Fall's been well under way for the past month. Two more months until winter. However, it was only in the past couple of days - today especially so - that it really felt like fall. We don't get the big color change in the tree leaves here. Some trees change, but most just lose their leaves. For me, the signal that summer's over is the change in the shadows due to the sun being lower in the sky. And even though the sun is out, the skies clear of clouds, there still a chill that hangs in the air well into the noon hour.
It's those mornings where you set out with arm and knee warmers and by 10 or 11, you still have them on because it's just not warm enough to shed them that make you realize the Indian Summer days are over. And West Marin has some spectacular Indian Summer days. High pressure builds over the deserts of Nevada/Utah and pushes dry air out over California. This results in warm days - warmer on the coast here than during the traditional hot summer months. The riding during these days is spectacular. They are the days I look forward to all year.
But fall has set in. The sky might have been clear and the sun shining bright, but it wasn't hot. Not bad, but not summer any longer. The arm warmers and knee warmers stayed on all day where last week they came off mid-way through the ride.
That doesn't mean spectacular riding is not still to be had. On the contrary, Sunday and Monday were great days on the bike. I was able to get out on two three hour rides back-to-back. And West Marin did not disappoint. Sunday's ride brought me through Sam Taylor State Park, up and over into Nicasio, over to the Marshall-Petaluma Rd. and the Marshall Wall, and back down Hwy. 1 into Pt. Reyes Station. I've been riding the Marshall Wall quite a bit recently and after dropping a 20 lbs. it's really become not a big deal at all. I find myself seeking out climbs or riding known climbs at least a cog or two smaller. Feels pretty damn good.
Monday's ride was one of my favorites. And with my new found lighter weigh self, I tacked on what I would usually consider a separate ride - two rides in one. How can it get any better. The ride out to Pierce Point is one of the best out here. Good climbing, good descending, and, most of the time, you have the road to yourself. From Pierce Point, I come back via a dirt road, well a ranch road/cow track, to the L Ranch Rd./Marshall Beach Rd., which is some sweet Strada Biancha-like gravel road. From there back to Pt. Reyes Station is usually a pretty good ride by itself, but Monday, I took the climb up Mt. Vision Rd. and came back to Pt. Reyes Station via the Inverness Ridge Trail. This trail is pretty much a hiking/mountain bike trail, but I like to ride my road bike or cross bike on it. It's perfect for either one. Challenging, but not crazy.
And how to end such a great ride? Lunch at Perry's Deli in Inverness Park, of course. Their West Marin Reuben sandwich is spectacular. Not something you want to eat daily - or even weekly, but every so often, I need one.
Sunday's ride in the shadow of Black Mountain as the fog lifts.
Restoration project on the side of the Marshall-Petaluma Rd.
Turkeys - it is getting close to Thanksgiving.
Climbing the Marshall Wall.
Hog Island on Tomales Bay.
Monday's ride heading out Pierce Point Rd.
Vague dirt track and some cow herding out on Tomales Point.
We don't have a lot of gravel roads, but this one is really damn sweet - L Ranch Rd.
Inverness Ridge Trail
The West Marin Reuben
(What's playing: Chuck Prophet Ford Econoline)