Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mt Tam Century (Self Supported) and getting old sucks (2012)

Century #22  (July 14, 2012) Mt Tam Century, w. Dr Dave and Jack, 101 miles

The Mt Tam Double, my favorite double's course, is coming up in three weeks, so tried to organize a ride this week of the first 100 miles of the course which includes a Mt Tam climb.   I'm also a little worried about being competitive on the Double (see last post), with phlebitis/ vein problem; two weeks ago in pain.-One week ago leg weak so pushing a gear 2-3 easier than I normally would.   

Had a good ride up Diablo this week--though kinda slow--nothing to write home about.  Leg pain free but didn't feel like it had any strength, and was 100 degrees.  Had hoped to ride up twice, but first time stupidasses' new saddle, which I put on without a torque wrench, started wiggling it's nose up until I got a proctology exam.  Weight weenie stupidass only has a micro mini hex wrench so road repair was not possible

The 8 pass ride I just did officially became the "Alta Alpina, WAT?"   A few people on Diablo asked me if I was doing the Death Ride this weekend.  When I responded I just did the course on the Alta Alpina, the standard response was "the Alta Alpina, WAT?"


I'm not the only one in our group on the injured list.    Dr. Dave also a "probable" with a back that keeps going out.  Captain Jack wearing compression socks all the time on a bike ride (at least I just have to wear them at work/ sleeping.)  And Ward back on the injured list after doing the two toughest NorCal metric double century rides.

So did the Mt. Tam ride with just Jack and Dr. Dave.  Seemed like a great idea when it was 100 in East County and it would be -20 on the Coast.  But then temperature died where it was 80 in East County so.........all of a sudden 60 and foggy on the Coast.  Oh well.

Dr. Dave rides a steady pace and Jack rides "Jack pace" which has little to do with what everyone is doing--sometimes it seems that if we speed up Jack slows down, if we slow down Jack speeds up.  So no one was going to hammer, which was fine with me as I need to slowly round into shape for the Mt. Tam Double.  In fact when we started on Lucas Valley Road--on the first short but steep climb we hit--Big Rock--my leg felt dead.  May have felt slower with the gloomy cloud filled sky overhead and it was getting worse to the west--where we were going.

Dr Dave on the Big Rock climb
We did the series of rollers to Fairfax--streets were quiet early in the morning--unlike the hippie fest we came back to last time.   The Mt. Tam climb starts immediately.  The first eight miles is a fairly steady grade which Dr. Dave likes.  Past some unique funky homes, past a golf course, then solidly in a watershed.  The last couple of miles has some sudden downhill rollers punctuating the climb, and then a real downhill to Alpine Dam.


Signs of Fairfax
We regrouped at Alpine Dam and then the 3 mile climb I love--steep and punctuated by steeper hairpins--while not incredibly long.  I was in condition to hammer the first mile and then rode a strong pace to Ridgecrest.


(above) Dr Dave on Alpine Dam--the Civil War MONITOR had been sunk, and now has been found (also below)


I'm on Alpine Dam--now we have to climb out of here but it is one of my favorite climbs
It had been sunny on Alpine Dam but Ridgecrest is on another planet. The fog blowing in from the coast is hitting the trees and it is almost raining. We regroup and then we ride the 7 miles on top of Tam--loads of uphill rollers--some fun rollers, some Italian (slow) rollers  and some real hills.   Meanwhile, shades of the top of Haleakala, fog is whipping across the road.   Eventually we come out of the fog and are in full sun.  Dr Dave predicts the fog would be burning of.  Wrong.

(above) Dave (below) Jack arrive at Ridgecrest

San Francisco is BURIED in fog.  Sometime a fog spot just hangs over the city with the Transamerica Pyramid sticking up.   Not today--today there is just a cotton ball beneath us.  Luckily the rest stop at the end of the road is in full sun.

Jack on the rollers on the ridgeline on top of Tam
We have a choice when we descend to the beach, we can take the auto filled main road--or we can go back to damp Ridgecrest and take a narrow twisty road without many cars.  Jack and Dr. Dave figure that it will be clearer on Ridgecrest than down below.  This may have been true but it was foggier on the downhill rollers going back than it had been a hour earlier.  Many water spots on the road from tree dripoff.   It was cold on the windy Bolinas-Fairfax Road.

Jack and Dave bundling up as the fog rolls across the road
(above) SF is somewhere out there (below) Photo taken a month ago (Ward-o-photo)
Birthday party for some old people on the top of Tam.
video
Right before we descended off of Tam--at Ridgecrest

The downhill put us on Highway 1--at the unmarked intersection to Bolinas.  We wouldn't be on the ocean but a bit inland riding past a series of Bays --Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay (Bodega Bay if we continued North).   Sun broke through and it warmed up a little--just enough so Dave and I would hash and rehash if knee warmers needed to come off.

Bolinas Lagoon coming down from Mt. Tam
Lots of cars on Highway 1 but not nearly the steady stream we saw a few weeks back in San Mateo.  Most really cool when passing.   Here the road was pretty straight with some Italian rollers thrown in (as opposed to more curvy above Pt Reyes Station where rollers suddenly appear around a turn.)   Dave, Jack and I formed a good 3 man paceline--better still we had a tailwind all the way up.  Around Olema we got off Highway 1 and took one of Ward's favorites--the Bear Valley bypass.

Jack on Highway 1 roller
Jack and Dave rolling down Highway 1

Dave and Jack in Pt Reyes Station
We pulled into Pt Reyes Station at mile 60--on the Mt Tam Double with the "detour" off of Tam via Muir Woods this would be 13 miles more.      Later in the day so Pt Reyes Station not stuffed with cyclists.  Same stupidass who didn't use a torque wrench on his saddle also forgot the bag of drugs on this ride--now sun was out so suntan lotion would have been nice but no travel size in local store and didn't want to get the $11 size.  But missed the lip balm and had a variety of "organic with honey" choices at the general store.   Giant scone at great Bovine Bakery would last me for the rest of the ride.

Now back on Highway 1 and long Tomales Bay always next to us.  Lots of traffic initially--with many cars parked on the side of the road within a mile of the Tomales Bay Oyster Company picnic grounds.  Traffic slacked off as soon as we passed this area.  So did our paceline.  I was in front and slowed the pace considerably as Jack kept falling back.  So instead of hanging in the back, he rejoined and passed Dave and I???  Which caused Dave and I to up the pace--repass Jack--and soon we were 1000' up the road.  Near Marshall we stopped for Jack but Dave spotted a restroom, Jack passed and went on.  So south of Pt Reyes Station A+ paceline, north of Pt Reyes Station F-.

Tomales Bay
Turnoff was now back inland, up the Marshall Wall.   This section has a long but mediocre climb and is generally downhill with a tailwind.  I stopped to take photos at the top and then finally pull of knee warmers.  Apart from Alpine Dam climb this was the only other section I rode very hard so I could catch up to Dave and Jack 10 miles away.
Dave at the top of Marshall Wall, we just escaped from the fog behind him
Final stop at the Cheese Factory--and we all get back to good behavior and kept together for the rest of the day.   Weather was perfect at the Cheese Factory picnic area.  Two long climbs off after the Cheese Factory, and the usual tailwind for the flat runin to Nicasio.  After Nicasio then a @7 mile gentle climb through the redwoods until the very short Big Rock climb from this direction. 

"Do what you should, not what you can"--Coach Toby
"Do what you should, not what you can"--Coach Toby
"Do what you should, not what you can"--Coach Toby


I didn't need practice zooming up the climb but on descending the much longer other side with the 22 turns so I tried to follow Dr. Dave down.   Then a very fast 4 mile flat road back to the car which is always over much too fast.

Weather was strange--thick fogbank to blue skies.   Nice ride on a slow course at a build your base pace which is what I needed, with us old people coming out relatively unscathed.  But that heating pad under my calf while watching the Giants game later felt great.

Next day stayed local--after 1 1/2 years Los Vaquaros Reservior reopened after raising the height of the dam 36'.  When Los Vaquaros was voted on--the Contra Costa Water District promised a variety of recreational opportunity.  After they opened their attitude was "go away."  Mountain bike around the reservoir--forget it.  Boats on the Contra Costa side--the side that paid for the reservoir--forget it.  But the climb up the dam road is the best climb in East County--only 1/2 mile but semi steep.

Cornfields in front of Mt Diablo.


I'm at the start of the short Los Vaquaros dam climb

On top of the dam--looking back in the valley with a nice 3-4 mile road with no traffic

Only way to get to the top of dam--without bunny hopping the 6' fence--is the metal stairs
The Muur de Vaquaros--if built this would become a cycling shrine.
Reservoir addition very apparent and from far away looked like there is a new road that went to the top of new addition.  Wonderful.  But after climbing the old road (which looked like it was widened, repaved, and some grade taken out.)  the new road was behind a padlocked fence.   F.    The Contra Costa Water District blew it and could have created a shrine to cycling that cyclists would make a pilgrimage to--the dam extension should have a steep cobbled road with a model of the Kapel of Geraardsbergen--a replica of the seminal climb of the hardest cucling race--the Ronde van Vlaanderen.  Or at least kept the road open to the top.


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