2015 SFR Freestone Bread Run 200k (R9)

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(photo tour version)

New brevet! Route by Max, of Adventure Series fame (or infamy, depending on your point of view) which the RBA of Awesome alludes to in the info doc before the event: A few things to note. It is not a flat course. The route was designed by Max Poletto. Those two facts are very related.

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Still a nice turn out on an overcast Sunday morning at Crissy Field. Rob reminds us to not go on autopilot and follow the usual SFR route over Camino Alto, but go left and out Highway 1. He administers the oath and we’re off!

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The fasties are off already on the first climb up to the bridge. I’m here for the new route, check the R box for the month, riding both days of the weekend (there’s that silly ride I signed up for at the end of September) and trying to sort out shoe/cleat/something that is sometimes making a spot on the inside of my left knee less than happy.

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A group of us rolls through Sausalito and Tam Junction together. We spread out to our own paces on the climb. I settle in behind Juliayn. She’s a solid, steady rider and lovely company, although most of the time we’re together on this route it’s in places where it’s better to ride single file, so we don’t get to chat as much as might be nice.

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Anyway, it turns out she’s done the route several times as a perm, so I figure she’s got the pace down. She said she usually starts earlier, which would be nice in some ways, although I quite enjoy being able to see the views. She also has some schedule flexibility and has mostly ridden it during the week, which I imagine would be quite wonderful as far as less traffic, particularly on Highway 1.

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Super fun descent into Muir Beach, and after the info control I happen to look up and see riders above on the next climb. It’s not quite where I would have said the road went, so it’s a fun surprise.

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As long as I don’t push too hard the knee is fine, so I just chug along and enjoy the scenery. Ooo! There’s the ocean. And some swoopy turns – views to the north and then back to the south.

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Another rider comes by, comments that we seem to have passed the info control. Yep. Someone must know what the answer is. Yep. I should have just left it at that, since he didn’t actually ask, and when I did say what it was he didn’t say thanks or anything and just rode off. Well if you’re going to be like that I don’t want to ride with you anyway!

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Amazing view of Bolinas Lagoon and whee! downhill ending up next to it. Low tide. At first we think they are BIG pelicans, but turns out to be a (collective noun of) seals hauled out on a sand bar exposed by the low tide. Fishermen out along the shoreline here and there.

Plums on the road. Hmn… oh, plum trees! Stop. Once I’m off the bike the plums seem rather further away though. I do manage to find one low enough to pick. Purple skin, yellow flesh. Not bad.

We’re joined for a bit by Captain Jack, the Conspicuity Czar, and another fellow whose name I didn’t catch. Juliayn reinforces my clarity about stopping in Pt. Reyes Station for a pastry. Quite a few other folks had the same idea!

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Note to self: order of operations. Get in bakery line first, fill bottles later. The man in front of me (not cycling!) buys the last piece of coffee cake. DOH! I make do with the scone du jour. (That’s the scone of the day.)

It almost violates the Don’t eat anything bigger than your head rule. People are rolling out, and it is a bit more than I probably need to eat at this moment, but I don’t really have a place to stash leftovers – I know, what kind of rando am I? – so I just hang out and finish it, then get going solo when I’m done.

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Which is just as well, since I tootle along at the keeping the knee quiet pace, and don’t really feel up to the overhead of riding with others at the moment. The run up Tomales Bay is quite lovely.

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At the town of Tomales the route doglegs out for more climbing on Middle Road. There’s goats, sheepies, llamas! and cows of various colors along the way.

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Some folks decided to stop for more substantial provisions in Valley Ford, but I miss seeing them as I’m involved with not getting run over by a Prius who wants to go to the store. Do not want to get hit by a Prius.

Turning inland on the Valley Ford Cutoff and the overcast starts to lift. By the time I get to Bodega Highway it’s blue sky with just a few puffs of cloud here and there.

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DOH! Forgot to manifest no line. It’s the longest I’ve seen at Wild Flour. Ah well, not that I have anything else to do today. Nice seeing other riders here at the control, and the line actually moves pretty quickly, despite some clueless people.

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Nope, we don’t go back the way we came. Well, back to Bodega Highway, left there, then right at the top of the hill. When you have a choice, go up. (This IS a Max route.)

Barnett Vally, Burnside … these used to be on my ride around the neighborhood rides. Been a while since I’ve been on them, had to drive to the City to do it… ah the smell of eucalyptus and blackberries.

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Info control at the top of the hill. Rob had mentioned there was some confusion about the answer, but we should just do our best. There doesn’t seem to be any potential source of unclarity, but I know better than to underestimate people’s powers of misinterpretation.

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The upside – heh. that was unintentional, really – of climbing is then getting to descend! I interrupt this one to get a photo of the smoke plume from the Rocky Fire in Lake County over the shoulder of Mt. St. Helena. My stopping place is conveniently by a thicket of ripe blackberries. Yum!

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There’d been other folks here and there since Wild Flour, now I’m on my own again. I wend my way to Bloomfield and over Carmody Road – yes, this route just keeps on giving. Past the shooting range in full swing, and a nice run down Tomales Petaluma Road with the wind at my back.

Squiggle through Chileno Valley, and somehow the climb up Wilson Hill doesn’t seem nearly as gratuitous as I thought it might.

Pull in at the Cheese Factory, there’s several other randos there already in various stages of provisioning, as well as a number of folks arrayed around the lake enjoying the pleasant day. I go into the women’s restroom. There’s a man in there. I’m not sure which of us is more surprised. I suppose by right of being there first he asserts it’s the men’s. No, it’s the women’s. I step back outside and check the sign. Yep, women. He apologizes and departs.

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Snack and fill the bottles and on my way again. The knee seems to have pretty much sorted itself out, but I’m not feeling any need to push it. Mosey around the reservoir, again somewhat surprised by the number of people out along the shore line.

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Info control in Nicasio, end up grouping up with Ryan and Todd, who I ride most of the rest of the route with, and Captain Jack who’s with us until White’s Hill. Having some company makes the wiggle through Marin seem to go a bit faster.

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Getting through Sausalito is surprisingly low-key, but all the potential headwind we missed the rest of the day seems to have been stored up for the last climb up to the Bridge. Boy Howdy Yeah. Take it easy going over the bridge – just want to get back on one piece here.

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Under the bridge and around and down the hill and over to Crissy Field. The nice volunteers have staked out an area with some tables and have some finish snackies and beverages. It’s pretty windy here too, but the sun is out and the temperature is tolerable to hang out in, which a number of us do. Or that may have been since Ryan and EricW brought back cheese and champagne – final training for France. Of course there’s lots of talk of PBP, but other bike talk too, and even some – believe it or not – NON bike talk.

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Another splendid day on the bicycle! Fun to do a new route. I’m pretty sure I’ve ridden all the bits, just not in that particular configuration (which can make things seem very different) and some it’s been a while since I’ve ridden. SFR is very fortunate to have members who are great route designers and Rob, the RBA of Awesome, who supports sharing them as brevets.

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Ride date: August 2, 2015

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