2017 SFR Healdsburg/Russian River 300k (Workers’ Ride)

Again I got myself on the hook to herd cats for, erm I mean be Volunteer Coordinator for the SFR Healdsburg/Russian River 300k. Again club members stepped up to fill all the various roles needed for the event, and eight stalwart randos chose to join me the weekend before the official brevet for the Workers’ Ride. Yes, comrade.

There was a beautiful almost full moon on the way to the start, which was lost in a bit of fog at the Toll Plaza. The fog played peek-a-boo as we crossed the bridge, then left us alone to enjoy a splendid sunrise as we descended to Sausalito. ThePotis had, after the minimal amount of interaction needed to obtain his brevet card, jetted off the front – never to be seen again, at least by me – but the rest of us rolled along together.

I had planned for a few double secret controls, the first of which was rather early in the ride, but Eric, Karen, Jack and Kevin joined me in the recon for a Flèche 22-hour control. They were a little busy, so I forgot to ask if they would be open on Easter Sunday, but the malasadas seemed worth another visit. Or I might have to try something else – Karen’s custard-filled donut was filled to order!

Then it was rando-math time – if we were stopped for X minutes and resume travel at Y mph, and Ann, Ryan and BrianC are travelling at Z mph, when will we see them again? “Oh, is this a real question?” Eric asks, “or is it like last time when the answer was ‘When is the next beer stop?'” No, beer isn’t the answer. Beer is the question. The answer is yes.

We made our way through the wiggle, with Karen taking City Limits along the way, and out over White’s Hill, admiring the freshly scraped hillside that had slid out and had Sir Francis Drake Boulevard closed earlier in the week. San Geronimo Valley was a stunning emerald, with imps of mist dancing along the hills.

“Road or trail?” “What size tires do you need for the trail?” (need? well… ok, we’ll read that as what would be nice/keep it fun) “25s” “Well, that’s what Kevin has” (pretty sure everyone else was larger) OK then let’s do the trail! It still had a few moist spots, but most were avoidable. Jack and Kevin ended up going back to the road, Karen and I continued over the bridge and on the trail. Eric had gone ahead to use the facilities, I kept expecting him to catch us, but he’d intersected with Jack and Kevin and the three of them were at Platform Bridge when we rolled out the end of the trail.

Black Mountain was hiding in a bit of mist, and there was some lingering over Nicasio Reservoir, but all beautiful views. A Ferrari club was out enjoying the morning, as was a turtle as we got closer to Petaluma. I instigated staying off the Boulevard through town and East Washington as long as possible, and a couple of the others joined me, although in doing so we missed a Pudu sighting.

The others, sans Potis, were at the Petaluma Safeway, and we had a nice stop and refuel then rolled en masse up the valley to Santa Rosa and on to Windsor where the second double secret control was observed at BurtoNZ. Meat pies in solidarity with the SFRians riding the Tiki Tour 1200k! Those who had continued on to the official control at the Healdsburg Safeway were wrapping up as we rolled in, but we had to use the facilities and get our receipts so it was a hi/bye/see you down the road regroup.

Westside Road was magnificently green and glorious, and it was lovely to see all the water in the Russian River. Eric and Ryan were up for a third double secret control at Stumptown, but Karen pressed on with a mission to catch a particular time bus back to Santa Rosa (spoiler alert: she did make it! And – what a great idea! She had taken the bus down in the morning and said it worked out really well and she was able to nap. Sweet!)

BONUS!!! Stumptown has an air hockey table!!! “Do we have time for a game?” “We don’t have time to not play,” Eric replied. Alrighty then! And there were actually two pucks, which made for a few extra entertaining moments.

The stretch out to the Coast was headwindy, but Ryan and Eric took some awesome pulls and got us out to the magic turn to the left. It was a glorious day at the ocean, and we met up with the others at Diekmann’s. Again they rolled out before we did, but it was nice to see them and everyone seemed to be doing well and enjoying themselves.

I got a case of the slows climbing out of Bodega Bay. Not sure if it was being at around the 200k mark and the body just saying “erm, aren’t we supposed to be done?” or not getting the feeding quite right or the keeping up with Eric and Ryan or what, but they humored me and backed off the pace for a bit. Ryan asked about electrolytes – it was a bit warmer than it had been – I’d been putting the fizzy tabs in my second bottle, but I took a potassium and a salt tab just for good measure. Either that and/or the riding my own pace for a bit seemed to get things firing a bit more normally. At least enough that I went along with taking Middle Road to get off of Highway 1 for a bit.

The light was fading as we rolled toward Tomales Bay, but we could still see how far out the water was. “Wow, what a low tide!” “Yeah, or there’s a tsunami coming.” Right. Thanks, Eric. We were treated to sunset color between the clouds and Inverness ridge.

I had to stop to replace the batteries in my tail light, and conveniently the facilities at the Marshall Store were still open. Thank you! I’d forgotten the control had been moved to Point Reyes Station, and had brought along a post card to mail, but DUH, didn’t need to do that.

As we finished off the coastal rollers section, I tried to not think about soup at the Palace Market too much, just in case they were out. But, YAY! There was soup for me. And Ann, Jack and Kevin were there! We again enjoyed the hospitality of the Post Office. A woman coming to get her mail opened the door, looked around, asked if it was OK to come in. “Of course!” “I thought it might be some sort of meeting,” she said. Well, in a way. Randoholics Anonymous?

On the climb up from Olema Jack finally shared his two favorite jokes, plus a bonus one! I sadly lost my fancy-pants impulse buy chocolate on the bumpy descent. Boo! But it was an otherwise uneventful roll back along Sir Francis Drake, through Fairfax and the wiggle and to the bridge for the 6 of us. Potis had won, Karen had caught her bus, and just as I was wondering what had become of Brian – I thought he was ahead of us – there he was! We must have passed him when he’d had a stop in Sausalito. Everyone accounted for and there was the full moon again to bookend the day and light our way back home. Another fantastic day on the bike! And off – when Eric uploaded to Strava it turned out we’d had 4.5 hours off bike time. (Imagines Max face palming at that stat.) Good times! Thanks to all for being such great riding companions and to all the volunteers for your time and energy.


Ride date: March 11, 2017

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