After completing three 100+ mile rides over the past three week-ends I felt ready to tackle the first brevet of the 2010 season. I’ve ridden on the roads north of the Golden Gate Bridge a few times and was a little concerned about Highway 1 with its narrow shoulders but I felt safe all day although a few drivers did come a bit close during the course of the ride.
The day started too early with an alarming sound from my Blackberry at 4:15. And then an even more alarming sound, rain pounding on the house. I hate riding in the rain and my bike seems to hate it more than I do. But, I was committed and my buddy Clyde would be riding with me so I couldn’t bail out.
It rained most of the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge but it stopped shortly before we arrived. Thankfully. Clyde and I unloaded our bikes then rode the short trip up to the start point at the Joseph Strauss Statue. That guy designed the bridge! It was great to see some good friends from my ride club (ACTC), other riders I’ve seen before, and others who are just crazy enough to ride 126 miles in January. After some speechifying by Rob Hawks we headed out across the Golden Gate Bridge on time at 7AM, still a bit dark.
My goal was to feel good all day so I started at a much slower pace I normally do and it paid off. My first mistake of the day was losing track of Clyde. I thought he was behind me so I slowed even more as many of the 119 riders passed me. Fortunately, he stopped to make a few adjustments about five miles from the start so we were able to stick together most of the way out to the first check point at Pt Reyes Lighthouse where Bobbe cheerfully greeted us and I was able to have a quick chat with Steve and Ken before they took off toward the Marshall Store for check point 2.
After the brief respite at the lighthouse I took off ahead of Clyde to see if I could catch up to Ken and Steve. On the way to Marshall I passed the tandemaniacs (Russ & Sheila and Dave & Deb) for the second time and by then they were probably an hour ahead of me and they were taking it easy, oh well.
I wasn’t able to catch up to Ken & Steve on the road but they were still chowing down when I pulled in for my favorite ride meal: clam chowder and it was great! Ken and Steve waited around for me but when Clyde arrived I decided to ride back with him. As they left the store I could hear them muttering about “waiting on the bum” and wishing they had taken off with Jason who had already rolled out on his fixie.
Clyde and I stuck together most of the way back to the Bridge, the temperature warmed up a bit, there were a few sprinkles but most of the climbing was done so it was a nice ride back to the start. I was climbing strong so attacked most of the hills and Clyde who usually outclimbs me took it easy to reduce the knee pain he was having. We rolled in a few minutes apart and we both felt good with more miles in our legs but glad to be off the bikes.