2016 Mt. Tam to Marshall perm (R14)

Last month EricW had organized a group ride of Juliayn’s lovely new permanent, Mt. Tam to Marshall. Kris and I were interested, but had been unable to make it, so I instigated a time we could go, and Eric and Patrick were up for a repeat. Perhaps somewhat unadvisedly for me (wait, who picked when this was happening?!) it was the day after the Populaire, so in one weekend I’d be equalling the number of rides I’d done in all of December, and exceeding mileage by probably 50 miles. Yeah, what doesn’t kill me just shows how stupid I am. Kris and Patrick had also not been riding so much; we agreed on a don’t worry about time, have a fun day, no whining ride. And a leisurely 0800 start time.

A goody from Starbucks then a bit more streets of San Francisco to wend our way over the Bridge than the usual SFR ride. Dry conditions, but some dramatical clouds enhanced the views. The thought that they were the rear guard leading to clear skies turned out to be wishful thinking, but it did pretty much stay dry at least.

Through Sausalito, out the bike path, then instead of the usual Camino Alto, hook over into Mill Valley and hit the first dirt, after a debate about the info control answer at the gate. A group of mountain bikers we’d passed on the road goes by, we end up leapfrogging with them the rest of the way up the mountain.

Everyone else has larger volume tires and more tread, but it’s fairly smooth fire road, so I don’t have any issues except perhaps a bit less comfort. The road is pretty moist but not muddy, and having that tackiness makes for easier climbing than when it’s dusty and loose.

Pop out onto the paved part of Fern Canyon Road for a bit, the mountain bikers are resting at the gate. We have to stop meeting like this! My drive train is not happy with me, and making its displeasure audible. Hopefully not the bottom bracket again. Eric remembers there’s a bike rescue station just after we get back on fire road, and we stop. I give the chain a hit of lube, and that seems to make things happier. Or at least quieter.

Great views, pleasant conversation and entertaining shenanigans by Eric and Patrick make the climb pass quickly. We continue past West Point in and up into the thick fog to East Peak. No view for you today.

Adjust the layers for descending. OK well no, it’s not all downhill from here. Drop below the fog on Ridgecrest, I haven’t done the Seven Sisters in this direction. View stop!!!

Down into the redwood rain forest. Oh this descent to Alpine Dam would be more funner if the pavement weren’t so slick. Wow there are a TON of cars parked up and down the road around the Cataract trailhead. Also seeing a lot more people on bikes than we did yesterday. Oh the reservoir is spilling!

Climb out and then descent into Fairfax to the first receipt control. We take the route’s recommendation for the Coffee Roastery. Which, believe it or not, I have never been in! They have a most excellent looking selection of sweet baked goods, but this is lunchish, and I’m wanting something savory. Turkey pesto baguette, and why yes please warm! Plus a yummy Mexican mocha. I’m kinda thinking have half the sandwich now take half with me, but it’s really nice freshly warmed and not really that big and next thing I know it’s all gone. Mmmm.

Back on the bikes, out Sir Francis Drake. Over White’s Hill, through the Valley, a bit of navigational confusion – no, we’re not taking the usual right past the golf course. Do not doubt the magic widget. Right. On to the Cross Marin path. Nice.

Platform Bridge, past Nicasio Reservoir – still a ways to go for it to be full. Cheese Factory hill, ugh I’m getting a stitch in my side. Huh, have I ever had one of those on the bike? Running, sure. Well, not recently, but yes, I have ran. Um, yay, day of new things.

The guys stop at the Cheese Factory for water, I’m set so I just keep rolling, Kris comes with me. We get up to the next information control at the school on Hicks Valley Road. I’d always figured it was Hicks Valley School, but it turns out it’s Lincoln School. Another new thing! Eric and Patrick join us and we continue on toward Marshall.

There is some blue sky, but, as has been the story most of the day, it’s the opposite direction from where we are heading. Oh well. Although it’s cloudy it’s not raining. More pleasant conversation gets us up the Wall – which I’ve never understood why it’s called that, but whatever – then over to the coast.

Quick stop at the store in Marshall. Oh that is some water falling out of the sky. If we’d been riding I probably would have just kept going, but since we’re stopped I put on the rain pants. Eric does too, and of course shortly after we get rolling again the rain stops. You’re welcome.

South on Highway 1 to the next receipt control in Pt. Reyes Station. Suggestion is Bovine Bakery, but they’re closed, and we’re all feeling like a bit more Real Food. Not quite sit down meal though, so we do the soup and etc. from the Market and enjoy the Post Office ambiance. New thing for Kris.

Time to head back to the City. Retrace our steps – hey I don’t think I’ve done Platform Bridge this direction before. More new! And the Cross Marin Path in twilight. Lovely. There’s a family out, happy for a break in the rain to ride bikes with the kids.

San Geronimo Valley, White’s Hill, the southern Marin wiggle – hey it feels like I was just here. Oh wait. Yeah, anyway… yesterday, this morning. Unspool the day, back through Sausalito, up to the bridge, whoops, other side. Nice having the sidewalk to ourselves.

Back through the edge of the City and yeah, we’re going to be Those People and go into the Starbucks just before they close and order drinks. Best. Hot Chocolate. With. Extra. Whipped. Cream. Ever!

Thanks to Eric, Kris and Patrick for riding with me and Juliayn for creating and sharing a fantastic permanent!

Ride date: January 10, 2016

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