Archives for the month of: August, 2013

It has been a busy month of riding for me, first La Ruta, then the SCR Dart and now the Old Caz. I have not done anything but do those rides in preparation for the rigors of the climbing and the crappy pavement of Old Caz, but I know that just riding my own pace I can keep it together and keep it fun.

Serious Cycling on the SCR Dart

Serious Cycling on the SCR Dart

One of the attractions of the intimidating nature of the Adventure Series and La Ruta are that the people who attempt them tend to be quiet, competent, and content with what the road and trail brings and more importantly much fewer in number. The other attractions are quiet (if poorly paved) roads and the marvelous views and places we go.

The 30 or so people that started the ride strung out pretty quickly and like usual, I am at the front off the bridge with only Gintautas (his ride report here, scroll down) in front of me and off the back once we pass a few stop signs or traffic lights. I stop at ‘em and they don’t. Obeying the traffic laws gives me some peace of mind and also some peace and quiet because all of the other riders are down the road a few minutes ahead of me.

Usually other rider’s pee breaks and clothing change breaks slow them up and I end up catching up a few miles beyond Fairfax. On Nicasio Road while I am in a small group I describe some of the trade-offs and advantages of my new fangled 650bx38 pari-motos (had ‘em 3 years now) to a tall rider on a new bike and recite some of the history of SFR and RUSA to someone else who does not even know what planing is.

My short history explained that SFR was founded for people who lived in SF and did not have a car to drive to Davis to do the qualifiers (an SR series) for PBP. Also people only did the qualifying series the year of PBP so they could go there, but otherwise people did not really do the rando thing or perms or adventure rides or any of that stuff – I mean, why would you do those silly rides otherwise?

No I did not explain planing to them.

Bryan and I discuss longer rides for a bit ‘no, I don’t need to do a 1200, a 600 kills my interest in riding just fine’.

Jon and Ernesto - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Jon and Ernesto – photo swiped from Metin without asking

On Chileno valley old friends Andrea and Henry rode with me and it was nice to catch up with them after so long. Andrea and I firm up some of our plans for the Davis Dart in November and they stop in Bloomfield for a potty break and I lose them for the duration.

In Bloomfield I also run across two young riders who have elected to do the ride that I have never seen on any other rando rides. One has a plastic retro jersey on and the other is wearing a wool jersey and dickeys just like one of my riding buddies – it is good to see some youngsters out on a ride such as this. They keep to themselves and ride faster than me and stop longer so I see them a few times during the day.

I catch up with a fair number of the riders in Occidental at the first receipt control. The cashier is impressed that not only is my money dry and free of sweat but also that I don’t drip perspiration on her counter or smell bad. I apologize for all of the other cyclists in the whole world and wish her a nice day. While I was outside Jesse asks a few of us if it is silly to fill up his third water bottle so early in the ride. I tell him there’s no water until the ocean unless he goes off course so his eyes bug out a little and he fills up the third bottle.

Leaving Occidental I collect tall Jon and we stay in each other’s vicinity until Cazadero. Jon is much taller than me and much faster. I lose him on the climb of Old Caz and I settle in and try and breathe. My lungs are just not working well so I concentrate on deep breathing and deep thoughts and grind out the climb that is quiet, warm and has the occasional nice view. Jon and I chat at the top of Cazadero and at the bottom, where he watches me clean the Austin Creek crossing. Last year I did a foot dab, so I am getting better at it. We climb out of Austin Creek together but he wants some food in Cazadero and since my water bottles are two-thirds full I figure I can make it to Jenner just fine.

Austin Creek - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Austin Creek – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I climb Fort Ross Road while Jon heads for food and water. Fort Ross is quiet and pleasant despite my bum lungs and just after I pass my old friend the three legged Chihuahua who still tries to attack me like old times Barley and Carl pass. Barley double flatted on the dirt section of Old Caz and also stopped for food in Cazadero. Sadly he did not notice the three legged Chihuahua.

At the end of Fort Ross Road Barley and Carl stop to chat (they were doing just fine chatting and riding, but maybe they were waiting for Megan) and I keep going to encounter the incredible views of Myers Grade and the sea stacks of Hwy 1 before we get to Jenner.

that view on meyers grade - photo swiped from Metin without asking

that view on meyers grade – photo swiped from Metin without asking

At Jenner Gintautas is lingering and sipping on a coke – he is taking it very easy today, as I never see him ever except at the start. I get a beer, bubbly water, a calzone and goof off for 15 minutes relaxing and updating my brevet card. Things get a little crowded with the arrivals of Jon, Barley, Carl, Megan, Omar, Bryan, his buddy, and the two quiet young guys.

Barley and his group leave before me, and the others hang out a little longer. I probably should not saddle Barley with ownership of the group but since he is quiet, competent, and capable where most others are not, I see him as the leader by default. I end up riding with tall Jon again until Valley ford, where he stops for water. We had passed Barley’s group back on Joy Road as Carl got a pinch flat.

On Dillon Beach –School House Road a sad individual wearing a bright orange oversized beret in a BMW mini buzzes me for no particular reason and I curse them but I also realize that cursing them is redundant because they are an obese person wearing a bright orange oversized beret driving a BMW mini.

estero americano - photo swiped from Metin without asking

estero americano – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I was freed of my own curse, those bum lungs, once I got to the ocean and could smell that salty mist and breathe deeply and effectively once again. Thank you Ocean.

Somewhere around the third roller north of Point Reyes Barley’s group with Jon in tow catch me, but they drop me two rollers later on that last climb before town. In Point Reyes I get me a cubano premade sandwich from the deli, a three twins ice cream sandwich and a bubbly water – each item is a real treat! This time I am first to leave and I get all the way to the climb out of Stinson before the last of the sunset is gone and to the last info control before Barley’s group passes me for the last time. Hwy 1 was very deserted and made me think I should take this route home more often instead of SFD. It certainly is prettier.

Gintautas on the Stinson Beach climb, I was there about an hour later - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Gintautas on the Stinson Beach climb, I was there about an hour later – photo swiped from Metin without asking

Nearly finished I stop at the Sausalito 7-11 to get a beer for lingering at the finish and head to the final control. The toll plaza clock says something like 10:15pm, it is pretty warm for the bridge when I finish, and I can relax a little more completely.

Rob is volunteering again (!) and so are William (Bubba), his son and a little later Aaron. I get a cup of noodles, the other half of my saved cubano sandwich, my beer I bought, and a bunch of potato chips. Soon the quiet kids show and quietly express their happiness at completing such a pretty route and then Bryan, his buddy and Jesse show. Bryan’s buddy has the hugest handlebar bag and he too got a six pack of beer at the Sausalito 7-11.

I linger just a bit longer until Midnight to make sure that my girlfriend is not going to meet me and get to see Andrea and Henry ride in. If I were Jason P. I would have lingered until the control closed just for fun, but thank goodness I am not Jason. Henry had tried ensure on this ride for the first time but with the side effect of needing several bathroom breaks; otherwise I suspect I would have ridden all day with Henry and Andrea too. Great job Henry! Great job all!

Such a good day on the bike – thank you Max.

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La Ruta used to be just for fun. I would show up to the informal start, get my home-made brevet card from Carlos, and go goof off the rest of the day stopping when I felt like it, riding an unsteady pace gawking around with my helmet-less head – Good times.

Now all of that is in the past. La Ruta is sanctioned by RUSA and SFR so now I gotta pay $10 and wear a helmet. Sigh.

It is still the same ride but it is not the same ride. Real changes include only one receipt control instead of two (Point Reyes Station is now an info control) and the need to finish on time to support Carlos in his hard work making this an accepted ride on the SFR and RUSA calendar. I probably could treat the ride as I have in the past and show up without paying $10 and without a helmet, but I know Carlos would say ‘nah!’ to that notion that way he does that makes him look like he is going to bite me.

So I show up to the start at Crissy Beach with a helmet on my head at 6am. Friend JimG is working the start also supporting Carlos’ ride and I see more people than ever at the start of a La Ruta – over 10 riders. Some of the riders are cross-overs from regular randonnees like Barley, Metin, Megan, and Greg, but the rest are unfamiliar to me excepting Carl and Geoff whom I know from Box Dog Bikes.

At the start - I am on the right - photo swiped from Greg without permission

At the start – I am on the right – photo swiped from Greg without permission

Like any Randonnee, cycle of choice varies. Most everyone is on a cross-bike of some sort, but notable exceptions are three Volagi’s (long distance cycle) two Black Mountain Cycles (monstercrossers), and Carl’s full fendered, generator lighted boxer 650b. I rode a fenderless 700c Pelican as my Potts was having some equipment issues. Double sigh.

Carl’s bike is very beautiful and very fendered – I warn Carl that La Ruta is not fender friendly in parts, but Carl is pretty philosophical about losing them and if he needs to replace them it is ok with him. Carl has lots of bikes but I suppose he chose the boxer because La Ruta is a Randonnee.

We head out and while I was on and off the bridge first, I was quickly second to last excepting Metin and unofficially third to last because of Henry showing up late and not getting checked in.

Like previous iterations of La Ruta I take note of the info control question well before the info control, confirm the answer while rolling through the control, and then write the answer many miles down the road when I happen to stop for a moment. The roads and trails are empty all the way to Pantoll. I ride for a short while with one rider or the other, but I am on my own for nearly the whole ride.

On Muir Woods Road I hear some loud knobbies approaching quickly. It is Barley with Megan in tow on their Volagi’s. Barley is on a carbon one, and Megan is on a steel one. Barley pats me on the back and is quickly gone.

At the top of Deer Park I run into Barley again and thank him for taking care of the Hoags on the 400k. The Hoags had a front flat on their tandem on a descent and crashed and Barley abandoned the ride to get them to a hospital. After leaving Barley at the info control I catch Ernesto and we chat for a moment or two. Ernesto asks how I am doing. ‘Muchas quejas’ is the reply, along with ‘Por favor, reduzca la velocidad’. Ernesto laughed but kept going when I stopped at the restrooms at the Pantol Ranger Station. I top off my bottles and scoot.

I am alone on Rock Springs (where I marveled at the incredible views that are always there) and all the way to Five Corners where Carl and Geoff are resting. Carl is removing his rear fender that failed on the way down mount tam.

alone on rock springs - photo swiped from Metin without asking

alone on rock springs – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I don’t stop other than to say howdy, finish up Concrete Pipe road and start up bo-fax to Bolinas ridge. Bolinas ridge is a little damp, but no muddier than I have seen in the past. I was wearing a white world champion jersey and I counted maybe three small specks of mud when I washed it the next day.

the start of bolinas ridge - that is Metin's bike - photo swiped from Metin without asking

the start of bolinas ridge – that is Metin’s bike – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I alternately claim to have won the jersey in the headless recumbent trike world championship criterium (before the miraculous transplant surgery) or that I won it in the LGBT world road championships (I got a boob job because I could only garner sponsorship as a transgender) that I nearly lost because of an ‘equipment’ malfunction. Please ask me about the details (of either intrepid exploit) next time you see me and have some time to spare.

I felt really weak and jittery after descending Randall trail but I decided to see how I recovered by riding on Hwy 1. I rode through the spring loaded gate on the left that everyone fails to notice (others on the ride carried their bike through the hiker chicane in the fence) and I felt fine within 100 feet. I felt good enough that  a few miles later I rode through Point Reyes without stopping.

I did not stop until Sameul P Taylor, and then only for a minute or two, again to top off my bottles.

Carlos and Ernesto passed me as I was leaving, and Barley and Megan passed me again near San Geronimo. I pick up Greg in Fairfax but he drops me as I stop a little more completely than he at stop signs. Later on Paradise Greg shows up behind me so he can draft me a bit (knee problems) as he got lost – Greg used to be the route master for the club…

As I am almost leaving Café Acri in Tiburon I spy Carlos leaving. A mile or two later on the bike path to Blithedale Barley, Megan and Greg pass me. Ernesto catches me at the base of Camino Alto, but stops in Mill Valley for gelato that he never gets because the line is too long.

At West Point Inn I see Barley and Megan again and schuss down to Miwok, Coyote, Tennessee Valley, and climb most of Marincello before Barley and Greg pass me again. Megan settles down and rides with me for a while. We group up again at the top of Coastal Trail (where I saw Jake! Jake was doing a shake-down run on his setup for a bikepacking expedition to Colorado) and more or less finish together. Carlos finished an half-hour before, and the first finisher was something like an hour before Carlos.

Juliayn hands me a beer from my own stash, as beer was not to be offered officially (RUSA rules?) and Rob H. serves up warm potato soup. Ernesto arrives, and soon after come Geoff and Carl, and Metin and Henry, all of us within the 13.5 hour limit comfortably.

Beer! Juliayn and I frame the finishers and finish crew - photo swiped from Greg without asking

Beer! Juliayn and I frame the finishers and finish crew – photo swiped from Greg without asking

Such a beautiful ride! All of the hard work is amply repaid with quiet trails and views few ever experience despite 7 million souls being within a couple of miles. Carl has been in the bay area just a few weeks – such an introduction to the neighborhood! This ride has even rekindled some of my affection for this place too, thank you Carlos and everyone else.