Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday MoMiles - Stinson

This morning did not disappoint for a ridiculous MoMiles “commute”.  As usual, the starting point was Corte Madera Peets at 5.15am (which means a 4.50am from my house).  Ominously, my cell phone was blowing up in my backpack as I was riding to the start.  Typically, any communication the-morning-of is a sign of bad things to come.  Only flakes or changes of plans happen within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time.  Luckily, today we had only a minor augmentation and a bit of good news.  There was some construction on the freeway (StravaMo drives – not rides - to Peets … what a wuss) so StravaMo went one more off ramp in the right direction to meet us.  More interestingly, StravaMo, being his typical friendly self, met a guy on vacation from Arkansas looking for a bike ride.  StravaMo convinced this guy, Skyler, to join us for the MoMiles adventure.  By 5.19am, Skyler, Bryan and headed off to meet Mo.

Sunrise over Four Corners, Mill Valley

Without getting into too much detail, this Skyler fellow is a bit of an interesting story.  It seems that young Skyler is on a 4+ month vacation with his wife (sounds awesome so far), staying in their truck camper the entire way (um … less optimal).  He is/was “self-employed” and at a place with work that he could get a way for a while.  And his wife “did the corporate thing” and didn’t really like it so she quit.  There’s certainly more to this story, but I did not get it all.  I am guessing that he is either Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary or an heir to the WalMart fortune.  Either way, he is a good guy and a strong cyclist.  Skyler brought both his mountain bike and road bike on the trip.  And his wife brought her Cyclocross (that’s a good woman).  Despite his Arkansas twang, you could tell that he was from out of town because he rode a standard double set-up versus the compact.  This just made him stand the entire route and beat me up every hill by about 30%.  And, by the way, leave it to Strava Mo to a) meet and chat up some random dude at a park and b) convince him to join us on a ‘casual morning ride’.  Well done, Sir.

The Seven Sisters
Back to the ride which, itself, was rather uneventful except for two minor details – it was ridiculously long and painfully full of elevation.  We did the Four Corners thing, up to the Mountain Home Inn and Pantoll and then down to Stinson (where I had never been on a bike before).  Then, strangely, we headed north back towards Fairfax ... curious as I started five minutes from Fairfax just two hours prior.  With the coast line came a fierce headwind and a chill.  And the giver that I am, I opted to lead the peloton for much of the pull.  At about mile six of the coastal route, just south of Bolinas, we made an abrupt right turn and headed over an aggressive cattle grate in the road.  Little did I know that this grate marked the beginning of Bolinas/Fairfax Road, a road which I was only familiar from the Fairfax side.  It turns out that the BoFax route from Highway One has a nickname among cyclists, ‘Climber’s Delight’.  Well … not being a climber, this hill was far less than delightful.  Being already tired from the Highway 1 pull, the rest of my group quickly separated themselves from me.  I spent the majority of the 4.3 miles, 1,488 feet of elevation and 39 minutes pedaling in low gear, meditating that the crest would soon be within view.  I told myself that I thought the peak was about 1,000 feet.  When I got to 1,000 feet, I still couldn't see the top.  At 1,200 feet, still not top in sight, I let out a ‘whoop’ for all of Marin to hear, and I got a ‘whoop’ back from one of my pals at the top.  It seems that they beat me by about five minutes and were more than pleased to be resting while I continued my trek. 
Bolinas Lagoon Lagoon from the Seven Sisters
Bryan, Skyler and Mo were waiting for me at the Ridgecrest intersection.  I had no clue that I was heading in this direction, but I had been there before as part of the Alpine Dam loop to Seven Sisters.  As I rode up, I realized that my climbing was not done yet.  The sisters lay ahead before the Mill Valley descent.  Are you kidding me?  Another four miles and 600 feet?  Bryan and Skyler bailed back to Marin while StravaMo and I headed off and up.  I don’t remember much of the sisters except for the concept that I lost track, unable to count as to which of the seven I was on and when.

1,500 feet up looking over West Marin and the Pacific Ocean
Fast forward to Mill Valley and the Bike Trail and Alexander and Fort Mason.  I looked down at my Garmin and noticed that my total altitude for the ride was in the 4,800 range.  Of course, I could not get to work after four hours of climbing and not cross 5,000 feet.  So Mo and I made a conscious effort to hit a few extra San Francisco Hills on the way to the Embarcadero.  We rolled from Northpoint up Stockton Street passed my first apartment in San Francisco (what up Dorwin!!) and continued up Lombard to near the base of Coit Tower.  When my altimeter read 5,035 feet, I was satisfied and we rolled to the office.  After my shower and breakfast, I downloaded to Strava my morning’s effort.  And, as karma can do to you sometimes, the heavens spoke … 55.7 miles, 13.6 mph pace and FOUR THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED NINETY NINE feet of climbing.  Are you shitting me?!?  One foot?  I could have picked my bike up over my head in a triumphant celebration to cross the 5k barrier?!?  This was doubly insulting as my century a few weeks back came in at 99.1 freaking miles.  I don’t know what I have done to anger the Strava/Garmin gods.   But I am certainly not on their approved list.  Bastards!  

Thanks for dragging me around, Mo!

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