Fun in the rain
I'd been watching the weather forecast for the ten or so days before this year's 200k. It was supposed to be sunny, but then it changed to rainy, and then to cloudy and so on. By Friday January the 27th, the day before the brevet it was obvious it was going to be a very wet day. So of to the the bike shops and REI I went. Got some water proof booties as mine are very good to keep my toes warm but no the water out, some bar end grips (I ride the brevets on my Miyata MTB) and some energy gel envelopes. The grips where hard to find but finally I was able to get them.
Packed everything in ziploc bags and I was ready. As usual the morning of the brevet I stopped at my daughter's work Pete's coffee for an espresso and some tea for the road and continued to the starting point just outside of the Golden Gate bridge visitor center. Todd our Regional Brevet Administrator was busy dispensing brevet cards to all riders and after the usual instructions at 7:00 AM he let us go.
I started riding with Jim G, we had been doing rides on the weekends leading to this except last weekend. Actually I had not done much riding in the 10 or so days before the brevet, a cold kept me off the bike. Jim was riding just behind me in the busy randonneurs traffic or so I though but when I looked back he was nowhere to be found. I rode with a small group through Sausalito and the Camino Alto hill making sure to keep a steady but conservative pace. The miles went by very fast all the way to Fairfax. So far it was not raining. That all changed at the top of the Fairfax hill, I felt some drops when started to make my way down the hill I've seen this pattern before on this hill, time to put on the rain pants. Sure enough as I went down it started raining. That will be the last time I saw dry pavement for the day.
A very steady rain keep things interesting, Samuel P Taylor park came and went then Olema and finally I made it to a convenience store before Inverness where I had stopped last year. Got some V8 and Gatorade changed the soaking wet gloves for other pair I had brought. So far the booties had work remarkably well, warmth dry feet. However my hands where very wet, time for a gloves change. With dry gloves I continued my way towards the Point Reyes Light house. I was riding alone most of the way. This area is very nice to cycle in DRY weather but the constant rain and strong winds made for a real challenge.
The last 10 miles before the Light House parking lot where very tough. I finally got close enough to remember the final approach is a b**ch, at least in my head the hardest part of this brevet will be over soon. It was time for my lunch. Most people on this route wait to have lunch at the store in Marshall, they have clam chowder, I don't like the stuff so this time I'd brought a chicken quesadilla that I'd bought the night before. Yummy, now with a happy stomach and brevet card signed is all almost downhill from here back to Inverness, not.
Back in the same store where I had stopped earlier got the more V8 and Gatorade, Dry a little, visit the restroom (a port-a-potty on the back on the building) and moved on to Marshall. The rain was relentless, I had been singing and was actually enjoying the wet ride. The Marshall store was busy with randonneurs having lunch. The floor was completely wet from all of the dripping but the staff was sympathetic. My toes where still very dry, my hands where another story. There was not any more V8 in the display but after asking the attendant got some more. Another V8 and a stamp in the brevet card and I am good to go.
Leaving Marshall the rain picked up again, It would not stop raining all the way to SF. This miles are easy, rolling hills and more singing. After about 7 miles I recognized a rider on the rain, going towards the Marshall store, it was Jim, we acknoledged each other and continued our way, I was very glad to see Jim was doing good progress. Eventually made it to the turn at Petaluma Rd, from here to the top the Nicasio hill my progress is slow. Going down the other side I could almost feel Fairfax. Only three more hills, Faifax, Camino Alto and Sausalito. Riding the urban area was very easy. I stopped at the restrooms in Mill Valley, great because at this time nobody is there and I can bring my bike inside. Dry a little make a call home to announce I am about an hour away, hoo hoo! From here I am flying down the bike path, Sausalito, I can see the greasy pepperoni calzonne, go, go!
Get to the last hill, slow but steady and then the bridge, It is very windy (not to mention the rain) but I am trying to crank them pedals as fast as I can, a couple of riders pedal behind. At about 6:08 roll into the checkpoint. Todd is there waiting, there are other riders getting their cards signed, I can't get my card out of its freaking ziploc, oh wait may be if i take off the thick wet gloves... finally, I sign my card and it is officially over. Time for exchanging stories and laugh a little. What a tough great ride!
(First posted January-30-2006 at 08:00 am)