Saturday we had our last group training ride before we leave next weekend for our San Francisco to Los Angeles Coast Classic adventure. Since it’s almost the beginning of October and we were riding towards the coast, I figured I’d throw the arm warmers in the bag...um..yeah, didn’t really need those.
A dozen or so of us started out in San Rafael and about 5 miles in, half way up the first climb, I knew it was going to be a warm one. Hmmm 10:00 am and it’s already in the high 80’s...this can’t be good.
As much as I enjoy climbing, and I really do enjoy climbing, I enjoy the downhill that much more. The road from the top of Lucas Valley down to Nicasio Valley was gorgeous.
It was fast, smooth and went through a nice grove of redwoods. Justin, his two friends, Tracy and I took off and made great time out to the next turn at Nicasio Valley Rd.
From there, we jumped on Nicasio Valley Rd and headed out for the first regrouping stop. The Cheese Factory in Petaluma. We had one detour where the decision was either left or right. Downhill to the left, uphill to the right...and of course our route had to go uphill.
Once we got to the Cheese Factory it was time for a snack and some Gatorade. Unfortunately, the muffin I chose turned out to be a little older than I realized. As I was almost done, I noticed the bottom was all nice and grey and fuzzy...mmmm...pretty sure that’s not good when I have 55 miles still to go.
We did see this guy on the penny farthing which was cool Turns out I had talked to him a year ago on the Chico century.
After we left the cheese factory I rode with Jerry for a while and then decided to try to catch up to Tracy and Justin who had motored ahead. Having left Jerry behind and not being able to catch Tracy and Justin, I rode a good portion of the section before lunch by myself.
Riding alone was actually ok, since it allowed me to stop and take pictures whenever I felt like it. (and, it allowed me to take my time up the Marshall Wall which due to the heat was kicking my butt – yes, it was the heat. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it)
At the top of the Marshall wall though, is where the fun begins. I had this amazing view
and this nice descent ahead of me.
Once that was done and I was on Hwy 1, I tried to make up some time on the others so I didn’t really stop and take all the pictures I could have. Every turn out though seemed to have a parked car and a group of people with cameras. There was this cool little old building in one of the towns I went through.
Eventually I made it into Pt Reyes and met up with everyone for lunch.
After an amazing sandwich (compared to a moldy muffin what sandwich wouldn’t be amazing?) we got back on the road and headed towards home.
The ride out Sir Francis Drake Bl past Samuel P. Taylor Park was a nice ride in the shade of some beautiful redwoods. Had the road not SUCKED so badly, it would have been downright pleasant. As it was we spent quite a while trying to stay on a really rough shoulder and avoiding the traffic that buzzed by.
Eventually though we came out of the park and onto a regular road. It was here that Tracy decided he needed to pick some blackberries. I tried to tell him the season was over, but he insisted that we stop so he could look for himself.
It wasn’t long after that stop that I realized just how hot it was. It’s funny that the increase in temperature coincided perfectly with the transition back to Nicasio Valley road and the beginning of one of the last climbs of the day.
I felt Tracy would want to know just how warm it was getting, so for a while I continued to call out to him every time the temperature would go up...at about 102 he said something to me I didn’t catch. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he swore at me...nah, couldn’t be. Anyway just when I thought it couldn’t get any hotter, I looked down and saw this...
Ok, this officially SUCKS! I was tired, it was hot and for some reason my legs just didn’t want to keep going round and round. Pretty soon we came to the official last climb of the day. Earlier in the day I had rejoiced in this downhill and now, going the opposite direction, rejoicing is pretty much the opposite of what I was doing.
I was REALLY starting to not feel so good. At the top of the climb, I polished off the last of my water and things got even less fun. The downhill was nice and the wind was cooling, but I had stopped sweating and was actually getting goose bumps – pretty sure that’s not a normal reaction to 104 degree weather.
Eventually though, the end was in site and with less than a mile to go to the van (and the ice chest) we pulled into a market, bought a vitamin water and consumed it in two gulps.
A couple of blocks later we pulled into the parking lot where it all started so long ago and proceeded to put a dent in the drink supply Jerry had brought with him.
Total for the day – 71.1 miles, 4000 ft of climbing and not nearly enough fluids….