Archives for the month of: May, 2012

If it’s helpful to anyone, here’s the cue sheet for this weekend’s
300k reformatted to fit nicely in a front rando bag’s map sleeve.
-Jim G

Thank you Jim.
This is going to my first 300k, any words of wisdom from everybody?


Hi Ron,

This will be my 3rd 300k, but my first in several years.  My plan is
to ride VERY conservatively and hit the controls within their time
limits.  If anyone wants to follow a similar plan, I’d love some
riding company!

-Jim G


Thank you for all the advice.  I finished a few 200k already, just wondering
is there a big jump from 200k to 300k, given the route we are using.

My plan is the same as the 2 Rocks 200k, go at a steady pace, easy on
sprints, eat, drink and keep the stop short.


Ron, here are some valuable words of wisdom from the couch of Janos.

review the cue using google maps. Use street view to pick out
landmarks for key turns along the way, eg the salmon colored building
at D Street and Petaluma Blvd, or the white house at the turn from Old
Redwood Highway to Main Street.

review the weather for various places along the route. The weather in
Guerneville can be quite different from the weather in Santa Rosa
which is almost always different from the weather in SF. Notorious
cold places include woodacre and nicasio. It can be rather pleasant at
the start in SF and rather cold in those places when you get there.

Get a postcard at the start for the marshall control,
just in case. If you do not use it, give it back at the finish.

carry a couple ensure or buy a six pack and share with your friends in
Healdsburg. Drink your ensure first thing at a control stop and then
do your stuff and eat whatever else you were going to eat. The energy
from the ensure will be there to help you digest other food you might
eat and to help you move along from the control. Drinking an ensure
first thing when you stop at Diekmanns will help you eat whatever
greasy salty deep fried thing you end up eating there.

Bring some chapstick –…

Trim your nose and ear hair. I experienced horrific speed wobbles on
the rollers of highway one during the 2010 300. I subsequently trimmed
them for the 400 which worked great, but then I found myself stuck in
a small place at the Petaluma Safeway at 2am reaching for Strawberry
Ensure that was on sale ($6 a sixpack!) on the bottom shelf waay in
back. It took at least 30 minutes for someone to come along and pull
me out because my calls for help were muffled by the shelves and
chocolate ensure. I narrowly missed the control closure time. I now
keep a couple long hairs on my ears so that I will be sure and not get
stuck again with negligible effect on the stability of my bicycle.



Thank you for the advice.  Too bad you will miss the couch this time,
unless you are really pushing it or buy Mike dinner.


Though I (really) could have done without the mention of nose and ear
hair, this is excellent advice.


The starting group for each successive randonnee is always reduced as the mileage increases and the 2012 edition of the traditional SFR 600k was no different. A tough 400k three weeks earlier and conflicts with the California triple crown and mother’s day helped to keep the crowd thin as well.

My usual riding buddies Carlos and Gabe had conflicts with the date of the ride, Todd Teachout (2nd club member to earn Ultra Randonneur status!) was doing a triple crown ride, and Willy Nevin (1st club member to earn Ultra Randonneur status!) presumably was going to celebrate Mother’s Day appropriately. I too had considered not riding this edition because of the hour earlier start caused by a professional bicycle race that shared a portion of our course and required a road closure. Getting up an hour earlier is a dangerous amount of beauty sleep to lose for me, but I throw vanity to the wind and show up for the start.

At the start I found myself talking to nearly everyone and spoke to a stranger from the north, Chris from Olympia. I pointed out to Chris all of the people whom I consider to be normal and a good riding partner and warned him of others who are peculiar and are good riding partners. Locally famous people Lois Springsteen and her husband Bill Bryant were pointed out as notables as well as course record holder Aaron Mason. Chris was saved from my attentions by the arrival of Bryan Clarkson who has planned to ride with me.

I convinced Bryan to ride with me by sending him my entire ride strategy sketch which consisted of quick stops on the way out, beer in Boonville, a longish half-hour stop in Dimmick, a ride through the night without sleeping and breakfast at Liverpool Lil’s at the finish. As I offered to buy the beer Bryan was in. Basic milestones for the ride other than getting beer were returning to Dimmick at dusk and reaching Occidental at daybreak.

Being a small group of starters we strung out very quickly into ones and twos, and from what I saw riders only were occasionally in groups of four or more. More than once Bryan and I were joined by Tom Haggerty and Chris from Olympia. In Point Reyes Station we stopped at the Bovine for a cup of coffee and a day-old something. When I asked for a receipt the owner remarked that I was one of those people going to Fort Bragg and back. I confirmed her suspicion and thanked her for her kind treatment of my cousin Russ Fairles last year. She said ‘Oh! That poor fella slept in the post office for an hour before coming here!’ I explained that post offices are warm, clean, always open and usually have a hose bib on the side for water and so they are perfect hotels for long distance cyclists. She guffawed and wished me luck. I left by saying ‘See you tomorrow!’

Tom and Chris joined Bryan and I from Hicks Mountain through Petaluma to Cotati, but I could not hold Tom’s pace so Bryan stayed with me and let them go. While I was with Tom and Chris I was able to confirm (to my everlasting joy) that Jan Heine’s last name is pronounced ‘hiney’ as in ‘hiney-ho!’ I can’t say hiney without giggling – I will have to be careful if I ever meet Mr. Hiney. Oops.

The hour earlier start had the huge benefit of reduced traffic on the 101 corridor from Petaluma to Healdsburg – not a single monster truck! There was some other fun ride occurring on our route with the participants of that ride coming our way who all had the strange habit of smiling and waving to us. We were definitely not in Marin County. One other benefit to our route and start time is that we get to Healdsburg before noon and it does not heat up to 90 degree temperatures until we get to Yorkville. The climb out of Cloverdale was simply hot and not burning hot. Bonus!

Boonville, with a beerfest underway was too crowded for a beer stop so I announced a beer purchase in Philo. On the way there the temperatures almost approached those of the 400, but there was always a cooling breeze to save us. Nearing Philo two motorcyclists passed us, one on its rear wheel.

The beer purchase at Philo was almost consumed on the front porch but I had stupidly asked for permission to drink the beer when I bought it. The cashier said she would check. I almost had the opener on the cap when she poked her head out the door and said ‘you can’t drink here’.


We split the beers between our handlebar bags and as we left Tom, Chris and Joe Monahan joined us with a promise of beers in the redwoods. The redwoods proved to be pretty far and we stopped at the first good spot despite it being in full view of passing traffic. Moments after stopping a fire truck with its siren blaring shoots past and then an ambulance follows. Bryan sets his beers out on the ground and goes behind a tree. I am just about to reach for one of the beers to open it and a state trooper pulls off next to us siren blaring and lights flashing. How did they know!

I quickly distance myself from the beers that are in plain view and offer my assistance to the officers who have hopped out of their car. I am careful to make sure that that the beer is not directly behind me and start gesticulating to catch their eyes while mentally using my jedi knight trick of ‘there is no beer here, this is not the beer you want’. The officer says ‘everyone ok here?’ I am quick to affirm our health and they say something about biker crash hop back in and speed off.

Man. That was a close one. I hate to lose beer.

We drink our slightly warmed up but still cool beers and speculate on who could have been hurt and needed assistance. We each decide that it just could not be someone from our club and hope we are right. Beers consumed we get 500 feet down the road to the crash site and it turns out it was the motorcyclists that passed us before Philo that crashed. Cops should know that bikers are people on Harleys with no muffler and that cyclists are people on bicycles. Knowing this would save them some troubles.

At Dimmick I present Roland and Heath with the two unconsumed beers and leave Chris and Tom behind to enjoy some hospitality. Joe quickly catches up with us to enjoy the cooler temperatures of the coast.

The coast is enveloped in a dense wall of misting rain but there is a tailwind to push us on to Fort Bragg. The coast also is the place where we get to see the other riders returning from Fort Bragg. We hoot on Aaron Mason at the big swooping switchback just north of Albion – the only other rider I have seen this far south is Peter Morrissey whom I met on the first bridge north of 128 which is another mile south. Peter’s training ride resulted in a 28 hour finish and Aaron as it turned out did the same time. Other swift riders we see along the way are Tim, Bob, Joan and Brian.

My greatest accomplishment of the whole ride was beating Bryan in the sprint for the Mendocino city limit sign. We both launch at the same time and my single bike length advantage is only reduced by half! He complains of being in the wrong gear just as I am thinking ‘cramp!’ but I hold him off! I have absolutely no energy after that effort, but luckily Bryan and Joe are caught by a traffic light and I can close the 200 foot gap that developed after my momentous and costly victory.

We enjoy a fairly quick stop at the Safeway where Bryan hogs the bathroom applying new shorts and cosmetics or something that takes forever. I skip the line of people hopping and holding it and wash my face and hands at the sink in the employee break room. Our purchases consist of more beer to carry to Dimmick and some cookies.

The return is highlighted with greetings to our Randonneuring friends heading toward Fort Bragg and glimpses of bright blue sky just beyond the fog and mist. We enjoy sights of the seaside cliffs on the way back that we never see with the later start, so yet one more advantage to the 5am start that I grudgingly have to admit to.

We attain my goal of reaching Dimmick in daylight with a bit to spare and enjoy around 45 minutes of pampering and conversation from Jeff Brittle, Heath and Roland. They all were so kind to us stinky fellows.

Bryan and I are joined by Joe again as we leave Dimmick and he stays with us until the Yorkville Post Office where he sleeps. We continue on into the endless nearly undifferentiated bumpy climby totally silent star filled darkness to Cloverdale.

In Cloverdale we are joined by Masa, Richard, and Joan. Masa heads to his hotel, and possibly Richard too, Joan needed a bit more time having just arrived so we leave them all again.

We head off into the darkness to the info control on the other side of Healdsburg. Then it is West Side Road down to Guerneville. This was one of the tougher parts of the ride for me because we seemed to be in a purgatory of endless bumpy climby twisty broken concrete without a single landmark to judge our progress. I would have called on the assistance of the Anima Sola to save me

( )

but alas I left my wallet card at home and I probably would have been dq’ed if anyone ever found out I received assistance from an outside source.

After a quick stop at the Guerneville Safeway we were approaching the bohemian highway where the road would be closed for the bicycle race later. Had I known a Slovak was going to win I might have laid down on the side of the road to see them pass by in a blur nine hours later so I could yell ‘Yakshemash’ at him, but you cannot do everything.

The sun rises to an overcast sky just north of Valley Ford slightly surpassing my goal of sunrise in Occidental and raises a headwind for the rest of the way back to the bridge. In Point Reyes Station I am able to once again greet the owner a mere 25 hours later and she offers to heat up my day old chocolate croissant – she was so nice. The Holstein Hundred Century is taking place now so the roads are filled with cyclists and the roadside is punctuated with attractive girls with flat tires and rest stops with attractive girls ready to offer refreshments. Focus! Focus, John you are almost home. I do know I am in Marin County now as the passing cyclists do not waive and rarely smile.

Carlos hoots hello to us in Sausalito as he heads off to scout some new La Routa trails and is followed by a challenging golden gate bridge crossing and a maneuver through the detour that one can actually ride a bike on. We arrive at the finish to greet Juliayn and Mrs. Walker at 1120am.

Willy Nevin is there to chat as well and Bill Bryant shows up with the drop bags from Dimmick. After about an hour of lingering Bryan and I head off to enjoy a breakfast and a beer at Liverpool Lil’s and join the natives out celebrating Mother’s Day. As we eat the sun comes out and quickly starts to burn me and I feel sorry for those still out on the road that have yet one more challenge offered to them before the finish.

This ride I successfully experimented with a Mavic vision reflective windvest and a poly jersey. I have not ridden a randonee in a poly jersey ever and to have a thin jersey for the Anderson Valley heat was very helpful . For the night hours I substituted a short sleeve wool tshirt for the poly and along with arm warmers and toe covers I was very comfortable.

The other experiment was an abject failure. An ancienne once mentioned that Preparation H saved him at PBP so I thought maybe it would save me as well. I think perhaps Preparation H (I called it sometimes ‘magic elixir’ and sometimes ‘Preparation Haggerty’ at various moments during the ride) should only be used after pain is felt and not as a preventative. Bag Balm will have me right as rain soon. I hope.

Thanks once again Club! The challenge of doing the distance and doing it comfortably and graciously keeps me coming back. I hope I make our rides better for having participated and represented. I just need to find the right magic elixir, although so far beer is pretty hard to beat.

Another thread from the Google Group

Has anyone had  luck with 1 1/8″ threadless needle bearing headsets, in
regards to helping to reduce front end shimmy?
I know Miche and FSA have a half needle headset. Needle on the bottom and
ball bearing or cartridge on top.
I’m trying a different fork and skinnier tires (700×23 instead of 700×28)
and it’s helping a little bit.
Any advice?

I’ve heard from the local shaman that burning a sage branch near the front
end of your bike can ameliorate shimmy to some extent.  Or was it a head of
garlic in your jersey pocket? Bubba

I have had good luck with reducing shimmy by trimming my nose and ear

I believe it has something to do with aerodynamics and air currents
and eddies (similar to the dimples on golf balls) and the harmonic
vibrations created by airflow past the nose and ears working their way
down the arms to the handlebars.

I am pretty sure I am faster now too, based on a couple coast-down
times on whites hill on a calm day. I am currently attempting to
submit my test results to Jan Heine for a BQ article but he hasn’t
responded to my emails yet. This could be a valuable source of speed
and stability for most Randonneurs if adopted properly.

It worked for me, Ely. Hope it works for you too.


Don’t forget the leg hair! Much more surface area than the ears and
nostrils, and each hair acts like a tiny malicious drag-racers parachute,
conspiring to slow you down!

But does Jan Heinz ever talk about this? No!

I, for one, would like to know why! Ty

I’ve heard that NO Rando bike has ever shimmied (not even once) while its
rider was experiencing a session of couch therapy at Black Mountain Cycle. Bubba

Janos, for the record, my wife often insists that I trim my nose hair.
At first, I resisted, but really, I think it looks a bit strange.
Now, my son tells me to trim my nose hairs and usually watches me as I do
it, its stranger.
Jim, I wonder if inside the lower cartridge is a needle bearing? Is that
even possible?
I’m willing to try it out. I have a headset press, so its pretty easy for
me to press it in.
Oh, if you ever need a headset press, let me know.
I also have a BB chaser and facer if you need it.  Ely

Several riders have contacted me off group questioning my research,
pointing out the alleged contradiction of gaining speed by trimming of
nose and ear hair because golf balls fly faster due to the eddies and
currents created by the dimples rather than slower.

I believe the increase in speed caused by trimming of nose and ear
hair is due to reduced frontal area and the concurrent reduction in
drag – my wind tunnel testing proves this almost conclusively. My
research also shows that eddies and currents created by nose and ear
hair contribute more to shimmy than speed with most randonneurs and
this effect is often most pronounced during longer Randonnees.

I know randonneurs are reluctant to trim nose and ear hair because of
worries about loss of balance and the danger of placing their head in
too narrow a space and getting it stuck. Those dangers are indeed real
but the trade-off between balancing and getting your head stuck and
reducing bicycle shimmy is a personal decision and my research can
only inform those struggling with this issue with more data and

I can only surmise that Mr. Heine is very busy with introducing much
sought after chainstay mounted derailers and has not had a chance to
review my research and thus the delay in publication. I would post it
to the list for the benefit of all but I do not want to jeopardize the
chance that my findings will be printed in BQ. If Mr. Heine will not
publish my papers I will make an attempt with the American Randonneur.

Wish me luck. Janos

I had good luck with my  Bilenky this past weekend. After trying a
different fork and needle bearing headset, with minimal effect, I tried to
weight the front end by putting a longer stem and lowering my handlebars.
It has made a big difference. The bike is really fantastic, so I’m glad I
was able to make it a little more stable with all of these changes. It’s
still a bit wiggly, but I’ve made peace with it and plan to shut up and
ride now.
When it wiggles, I’ll just clamp it down between my knees, slow down, and
Thanks to everyone for helping me out.

Much like riding in a group, planning a group ride involves compromise. So long as focus remains on the goal of riding together, details like how long we are on the road, day of week and the weather just don’t matter so much as just getting out there and riding. After a couple of weeks of negotiating and compromise, myself and Gabe and Bryan of the San Francisco Randonneurs decided on riding the new SanFranciscadero 200k permanent on Sunday October 24th. We chose Sunday because we each had the day off and that in each of our experiences Sunday tends to have light traffic in the evening hours. The first good storm of the winter season also chose that day, but we saw that as just one more necessary compromise required of going on a group ride.

Assembling at the starting control in a wonderfully exposed location along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, Bryan smilingly informed me that steady headwinds for our travels south would be greeted with gusts to 40mph when we got to Pescadero, our second control. Gabe arrived and we decided if it just got too crazy out there that we would head back home the safest way.

Proof of passage attained, we headed out into the steady headwind and rain, and uneventfully made it to the first real challenge, devils slide. Image

on the great highway at the start

The climb out of Pacifica has no shoulder and narrow pavement, but traffic is light and we are sheltered from the headwinds as we climb. Probably only twenty cars passed us, which locals would tell you is practically deserted for this road in the middle of a weekend morning. The other side is equally lightly travelled, but we are now exposed on the high cliffs to the brunt of the wind and the gusts are probably in the 45mph range but only quick blasts and nothing sustained and none of us were blown off course into a pothole or into traffic.Image

Stage Road just before Pescadero

A few miles south of Montara we saw the only other rider on this stretch of road coming the other way and of course the only other rider to be silly enough to be out in this weather was on a recumbent. The rest of our trek down highway one was on wide clean shoulders with plenty of trees and hills to give us shelter from the wind and a short respite from our efforts. We were looking forward to heading slightly inland on Stage Road hoping for more shelter. No shelter was found, however. Stage road was in perfect alignment with the winds and turned the rain into stinging rain on your face, enough so that I rode with one hand over my face to save myself some pain. The trade off is maybe more severe weather but we get no traffic and can use the whole road and goof off.

After another hour or so of goofing off we arrive at the second control in Pescadero at 13:50 hours at a dismal average speed of 10mph. We leave watery trails and puddles in any spot where we stand for more than five seconds and eat a meager snack just outside the entrance door before heading out for the real destination of our ride, Gazos Grill.

We traverse the next windy rainy eight miles in about 40 minutes and the waitress/hostess sends us straight to the table in front of the fire place where we linger for at least 20 minutes after eating our burgers and fries. Bryan celebrates the half completion of our ride with a beer and I celebrate in my own quiet way by hogging as much of the warmth from the fireplace as I can without getting complaints or earning the ill will of my companions.Image

warm coffee at the grill

After we reluctantly leave the fireplace and get outside to mount our soggy saddles we discover we have no tail wind to send us back home – the storm has turned and is a simple steady rain now. Ah well, could be worse, couldn’t it?

After the coast we return to Pescadero and continue on up to Skyline via Alpine road. I have very limited experience with the roads down here and keep asking questions of Bryan and Gabe like is this tougher than Tunitas Creek Road? Tunitas Creek Road is my only experience and with climbing up to the top of the ridge and all I remember is that it hurt a lot and that Willy Nevin rode next to me talking the whole time until he saw some friends up the road and disappeared after them. Both Gabe and Bryan said it was tougher but it did not seem that way to me.Image

top of pescadero. Gabe is relieved to get to the top

Darkness greeted us at Skyline Road, but I had the guys wait for me while I took some pictures of the Russian Ridge Preserve trail head parking area to scout more information control questions for the Permanent Owner, Mark Gunther.


Bryan at the info control

By the time we got underway it was completely dark, but Skyline was completely deserted. May be six cars passed us going in the same direction as we were in the dense fog that accompanied the quiet and calm darkness.

We arrive at that standard favorite of thousands of cyclists Roberts Market in Woodside to warmth and sympathy from the staff – they gave us the saddest looks of sympathy when we explained that we rode from sf to gazos and were headed back and we still had another 3 hours on the road. I think they just wanted to take us home and feed us some soup rather than let us go.

Once on the road, night fears start to grip us like – do you know the detour? – is camp sawyer trail open at night? As usual, nothing bad happens – everything is open and the only sad thing is my left knee hurts so I can’t even pretend to contest the sprints for city limits signs and I miss out on some spectacular sprints. I limp along riding one legged knowing that even if Bryan and Gabe drop me by a half mile (they did contesting the San Francisco sign) that they will be stopped somewhere ready tell me tall tales of sprinting prowess.

Quietly we arrive at the final control, 13 hours after we started happy and satisfied with the compromises we made and compromises accepted to enjoy this long beautiful ride on a stormy day. As usual, this ride, a tough challenging ride, is the sort of ride that we will always look back on as one of the best we ever went on.


Thanks Bryan, Gabe, and Mark for a nice day well spent.

Another thread from the Google Group

Two Rock-Valley Ford controls and the Bovine Bakery

Howdy all,

There is a rumor that the Bovine Bakery will be closed for at least a week
in February, ending on 2-12-2012. This planned closure does not show on the
Bovine’s website as of this morning however:

This is of course not the only option for the Point Reyes open control on
the brevet, but it certainly is one of the most popular options.

Just fyi.



On the Two Rock-Valley Ford 200km, Point Reyes Station is an open control.
Open controls in this context allow you to visit any open business and get
a receipt as long as that receipt will have the store name and/or address
and a time stamp on the receipt. If Mike can give you that then great.
Toby’s Feed Barn however doesn’t have printed receipts so I mention that in
the info docs that riders would need to stop elsewhere as well to get their
receipt if they go to Toby’s.

One reason SFR doesn’t as a general rule have staffed intermediate controls
is that we’d like to encourage riders adding a few dollars to the local
economies of the towns we visit. Spending money in places like that tends
to cause the locals to like us a wee bit more. As regards Black Mountain
Cycles, spending money there has the added benefit of making just a little
bit more sure a full service bike shop will still be open in the future in
a place like PRS.


Yes Mike’s cash register receipts have “Black Mountain Cycles” printed
on them and of course the time of the transaction, they are perfect to
fulfill your prof of passage. He has just about everything a
randonnuer would need, parts, bags, clothes (wool) and some food
(energy bars, gels etc) If you ask nicely and don’t leave a mess
behind, you can probably fill out your water bottles in the restroom.


Don’t forgethe has the most comfortable couch in Point Reyes. Could be a negative though.


Janos, what are Mike’s rates for the couch? 🙂


Haha — I was doing two-rock as either a perm or a worker ride with a
small group a couple of year ago.  Janos had built up enough time
that he spent, I think, an hour+ on that couch before completing the
event! 🙂


That is Janos’ average couch time at Black Mountain. I’ve lost count of the
number of times that we have left Janos holding down the couch on rides.

I called the Bovine Bakery and they will have shorter hours on the 5th and
then they will be closed from the 6th to the 11th. They will be open again
on the 12th at 7am. I told them to expect us. Response was they are always
ready for us.

Renting a couch in PRS OK and valid for the control if you get a valid
receipt. Not sure though whether California will allow wheels to be added
to the couch so that you can get Janos on the road again sooner. The police
weren’t sure of rules when I lived in Prince Edward Island. Then there was
couch riding attempt in New Brunswick. I think it’s illegal due to spooking
the local moose.


“Renting a couch in PRS OK and valid for the control if you get a valid
receipt. Not sure though whether California will allow wheels to be added
to the couch so that you can get Janos on the road again sooner”
HAHAHA…oh man…so good.  Sorry for all the ribbing Janos, that was a good
one Richard.  We should talk Mike into making an item on his register/POS
system called “couch rental”.

I dunno about “couch rental” maybe “time share” as in vacation rental?
For a set amount you get a fix number of minutes/hours of couch time
per year. Then on brevet days you can simply show up at Mike’s shop
and spend minutes/hrs at half the rate* as long as you make a

* subject to availability and space in the couch.


* subject to availability and space in the couch.

Oh, crap.  Is Rob going to have to start implementing staggered start
groups like PBP to minimize congestion at the ‘couch control’?  


The whale of a deli in point reyes station has very good potato salad,
pasta salad, sandwiches, burritos, tortas, pizza, time and date
stamped receipts, soda, and BEER. I, conservative and safety conscious
as you all well know, purchase a Sprecher’s Ginger Ale to consume with
my Whale of a deal special that consists of an Italian sub and a small
container of potato salad for $7. This I consume on the couch.

Couch rental at Black Mountain Cycles is one six pack of beer per
visit, length of visit limited by space on couch and store hours. I
believe sitting on the couch until closing time (4pm) will still give
you enough time to get to the finish but there will be no chocolate
milk left at that hour. For couch rental I prefer to purchase
Steelhead ale or Boont Amber because Mike does not really like those
beers and they last longer in the fridge.

But I am compelled to add that

I AM SHOCKED and OUTRAGED with this flip couch humor indulged in by
people of this google group, questioning my manliness because of my
couch disability. I AM CONFUSED about the refusal of the RUSA to
collect couch data at the end of each randonnee and study it for the
benefit of all who may become victim of couch disability such as me –
I have had dear and close friends who used to mountain bike and race
bicycles that I have lost to couches.

We are losing people to couches all the time and yet all you google
groupers can do is pelt me with base humor and silly insults!

I for one cannot stand for this! Forget the recent election results
that had the one individual who was running on a platform of (couch)
safety and collected less than half the votes of any other candidate!
This happened because couch disability victims cannot get off the
couch to vote! And no one seems to care! I bet you all think this is
funny or something…

Please, if you feel as I do, then join me in SILENT PROTEST! I for one
will never bring up this subject again until my demands are met!
Together we must stay strong in our silence.


Further collection of couch related data isn’t going to tell us anything we
don’t already know.


PS: Ginger Ale is the new Chocolate Milk. You heard it from me first.

What’s hiding under the cushions — let alone under the couch?  Will
the RBA accept “I think my brevet card is in the couch” as an excuse
at the finish control?


“The couch ate it” is the new “My dog ate it”

You heard it here first


You are usually way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to anticipating
needs, so I’m sure this suggestion is redundant.  Will you please make
certain that the Dimmick Control Volunteers on the 600k are aware that
couch facilities and services are uncompromisingly required?  


this is a thread from the Google Group after the first randonnee of the year

I know where to send my complaints about snooty and rude service from
Des Peres Travel and express my disappointment with the massive cover
up by the RUSA authorities of the incredibly dangerous likelihood that
I will be crashing all the time, smacking my head repeatedly and
ultimately end up riding a recumbent bike – that would be
the Randon google group.

What I am not sure of is where to send my current complaint. My
complaint is that the only thing that I tricked myself with to get
through the Point Reyes Lighthouse 200 and fixing those half-dozen cow
manure encrusted flats was the thought of a feast of bad-for-you
snacks at the finish control.

I am used to not getting the chocolate milk. The supply never lasts
the extra hours required for my leisurely and civilized cyclotourist
pace – I expect as such. But where were the three different flavors of
Ruffles? Not even an empty bag of Doritos! All I found were some
crumbs in the bottom of a bag of LOW SODIUM chips!

I imagine the culprit was probably some sub-50 year old whippersnapper
with no fat on their person and who is probably a vegetarian or at
least eats organic food. This must end.

If the snack selection continues to be slim and healthy I will be
forced to stop at the 7-Eleven on Bridgeway in Sausalito prior to the
final ascent to the bridge and purchase my own large bag of Kettle
Chips and a tall can of Budweiser to enjoy at the finish. I will
attempt to belch the alphabet with each long pull from the can and
only share chips with the black birds. I might leave others some
potato chip crumbs in the bottom of the bag if my stomach starts to
hurt a lot.

This sad state of affairs must not continue or I might even volunteer
to purchase the snacks for the finish control, something none of us
wants to have happen.

Please please please help.


Hi Janos,

I too had been dreaming of fistfuls (fistsful?) of salty, greezie
‘tater chips all week.

I found a nearly-empty mid-sized red bag of regular flavor potato
chips on the ground at the finish control, and ate some of them.  It
was then even more nearly empty.  I saw no other chip bags, but I
didn’t look too hard.

Fortunately, I had been a little short of calories in my pack when I
arrived at Marshall, so I’d grabbed a bag of BBQ Kettle Chips.  I
whipped the remainder of those out of my pack and that got me through
until I ordered salty West Coast Pizza at home.  Mmmm, pizza.

Janos, my finish control chocolate milk was DELICIOUS, however.  Just sayin’. 😛


If it is any consolation I will be doing the snack/junk food shopping
for the upcoming 2 Rock Valley ford and you all know I like to pamper
my fellow randonneurs 🙂 Janos you just go ride, I’ll make sure to have
enough unhealthy stuff for you and the rest of the riders at the final


Hahaha – you’ve registered your complaint in the right place. This sub-50
fat-free whipper snapper will go straight for the junk next time I’m buying
for the finish control.

And get some extra chocolate milk…


On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM, janos> wrote:
> I know where to send my complaints about snooty and rude service from
> Des Peres Travel and express my disappointment with the massive cover
> up by the RUSA authorities of the incredibly dangerous likelihood that
> I will be crashing all the time, smacking my head repeatedly and
> ultimately end up riding a (horrors!) recumbent bike – that would be
> the Randon google group.

as one of those who thinks that RUSA could do more in addressing safety, i
can only say that the above comment is by no means humorous.

i know a couple of people who’re rather dear to me who’ve smacked their
head while riding.  just to mention, they were both saved by their

one, a close friend, did so while mountain biking two weeks after his son
was born.  he’s now officially a quadriplegic, although he’s one of the
‘lucky’ ones because he can shuffle around with a 4-pronged cane for short

the other, my wife, had two hard crashes while racing.  she’s since given
up the mass start thing and switched to triathlons.  this is someone who
loved crits and road races.  since i took care of her after both crashes, i
can only say, it’s not pretty.

so, while you may play down the role of safety in cycling and make fun of
those who’ve had bad experiences, such as peter on randon, the reality is
that there are riders who get seriously injured, maimed, disfigured, and
killed all the time!  do you by any chance remember don?  was that funny


I sincerely apologize to all recumbent riders who were offended by my
complaint about the snack selection at the end of the last randonnee.


We, meaning Carlos, Nick, Brian from Palo Alto, Max, Greg Beato, Jim
G. and Franklyn assembled at the Marina Safeway at 6am July 10th for a
run at the La Ruta Loca! One might think that 6am on a quiet foggy
morning would be lonely, but several hundred walkers wearing pink have
assembled across the street at Fort Mason for a fund raising walk-a-
thon. It is a little surreal to see huge buses disgorging people in
pink uniforms and bustling workers under flood lights in the park, but
it is just one more thing that I will see or think I saw on this long day.

I am first to arrive at a quarter to six, and stand around for a
little while wondering if I am in the right spot on the right day.
Five minutes later Carlos rides up with his characteristic smile and
enthusiasm and I immediately feel better and enjoy the chance to
review the brevet card with the control questions and the route sheet
which I forgot at the office on Friday.

The rest of us quickly arrive with the double surprise of Max Poletto
(who is only half crazy because he is only doing half of the ride) and
a skinny guy that people told me was Franklin. Franklin was plagued
with car parking problems, so I never got to ride with him – maybe
next time. After mutually assessing each other’s choice of bicycle for
this crazy ride we get ready to head out. Carlos reminds everyone that
we will be riding up the Miwok Trail instead of the Bobcat in the
headlands like normal. Greg asks ‘Why the Miwok?’ Carlos replies with
a smile ‘Because it is steeper.’

Viva La Ruta!

We roll out together more or less until the first climb on the other
side of the bridge. Then Nick’s natural abilities take over and he
takes off. I am lucky enough to stay with Max, Brian, and Carlos on
the pavement until our first off-road foray onto the Coastal Trail. I
am always cautious on the descents so I make sure the others are in
front of me and I quickly lose contact with them. I memorize their
tire tracks so I can mentally reconstruct how their ride went, where
they hit the brakes for a skid, where a good line might be to miss the
rocks. This was a useful skill for the rest of the day.

Across Bunker Road I get onto the Bobcat Trail for a moment, spy a
snarling coyote running off, and get onto the Miwok for the steeper
climb. The group is only a couple hundred feet in front of me and as
Carlos drops back from them I rise to meet him. Carlos knows what he
is in for and is riding conservatively, so I get a chance to talk with
him until the descent to Tennessee Valley where he is quickly gone.
The descent has me laughing because I am riding down some widely
spaced stairs (crazy!) and because the wet grass tassels feel like
paint brushes on my calves and it tickles. The three riders are kindly
waiting for me at the gate to Tennessee Valley and even more kindly
wait while I take a quick potty break at the comfort station.

Carlos flats just before the climb out of the valley and urges me to
not wait for him. I know he will catch me at some point further down
the road anyway and head off to make contact with Max on his
Rambouilet with 32mm Pasela tires and Brian on his mid-90’s trek
aluminum mountain bike with humongo 2.2 tires with little nubby
treads. I only just make it to them before they leave me behind on the
descent to Muir Beach.

Once again they kindly wait for me at the bottom, and this time I urge
them to get a move on so we can get to the first control at the bottom
of Deer Park Trail at Muir Woods. Making the controls on this brevet
is very difficult for me because of the slow climbs. I want to be
within the time limit for at least one of the controls besides the
start and the first one is the best bet. Nick is waiting for us there,
and I make it! With two minutes to spare I do not have much hope for
any of the other controls, but we will see…

Nick once again disappears up the trail but I am able to hang with Max
and Brian and even lead for a little while because I need to stay on
top of my 28 front and 24 rear gear and huff and puff while they hold
an interesting conversation about trails down by Palo Alto. Once the
trail flattens slightly they continue by me rising up out of the fog,
lead the way past the misty rainbow perched on top of the fog and into
the sun. We regroup at the Pan Toll ranger station with water and
restrooms where Nick waits. Once we are on the pavement of Pan Toll
they all quickly leave me behind.

About half-way down Rock Springs Trail Max waits for me. He dropped a
water bottle and lost contact with the others and rather than get lost
decided to wait for me. He naturally speeds off ahead and luckily for
him he waits just past the tight right turn at Lake Lagunitas. The
path around the lake is flat and Max talks with me, explaining that he
grew up descending logging roads above his father’s lumber mill in
Italy and that is why he is so comfortable on these fire roads with
his road bike. The next control at five corners has me 25 minutes
outside the time limit at mile 30.

Max stays with me until Alpine Lake Dam where he climbs away from me
with a group of racer looking people as he only has an hour and a half
to get home. I grind my way to the top and Bolinas Ridge Trail where
Carlos rejoins me at the trail head. We stay together for about five
minutes until the first rocky steep bit where I get off and walk and
Carlos rides away. I don’t see Carlos until Point Reyes Station two
controls off. The whole group is there dusting off and eating and

Aided by a rare southern tail wind on hwy I they made the time cut off
by ten minutes and I missed it by ten minutes. I drink the ensure and
the Monster Nitrous energy drink I stashed at the shop last week and
hobble off to the bovine bakery for a day-old slice of pizza and a mug
of coffee. Carlos and the gang leave soon, giving me worried looks as
I sink deeper and deeper into the couch. By a mighty effort I
heave myself clear of the cushions by 1pm and get going. Greg and Jim
G. ride toward me at about the half-way point to Olema on hwy 1 and I
give them the best hoot I can muster.

Enjoying the warming day I make my way back through San Geronimo
Valley through Fairfax and Larkspur and do my first ever full Paradise
loop to Tiburon. The winds start howling once I get on the loop and
the bicycle and auto traffic also increase. A welcome break at the
Café Acri control at a quarter to four has me six minutes outside the
control cut off time. I spent too much time on the couch. I move on
and battle the nicely cool headwind into downtown Mill Valley to start
the partial climb of Mount Tam on Railroad Grade up to mountain house.
The views on the climb show that the golden gate is heavily fogged in.
Mountain house has a few volunteers who are cheerfully incredulous at
what a crazy ride I am doing and joke that the others were just there
“about a minute ago – you just missed them!” I thank them for the
encouragement and head mercifully downhill to Panoramic Highway and
more descending. Sunny and brisk is the descent into the headwind
which increases to howling wind and blinding fog by the time I get
onto the Miwok trail.

Now I am more than a bit tired and slap-happy and joke with myself as I
pick my way along the mountainside on a narrow trail where all I can
see is shapes in the fog and all I hear is the wind in my ears that my
name is Frodo, I have this ring, and I must travel through this harsh
land to the heart of a volcano where I will deposit the ring and
finally get to go home.

A bit more walking up steep climbs, and spying a bobcat on the Coyote
Trail, has me once again at the Coastal Trail and the descent to
Tennessee Valley. I start to see people again – real people and not
those that I hope I was hallucinating seeing back in the thick fog.
The trailhead at Tennessee Valley is not a control but I stop to drink
the half bottle of ensure I had been toting and thread my way through
the crowded parking lot to climb up the hill to be able to drop to Bunker Road
in the headlands to climb up the next and last hill. The winds die
down, matching my dying strength and I am elated to finish the last bit
of Coastal Trail and reach Conzelman Road and the Bridge.

Done! I completed La Ruta in 13:55, 25 minutes outside the time limit
– if only I had the strength to pry myself off the couch…
Next time, no couch, swear! Thanks to Carlos and everyone else who has
written or ridden the route for exposing so much of the beauty of our
area and the fun challenge of our pastime in this great ride. I can’t
wait for the next running of La Ruta, or for the upcoming August 300k.