StravaMo has an amazing talent. He can turn my leisurely 21 mile commute into a hellish climbing extravaganza. He can somehow get from Peets in Corte Madera to San Francisco via Alpine Dam, Muir Woods or even Stinson Beach. I have previously shared a MoMiles rides with you; the Cliff House, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks ride of April 6th.
This past Friday, Mo had a special treat in mind for me, Mount Tam West Peak. Bryan B. joined Mo and me for the adventure. This made for even more personal torture as Bryan and Mo have a Strava game-within-the-game on every single incline , trying to outdo eachother and set PRs around every corner. And, it goes without saying, that these two knuckleheads combined weigh less than I do, and they both climb like jackrabbits.
|My vantage point for the majority of the ride|
The ride started rather uneventfully with a 5.25am departure from Peets, and a spin over Meadowsweet and Horse Hill. We made a right on Blythesdale and headed to Downtown Mill Valley. As we started to climb Cascade, Mo made a comment about ‘saving myself’ and ‘preparing for a really steep but short pitch’ that they had wanted to climb but had never done before. This ‘really steep pitch’ turned out to be akin to climbing a freaking ladder. It seems that the forefathers of Mill Valley ran out of flat real estate and decided to build houses on cliffs. This hill was only about 1,000 feet long, but it was well north of 20% of pitch the entire way. The road was so ridiculous that the concrete was grated perpendicular to the curbs to help traction for the cars. Bryan and Mo got ahead of me pretty quickly (shocker) while I did my best to keep the bike upright. In the lowest gear, the bike came to a standstill after ever every revolution of my pedals. I had to zig-zag from curb to curb just to keep the bike moving and not falling over. When I finally made it to the top, I made the proclamation, “That was fu&*ing stupid!” That comment kept Mo entertained for the rest of the ride and week to come.
|Sunrise from Four Corners|
The rest of the ride was a ride that I had done previously, but we did it backwards. After doing Alpine Dam and Seven Sisters from the Fairfax side, the bomb down through Mill Valley is a quick one. All I remember from that descent was how badly my hands hurt from applying my brakes for 20 minutes straight. That said, riding the hill upwards was especially brutal for this fatty.
|Tam Valley and the Pacific Ocean|
|Downtown SF and Twin Peaks in the distance|
One last funny tidbit … At about 6.40am, we passed Pan Toll and approached the entrance to the peaks. However, the gate to the climb was locked – Park Open 7am to Sunset. Mo and I lifted our bikes over the gate and squatted through the slats. Bryan decided to go around the gate, traversing through the wild flowers. As he grabbed his bike, Bryan quipped something about the ‘weeds’ and ‘ticks’. And as we looked down, a huge tick was crawling up his leg. Those little guys are super resourceful. And it reminds us that as much as we think we are in charge, we really are just playing in their wilderness.