Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday MoMiles - East Peak Tam

Another epic MoMiles Friday in the books.  We opted for the Fairfax BoFax, Alpine, Ridgecrest, Seven Sisters, Pan Toll, Mill Valley route today.  It was only StravaMo and me on the journey … which is awesome for me as Mo doesn’t have any other jack rabbits to fly ahead with and me having to give chase.  With almost 5,000 feet of climbing ahead of us, Mo had to choose either slugging it slow with me, or riding at his normal pace and riding alone.  Thankfully, Mo had lots on his mind and we rode together.  Amazing thing about that is that Mo literally talked the entire ride.  While I was struggling to get my breath, Mo happily chatted about his recent trip to Chile and work and bikes and all sorts of other things.  I mustered up a “Yeah” and an “Uh huh” every once in a while.  But generally, this was Mo’s therapy session.  Just a time to clear his mind and have me agree with everything that he says.  And some set of lungs he has.  He can talk and ride up hills without ever getting out of breath.  Great fitness, Mo.

StravaMo on Alpine Dam
Despite the climbing, I really do love this route.  The views are incredible and the hills never get so steep that I can’t sit down and just grind.  The climbing this morning was made even easier by a dense layer of fog almost the entire way.  For me, if I cannot see the top of the hill, I am generally content to just sit in low gear and spin.  And so spin I did the entire way up, just pedaling and nodding as Mo chatted away.

West Peak (the golf ball) taken from the famous 'Two Rocks'
Upon reaching our destination of Tam East Peak, Mo decided to ride his bike around this two-foot wide walking path neighboring a 1,000 foot drop down the mountain.  I was loathe to follow him, but I could not let Mo do this lap alone.  Turns out that this path makes a complete lap, about a half mile, all the way around East Peak.  We couldn’t see much because of the fog, but I can imagine that the views are epic from here on a nice day.
You can make out the trail along the left side of this picture.  This would be a great place to bring someone that you were trying to 'get rid of' in a hiking accident.  Just saying ...
As nice as the ride up the hill was, the descent was less than pleasant.  We dropped at 25+ miles per hour through 47 degree temperatures.  On the road, underneath every tree was a wet spot where the condensation had accumulated in the branches and then dropped to the ground.  Then, after about 500 feet of the 2,300 foot drop, the fog turned to mist and then to rain.  By the time that we got to Pan Toll, the fog was thick enough to grab and the ground was completely soaked.  This made for a tricky descent as to not lose traction in the corners.  By Pan Toll, we were aslso completely soaked.  Mo brought his plastics, but I was stuck in only a long sleeve shirt and vest.  I almost went vest-less but thought that I would rather be hot than cold.  Lucky.  We did have a great conversation with the ranger who was working at Pan Toll.  She was considering buying a bike and Mo and I gave her some buying tips.  What an amazing job to be a Park Ranger, enjoying the nature on a 12 hour shift.

East Peak Tam, the tippy top.  I didn't bring the cyclocross so we left the last 100 feet for another day.
I neglected to mention that, on about sister 5 of 7, we passed a former work colleague of mine, Harris, going the opposite direction down the hill.  He starts in San Francisco, so that made some sense.  Funnily, however, we passed him a second time as we descended into Mill Valley (and he was climbing up).  I sent Harris an email letting him know that there are lots of ways to get off Tam and back to the City without climbing back up to Four Corners.  That guy is a stud and a glutton for punishment.
Kinda cool shot ... A rainbow inside a fog bank.  The colors were muted by the fog to make it look like a grey rainbow.
The data for this morning is another great collection of miles and elevation.  44.1 miles and 4,846 feet of climbing.  Per the website, I burned about 2,412 calories which was immediately offset with a half meat pie and a full order of Hot and Sour Beef at Henry’s Hunan today at lunch.  Not a bad way to start the day.  My work is done, and I am headed home.  Have a good weekend, all.

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