Saturday, January 23, 2010
The weather forecast for 01/23 called for partially sunny/cloudy skies all day. At least that’s what it said when I checked the day before. I made arrangements to tandem the brevet with Wyatt Wood via email on a very short notice. His reply was; Well....This one's got "Adventure" written all over it! The ride was ON!
I woke up at 4am to the sound of rain. I really wanted to believe the forecast for the day, so I continued to make and eat breakfast and get my gear ready. It was still raining when Wyatt arrived to pick me up at 5:30AM. We were both still committed to do the brevet and hinted to each other that, yes; the weather will improve for the day. The rain did stop as we pulled into the parking lot off the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was quite a good turnout of riders taking part in the brevet with many GPC members amongst the group. There were 3 other tandem teams too. We started off at 7AM crossing the east span of the GGB. The skies were absolutely clear and the views were breathtaking. It was the first time I’ve ridden across the bridge without tons of tourists blocking the walkway. It was very calming and serene. Another great benefit to being a stoker on a tandem, I can turn my head and look around without worrying about handling the bike. We make our way through Sausalito and onto the bike path towards Mill Valley. A portion of the pathway was flooded. The roads were wet and Wyatt navigated with extreme caution and care for both of us. We exchanged greetings with Lisa McPhate, Phil Morris and other cyclists we recognized from other rides. The first climb of the day was on Camino Alto. We rode through all the side streets to downtown San Anselmo. With all the rain, many of the storefronts were piled with sandbags. It was nice to ride through that area without the usual traffic. We took Sir Francis Drake Blvd out towards Samuel P Taylor Park. We decided to take the bike path through the park to get off the main road. The air was clean and crisp. It proceeded to lightly rain and the sun came up behind us. I looked up into the blue skies and there was a rainbow. The weather certainly looked promising at that point. Through out this whole ride, we would both refuse to say or listen to that dreaded 4 letter word; RAIN.
As we rode along Bear Valley, there were a few cyclists pulled off on the side of the road here and there fixing flats. We feel the warmth of the sun as we head out towards the lighthouse. Wyatt even takes his jacket off! It was very nice. He tells me that there’s a headwind but I don’t feel it much. I’m so lucky, he’s blocking it all from me; it’s all part of his job as captain. It certainly works for me.
While still heading out to the lighthouse, I see Matt McHugh and Mark Homrighausen already returning. We reach the control at the parking lot off the lighthouse and it’s still sunny with clear blue skies. The views were fabulous!I also see Veronica Tunucci and Mick Jordan at this stop. After refueling, we start back and that first little short climb out felt really brutal. A few miles down the road, I look out towards the ocean and there is another big rainbow in the sky. It was oh so beautiful. I had already claimed the first pot of gold when the first rainbow was spotted. I took to claim this second one too, but the end of the rainbow was in the ocean. I’m still working on my swimming skills and wouldn’t be able to get out there!
The return from the lighthouse is always faster than getting there. Lots of conversation is also a great distraction from the climb back into Inverness.The weather was still very pleasant although there were dark clouds looming in the distance. Riding through Inverness, the roads were still very wet. We apparently missed the rain that passed through there earlier. We did a short pit stop at the fire station at Pt Reyes Station and continued to head out along Hwy 1 to the second control at the Marshall Store. Rain hit us a bit as we passed under the dark cloud towards Marshall. Once again, it was nothing too bad.We refueled ourselves with more homemade nut bars, hammer gel and a bag of salt & vinegar chips. We were off again, only 42 more miles back to the start.
We get hit by a bit of rain under that same dark cloud heading south on Hwy 1. Riding the rollers and flats into Nicasio is always fun. It was nice to see the reservoir full and the hillsides that were once brown have turned to a magnificent green. We did a brief stop in Nicasio and made our way up and over Nicasio Valley Rd to San Geronimo. It was a short climb back over White’s Hill into Fairfax. At the parking lot of drive thru coffee shack on Center St, there was a guy out there making humongous soap bubbles with a giant wand. It was quite impressive. He had two of the bubbles floating around. It put a huge smile on my face. And get this, as I was looking around, there was a big double rainbow up in the sky. It stopped a lot of people in their tracks!.
It began to rain slightly and it was enough of it for Wyatt to get his jacket back on.I somehow managed to get his jacket out of the rear pack and helped him put it on, all while still pedaling. I didn’t know I had such skills! Now it was just a short jaunt back to the GGB. The rain was short lived and we were back on our way thru Larkspur and Sausalito. I could see the GGB from afar and it was only less than 10 miles back.
The last climb on Conzelman got us on the west side of GGB bike path. It was NOT raining, the sun was up and the skies were still clear! What a great finish to a 127 mile ride! The views from the bridge were just awesome and spectacularly gorgeous! It was certainly a glorious day of riding.
Much thanks to Rob Hawks for organizing the brevet and to Wyatt for taking on this adventure at the last minute.