SFR Point Reyes Lighthouse 200k

There have been various reports that riders have been complaining about “bridge fatigue”. Bridge fatigue is something that Bay Area cyclists face, having to deal with the windy conditions, the maddening tourists on rental bikes, and the monotony of having to ride through the same North Bay cities over and over. Even a friend’s 7 year old son went so far as to say he preferred bike camping in the East Bay rather than at China Camp in San Rafael because he “hate[s] riding over the Golden Gate Bridge”.

And while I understand these complaints, there’s still something magical about meeting up at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, hearing our RBA Rob Hawks do his pre-ride standup comedy/safety routine, and then riding over the bridge amongst a sea of flourescent vests and reflective gear at 7am in the morning.

The first 20 miles of this ride is almost like muscle memory to most San Francisco Randonneurs since they pass through the same roads repeatedly on brevets. To be honest, I’m not even sure of most of the street names for this first section of all brevets, however every time I pass by Shady Ln in Ross, this song starts playing in the jukebox in my head.

By the time we hit Sir Francis Drake Boulevard past Fairfax, I was pleasantly surprised by the nicely re-paved roads. I’m not sure when this roadwork was completed, since I usually opt to ride the Cross Marin Trail, but it was a pleasant experience that lead us over Point Reyes National Seashore.

I had difficulty during the previous year’s event, due to the windy conditions, the rolling terrain, and the constant stream of Marin Airporters zipping passing cyclists on the narrow roads to the lighthouse. This year there were far fewer tourist buses and one of them got stuck on a turn. I know it’s been quite popular to pour the hatred on buses in the Bay Area lately but I refrained from throwing rocks at the down and out bus.

The Lighthouse control point was particularly pleasant and not absurdly windy. I overheard some other rides talking about how the Point Reyes Lighthouse is the furthest point west in the mainland U.S., which is also pretty cool (Editor’s Note: … and FALSE).

I spent the next portion of the ride from Highway 1 to Marshall trying to stay alive and hoping that cars wouldn’t buzz me on their drive to Tomales Bay. The reflecto triangle definitely did it’s job in this situation. As a reward for stayin’ alive, I treated myself to some tasty fish stew and a root beer over at the Marshall store.

The rest of the ride was pretty much smooth sailing. Brian and I took a quick break over at Rancho Nicasio for some caffeine and carbs, before continuing to roll back into San Francisco shortly after sunset.

Once again, the SFR rides are always amazing because of the jolly people that attend and the gracious help of the many volunteers who staff our control points. I’ll be opting out of the next Two Rock/Valley Ford 200k in February but I look forward to staffing the finish control and cheering on randonneurs as they cross the finish line.

Ride Report: Forest of Nisene Marks Mixed Terrain Loop

My girlfriend and I stayed in Santa Cruz over the weekend. On Saturday, Emily wanted to hangout at the pool and nap, and I wanted to explore the Forest of Nisene Marks. I’m happy to say that we both got what we wanted that day.

http://www.strava.com/activities/107338728#kudos

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A big part of my desire to explore this route was to determine what is the best way to get over the Santa Cruz Mountains during the nighttime on our planned 2014 Fleche route.

A.) Eureka Canyon Road (just north of Corralitos)

B.) 14 Mile Fire Road Climb through the Forest of Nisene Marks

C.) Soquel San Jose Rd.

I rode Soquel San Jose Road the night before on a night ride from Mountain View to Santa Cruz. Although I enjoyed the constant at which I was going downhill and the gradual grade of the hill, the speed of cars passing me gave me the impression that it would not be fun to travel up it at night.

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Egret looking onward towards the climb (yes, I named my BDB Pelican Egret)

I was happy to discover that Eureka Canyon Road was a great gradual ascent. For the first 5 miles of the climb, I could hear the gentle stream of the brook that accompanied me. Even better, is I felt at ease with the lack of cars passing me. After passing Corrallitos, Eureka Canyon Road goes in and out from a two lane road and one lane road. This assured me that cars would not be passing me at 40+ miles an hour.

Theres a subtle arrogance with using the voluminous supple Grand Bois Hetres tires. A type of arrogance that welcomes signs that say “Rough Road.” At 35 – 40 PSI the wheels seem to absorb potholes and uneven road. The true value of these tires come when riding at night. This is when the arrogance of these tires feel more like confidence.

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An example of the one lane rough roads during the climb.

 

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The entrance to the Forest of Nisene Marks! The beginning of a dirt fire road climb with some rough sections

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“Singletrack” is fun nevertheless

The Forest of Nisene Marks was magical and beautiful. After the entrance, there was about 3-4 miles of climbing on Fire Road. This also the entrance of a famous mountain biking trails of Soquel Demonstration Forest. This was evident by the multitude of berms off the trail. After reaching the peak, it was about 12 miles of downhill fire to Aptos. This was by far my favorite part of the ride. The trail occasionally dipped in gradient, however all of it was very ridable on the BDB Pelican. It really felt like endless downhill. The trail swooped in and out of the dense forest, only occasionally revealing beautiful views of the Pacific.

At one point while I was stopped, a mountain biker pointed at my bike and asked, “So is that like a hybrid?” A flurry of ideology from Jan Heine, Chris Kostman, and Jobst Brandt rushed to my brain to come up with a clever response. None did and I replied, “ummm. yeah, pretty much.” He replied with “Cool retro fenders” and rode on. In retrospect, I don’t mind calling my Egret, my rando steed, a hybrid. After all, that’s pretty much how I use this bike. She just happens to be the best hybrid I’ve ever ridden on.

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I love that Nitto S-65 stem.

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At 3:00pm it was a getting dark in the dense canopy of the Redwood forest


 

 

SFR Populair-aining

The 2014 San Francisco Randonneur season kicked off this past saturday, and let’s see if you can pick out which rookie mistake(s) I made before embarking on the 117k Pt. Reyes Populaire:

A) Staying up until 1am
B) Not bringing my rain gear or reflective gear because it was a “shorter” ride
C) Deciding to ride with flu/cold symptoms
D) Riding my non-fendered bike, because it was only a 40% chance of rain
E) All of the above

Obviously the answer was E), but despite my lack of preparedness, it was a social day on the bike and it was good to see the SFR crew out in full force.

Thanks to all the volunteers who braved difficult conditions to help provide riders with warm stew, a myriad of snacks, and craft beers at the finish control!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Years! Had the pleasure of doing a brief Twin Peaks ride on New Years Day with two wonderful ladies: Amanda and Emily (left to right)! What a great way to kick off the 2014.

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The ladies riding down Twin Peaks

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Amanda riding off!

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The quick and beautiful ride down Market Street

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Egg soufflé waffle with chèvre & herbs we had post ride at Linea Cafe