Yeah, I know, this was a couple of years ago… I really meant to write it up much sooner, but you know how it goes, one thing and another. Story of my life. Or parts of it anyway. But speaking of anyway – it was a super challenging ride, and I was kinda overwhelmed to actually finish it in the time limit, so that took a while to digest, and then how to convey the awesomeness (yeah, get over yourself about that) and whatever. And I didn’t take pictures cause I was worried about the time, so after all that it’s just blah blah blah, but here’s some by Metin.
La Ruta Loca is one of those rides I’ve wanted to do since I first heard about it – how could you not want to take part in a (FREE) self flagellation ordeal – but one thing and another got in the way. By the time it fit in to my schedule it had become a regular brevet on the SFR calendar! (So no longer free, but very minimal cost. Or should I say minimal entry fee.) And I’d gotten my Volagi Viaje, which is a great bike, particularly for these mixed terrain adventures.
Roll out and over the bridge. Into the Headlands and okey doke, I’m on my own. Well, I hadn’t really planned/arranged to ride with anyone, so there I go. Settle in for a good times with myself kinda day. But then Barley, also on his Viaje, is waiting at the bottom of Coastal, and he very sweetly hangs out with me the rest of the day.
Chug up Coastal and over and down toward Muir Beach. Next climb up Deer Park and (another) Coastal to Pan Toll. Combination of pavement and fire road squiggle through MMWD watershed past Lake Lagunitas, and Alpine, and up to Bolinas Ridge.
Drop off the ridge to Highway 1, end up with a nice little group to paceline up to Pt. Reyes Station, where we stop at the deli/market. Some folks get pizza. Ugh, can’t imagine stomaching that at this point. Plus, I’m a little antsy about the time and effort required. I’d done one of Carlos’ partial pre-rides (he did a nice series, and has the route broken in to a few subsets) and felt pretty whacked after that, so feeling a bit nervous about making the whole thing.
Barley humors me though, and we get going relatively quickly. We end up riding with Carlos and some others back through the San Geronimo Valley and on the Tiburon/Paradise loop. Which in some ways feels a bit gratuitous and quite different in character from the rest of the ride, but (paved and relatively flat) it does allow us to make up some time. Or at least by our next stop, in Tiburon, I feel a bit better about the mileage left to time left ratio.
I get a plain bagel, with cream cheese. They don’t give me the cream cheese so I have to go back in for it. Um, the plain referred to the bagel type, not how to serve it. (and apparently you understood me enough when you rang me up, cause you charged me for cream cheese) Anyway, that and a bathroom break sorta stretch the stop out, and we miss leaving with some other riders. Neither of us is familiar with this bit, so we may have gone a bit off course, but end up back on, and with other folks on the ride. Yay!
There’s some giant paintings in a park along the way back toward 101. San Francisco beckons to the left/south, a relatively short and flattish distance away, but no, we’re going to go climb Mt. Tam again. Really. Self-what what that?
Out through Mill Valley and back on fire road. Huh. Some of this I haven’t been on in forever, if at all. That’s sort of mildly amusing and distracting for a bit. GregM is also doing the ride today, so there’s 3 Viajes! What is the collective noun for that?
What goes up must go up, and eventually get to the West Point in, another control. I’m starting to think I might complete the ride within the time limit. Don’t get too excited yet.
Some descending, and back into the Headlands. A few steep, but mercifully short kicker climbs. Ugh, that’s rude. I walk a bit. Info control. Debate whether black is a color. Drop in to Tennessee Valley, climb out on Marincello. Would be a very different place if the planned development had been built. A mountain biker gives us props for being on the dirt with non-mountain bikes. We can see the giant paintings over in Tiburon. Cool.
Another descent means another climb back up to the Bridge. The impending finish takes the edge off a bit, as does some pleasant conversation with Mr. Potis. We run into (well, not literally) another SFR rider who’s outbound on a ride of their own, and stop and chat a bit. Potis is so easy-going and relaxed about finishing it makes me realize the slight anxiousness I’ve had all day. And puts things in perspective. It is, after all, only a bike ride.
Over the saddle and WOW! there’s the Bridge, glowing all red-orangey in the late afternoon magic light. Takes what’s left of my breath away. So beautiful. So. Beautiful.
Ugh, windy across the span though. I manage to not get blown away and then there’s the last little bit to get over to the finish at Crissy Field. Super glad to be finished. And what? Homemade Soup??? Are you kidding? Of course not. Better not be kidding! They weren’t. Best. Soup. Ever.