Feb 21, 2011, 2:08:48 PM2/21/11
to San Francisco Randonneurs
Hey guys! look at the snow on Mount Tam!
I have sprinted up and closed the 400 foot gap they (Carlos, Mike,
Gabrielle, Ken, Jason, and a couple of others whose names I never got)
had gained to point out the snow on Mount Tam that was as low as west
point inn glowing in the morning twilight. The group is suitably
impressed with Mount Tam and I congratulate myself on mission
accomplished at mile 4 of our ride. The rest will be easy sailing
after my good deed, I am sure.
At Blithedale Avenue we settle into our individual groups with Jason
and Ken and others in front, Carlos and I together, and Bill Monsen
keeping us honest riding behind. Like many of the rainy rides I
partake of in Marin County, the rain starts in Larkspur and increases
enough for us to put our jackets on by San Anselmo. We all group up
again until Whites Hill splits us and on the far side it is Ken,
Jason, myself and Carlos. Jason and Ken are good companions except the
rooster tails of brownish spray coming off their tires so by Samuel P
Taylor we let them go.
Soon the rain stops and I comment to Carlos about the beautiful light
on the side of that HUGE cloud up ahead. Carlos kindly acknowledges my
observation and says yes, it is nice. Five minutes later, the
beautiful light is gone and it starts to rain once again because we
are already under that HUGE cloud and it is time to put on my rain
pants. I never put on rain pants but today’s cold enough the non-
breathable pvc sweat bags are surprisingly comfortable. They are
invaluable in the driving rain and keep the water from filling up my
booties from the top.
As we continue on Platform Bridge Road we speculate as to whether Greg
Beato has driven a car or ridden a bike to the top-secret control –
surely he has driven and is sipping hot coffee with the heat on high.
Nope. Greg is out there standing in the rain. Poor Greg.
At the cheese factory Gabrielle decides to head back, diminishing our
number by one and at the top of the last hill before Petaluma right
when it really starts dumping Ken flats. We offer helpful hints like
‘ride the flat into town’ and leave him to his fate. I win the sprint
to the Petaluma city limits because no one else has a clue we are
racing for it in the driving rain. Mike looked pretty cold the last
few miles and decides to bag the ride when we get to the Safeway
control. I chat with the girl at Starbucks there and mention I am not
looking forward to Guerneville because it is supposed to be in the
40’s. She said it was in the 40’s right now. I, now somewhat
despondent, return outside and wring out my gloves.
The rain lightens up through the 101 corridor to Healdsburg but the
diesel powered vehicles do not. Surely smelling of diesel we arrive in
Healdsburg, disappointed that there is no city limit sign to contest
and remove the sweat pants to dry in the sun. A bowl of hot soup and I
am looking forward to the rest of the ride even though it is clouding
up again and it is supposed to be coldest in Guerneville.
Five miles down West Side Road I take the sweat pants off as the sweat
has thinned my bag balm dangerously and my linea alba is protesting
mightily. I have no extra bag balm, but I do have a cherry flavored
chapstick I never use and that stuff is all the same, so I tell Carlos
to not look and slather some cherry smelling stuff where it needs to
go. Worked fine. Don’t ask to borrow my chapstick, you never know
where it has been.
Much to our pleasure, the bad weather has kept everyone else home.
River road is just trafficy instead of non-stop traffic, and hwy 1 is
deserted from the Russian River all the way to Point Reyes. It always
amazes me how much of the traffic on 1 are pleasure drivers, and I am
always up for a day of crappy weather on the bike because the roads
are quiet. The only thing of note was a very large pothole on 1
between the two big hills south of Valley Ford at around mile 133. It
could be covered with water, so careful in the puddles on that stretch
if it is raining next Saturday.
After a stamp at the marshal store and a beautiful sunset the rain
starts again in Nicasio. I continue home at a slow pace thinking that
perhaps brevets just are not for me. Carlos keeps saying things like
‘warm socks’, ‘hot soup’, ‘warm pajamas’ and I dream of short rides on
sunny days or maybe walks in the park, or reading a book, or better,
just naps on the couch. Before I know it, Carlos is waiting at the
gate for the bridge crossing and we are home after 15 hours and 15
minutes of adventure. Usually it only takes me a few minutes after the
finish of a randonee to look forward to the next one, but it was the
next day before I could muster some enthusiasm after this one.
Hope the weather is better this coming Saturday as I remember Greg in
the rain at the top-secret control and I would hate to suffer like he
did. Poor Greg.