This was almost a no-go for me since it had been raining all night and most of the drive up to the Golden Gate Bridge. (I hate riding in the rain). The rain subsided just long enough for the 83 riders to register. And then it rained for the next few hours, all the way up to Petaluma. We were soaked by the time we arrived at the first check point on the road. I hate that!
Back to the beginning…as usual I didn’t sleep well the night before a big ride and the sleep was disturbed by rain pounding on our house. I couldn’t stop imagining myself soaking wet on the bike. Time finally came for me to drive over to Ken’s house so we could load the bikes into his big white van…at 5AM!! We parked at Crissy Field at 6:15 in time for registration at 6:45 and launch at 7:00.
While waiting for launch, Ken checked out Barley’s fancy little fixie. I can’t believe he can ride something like that and keep up with people on real bikes. Barley is the man.
Rob Hawks gave his usual inspiring speech and imploring us yet again not to do anything stupid. I did some stupid things during the ride but I don’t think anyone noticed, thankfully. After the invocation, we were off to points north just as the rain picked up again.
I was able to hang with Ken until the big climb up Camino Alto and then I was in catch up mode. After a very wet ride, especially descending into Petaluma where the rain felt like needles on my face, I caught Ken at the 7/11 for the first checkpoint on the road. After Becky and Jason arrived we headed into a headwind over to Valley Ford where we had to ford some streams running across the road before making it to the Valley Ford Market for the 2nd check point on the course. The rain stopped by the time we left Petaluma and it was partly cloudy the rest of the day so I was almost dry by the end.
Ken & crew left the market ahead of me so I took off with Barley and Susan for a little chit-chat before chasing down Ken just as he approached the final checkpoint on the course at Pt Reyes Station. Ken and I had a great bowl of soup at the Bovine Bakery. After a short rest Ken, Becky, Jason, and I took off for the 40 mile ride back to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Fortunately, Ken took it easy so I was able to keep up with him the rest of the way. We ended up rolling in with Barley and Susan at 4:15 over an hour faster than the last brevet. And, I felt like I still had some gas in the tank. Getting faster and stronger but not nearly where I need to be to keep up with my buddies. Maybe someday.
Sights & stuff on the ride: lots of green hills looked like Northern Ireland, wet roads reminding me of the great flood, rain that reminded me I don’t like riding in the rain, hardcore ultracyclists who reminded me how far I am from where I want to be, and snaps from the Golden Gate Bridge of the beautiful city of San Francisco and the historic Alcatraz Island.