La Ruta Loca Randonnee (LRLR) and its sibling rides have grown in popularity and now deserve their own section.
Please note that a variation of La Ruta Loca Randonnee 200k has been approved as a RUSA Permanent (route #1689.) The registration form and cuesheet for the Permanent can be found here. The cuesheet for the Brevet version of Ruta Loca Randonnee 200k can be found at the San Francisco Randonneus Route Archive
It all started back in 2005 during my first year of Randonneuring. Tood Teachout, San Francisco Randonneurs Regional brevet Administrator at the time, asked for submissions of possible routes for a 100k Poplulaire that involved both, off road and paved roads. I came up with a route that used the GGNRA headlands fire roads, paved roads up Mt Tam, Stinson Beach, Muir Woods and then back to San Francisco via Mill Valley. Todd added the Tiburon loop to make it 100k. That original cuesheet can be found at the San Francisco Randonneurs Route Archive, look for the Stinson Beach 100k Populaire
As I got more interested in Randonneuring I also started thinking of expanding the route to a full 200k but I never liked climbing Mt Tam on the paved road so a new route was needed. By then I had been doing many rides with JimG, Jim E, Robbins P, Greg B and others and they all were always interested in exploring new places. This was the golden era of my route scotting; I would plot a ride on the excellent Marin Bicycle Map (no biclycle mashups of google maps back then) print a cue sheet leaving the distance column blank and use my friends company and sometimes my solo rides to test the route and literally fill in the blanks in the cue sheet as I went.
After a while I had somewhat accurate measurements of a decent network of fire roads and paved connectors. The next step was to assemble them into a single route and test the course. On August 25, 2007 I did the first run of the route by myself. The rest is history... kindo.
I tried to get the route approved by RUSA as a Permanent in 2008 and submited the paperwork but it was rejected. It was too hard to explain to RUSA the places that look like options to take a shortcut would be very impractical, I abandoned my effort and waited for technology (better google maps mashups), and a new mindset to catch up :) In 2012 I re-submited LRLR 200k and it was approved as a Permanent. Rob Hawks, San Francisco Randonneurs RBA (2008-13...) agreed to include it in the 2013 calendar and in 2013 with just minor changes LRLR was approved as as a 200k Brevet.
To get others interested in doing Mixed Terrain Brevets I've been organizing mixed terrain rides since 2006 (I think) and post the schedule on the Mixed Terrain ride Calendar which I usually update a few times a year; it contains proposed dates for different rides and off course for La Ruta Loca Randonnee 200k.
So how does this route compare to a "regular" paved 200k brevet? Well LRLR has a lot of climbing for the distance, about 12500k ft, plus most of that is done off road so progress is slow. IMO, you can expect at least a ~35% increase on your total finishing time. So if for a paved hilly 200k brevet with about 7500k ft of climbing it takes you say 9:30 hrs, for LRLR you can expect to finish in arround 12:50 hrs, of course that is a very rough estimate and does not take into account heat or trail conditions at the time. I complete the SFR Point Reyes Light House 200k in about 9:20 give ot take 20 minutes, I ussualy finish LRLR with 0-20 minutes to spare, 13:10hrs - 13:30hrs.
All but one of the controls on route are Informational so they don't have opening-closing times. Other than the Start and Finish controls only the Tiburon Control (Cafe Acri) has open and closing times. Remember the time limit for the 200k is 13:30 hrs so you have very little room for mechanicals and long stops.
Below is a progress table I did for the full 200k Brevet route. Permanents have slightly different time allowances but the table will serve you as a guide for either one. It is based on what RUSA would use for closing times on the Brevet controls if they were timed, however info controls are NOT timed so this is only good for pacing yourself. Starting with the Coast View Trail control and continuing to Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd control, most riders will lose time compared to this table, however once in Tiburon (Cafe Acri) you should have some time in the bank but more climbing is ahead so better move :) I used the SFR Rider Time Calculator you can enter your own figures there.
Rider Progress Table:
(Asumed) Start Time 6:00 am
Average Speed 9.34 m/h
|Control Location||Mile #||Elapsed Hrs||Time of Day|
|Old Springs Trail||8.6||0:55||6:55 AM|
|Coast View Trail||19||2:02||8:02 AM|
|Concrete Pipe Rd||29.1||3:07||9:07 AM|
|Randall Trail||44.1||4:43||10:43 AM|
|Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd||53.8||5:46||11:46 AM|
|Cafe Acri||88.7||9:31||3:31 PM|
|West Point Inn||101.7||10:54||4:54 PM|
|Coyote Ridge||110.8||11:53||5:53 PM|
|Marincello Trail||115.8||12:25||6:25 PM|
|Beach Hut Cafe (Finish)||125.88||13:30||7:30 PM|
A few days before the start our RBA (Regional Brevet Administrator) Rob H., told me we had 20 registered riders for the event. That was twice as many as the previous year. By June 14 we had 27 registered riders but after last minute changes to people's plans and new additions to the roster we had 25 starters.
At 5:30 I meet Brad our Start Control volunteer at the parking lot in front of the Beach Hut Cafe in Crissy Field and slowly riders made their way to us to pick up their Brevet Cards. After a few comments on my part we left at 6:00am.
Perfect weather. With such a large turnout, for this event, we split early into smaller groups and by the first descend into the Marin Headlands I was riding with John P. and a few riders I did not recognized. The first dirt part which is a narrow trail created a small congestion as faster off road descenders were blocked by slower riders new to mixed terrain group riding but after a few yards, things cleared out an we all felt onto our comfortable pace. Going up Miwok trail I heard heavy breathing behind me, when I turned around I saw Grant H. who was doing his first La Ruta and remind him this was a looong day with plenty of climbing, "take it easy and steady"
By the time we got to the first control our small group checked the answer to the Informational control and rolled down towards the valley. This segment has plenty of erosion control washboards that form steps on the trail and make it for very interesting riding. At the bottom, we all walked our bikes for a few yards as indicated by the sign at Tennessee Valley Stables and continued on to Coastal Trail, a mean short climb that further broke the group...
After receiving input from many San Francisco Randonneurs riders it was clear to me many felt intimidated by the amount of climbing and general difficulty of La Ruta Loca Randonnee and other Mixed Terrain Brevets in the SFR calendar. Most comments were along the lines "I would love to do it but i think it is too hard" or "I don't have a bike for that" my response has always been "you won't know until you try it, I bet you would have a great time and if you feel it is too much, there are plenty of places to bail out"
I threw the idea of a Mixed Terrain Populaire and got, as usual, mixed reactions. However Ms Populaire Tsarina herself Kimber G. was very interested on the idea. I decided I would first create a route and offer it as a Permanent and then if that worked submit it as a SFR 100k Populaire.
I started working on a more mellow, less climbing, shorter Mixed Terrain route for the basis of the Permanent and after a couple of days I had a draft. El Paseito Mixto was born. 103km, about 5300ft of elevation and approximately 20% of the total distance are fire roads. I rode most of the route by myself on a Saturday and a few weeks later Invited some riders to come along, they liked it. Submitted my route to RUSA and it was approved right away.
A month or more went by and finally I had the time to test the route. This time it was only Jesse M. and I. We rode at a conservative pace and even did a 20 minute stop for food in Tiburon. We finish in 6:07 hrs
As with La Ruta Loca I try to take riders to places not visited by the other SFR brevets. The Populaire version of El Paseito Mixto will be exactly the same route, the only difference is...
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..
The first pre-rides I had organized this year to help familiarize riders with most sections of La Ruta Loca Randonnee had been very well attended, but the later ones, where we started touching the Bolinas Ridge, saw a drop in attendance; this was not a surprise. The terrain and distance start deserving a more serious adjective to describe them.
There were a few confirmations and at 5:45am on July 21st, 2012 just John P. and Bryan C. where there. Soon after Andrea S. and Henry showed up but just to let me know they were planing on riding off the back and we should not wait for them to start. I gave them their brevet cards and they went on to park the car. Brian K. showed up within minutes so we left pretty much on time at 6:00am. We never saw Andrea and Henry again, but the next day they let me know they had ridden the route to Bolinas Ridge and then bailed near Randall Trail.
Near the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge we picked up another rider new to this whole route, Larry S. but soon after he disappeared at the toilets at Conzelman and Coastal trail. Next day I learned from him he did get lost and cut the ride short at the Pantoll Ranger Station.
Brian K, Brian C., and I rode up together most of the way to Pantoll. John P. was always a few minutes behind. We were doing good time but the temperature was rising and I started to worry about having cramps later...
So I had decided to cancel the original July 3rd date for La Ruta Loca Randonnee 200k mixed terrain as most riders (including me) had expressed concern they where not ready for it. Yes this is a ride you need to be commited to in order to even start. This year has been a hard one for me and deciding to embark on a big ride required a lot of determinacion, something I felt was lacking from most riders at the beginning of the summer. My goal with this ride has always been to provide a fun and challenging ride to all, one that most of us want to finish, not a ride that is a drag. La Ruta Local Randonnee must be fun to do.
After a hard summer that did not see much long or difficult rides, I started thinking it was time to get this thing going again. After a few emails sent to the San Francisco Randonneurs most riders agreed the first week of October was the best time to do it. Many loved the idea and were almost sure they were gonna do the ride, October 3rd was the final date.
At 6 am, as usual, we meet at the Marina Safeway in San Francisco, only Brian C. had confirmed the night before, he was there with Ricardo M whom I had met/ridden with during...
(First posted September-27-2012 at 02:33 pm)
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