Friday, June 12, 2015

Rolled A Big One

As my friend Cameron noted, I "rolled a big one" on Sunday.  I knew it was going to be a big one.  I figured I had all day, so what the heck.  It's rare that I have a day, an all day day, that I didn't really have anything to do that would limit a ride to X hours.  Sunday was the day of the Western Weekend parade in town and that pretty much shuts the town down for several hours.  I used that as an excuse to close the shop and ride.

Part of the inspiration to ride all day came from seeing and reading about rides friends post on the internets.  Hundred mile gravel rides.  Back-country rambles over several days.  And most recently the Dirty Kanza 200 mile gravel race won (by 1 second) by area local Yuri Hauswald - click the link to read Yuri's story of the 13 hour survival-fest.  I kept looking at these longer rides and races folks were doing and thinking "I need to get out do that too."   So I plotted a route.  

I had a general idea of where I wanted to ride.  I didn't know, however, how many miles or how much climbing there would be.  I don't ride with a cycle computer, GPS, Strava, or even a watch.  I generally know how long certain routes take based on time of departure and time I finish.  I have, over the past year, started plotting routes on Map My Rides to get an idea of mileage and cumulative climbing elevation to get an idea of how long it will take to ride.  Data points entered for this ride and find it's 72 miles and 8100' of climbing (route link).  Yeah, whatever.  Most rides I do seem to have around 1000' of climbing for every 10 miles, so this was within parameters.  Somewhat within parameters.

The one aspect of longer rides I do worry about is being able to bring enough calories with me to keep me going.  Most of the time, I'm not near a store to buy food if I run out of energy and I can usually bring enough calories in my jersey pockets for a 4 hour ride.  I could have carried all my food in pockets this day too, but I wouldn't have had any room to stash arm/knee warmers once the morning chill wore off or any thing else that I might need/want.  On went a Revelate Tangle frame bag.  Smart storage that's out of the way and still allows me to carry two big bottles on my bike.

Of course with any new addition to your bike, you're going to miss something.  My "miss" was forgetting to throw a pump in the bag.  Since the pump I keep on my cross bike is a full sized frame pump, it didn't easily fit in the bag.  It probably would fit just fine in its normal position with the bag strapped below it, but my plan was to stop at the shop on my way out of town the morning of the ride and throw in a smaller pump while I picked up a couple of Clif Bars.  Got the Clif Bars.  Forgot the pump.  I remembered that I forgot the pump about 5 miles into the ride.  Not going back to get it.  I hardly ever get flats and I was running tubeless and had confidence in their ability to seal punctures (that would be put to the test later).  Continue on.

Bolinas Ridge Trail
This is the spot on Bolinas Ridge where I realized I didn't have my pump.

Tomales Bay and Inverness Ridge from Bolinas Ridge
Looking back to Pt. Reyes Station and Tomales Bay on a fine morning for a bike ride.

Black Mountain from Bolinas Ridge
Black Mountain in the distance.

Bolinas Ridge
The northern half of Bolinas Ridge was dry.  The southern half was soggy, wet, muddy, slippery from the fog rain it continually receives.  This steam coming off a wet patch in the sun caught my eye.

I made it off Bolinas Ridge and on to Ridgecrest where I got a bit caught up in chasing down roadies.  I kept telling myself not to burn out any matches because I had a long way to go, but...they just kept slowing down dramatically on the rises and weren't fast descenders.  Okay, I left a couple matches on Ridgecrest, but I was still feeling good.  Off Ridgecrest and down to the Pantoll Ranger Station to fill bottles before heading down Coastal View Trail into Muir Beach.

Lunch Stop
Trailside lunch spot on Coastal View and the blueberry scone I brought from the Bovine Bakery - that would not have fit in a jersey pocket.

From Muir Beach, I climbed Diaz Ridge Trail.  It's a super fun trail up or down.  It was foggy and cool on Coastal View and on Diaz, but the sun and heat were soon to break out.

Green Gulch Farm
Green Gulch Farm from Diaz Ridge.

Tam from Diaz Ridge
Mt. Tam from the top of Diaz Ridge - soon to be climbing its flanks.

Fog over Miwok Trail
Fog as it spilled over Miwok Trail.

From Diaz Ridge, I took Miwok Trail over to Tennessee Valley and then pedaled on the road into Mill Valley.  By this time, it was getting hot.  I usually only ride with water for hydration.  Today, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up some electrolyte replacement at Tam Bikes on my way to Railroad Grade and the long climb with a lot of southern sun exposure.  That was a wise decision.  It was a slog of a climb, but I knew there was water at the top and I'd stop for a bit to rest my feet which were becoming quite uncomfortable in my 15 year old shoes.

South Marin from Railroad Grade
Southern Marin and San Francisco from Railroad Grade.

I decided to descend Eldridge Grade (not fun on a cross bike - at least the top part) because it was the shortest way to get to Fairfax where I planned to stop for a beer and sandwich at Gestalt Haus.

Eldridge Grade
San Pablo Bay from Eldridge Grade.

By the time I got to Fairfax, I was ready to be done.  After a sandwich and a beer, I pulled my bike down off the hook and the rear tire hit the ground and immediately didn't feel right.  Out on the sidewalk and, yep, it's flat.  Oh well.  Quick spin down to Sunshine Bikes to use their pump, inspect the tire, and make sure it's ok.  There was a small sidewall puncture.  Air in the tire, slosh the sealant around and it sealed right up.  In fact, it's still holding strong today, four days later.

At Sunshine, Cameron was just leaving as I was pulling up.  While he was basically questioning my mental stability for riding down Eldridge on my cross bike, I was calculating how much it would cost me to ask him to give me a ride back to Pt. Reyes Station.  But, that never got verbalized and after some chit-chat, I was back on the bike for the 17 mile road ride back home.

There were a couple of things I learned on this ride.  Mainly, the Silverado seat that WTB floated me for a photo shoot recently was great for up to 3 or 4 hours of saddle time.  Not so great for 8+ hours.  My bony ass couldn't quite find the sweet spot after 6 hours.  I'll be reinstalling the old WTB Rocket V I pulled off.  And my 15 year old Shimano M-180 shoes sucked for pedaling all day.  My feet were a hot mess of pain at the ball and smaller toes.  I have a hard time finding the right shoe because my foot's something like a double A width.  My hands, on the other hand, were fine with a pair of ancient styled, lightly padded, leather and crotchet gloves.

By the time I got home after being on the bike all day, I was glad to be done.  Hurting, tired, and thinking about when I can do it again.

(What's playing:  John Coltrane Countdown)