Another kindler gentler (than La Ruta) mixed terrain from Carlos, although this one is 200k rather than the Populaire length. There was a solid turnout of the usual suspects, and, after the benediction from the route designer himself, we rolled off into the silver morning from Crissy Field.
We departed from the usual southern Marin wiggle in Ross and went out through Natalie Coffin Green Park and around Phoenix Lake. There was an out and back to an info control and then we made our way over and through Fairfax and to the stout dirt road climb behind White’s Hill School. The road had been graded for fire truck access, making it quite rideable, except for the super steep bit just above the water tanks.
Also I had swapped wheels, which in the past I’d been able to do without needing to do any adjusting of the shifting, but this time – probably since I had not really checked it – it was going to far over when I dropped down to the novelty gear (H/T to Juliayn). After being stubborn and thinking I could maybe get away without it, I figured out I couldn’t, and stopped. Eric helped me adjust it.
The views were amazing, and the stop put us solidly as lanterne rouge. Time to make a day of it! I was surprised to see Jon when we came off the dirt at Lucas Valley Road, but he had managed to double flat on the descent.
We cruised out past Nicasio and on to Pt. Reyes, stopping at Inverness Park Market for supplies for a feed at the beach control. The paved section can be a bit busy with the tourists, but it’s still very pretty, and once we got off the main road and then on to the gravel road to Marshall Beach it was very quiet. The scenery and views over Tomales Bay were so lovely – one of those places I don’t get to very often (probably the last time was on this ride last year) – but when I do I always think “I should come here more.”
Anyway, when we dropped down to the beach we found a few folks still there, despite our lanterne rougery. Eric’s plan for a leisurely meal was stymied by finding he had a flat to fix.
We rolled out from the beach with the addition of Jesse and Tom to our merry band. There was a bit of miscommunication about the redistribution of fluids and where we were stopping and meeting up again in Pt. Reyes Station – or maybe it was that Tom was trying to ditch us – but we caught up to him at the 7-11 in Petaluma.
For the next section back to and through Marin I seem to have become the official navigator, so the guys went along with my secret control stops at Beercraft in Novato and Silberman’s in Terra Linda. I don’t think Carlos (at the finish control) was as excited about our using so much of the allowed time.
After going through the Cal Park tunnel we got to use the new(ish) bridge over Sir Francis Drake by the ferry terminal. Yay cycling infrastructure!
Being later in the day we did not have to contend with many Blazing Saddlers, but there was a fellow on a high wheeler crossing the bridge. Which, more power to him, but it sure looked like he was higher than the railing, which didn’t seem like it would be a good thing if he lost his balance. At least when we passed him he seemed fine, but when we went by the toll plaza it sounded like someone was having issues with the automated toll process. Voice over the loudspeaker “DO NOT STOP IN THE TOLL PLAZA.” “KEEP MOVING.” …. “GET BACK IN YOUR CAR.” Ah, maybe not an English speaker?
And oh yeah, the finish for this isn’t at the toll plaza. There was the last bit down and over to Crissy Field, which is actually a nicer start/finish location in many ways, although on this particular day it was blowing cold – not particularly conducive to hanging out. But we did enjoy a bit of finish ambiance, and some snacks, and beautiful evening light over the bridge.
Ride date: August 6, 2016
2017 edition will be held August 12! Come join the fun!