Well Deb and I ramped it up a bit this past cold weekend.
Prior to this past weekend we rode one 90 mile tandem ride and it went OK for a first ride. I think we both got carried away and rode too hard. We, or at least I, pooped out a bit at the end.
So we figured why not make the next ride twice as long. We rode the SF 300k on Saturday. It was forecasted to rain and be below freezing. I kept waiting for Deb to tell me to forget it and maybe she was doing the same but neither of us wanted to actually say it.
Thanks goodness as it was a great ride and fantastic weather. Since we were all expecting the worse we were well prepared for the milder weather. I started the ride with a thick wool base layer, a SS wool jersey, a Rapha LS winter jersey and the Rapha windbreaker. I had on a pair of Rapha fleece bib-knickers under a pair of tights. Two pair of wool socks, toe covers and for good measure full neoprene booties.
We took off from the Golden Gate Bridge at 6am and we waited a couple minutes to let the heard thin out. I did not want to be in that big a group being only our second ride. We caught up to the back of the middle of the pack. I was also worried if we took off near the front everyone would expect us to hi tail it and jump on our wheel. We decided we would take it easy and try to control ourselves.
We had a few mechanicals right away. My right shifter was not working well and it ended up being the cold that affected it. Worked much better later in the day. I put a big bag under Debs seat and it ended up rubbing the rear tire. We didn’t realize it at first so we were working really hard. Thought the brake was rubbing. Lifted her saddle up a bit but it was not enough so we rigged up Deb’s reflective belt to hold it up a bit till we got to mile 50 and our first control. We left the bag at the Safeway in Petaluma with the store manager and I picked it up the next day. There were a few other tandems on the ride and it would have been cool to ride with them but we were now officially off the back. In hindsight it may have been for the best as we may have started to push it too hard
After the control we had about 40 miles to the next Safeway control and it was flat but into a bit of a headwind. We were moving really well and pulled a whole string of singles. We could have pulled harder but I did not want to drop anyone and we were trying to keep it easy. We were pulling along at about 19-20 MPH into a slight headwind with very little effort. It was such a pleasure.
Had lunch at the next Safeway then it was southwest along the Russian River to the coast and Hwy 1. Again fairly flat with a few rollers on mellow back roads thru some wine country. Deb likes one gear easier than I do so whenever I even thought about shifting I would just do it. I rarely had her have to ask for a shift and I think we were in a good sync.
We rode well along this stretch passing lots of solo riders and groups. We would slow down to let them on but would eventually pull away without knowing it. On the rollers we practiced standing and humping it over the tops and we were really working well while standing. I usually ride with my kids on the tandem so having an adult on the back and working so well together was such a blast.
We hit Hwy one at Jenner and headed south. The next dozen miles are by far the greatest part of this ride. Most SF rides do not get out to the coast and this section of slight roolers and flats have the greatest view on the entire ride. We were expecting a tailwind and were not disappointed. It was not as strong as I have had in the past but it pushed us up the hills and we flew down some of the long rollers. We were hitting mid 40’s on the rollers and mid 20’s on the flats. Again we were never really pushing it and trying to be conservative. I really wanted this ride to go well as we have a longer ride next month. I really did not expect to be feeling as good as I was. I expected to be a bit sore in the saddle as I had never riding the tandem this long so was not sure how well I was dialed in. My shoulders were sore so I think I need to play with the bar height a bit.
We continued to fly be riders. Now that we had a tailwind there was little chance of them jumping on. It was really cool to go by them on the downhills. We pulled into Marshall for the final control and clam chowder. We took long breaks which I think helped my shoulders. The ride we have coming up is a 235 mile, 24 hour ride so there will be lots more non-riding time.
The sun finally went down on the way to Nicassio so we hit the dreaded Nicassio hills in the dark. They seemed to go much better in the dark. These are not long or steep hills but for some reason I just do not get along with them at all.
We finally got into the Marin towns section and weaved our way back to the bridge. We had picked up Tim and Bill who will both be riding the Fleche with us. Since they are not local I think they appreciated that I know all the turns thru this confusing section.
We got over the Camino Alto hill easy enough but Deb and I were feeling it on the short steep little hills getting out of Sausilito. But at the top of those hills is one of the greatest views of any ride. I just love riding over the GG Bridge in the dark.
We finished the 190 miles just after 9pm for 15+ hours. We had a great ride and we work well on the tandem which is most important. We are planning to race the Furnace Creek 508 on a two tandem relay so will need a few more rides to get dialed in and maybe do some for speed.
Willy in pacifica
Thanks for the info.
Covering the cost for crew members is great.
I will check out the rusa website.
Have a great time on the tandem with Gabi! Sounds like a great ride SF to SB.
Please share pictures.
Deb, you are a studette.
Looks like the application period starts the first weekend in March. See link below. The entry fee will be $400 per rider for a two tandem team. This seems steep but it is $500 for a solo and a solo rider has to foot the bills for his entire crew. We will be splitting the cost of the race 4 ways so with hotels, food, gas etc we should be able to get away with around $200-$250 each come race time.
Come March I can coordinate the application for our team. Will need you two to fill out a separate application and send me a check for $800. Probably OK to make the check out to Adventure Corp unless it says otherwise. There are very few tandems out there so should not be a problem getting into the race. I have always gotten in.
When I raced it solo last year I paid for all the hotels, food, gas etc for myself and 3 crew members. Not to mention the added cost of the rental SUV etc. But it was worth it.
Look at www.rusa.org and search for rides in your area. There should be plenty of 200k’s and 300k’s you can ride.
I will be riding a 200k tomorrow and the following weekend there is a ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. We ride 200k a day for three days. Normally I ride this on a single bike but this year I am planning to take Gabi on the tandem and we are going to ride half days and SAG the other half in our van.
We got a 45 mile ride in last week and it felt great! On a side note, over Christmas, we were in Death Valley and drove some of the 508 route. Unfortunately, Death Valley had as much rain as we had and there was lots of debris on the roads, some of the roads had rivers flowing over them, so we did not break out the tandem (lots of tourists on the road as well).
We visited Adventure Corps website and read through the application again. Please let us know what we need to provide for the application and we are ready to give entrance fees when needed.
I looked at Western States Ride Calendar this year and the brevets are 100k. We are looking at a few centuries in the near future and a double century early May. We also signed up to do the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in June for a week.
Hope you all had a nice holiday!
Rode with my blind buddy last weekend on my tandem to try to get dialed in a bit better. We only rode 40 miles but I did get more comfy on the bike. Not perfect yet. I think I need to get the bars up a bit and I think I may throw my aerobars on the tandem to see how it works.
Hoping to get together with Deb in the next couple of weekends for a ride.
Hey you guys,
Here's my 2 cents on the Heed/Perpetuem struggle. For a long time, I couldn't stand either of them - both tasted like chalk on a good day. Two weeks ago on the Bass Lake Powerhouse Double I went with a scoop of Perpetuem, a scoop of Gatorade (aka Gatorhootch) and a gel for taste. Loved it! Felt strong all day, didn't get hungry, felt like I had plenty in the tank. The other water bottle held water.
Last weekend at the Solvang Double, I went with a scoop of Heed and a gel (they didn't have Gatorhootch). Felt hungry all day. Didn't bonk, but never felt full, always hungry and wondering a bit when I'd next eat. And that mindset started after the first checkpoint.
So, I"m sold on Perpetuem, Gatorhootch and a gel for taste. Water to splash my mouth clean after all that stuff.
I have stoked a bit Steve, and am hoping to get on a bike this weekend - spozed to rain and I have a bad cold, which will keep me off the bike if it does rain cuz I want/need to be in better health for Death Valley the following weekend.
Good luck on the run this weekend - both of you. I hate running. Ran a half marathon a few years back and was bored outta my skull.
My current issue is finding and buying new riding shorts. Need to replace three pair and of course the styles I loved are no longer made and so I'm trying new stuff which is a bit frustrating.
Stay healthy - get plenty of rest, and then run like the wind!