We went short today but the Marshall Wall Loop is as special a metric as Tunitas Creek. Short doesn't include ex-regional cyclocross champ Mark who said it was his longest ride of the year. It was a unique ride as either we slowed to wait for Amy who has bad asthma and the high winds and the lines of vintage lead burning cars didn't help, or we went balls out when Mark or Nunzio or Christine caused trouble.
I love the loop as it brings back fond memories of the Mt Tam Double race, when it was run in a safe direction (early morning past the deserted oyster bars, and not late afternoon when the Oyster Bars are clogged with drivers parking all over the place, making sudden turns and leaving after having a few beers with their oysters.)
Today we ran into another local group at the start, the Duros, who many of our mid week riders knew. We kept passing them all day, helped pull a few times, but they'd repass us when we goofed off at rest stops, so we'd see them again on the road.
|My old teammate Beth rides with the Duros--she's dressed for summer and I'm dressed for winter.|
|Our pacline early morning in Lucas Valley Road|
|Mark, Dr. Nunzio and Jack at our regroup at the top of the Big Rock Climb, I always wonder why they call this the Big Rock climb|
As Nunzio and Christine did all the work to stay with the guy, when we regrouped I pulled much of the next segment where the headwind picked up. We caught up to the Duros and our group pulled into the Cheese Factory Hill. Mark shot up the hill with Nunzio and I in the 2nd group. After the downhill Nunzio and I were joined by two Duros and we rode in together to the Cheese Factory.
|Jack and Nunzio at Nicasio regroup|
|Early morning paceline to Cheese Factory Hill|
|Nunzio on Cheese Factory climb|
|Bathroom humor--my portrait with Nunzio|
|Maybe more scenic--Nunzio and Christine|
|Hicks Valley beginning to the Marshall Wall--lots of poppies and car clubs|
|Amy camera shy on Hicks Valley Road|
|Nunzio followed by a large group of Enduros where the Marshall run in begins|
|Mark ready to motor up the Marshall Wall.|
|Nunzio saying goodbye before he goes to catch Mark|
|The traditional Peace Bell ringing at the Church up the hill from Highway 1|
|Christine can't find a parking spot as the Easter crowd arrives a day early|
|Amy coming down from the "Bates Motel" Church|
|Jack leading the group down Highway 1|
|Homage to Coach Toby who has to tell us how riding Paris Roubaix amateur was|
|Christine's scone, which she'll later use as a bike saddle|
|We'll cycle for food (Christine)|
|Jersey of the Day|
Our group stayed together out of Pt Reyes Station towards the Nicasio Reservoir with some short easy rollers. On one uphill roller there was a group of a half dozen young guys. I was content to stay behind them so we could stay together but soon Christine was calling out "on your left" while passing. Shit--I knew what was going to happen as a result of guys getting passed by a girl. So I went to the front so we could speed away from the group of guys and soon Nunzio, Christine and I had a rotating paceline into a fierce crosswind.
We soon hit the Nicasio Reservoir and the right turn which always means a great tail wind. But when I lead our group around the turn Nunzio yells out from the back "Postal," which is our code word for someone about to pass our group. I try to keep the pace high but I got crappy 5 second power, and the best rider from the half dozen guys Christine passed was soon drafting behind us.
I'm just keeping the pace high--at least high for me--and ready to rotate off the front when the interloper pulls a Niki Terpstra and shoots off our paceline and is quickly down the road. Now no one goofs around more on a ride than me--but I love when I get my dander up and I get really great focus, and do something that surprises me. Fuck this guy; I hit my max 5 second power for the year and claw my way back to the guy and get on his wheel. Glance back and hope Nunzio and Christine are there--but they are not. Guy puts in a few digs, I stay with him, and when he knows I'm not falling off he rides more consistently and points out crap on the road. So when he pulls off the front I do go by and pull for the last mile of the three mile run in. (2nd best time of anyone on this Strava segment for the day, which surprises me as I have trouble keeping power levels up on the flats.)
|Christine getting serious on the Big Rock run in when I threaten to take selfies if she falls off my wheel|
|Christine fell off once|
|Nunzio and Amy at the top of Big Rock eastbound|
|Mark at the top of Big Rock|
|Jeeze, my day starts off getting a hug from Duro Beth, now I'm getting a hug from some Duro guy in crazy shorts.|
Even with the weather and the stream of early morning cars, everyone had a good time. Back at the finish some of the Duros were trying to find a brewpub--and with one person's accent the voice recognition software thought he was trying to find oral sex. Most of our group went over to a mall taquareia Nunzio recommended--Sonoma Taco Shop which had a big menu and the food was good. A nice post ride meal as opposed to killer bonus miles was a good choice.
|Old Time Diablo Cyclist photo (Courtesy of Dr. Dave)|