I was too busy to go over the cue sheet and map our team captain had sent us. Bad Carlos, this time it was the exception not the rule. After looking a little more at the new section of fire roads we would be traveling it was obvious to me it was possible to shave at least 500ft of climbing in case we needed the extra time. Sent my "shortcut" to Captain John Cranky and just forgot about the whole thing for 2-3 weeks.
The week before the ride I was very busy and had not been sleeping well. The night before the event was more of the same, no sleep but I figured this was such an easy event and our route had not much climbing I would be fine.
Meet with John and Juliayn on BART and went to meet Andrea in downtown Oakland. At 6:40ish am the four of us were rolling towards the hills. Last year, when we rode a very similar route for this same event, it was raining and very dark. This time we had colder temperatures and a very sunny start. I rather have sun any day.
We arrived on the other side of the hills into suburbia and followed pretty much the same bike/pedestrian paths as last year. This time they were busy with weekend warriors on their Saturday morning routine. Still the paths were very pleasant to ride.
After many more miles of suburbia streets and bike paths we finally made it to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. This section was all new to us and as tired from the lack of sleep I was looking forward to the new fire roads. The trail starts with a gentle climb and little by little it becomes a different beast. Nothing we could not handle but the fire roads surface was very dry and cracked after months of heat and no rain. On the downhill sections the bumps...
Last year was my first time doing this ride and I really liked the climbing but hated the flat parts of the route. I figured I would ride at an easy pace and try to have some extra curricular fun. So the afternoon before the event when I joined John for lunch I suggested we went to the party supplies store on Sutter St (in San Francisco) to get some... supplies. I was looking for a small single water/squirter gun but all they have was a 12-pack for $10; ok fine i'll take the pack.
Gave one to John who was not very enthusiastic about the idea of having a water battle while climbing and took the other 11 home. Loaded one of them with water and put it in my bag. After a so so night of sleep took the BART train to the start of the brevet in the boonies within 10 minutes of arriving there we were moving. Gabe, Bryan and I started on the very back and we rode with a group to the first hill a good bunch of boring flat miles away. I climbed at my pace and then on the other side found myself alone. Larry S joined me and we rode taking turns on the front to Tracy where we caught up with John, Irving and Manny. I discharged the fury of my little yellow water gun on John back and that started an exchange that helped make the flat boring miles not so monotonous.
Temperature was mild and the head wind was barely worth mentioning. One Control down one more to go. Same story, a long boring flat section interrupted by a few water battles. At Peterson.....
My aheadset had a little play so I needed to adjust the stem load unfortunately when I went to remove one of the two old M5 screws holding the stem to the steerer tube one of them was in such bad condition that the allen wrench spun inside the socket, stripping the head, ah crap!
BTW, the stem's two screw holes go all the way thought.
Let the adventure begin.
1- Bought a screw extractor at a Hardware store by my place. Used one of my regular metal drill bits to create a pilot hole to insert the screw extractor. The extractor went in fine but...
After many years La Ruta Loca Randonee was finally part of the San Francisco Randonneurs schedule. The night before the event 16 riders were signed in. JimG was going to help a hand starting at 5:30am with checking in riders.
I had been trying to go to bed early all this week in order to get used to sleep early wake up early. By 9pm on Friday I was in bed and when I woke up next morning at 4:30am I felt very rested. I also try not to drink wine during the week except on Thursday I have a few glasses of Nigori Sake. Anyhow Saturday morning I felt fine before the brevet, a rare thing lately.
Ever since 2011 when I ran a marathon per month (never completed all writeups) starting from my garage and headed to the Marin Headlands my cycling has been noticeably affected by the lack of depth..
It is Gabe's fault. He came up with the idea of making a camping trip of the return from Cloverdale after riding the day before SFR's San Francisco to Cloverdale 200k. As usual I tried to pack light, the one person tent hanging from the handlebar, and the Carradice Trax on the seatpost. Total weigh not much more than 13-15 lbs (including sleeping pad/bag) Since we were doing the 200k brevet of the SFR Double Brevet Weekend we could send small drop bags in a car instead of having to carry our stuff from San Francisco to Cloverdale. No shame in sending stuff ahead to the actual camping trip start.
The 5 of us shared the room Juliayn had reserved at the Best Western in Cloverdale. I chose to sleep on the floor rather than share one of the queen size beds. I had a good night sleep.
Next morning after riding the San Francisco to Cloverdale 200k we got up with the rest of the riders who were doing the Cloverdale to San Francisco 200k and had the continental breakfast offered by the motel, not bad. At the breakfast room, the Tour de France was on the TV, to my surprise a Colombian rider was doing quite well, Nairo Quintana. When we were done eating I grabbed an extra pastry for later on the day, this would affect my trip on a big way. More later.
Ok we are ready to go right? No! we are going for breakfast at the Owl Cafe! What? we are gonna be leaving supper late and it is gonna be a scorcher today! We'll pay later for it. We walked a few blocks to the cafe and each one of us order some pretty substantial breakfast. While we were having the second feeding of the early day, SFR riders went by, it was nice seeing a long line of geeky looking distance riders moving.
We left the Best Western at 9:40am, It was getting warmer. Going up on Hwy 128 there was a significant amount of traffic considering it was a Sunday, not excessive but more than I am used to. When we got to the top of Hwy 128, where we were regrouping, I noticed I had forgotten to start the GPS, oh well I'll do it now.
From the top of the hill down to the Andersen Valley we spread out. I rode near John who was carrying his whole house on the panniers. It was a wonderful clear day...
"I don't give $@!7 how you're feeling, you're f&*#&@$ riding... who else is gonna provide the fart soundtrack to the adventure?" That was my response to John's lame attempt to wimp out of the Dart. So what, it was going to be hot, somewhere around 95F° on the warmest areas of the San Francisco East Bay. I'll be fun! With my BART ticket in hand I left home at 6am Saturday morning. John and I where meeting at the station but he caught up with me a few blocks away from it. The ride to our start location was uneventful except a drunken homeless guy annoying everybody on the train. Gabe was also getting off the train; we rode together to the start of our route, the Safeway at 63rd Ave and College Ave in Berkeley. Within a few minutes Bryan arrived and while I was inside getting some Ensure, Theresa came. With the Ensure distributed among us we started pretty much on time at 7:00am. I was serving as paper Captain for the team, El Rey Sordo y sus Audifonos, but the route was all Bryan's, the East Bay is his domain. As per John, I am El Rey Sordo (The Deaf King). ....
With two backpacks on my back I left towards the start of the San Francisco Randonnuers 2013 Fort Bragg 600k. I have done this event a few times before with mixed results but alway had a good time overall.
This time I was using the Magnic Lights I had just received and tested earlier on the week. Two front lights and two rear lights that, unlike dynohubs, don't create any drag and unlike battery operated lights, don't require an external power source.
Got to the start and looked for Eric W who was taking our dropbags to the Indian Creek campground, a non required stop that most riders would be using to rest and get some extra food in the middle of a long stretch without services (at night)
Took a few photos of riders listening to last minute instructions and we were on our way. I would be riding at an easy pace and trying to make short stops. It has been tow years since i have not been able to ride brevets where I feel well all the time. It is getting better but I still don't feel I am at my "normal".
Just a few miles from the start, when it was time for another photo my camera decided it was time to stop working. The retractable lens got stuck on the middle position and that was the end of it. No more photos, at least not with that camera. Phone photos would have to do.
While ridding through Southern Marin, Rob H asked me what was my plan for the ride. I usually don't have one but this time I had used the calculator I did for the SFR website to print a guide of where I should be and when I should be drinking my plastic calories aka Ensure. I printed two versions one very optimistic finishing on 30 hours and another more realistic, finishing in 33 hours, considering how....
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