2017 SFR Point Reyes Populaire

Season Opener! The first event of the calendar year for SFR – the Point Reyes Populaire, Gateway to Rando – a shorter distance to ease back in to riding if one had taken time off the bike for the holidays and also to introduce new riders to the sport. Alas the weather wasn’t on board with the warm and welcoming idea, and there was extended chatter on the group e-mail list about the forecasted rain and wind in the days leading up to the ride. (It turned out that only half of the 46 people who signed up came out and rode.)

There was a light rain falling at Crissy Field, but Rob brought a pop-up which gave us shelter to get riders signed in. Super-deluxe! I hadn’t felt strongly one way or the other about riding or not, but Eric’s friend Jim had come down from Tahoe to ride, and Eric wasn’t going to bail on his friend. And… misery loves company, right?! It’s only a Pop.

I’d almost forgotten to put on fenders, but fortunately had remembered. I hadn’t been able to find my full booties, so had to do with just toe covers, but had come across a pair of full-finger Gore-Tex gloves that I’d gotten on sale over the summer and had not tried yet. Survey says: Their purported waterproofness did last almost to the turn around in Pt. Reyes Station, and even after full saturation they did do an adequate job of keeping my hands warm. Then again, it was a relatively warm day. Sadly, I discovered as soon as we rolled out that I couldn’t turn on my camera with the gloves on, so I did not get any on bike pictures of the day.

And it was a really beautiful day – lovely light and scenery amidst the rain and wind. The outbound leg corresponded with high tide, so the Sausalito Sea Lion was up to its neck in the Bay, and the low spots on the bike path were water features. The weather made for a quiet and low traffic day.

In addition to Jim, we got to ride with Juliayn on the outbound – she’s always great company. Alas, although understandably, she did not want to spend much time off the bike in Pt. Reyes Station so took off before we were done with our stop. We also got to ride part of the way with Irving, Ely, Ben and Christian, who was on his first brevet! Super fun.

The thought of warm food at the turnaround definitely propelled me on the outbound – The Palace Market came through with soup and a hot sandwich (although how long does it take to pannini-ify a sandwich?! dang!) and Irony Moment #2 (after Rob’s administering the oath Promise not to do Stupid Stuff) – while I was standing there dripping on the floor waiting for the sandwich, CCR’s Have you Ever Seen the Rain came on… and Eric was nice enough to share his chocolate cookies and Bulleit, which further hit the spot.

As we walked through Toby’s Feed Barn to go over to the restrooms, a supercute little boy with the sweetest rain boots and knit cap was excited about seeing us – or at least our bikes – and pointed and said, “BIKES!” Yep, we’re riding our bikes in the rain. I got a high-five, Eric got a high-five, and I asked if he (the little boy, that is) had a bike (yes) and if he liked riding it (yes). YAY BIKES!

After using the restroom Jim sorta shook his head and asked if it had even been worth the trouble – pretty much all wet already… heh. Around Nicasio he said something about only being out there because of us. Wait, Eric said he wasn’t going to bail since you were riding! Hmn… is it enabling or co-dependence?

Turned out it was his first time riding over the Golden Gate Bridge, so that was something! If I’d been a betting person I would have had to eat my hat, since there were actually a few Blazing Saddlers out. Not the hordes of a sunny afternoon, but not the zero I would have predicted.

Picnic! added to the finish control gravity pull to the end. I hadn’t heard exactly what tasty treats Angela would have for us, but something warm. Turned out to be a fantastic couscous soup, and then spinach and cheese pie and also a smoked salmon and cream cheese pie that might be the perfect post ride food. Or even perfect ride food. Jon kept telling everyone it was poison, trying to get us to NOT eat it.

Although the rain had stopped, I was surprised – pleasantly, of course – to see how many earlier finishers were still hanging around. It looked like a Showers Pass commercial! Maybe it was just the beer that kept them, but it was fun to see people and chat. A good start for another year of bike adventures!

Ride date: January 7, 2017

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