According to Cyclofiend: “The SFR Two Rock 200k, based on “Willie’s JIttery Jaunt” Permanent. Basically, SF – Petaluma (via Fairfax/Nicasio), West on Bodega Ave to Valley Ford, then South to the coast, Marshall, Pt. Reyes Station, return via Nicasio/Fairfax.”
SF Randonneurs Two Rock/Valley Ford 200K 2010
The Two/Rock Valley Ford was my first official randonneuring event. I’ve been interested in distance riding (>60 miles) for about a year or so. Most of my riding since college has been for utility purposes – shopping, commuting, city riding, errands, and transportation. Last year I signed up with some friends to ride the Death Valley Double. With a new baby, and not much confidence, I rode the century instead – but did an extra 20 miles to make it over the Nevada Border.
Since then, I’ve signed up for the Double in March, and am committed to riding all 200 miles. My plan was not necessarily to “train,” but to try to consistently ride one 100+ mile ride per month, and just enjoy myself. That’s kind of why I got into longer riding in the first place – enjoyment!
I was in the Bay Area to order an Ebisu from Iimura-san at Jitensha Studio and to ride with the San Francisco Randonneurs, whose ranks include some friends I’ve made up there. Two great excuses to drive 1K miles round-trip! Lee, Franklyn, JimG and myself exchanged a lot of emails in anticipation of the ride. The week before, I rode 90 miles on old Highway 80 in San Diego County and up a lot of Kitchen Creek Road, but it just killed me. I broke down. I was completely spent. When I got home, my wife said I looked white as a ghost. I wasn’t confident about the 200K.
The SFR club does several 200Ks a year, which I think is a great idea. These events provide new randonneurs opportunities to ride and build confidence for doing a 300K. For me, at this point in my life, anything more than that requires more time and energy than I can afford.
The forecast for Saturday called for rain and possible thunderstorms. As I arrived to the riders’ meeting, it began to rain. We let the pack go forward, and started off up to the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin. The rain was light, but a couple of times, it was coming down moderately heavy. By the time we made it to Nicasio, the precipitation began to tail off, and as we headed to Petaluma and toward Valley Ford, the sky opened and we had absolutely lovely riding weather the rest of the way – cool, cloudy, but with some wind to deal with.
As we descended into Petaluma, I noticed my handling felt very twichy. I watched JimG carve through the turns in front of me and wondered why I was feeling such instability on a usually highly stable bike. I realized I had a slow leak on my rear tire (Grand Bois Hetres). We were about 6 miles from Petaluma at the time, and I stopped a couple of times to see if I could inflate the tire enough to get me to the first control in Petaluma. That wouldn’t work, so I changed the tire near a cow on the way to Petaluma. The culprit was a bent nail. By the time I showed up to the control, my compatriots were warm, fed, and caffeinated. I bought an oatmeal bar, a scone, and some coffee. We headed off. We caught a strong headwind through Two Rock Valley, but I felt great. When I noticed I was alone, I began singing and thinking of my kids. At the second control at Valley Ford, I ate a grilled cheese, half a turkey sandwich, a red bull and a bottle of Gatorade. I think the food helped me along. Chocolate doughnuts tasted best on the road, and a couple went to JimG to ward off bonking as we later rode in the dark toward Mill Valley.
We then climbed out of the valley on Highway 1 and took it along Walker Creek (?) to Tomales Bay, which we skirted for some time before arriving at the last control at Point Reyes Station. My wife and I spent our first wedding anniversary at the end of a pier in a cottage in Inverness, and I thought about her most of this section.
Upon arriving in Point Reyes Station, I bought some veggie pizza and corn soup from Bovine Bakery, and enjoyed it with a diet coke.
We pushed on, Franklyn, JimG and myself, along Nicasio Reservoir, to Farifax and other towns, up and over the hill to Mill Valley and then the usually path back over the bridge. The climbs over Whites’ Hill and into Mill Valley felt great to me. I was running on good vibes. We made it in at about 12 hours, enjoying the rest at controls and relishing a whole day spent on the bike.
The company made the ride for me – Frankly, JimG, Lee, Nathan, and Tom constituted a great group. I can see how randonneuring can get addictive. There’s the Russian River 200K in April… This was probably the best day I’ve ever had in the saddle.
The Protovelo felt great. When I bought the frame, I had intended to ride with Albatross bars. With drops and a 9cm stem, the bike has me stretched out so that sometimes I get pain in my sides. Its big at 62cm, in a “Riv fit” kind of way. I moved the seat forward about 1cm and that helped a lot. The Hetres felt wonderful, and I had no issues with the close clearance on the Berthouds.
The grey matter on the brake pads got all over the place, including the cracks in my fingers as I type. But they stopped the bike fine! The Kogswells worked to perfection, the Ebisu looked and rode wonderfully, I”m sure, and Natan’s Romulus did the job great, save for an un-broken-in saddle that was causing him some discomfort. Tom’s Atlantis could go anywhere. It was a wonderful day. I can’t wait to do it again.