Baseball aside:  At the trade deadline Dodgers get former all star Hanely Ramirez while hitting challenged Giants get utility infielder Marco Scutaro.  Why does this smack like the death kneel for the Giants; deja vu of the Fred McGriff Atlanta deal in 1993.  (OK--at last minute Giants add Hunter Pence, thank you Giants)

While I'm complaining, can we see any more of the same fn commercials over and over during the Giants telecast ("winnnnnnnnneeeeeer," "who's bob?," "winnnnnnneeeeeeeer")-torture

Century #

(July 27, 2012) Marin Century (Self Supported), w/ Ward and Rebecca. 101 miles, 7,500' climbing 17.2 avg speed.

Elevation profile--no long climbs but up and down all day.  I think Garmin climbing is a little high, last year it registered 600 feet less.   (WI)
 1 week to go before the Mt. Tam Double and I needed to get this Century in.  Really need to.  First reason--3 years ago they changed the direction of Course I loved and knew very well.  Instead of staying on or near the Coast and ending by going inland to Petaluma, they changed the route and have us go to Petaluma early in the day after doing the Mt. Tam Loop.  Traffic wise Petaluma is the most congested area of the Course and I'm sure it helps the organizers getting us (and the rest stop) out of there early in the day but I hate their decision.  I love a slow course when its slow because of  roller and roller and mini-hills, in fact doing rollers with tailwind is great.  But I'm a crappy headwind rider and as the wind usually blows west to east, the 30 miles from Petaluma to Valley Ford/ Tomales are hard.  Besides, I'm not THAT sure of the new course route--last year they didn't mark key intersections, and it really helps when you are NOT worried about if you went in the right direction.

The other reason is that my long rides have sucked since Alta Alpina.  The Mt Tam loop a few weeks ago was hard, the Tunitas-Alpine loop last week was MUCH to hard.   The leg injury/ few extra pounds/ not super motivated after Alta Alpina--who knows, but I best figure it out and fast.

Ward and I did this loop last year (the day after Tunitas-Alpine) where we were delusional and said we'd ride easy and then raced some guys to Petaluma.    At least today we'd do this ride "fresh" on Saturday.  We'd be joined by Rebecca who loves the areas she's seeing on a bike but she tries to slam through every ride going as fast as she can as perhaps a faster route toward getting back to running (and winning) marathons. My friend and training buddy Ward also feigns wanting to ride easy--but he's faster than me on the flats, downhills and momentum rollers (aka flyover or Eddie Stanky rollers) so he'll keep the pace going when I want to take it easy.  Of course I'll be like a kid in the candy store when the short momentum killing rollers (aka Italian rollers) appear over and over.

Once again I expected us to be in a fog bank all day--a few weeks ago East County was solidly in a heat wave but now every morning the car is covered with dew and there is a damp chill in the air--it smells like summer is over and football season is about to begin.  Crap.

We start a half hour early than usual on Lucas Valley Road--signs are already covering the road warning drivers about the Marin Century-Mt Tam Century-Mt Tam Double next week.   No goofing off--Rebecca immediately is pushing the pace and we go up hard on the long Big Rock Climb (long from the East side, much shorter on the West side that we'll see on the return trip.)    We pass a group hanging out at the top of the climb--first of two times that someone today will leave their group and pass us.

Slight downhill to Nicasio and I'm pulling when a woman from the group we had passed zooms by.  I put in a dig to get back to her wheel, and my lazyass quality would have me take to the kindness of strangers and sit on her wheel.  Hell, we're going 100 miles and only have 3 riders to share the workload.  But soon Rebecca is having none of this and she jumps to the front, so then Ward and I "have to" join in on the workload.  No surprise when woman again jumps and tries to sprint into Nicasio but we all stay with her.

Most of the rest of the day was uneventful except for our three riders keeping a strong 3 man going.  Ward and I already know when one of us is dropping the speed at the front and almost automatically will come to the front without being waved up.   Rebecca got into the spirit to, she'd usually take the longest pulls except for when there was a block headwind --as she rides upright and has to use the drops to her advantage more.  At one point some guys we flew by were egging Ward and I on that we were letting Rebecca pull us along.   Yep-life is good.  The great thing is we all watched out for each other and usually kept a constant pace.

Now there is a reason to go to New Jersey.  Seen at the Cheese Factory rest stop (PC)
We stopped at the famous Cheese Factory picnic area, then rollers out to Petaluma (where the road turns to crap as soon as you are in the City limits.)   We slowed just enough to pass the park that will be next weeks rest stop.  Then its out of town through a subdivision and 10 miles on Chileno Valley Road  road which is in the middle of cow country.  Yellow fields of straw everywhere with groves of the hated eualyptus trees,  and an occasional one room schoolhouse that is 100 years old.  Rebecca from the desert commented that it was so GREEN compared to Nevada--I just saw 90% yellow straw.

Along Chileno Valley Road--lots of cows and some great 1 room school buildings (PC)
We zig zag Northwest--Ward and I surprisingly remembered alot of the turns from last year.  Saw many cyclists going in the other direction--about every 30 minutes we'd pass a group on the road going our way.  No traffic in the booming City of Fallon, which consists of a house with a funky yard of all old farm equipment and gas pumps.  I pulled out the route sheet at the same place I pulled it out last year.  Pace was always high and a guitar tune by Rodriguo y Gaberiela kept dancing in my head which seemingly matched the cadence. 

This is Fallon--population 3? (WI & PC)

Rebecca and Jay haven't seen a cow all day (WI & PC)

I love this photo.  Rebecca and I going up another short but steep climb--this looks like a Tour of Flanders climb (WI)
Nice thing was that occasionally we were passed by a pickup truck--and unlike the Deliverance pickups in the Bay Area that try to get close and personal--the drivers in western Marin were very nice and gave us lots of room..

Valley Ford rest stop--and the Hammer Nutrition options (WI Cartoon Studio)
Second big stop is at the general store at Valley Ford--last year I was turned around sideways trying to figure out the way to go.  Some lady asked Ward where Highway 1 was--we didn't know--as it turns out it was 10' away from us--main street is Highway 1.

I'm on Middle Road, in between hills.  Look at that fog hanging out to the West.   (WI)
 On the double we'll continue Northeast to loop Coleman Valley, but today we head Southwest to Tomales--6 miles on Middle Road that has some funky turns to make it seem like 3 different roads--filled with steep roller after steep roller.  Maybe it should be called Flemish Middle Road.   The good news is that I could stay with Rebecca today--even when her heart rate monitor hit 180-as the climbs are hard but short.

Tomales Bakery shots-If Ward is in it (PC) took the photo, if I'm in (WI) took the photo.  If CA Mike was on the ride and he had a camera he would have taken the top photo (PC) 
Tomales has a funky little bakery and this was the one spot that was overcast--but not drenched in fog.   Tourists keep pulling up and jumping out in t-shirts and shorts saying how cold it was but the weather had been great.

Rebecca and me by Tomales Bay--fog hanging to the West (WI)
Now it was down the Coast along Tomales Bay on Highway 1.  There was heavy fog hanging over the hills on the ocean side but just overcast over the Bay.  A little tailwind/crosswind with the cool ocean air being sucked toward the San Joaquin Valley--though it will heat up 40 degrees by the time it gets there.   We came off an uphill roller going 30mph, as registered on a CALTRANS speed sign--Rebecca and I were so stoked that we overshot the left turn onto the Marshall Wall climb.

View of Tomales Bay from the Peace Bell (wide angle-PC)(close up-WI)
Time to get undressed for peace (WI)
I knew from 2 weeks earlier, when the weather was much worse, that the sun would be out as we headed inland and the temperature would quickly go up. So it was a stop at the Peace Bell to get rid of the arm/knee warmers.  Then its up the Marshall Wall climb--maybe the longest of the day but easier from the side we were coming in at (tailwind assisted?)

Then strange deal.  We pass a couple-a Taleo guy (amature race group that seemingly everyone is a member of) and woman walking her bike up the hill.  Rebecca and I shout out a pleasant "on your left" as we pass.  We're about 25% up the climb.  About a minute later racer guy comes flying by us with nary a word.  I did yell out that I hoped he was signed up for the Mt Tam race.   He got about 200' in front of us--half the climb to go, did a U-turn and came back down.   Soon Jonathan's Richman-I Was Dancing In A Lesbian Bar popped in my head and I tried fitting in new lyrics...

"I was passed by a racer boy--la la, la la.  I was passed by a racer boy--la la, la la.  He went flying by me--so he could say he passed me, but then did a u-turn, and went away.  I was passed by a race boy--la la, la la."  I know, I should keep my day job.

Rebecca and Ward at the top of the Marshall Wall (PC)
 Get to the top of the Marshall Wall and watch the fog collect to the West.   We regroup and now head East in our rotating paceline and soon it is very sunny for the 11 mile run in to Hicks Valley and another stop at the Cheese Factory picnic area.  There a Ward hired shill came up to talk to us how great Ward's Pegoretti is--"the BEST steel bike made."  I would have given more creedence to the guy we met here in the morning from 'Jersey wearing the Jays Bicycle jersey.

Ward and Rebecca along the Marshall-Hicks Valley run in (PC)
 The Marin ride is very strange.  However long the ride seems the last 20 miles flies by.    The climb between the Cheese Factory and the road to Nicasio is easier in this direction.  After the ensuing downhill the 3 miles to Nicasio is tailwind assisted.  Then its 11 miles back to the car, a little more than half a gentle uphill on Lucas Valley Road--also tailwind assisted.  The grade does pick up a bit right before the Big Rock climb which is much much easier in this direction.  In the hopes of passing a couple of folks on the Mt Tam Double race next week (last year no one in sight--one year Don and I caught and zoomed past a 3 man way ahead of us on the road) I picked up the pace leading into the Big Rock climb and then Rebecca and I slugged it out to the top.  More practice on the ensuing twisty, 23 turn downhill, where lots of people in last years Century crashed out on--regroup with Ward--and a speedy 3-4 miles back to the car. 

Oh crap--Ward got Rebecca mad--now we are in trouble the next ride (PC)
I had that we had a smidgen over 100 miles, Ward's Garmin had that we were at 99.   Now last year Ward's Garmin had that we did 500 less feet of climbing on this ride--so how accurate can it be?  But just to make sure we took a loop around the neighborhood back to the car.  I'm stoked--felt better on this ride than on the last two self supported century rides and we were riding hard all day.  Rebecca stoked as this was the first time she finished a century in less than 6 hours riding time.   Ward stoked as it was cool enough that he didn't lose 10 lbs in water weight. 

Last year Ward and I did this prep ride with a 16.6 average speed so we definately picked up the pace this time.  Perhaps it was losing some climbing.  Last year this ride only had 6,666' feet of climbing but the Church sent Ward's Garmin a cease and desist letter so he had to change the amount of climbing on the ride. In any event I hope next week goes as well as this ride.

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