2015 Novato Cazadero 200k perm (R10)

photo tour version

WOOT! Made it to double digits with that R thing! Although this is the first month it felt like it took a bit of doing to make it happen, as I was away for 3 of the weekends, and then had a 20th anniversary party on the Saturday of the weekend I was around. So…yeah. Perm time. Something interesting, but not TOO. And not far away, but maybe a bit toward the Bay Area so I could get some rando buds to join me. Sarah Burke’s Novato-Cazadero should fit the bill. And hey, it’s my birthday month. Go Virgos!

Roll out from the Novato Starbucks at a ridiculously civilized 0800. Good crew, 10 of us, and it’s a beautiful day! Whoops, that didn’t sound good… broken chain. Which gives the RBA of Awesome the chance to be chilvarious, helping an elderly woman coming out of church with her car door.

Chain fixed, the church of rotating mass back in session. Through a bit of burbishness, past Stafford Lake, glistening like a mirror. Hicks Valley, the miles tick away with pleasant conversation. Everyone finds their own climbing pace for Wilson Hill, we regroup at the top. It’s much clearer than I’m expecting, what with all the fires.

Awesome downhill, and again the in-betweens of Chileno Valley and Tomales-Petaluma Road blur by with the excellent company. Lots of cows getting their breakfasts – clamoring at the gate for the truck full of hay, following along as it’s distributed, browsing along the lines of it. Still SO dry. Coming back from my road trip, California looks even more parched than the desert.

Not the usual SFR turn at the gun range, but continue on Tomales-Petaluma Road. Jeez, when was the last time I’ve ridden this stretch of road? Maybe when I did this route as a brevet? It’s actually quite nice.

Control in Tomales, the bakery is suggested, I’ve been thinking about ice cream (already) and it does look like the cafe is open, could probably get a cone, but folks are heading for the store. Ah well, that’ll work too. Yes, need some fluids.

Back in the saddle, up, down. Oh, didn’t get the new handlebar bag I’m trying out fastened, did something come out? Well, not the cell phone/wallet or the brevet card. Carry on.

Valley Ford, the cutoff, Bodega Highway, hmn there hasn’t been any discussion about stopping at Wild Flour. I don’t really need to stop, but it’s right there… oh. People are turning in. I guess we are stopping.

ohjeezuzmaryandjoseph… There’s my twinner with a sign for my un-birthday ride rest stop. She directs us back through the garden. Which, for some reason I’ve never gone and checked out. It’s beautiful, and sssh don’t tell anyone there’s a lovely seating area with tables.

AND! omigosh, paletas, and sticky buns in two flavors that they put candles in and light them and everyone sings to me and I tell the part of me that is cringing ohdon’tfussoverME to shut up and just enjoy this GAH I had no idea, this was just supposed to be a bike ride, and having friends along is present enough really jeez OK I swear those were trick candles at least I have a darn hard time blowing them out. what oh I think I have something in my eye. snif. y’all are killin’ me.

It’s just overwhelmingly yummy. Both literally and figuratively.

Predictions for a fast next 10 miles and then a sugar crash… eventually we do get it together and get rolling again. Five more join us for the rest of the way to Cazadero.

Up to Occidental, regroup, then some of the boys are feeling their Wheaties on the descent. I’m just about to lose touch when Sarah flies by, I love this descent! I manage to latch on, and we end up with a screamin’ paceline that does nothing to help the goodies digest. I’m sure they’d taste just as good the second time, but generally I prefer NOT throwing up.

Monte Rio with no reverse peristalsis (yay!), 116 – I take a pull. In some ways that’s easier than trying to keep up with someone else’s pace. Cazadero Highway, Patrick does a solo sprint for the “Cazadero Welcomes You” (in six miles) sign. There’s been debate about what constitutes a town sign, and whether or not there are bonus points for ornate/handmadeness.

Urgh, back in the paceline again. Who moved Cazadero so damn far away? Really? Breathe. Pedal. FINALLY! Descend on the store and mob the porch, there’s a boy in the corner trying to read his book who’s actually quite a good sport about our invasion.

And… back we go. Oh yeah it must be a slight incline on the way to Cazadero. At least this way feels much easier. 116, Monte Rio, reverse of descent back to Occidental. Rob advocates for a meal stop at the taqueria, I think just so he can do some hill repeats conveying the message to all – we’re a bit spread out on the climb – and show off his post-PBP fitness. My first thought, It’s just 200k, c’mon, really? A meal? But whatever, it’s not like I have anywhere else to be.

A couple of non-rando friends are there, finishing up a meal, and we talk about our respective rides. They compliment me on my headwear, OK maybe not a compliment, but make note of it without being too snarky.

I don’t really feel hungry, so just get a beer, but EricW offers some of his bean and cheese quesadilla (OOO! black beans!) and my that’s tasty! Maybe I am just a little. Hungry, that is. Yeah, probably fried in lard. Whatever.

Back to Freestone, Valley Ford. Someone (NOT me) has the brilliant idea to take Middle Road as a quieter alternative to Highway 1 to Tomales. Thanks. I inch my way up the hill, having extreme self-doubt about the next weekend’s 1000k. WTF WAS I THINKING, SIGNING UP FOR THAT??? I’M BARELY MAKING IT UP THIS LITTLE HILL ON A 200K. DUMBDUMBDUMBASS.

The descent is mildly restorative. A deer jumps out on the road in front of us and skitters along. We slow down and it finds a place to jump off into the fields.

Tomales again, the same man at the store, he doesn’t say anything about us being there before. Glorious tailwind toward Petaluma.

Chileno Valley, Wilson Hill climby climby slow oh oh but gotten over berating myself (I know, that is SO not helpful). It’s a beautiful day, and I’m out on my bike with friends. And I’ve got a red propeller. So there.

Unspooling the route back into Novato, at almost the same place of the morning’s chain mishap, CarlS instant karmas himself, saying how there haven’t been any flats. Ryan spies a patch of grass – Let’s wait there. He and EricW lay down. We learned this in France.

Flat fixed, on our way again. Last categorized climb over the overpass. WOOT! Done!!! The Freestone contingent (and Michael, who didn’t ride because he was playing GOLF, not that there’s anything wrong with that) has already eaten and drunk, but hung out to welcome us back. They disperse, along with some of the 200k-ers, but there’s still a nice handful that goes to Hopmunk (despite Rob’s spoonerism of the name) for food and beer. Good times!


(since I’m (allegedly) grown-up and can buy my own presents and have cake whenever I want – yeah, birthdays are so last-year – celebrating un-birthdays makes so much more sense. I mean, I have 364 of those…) (which really, not to be too too sappy, there really is something to celebrate and be grateful for every day. sometimes it may be a tiny tiny thing, or it may seem hard to find, but there is always something.)

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! I was thinking the day really couldn’t get any better – well ridden, well fed, totally unexpected super-deluxe treats, most excellent company – and darn if there isn’t an awesome (not horrible pink) HELLO KITTY mat on my doorstep! Seriously. Too much.

oh AND! I also realized that neither my knee – which had been a bit of a problem child – nor my hip – understudy in that department – had bothered me at all.

Thank you: SarahB, KT, Patrick, Rob, Becky, Matthew, Ann, Denise, Jenny Oh and TBO, Pudu, Sherry, CarlS, EricW, and Ryan!

Ride Date: September 20, 2015

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