2015 SFR Point Reyes Populaire (Workers’ Ride)

sky on fire sunrise heading south

sky on fire sunrise heading south

The Populaire is a fun season opener, AKA the gateway brevet – shorter distance, picnic afterwards – BUT, turns out the Golden Gate Bridge is going to be closed to motor vehicle traffic for the weekend while they install a new moveable barrier system, and I just didn’t feel like dealing with the fustercluck potential. So I’ll be DORC.

I hadn’t really been planning on doing the Workers’ Ride either, but then Señor Hawks, the RBA of Awesome asked if I was going to. AND said he’d ride with me. Which in the past (talking about riding together) has always seemed to end up him dropping me. But this time he said he really would ride with me. And I had it in writing!

I think this is what they'll be setting up for.

I think this is what they’ll be setting up for.

Turns out EricL, JohnG and Yogy are also riding. We meet up at Crissy Field (the finish) and head up to the start at the Bridge. Some high clouds, but actually not too cold, especially once I’m moving. OK, don’t need to be wearing the earflap cap or the second pair of gloves. John tells us to go ahead. I didn’t hear Yogy say anything, but at some point he’s not there, and it ends up being me, Rob and Eric for the rest of the day.

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Over the bridge and downhill to Sausalito. Watch out for deer in the back of my mind, tempering the descent a bit. Town is still pretty quiet, make most of the lights, although one of the later ones turns really quickly. Oh, looks like it was triggered by a cyclist on the cross street. Huh.

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On to the bike path, Rob asks about the pace. Maybe I’ll be sorry later, it is perhaps a tad more than recovery (I’d done a big ride the day before) pace, but for the moment it seems OK.

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better stop taking pictures and catch up

better stop taking pictures and catch up

Follow me Rob cuts off the bike path and on to surface streets. Change in route? Yes. Avoid the congested area where there was an unfortunate incident involving a cyclist and pedestrian. The path surface gets pretty bumpy, and then the intersection is always a little weird where the path ends and spits you out on the corner, so I don’t miss it. Roll by Redwood High School and then a right that takes us straight on to Camino Alto.

Eric charges off up the hill. He’s got to do that, he’s on a fixie. Over the hill and no sign of him. Rob and I are chatting about something or other – not whether there will be city limits sprints or not – so I manage to get the drop on him for Larkspur. Oh, I see how this is going to be. Heh, well that will probably be my one for the day. At least it won’t be a goose egg.

We catch up to Eric at the stop light in town. Chat a bit about his bike. It’s a nice color, almost matches his new school SFR jacket – the orange. The bike is newish, and the longest distance he’s been on it before today is about 10 miles.

fun bike wheel wreath

fun bike wheel wreath

Squiggle past College of Marin. Oh, Ross is coming up. Rob starts early and I got nothing on this one. I laugh and let him go. The rest of the wiggle and here’s Fairfax. Out on to Drake, it’s cleared a bit, but hasn’t warmed up much. Going up White’s Hill we talk about how it will be colder on the other side. Eric and Rob get ahead on the climb, I can’t quite make it up on the descent, but Rob soft pedals til I catch up then pulls down the valley. We catch Eric and stay with him for a bit then Rob gets an early start for Forest Knolls. He takes that and Lagunitas. He happily recounts a time of beating Patrick for Lagunitas. And not just that, but Patrick was wearing his Lagunitas jersey!

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Into the shade of the redwoods and whee where’s the fire? Hang on hang on hangonhangon breathe smooth breathe smooth pedalpedalpedal oh brrrrr it’s kinda chilly. OK, yes, the sign at Samuel P. does say low fire danger for once.

Pop out into the sun, Rob says ahhh just as I’m thinking it. Yes, that does feel good. And OK we ease up a bit heading toward the hill over to Olema. Rob says something might be wrong with his Garmin. It was saying 24 mph. Hmn. Being widgetless I can neither confirm nor deny.

That particular sound somewhere between a hum and a hiss as a pack of cyclists goes past. Eric catches up with us too. I’m kinda pokey up the climb, tell Rob he can go ahead and I’ll see him at the control in Pt. Reyes Station. He goes on up the hill but waits in Olema. (Heh, probably just so he could get the Pt. Reyes Station sprint. Note to self: sign is AFTER the bridge. And not right after the bridge.) There’s a big pack of bikes at the store at Olema, after we’re past I think I might have recognized one of them.

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Go to Palace for the control. Not so much of a plan, but I see bananas as soon as I walk in. Yes, one of those please. And some more juice for the bottle, and… hmn. Yogurt, that sounds good. Rob says something about going across the street to sit in the sun. Yes to sun, but there’s a bench in the sun right here. OK, that will work too.

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We’re all sniffing. What is it about winter ride snot? Even if I had tissues, as soon as I blew/wiped my nose, it would be running again.

Around the corner to use the facilities, and back on the road. Oh this little bump is so rude after being stopped. OCD moment, do I have everything in my pockets that I should? Stop and check. Yes, OK. Roll again. Didn’t realize they’d gotten that far ahead, Rob has turned around and come back. Yep, fine, just had to do a pocket check.

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Chug along by Nicasio Reservoir. It’s still spilling. Nice to see it full. And the hills all green. Just before the turn there’s a magic view with the water in the foreground and layers of hills into the distance.

Ugh, some headwind. And/or I’m starting to feel that earlier pace. Turns out Eric also works for a utility, so we chat a bit about that, the distraction helps.

Rancho Nicasio, and what’s the question to answer? At the start John had asked where to answer it. uh… on the third line down. Oh, not what you meant. Um, in Nicasio?

OK, on the way back now. I tell Rob he can go ahead any time if he wants to go faster, it won’t be counted against his riding with me quota. But he doesn’t. Go ahead that is. Or when he does get ahead he waits. (It may be that he realized he’d given Eric a ride so would have to wait for him anyway.)

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Ponder on the mysteries of hills – how some you can feel a difference in how easy/hard they are that seems to correspond with how much you are riding, or how long of a ride you’ve done before you get to that hill, but some, no matter what, are always the nemesis.

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Like this one over to the golf course. Bleh. Well here’s Drake again. White’s Hill seems easier this direction. And woohoo no cars on the descent and get in that sweet spot no brakes all the way in to Fairfax.

Rob is stopped by the Coffee Roastery. I pause, then hey wait a minute, someone else I know. Cycling buddy from work, finishing up a mountain bike ride. Slightly out of context, not expecting to see anyone I know and slight brain fuzz takes me a couple of cycles to realize who it is. We chat a bit about our respective rides, it’s actually his birthday so he’s got to get home for the next phase of celebration. And we’ve got to get back to San Francisco.

At this point I think Rob figures I’m not threat for city limits, but I manage to sneak San Anselmo. He gets Ross again, then we’re just past College of Marin, there’s another cyclist ahead of us and I’m thinking what, is he trying to catch that guy? No, Larkspur, hiding behind a shrub and right before a stop sign. Ah, that’s a tricky one.

Camino Alto and Mill Valley at the top. Funny I’ve probably noticed that before, but not really Noticed it. Eric was setting the pace up the hill and gets that one.

I ask if we’re going to retrace our steps – go straight at the stoplight – but then when I get there Rob is in the left hand turn lane. Wha? It will turn first. They actually turn at the same time, but at that point we’re committed. So over to the bike path. And it turns out there’s construction by the community center, and we see signs that there’s going to be an event on the day of the Populaire. Yes, reinforcing clarity about the route change. The only thing is having to make a left to get back on the path, but of the options, that seems the better.

Look over just as we’re at the end of the bike path in Sausalito. One of the businesses is, apparently, Attitudinal Adjustment. Huh. Who knew?

Japanese tourist photo bomb

Japanese tourist photo bomb

The tourists aren’t too bad getting through Sausalito, but some super squirrelly people on the bridge and around the toll plaza. Make it through safely and back to Crissy Field. Another good day on the bike! Thanks Rob and Eric!

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