Sunday, February 12, 2012
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The start and finish for this SFR Brevet is at the plaza next to the Crissy Field Center in San Francisco. The check-in process is fairly simple; sign in-Control 1, sign waiver form and collect your brevet card.
The rider meeting starts at 6:45 AM, everyone is listening attentively to Rob as he doles out info regarding the day’s ride. The meeting ends with us all pledging “not to do stupid stuff”. I can feel the enormous amount of energy being emitted from this huge turnout of riders-we’re all going to have a great ride!
We catch sight of quite a few Grizzly Peak members and exchange greetings with some; Michael K, Toshi & Randy, Rich F, Kirk H, Matt M, Mark H, Bruce B, Barb M, Kitty G, Andrew L and Tony M.
My goals for the day are very simple; takes photos for my blog and get in before dark. I think I can do that!
The ride starts off with a big “BANG”, literally-someone’s tube blew out! Everyone takes off-we head out on Mason St to the short little climb up Crissy Field Ave. The views of the city are absolutely stunning!
The turn on Lincoln Blvd takes us around to the Bridge Toll Plaza and onto the East sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s wonderful to be riding across the GGB at this time of day; there are no tourists walking about or on their rental bikes. The ocean views are fantastic! The sun is starting to rise above the clouds.
The two mile stretch across the bridge takes us over the North Vista Point parking lot. The jog through the edge of the lot takes us onto the Sausalito Lateral which becomes Alexander Ave. It’s pretty much all downhill into Sausalito; the road changes names several times to South, 2nd and Richardson before becoming Bridgeway. You can see the sun rising from across the Bay-what a gorgeous sight! I’m out here riding for moments like this-sometimes expected pleasures are the best part of life!
We stay on Bridgeway for the next few miles and hop onto the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path off Gate 6 Rd. With Mt Tam is looming in the background, we ride through the mudflats and marshes along Bothin Marsh Preserve and Pickleweed Inlet. Michael and I don’t talk very much during rides; we both enjoy the sense of quiet and stillness that the day bestows upon us. Life is great!
We exit the path onto Blithedale Ave in Mill Valley for the 1.3+ mile climb up Camino Alto. The average gradient is around 4.5%; when you see Chapman Dr, you’re at the top-the road changes to Corte Madera Ave from that point. The fun twisty descent takes us into Corte Madera to Magnolia Ave.
We ride through the towns of Larkspur, Kentfield & Ross and continue on the bike route through the residential neighborhoods of San Anselmo. Pay heed to all the stop signs, the San Anselmo Police will not hesitate to give you a traffic ticket!
We reach downtown Fairfax and take Sir Francis Drake Blvd for the climb up White’s Hill. It’s a bit over a mile with an average gradient of about 5.5% with some pitches ranging from 7-9%. The descent takes us through the towns of Woodacre and San Geronimo. It’s a flat run all the way to our next turn at Nicasio Valley Rd. The sun is no longer in view, it’s shrouded by the fog and clouds. It’s gotten a bit cooler too!
The climb up Nicasio Valley Rd is about a mile long with gradients ranges of 6-7%. The descent takes you through the redwoods and numerous horse ranches. There is a bit of sun on the other side, but once we reach Nicasio, it’s really socked in with fog!
We continue on Nicasio Valley Rd to Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd. The lingering fog over the reservoir creates an image of the water opening up to infinity. The bright yellow mustard flowers make quite a contrast to the brilliant green hills.
The climb up Rocky Hill is over a mile long with an average grade of about 6%. The fog has lifted on this side of the hill and the sun is back! The rolling hillsides and meadows are a fabulous bright green-spring is near!
The descent takes us pass the French Marin Cheese Factory; the stillness of the water in the pond creates a mirror image of the surrounding trees-it is fantastic! Once you pass the Fire Station, you get fabulous views of Hicks Valley.
We stay on Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd and continue north into Petaluma. The terrain is a combination of false flats with a few rollers and climbs in between. A few old barns, ranches, farm houses and grazing cows make up the landscape through this area.
The road changes to D St as we make our way through town. We arrive at Control 2 in Petaluma/Peet’s, mile 43.4 at 10:17 AM.
We continue on Washington St to Bodega Ave. The terrain for the next 8 miles out of town is pretty flat with a couple of very short climbs. The road changes to Valley Ford Rd at Two Rock and becomes Hwy 1 as you near Valley Ford. The flats and rollers on this long stretch of road take us all the way into Valley Ford. Take the time to enjoy the scenery-you’re in the country! The pastoral hills are green as can be; sheep, cows and horses are everywhere! WOW! It’s all very picturesque!
We arrive at Control 3 in Valley Ford/Valley Ford Market, miles 62.1 at 11:49 AM.
We turn around and head south on Hwy 1 for the next 22 miles. The first 5 miles towards Tomales involves a few long climbs. Once you pass through town, you get a long stretch of flats along the lagoon-aka “wind tunnel”. I just take my position and tuck behind Michael.
Once we reach the uphill section, Michael stops and calls out a flat. He changes the tube out pretty quickly and we’re back on the road.
The rolling terrain on Hwy 1 takes us along Tomales Bay; the views are gorgeous! We pass through Nick’s Cove and Marshall before reaching Pt Reyes Station. Once again, take the time to enjoy the surrounding landscape and marvelous bay views-it’s definitely eye candy!
We arrive at Control 4 in Pt Reyes Station; mile 85.8 at 2:15 PM. Thanks to Toshi for sharing his last deviled egg with me-it was very tasty!
From here, it’s only another 40 miles back to the finish. We take Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd to the colored bridge. The climb up the Spillway is fairly short with gradient ranges of 5-7%; the road levels out near the reservoir.
The turn on Nicasio Valley Rd takes us back through Nicasio. At this point, we reverse the morning route back to the San Francisco.
The climb up the back side of Nicasio Valley Rd drops us down to San Geronimo onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. The next few flat miles take us to the short climb up White’s Hill and back into Fairfax.
We meander our way on the bike route through Ross and San Anselmo back to Larkspur. Magnolia Ave takes us to the climb up Corte Madera Ave and the descent on Camino Alto drops us into Mill Valley.
We take the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path back to Bridgeway and ride through Sausalito. The climb up Alexander Ave brings us back to the East sidewalk on the GGB. It’s still daylight-we cross the bridge and take Lincoln to McDowell and Mason St.
We arrive at the finish-Control 5 at Crissy Field Center at 5:47 PM.
Much “THANKS” to Rob and all the SFR volunteers! It was an awesome ride with ridiculously gorgeous views spanning from three counties; San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma.
The homemade cookies and banana bread were delicious! THANKS!
152 riders in attendance
127.8 miles with 6668′ of elevation gain
Weather: Overcast cloudy skies with the starting temps in the low 40’s. Morning fog and clouds around San Geronimo & Nicasio. Sunshine and blue skies from Petaluma to Valley Ford and Tomales. Cooler temps and returning clouds all along Tomales Bay to Pt Reyes Station and back. Temperature highs reached into the low 60’s.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ENJOY THE RIDE & SCENIC VIEWS!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Follow this route for today’s ride:
That was an awesome ride. It caught me by surprise when Rob announced the newest members of RUSA at the start meeting. I thought I would see you out on the course so I kept looking for you two all day. Next time I’ll just come over and say “hi” at the start. Excellent pictures and nice write up. I like how you’ve started including the cue sheets in your posts. Thanks for posting.
Thank You! This is one of my favorite routes-I’m so glad to be living here in the Bay Area! Winter riding in California is fabulous! Michael and I are going to try to do more brevets this year. Next time, make sure to say “hi”. I’m a much slower rider and Michael is gracious enough to stay with me all the time. See you out on the roads!