The Populaire is the shortest event in San Francisco Randonneur Brevet series and is known for the more conversational pace amongst the riders and the great post ride barbeque. It serves more as an introductory ride and a social gathering for all the riders, and as I’ve done it multiple times, I didn’t really sweat it on the preparation. But we’ll get more into that later…
Usually each year after the Flèche (an event that is 360 km or approximately 220 miles in 24 hours), the Boyz on the Hoods will take a hiatus from randonneuring and explore other endeavors. Brian dedicated more time to riding his cross bike and doing some S240’s, Carlin picked up some KOM’s, Ian lead a wanderneurring series (walking + randonneuring), and I decided to rest a troublesome ankle and revamp my touring bike.
Unfortunately Ian wasn’t able to attend yesterday’s event due to his Wanderer’s Union commitments but we had honorary Boyz on the Hood member Nathan (and his awesome Frances bike) join Carlin, Brian and me for our adventure. Now onto all the juicy details that made this the populaire of errors.
Camino Alto is usually the first climb on the traditional Point Reyes Populaire route and usually breaks up the group. I saw Carlin charge up ahead and another group of riders followed him up the climb. I strangely found myself in the front of the second group of riders and I was moseying up at a steady pace while Brian and Nathan were hanging back and conversing. I usually don’t like to be in front of a large group while ascending a hill, as I tend to be pretty cautious on my descents (Anthony from Long Leaf Cycles echoes a shared sentiment: “I descend like a man who has two young children, doesn’t make a dime if he can’t get to work, and doesn’t have health insurance”) and don’t like to slow down others with my cautiousness.
As I was coming down the hill, I rounded a blind corner only to see a deer standing in the middle of the road. It’s not uncommon to see such wildlife in the area, but this was my first time facing this sort of pickle. Luckily the deer moved to it’s left and I was able to dodge it but not before letting out a high pitched scream.
As we continued along the route, we veered off the road around Samuel P. Taylor State Park and took the dirt section through the park. Unfortunately as we exited, we took the wrong route into Point Reyes Station and it ended up being a longcut. A few riders gave us some quizzical looks as we came into Point Reyes from the opposite route, but as I was feeling a bit bonky at that moment I was simply glad to have arrived at Bovine Bakery.
Nathan, Brian and I each got the chicken/cheese/pesto croissant and met up with Carlin who had been hanging out for awhile already. We took an extra long lunch break and got to talk to Ely from Ruth Works SF. He just started up his Facebook page, and we told him to get on Instagram, which he replied “that’s the thing with the pictures, right?” We also explained how we could start hashtagging his work so other customers could showcase his work, to which he replied “So when you do the hashtag thing, where does it GO?” The internet truly is amazing…
Soon after we left Point Reyes Station, Brian noticed a flat on his rear tire and cursed the rando gods (old and new) and bemoaned his decision to roll with the Gran Bois Cypres’ rather than Jack Brown Blue’s. We quickly replaced and pumped up the the tube only to shear off the removable valve core due to the thread on mechanism for Lezyne pumps. The second tube we used ended up having a leak as well (Note to self: don’t put punctured tubes in your box bag and forget to patch them) so we just ended up patching the original tube. What originally was supposed to be a five minute flat repair turned into a furious thirty minute session.
We managed to finish the rest of the event without any other errors, but I was definitely feeling tired by the end of the ride. The combination of not riding long distances since the Flèche and the high temperatures during the day really sapped my energy and I’ll have to keep in mind to be more prepared next time. The ride finish was at Crissy Field and the event volunteers put together a tasty barbeque that managed to have food options for all carnivores, omnivores and herbivores. Despite a windy setting, most randonneurs stuck around to converse and enjoy the rest of the day.