2015 SFR Russian River 200k

My big stretch/goal ride for 2015 was the SFR Shasta Mountains 1000k, which would be a multi-day extravaganza, so I figured I’d better do some riding-both-days-of-the-weekend sorta things to get some sort of prepardedness for the hey I just rode my bike a mildly inappropriate distance yesterday and here I am going to do it again today kinda thing. Santa Cruz had had a nice Saturday/Sunday combo, and then I saw that one of the somewhat unusual SFR Sunday brevets was the day after the Terrible Two. And it started in north San Rafael, closer to home for me. Sweet!

Of course, even without all that, how could one pass up a ride with the following description: The step child of the Russian River 300k and the Hopland 400k… but not less scenic.

Apparently lots of people could, as there wasn’t a huge turnout – somewhere between 30 and 40 riders. Which was a pity, since it’s a nice double lollypop route, and with the northerly start, you don’t have to wade through the stop signs of southern Marin, getting to scenic bucolicness almost straight away.

A nice size group hung together pretty well out Lucas Valley, past Nicasio and the Cheese Factory, over Wilson Hill and out Chileno Valley, which was great, especially for the headwind on Chileno Valley. AndreaS did a massive pull through there that I know I was thankful for.

I was a bit surprised at how notsobad I felt. Well, on the flats and downhills anyway. Uphills, not that it was hurting, per se, just not very peppy. OK, I’m just going to have to do this thing at my own pace.

First control at Vally Ford, remarked on Craig Robertson being on a half-bike – he’s usually on a tandem, or at least almost all the other times I’ve seen him – almost didn’t recognize him. Some other chit-chat and it came out that I might have done something stupid yesterday. “200 miles of stupid?” er. something like that.

Northbound the route is inland, passing through Freestone and Occidental. Even though it wasn’t much further along, there was Wild Flour. Must. Stop. Some nice solo time, then caught up with another woman whose name is embarrassingly escaping me now, but a nice chat with her eased the climb to Occidental. Past Occidental I was glad to be on Bohemian Highway in daylight and descending to Duncan’s Mills – opposite of the previous day’s shenanigans.

At Monte Rio I parted ways with the other rider and (shh) took Moscow Road as a quieter alternative to 116/River Road. Decided on the bakery for the open control at Duncans Mills, saw a couple of folks getting ready to pull out as I arrived. Once I got back on the road toward the coast, crossed paths with the still-unremembered-name woman (still meaning now – I did remember it for the duration of the ride at least) who had an ice cream bar from the store across the road. Note to self!

Some high overcast, but it was still a pretty pleasant day on the coast. A ways to go, but turning south somehow always makes it feel like we’re onto the home stretch. The other woman rider and I yo-yoed each other along the Highway 1 rollers to Bodega Bay. Just around where Coleman Valley Road cuts in, she was ahead a bit. A truck with a fifth wheel camper had passed me fine, then going past her did not seem to remember quite how long the trailer was and started to move back over before they’d cleared her. There was no shoulder, just a steep drop to the ocean, and the world got very small for a few moments. hold your line, hold your line… I kinda wanted to close my eyes. Fortunately she did not get squeezed off the road. Whew, exhale.

From Diekmann’s the route continued on Highway 1 then turned inland at Pt Reyes Station to Nicasio. From there we retraced our steps to the Park-n-Ride. It was a bit of a slog up to Big Rock, but it was nice to see that, since it was all downhill from there. Most excellent way to finish a ride, and there was a welcoming volunteer crew to boot. A couple of them had ridden the day before also, so I got to hear about that, and yeah, heckle them a bit for not riding the brevet.

Although I didn’t set any sort of speed records either day, and had a few moments of WTFWIT, especially on Day 2, I was glad to have done it as it gave me a mental boost that perhaps my idea to ride the 1000k was not completely crazy. OK, well maybe it was crazy, but I might actually be able to do it.

Ride date: July 21, 2015

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