joseph (house of commons), naveen (team metromint), justin, and I had spent the last half of the week deciding what we wanted to do on sunday. unfortunately, justin was caught up in work, so he couldn’t make it up to the city to ride with us. joseph and naveen were still meeting me at the bridge, possibly with some company. so I headed out from my house, the weather was cool and clear, not a cloud in sight. I made it to the bridge and a couple minutes later, a small group of cyclists came through the connecting tunnel at the bridge. it was joseph, naveen, connor (cat1 hero!), johannes and chris. the whole crew was decked in metromint kits, sick.
after talking for a couple minutes, the route was decided: mill valley, ranger station, stinson, highway 1, bolinas-fairfax road (bofax), down into alpine dam, fairfax, camino alto, and back home. I decided to ditch my idea of a solo alpine dam, in favor of their ride. I had never climbed bofax before, and figured it’d be good to do some exploring, especially when the route connects to the familiar ridgecrest/7 sisters climb. we headed across the bridge and the pace was kept smooth and steady. we turned off the sausalito bike path, headed towards mill valley, and eventually 4 corners. naveen broke off the front of the group at the start of the climb, and I picked up the pace, determined to catch up. he was just one turn ahead of me, on every turn through the hilly residential. I finally caught up to him on the road that would eventually lead to 4 corners (730ft elevation), and paced behind him for a bit. I passed him, continuing to the top on my own. I turned off at the side of the road, thinking we’d wait for the others at the intersection, but he kept riding along the panoramic highway towards the ranger station. he mentioned something about a 20 minute interval earlier in the week, so I figured that was what he was doing. tricked me though, here I thought we were stopping for a second, haha.
I hustled and caught up to him again, and we climbed to the ranger station (1500ft). we regrouped and rested for a second, and then descended towards stinson beach. the road was slick, so I was cautious and rode achingly slow, still a bit stunned from my fall a couple weeks back. my descending wits came back, and I became a bit more comfortable with the turns near the end. the rest of the guys were waiting near the bottom intersection for me, and we continued on highway 1. I have to say, my flatland speed still needs a lot of improvement. I found myself struggling to keep pace behind connor and the rest of the guys while they pulled massive gear inches across the pavement. after several miles along the coast, we made an abrupt right turn, heading inland. bofax.
4 miles and 1500ft of elevation gain from the coast. one of the best climbs I’ve ever ridden. connor and I rode in the front for a bit, then he dropped off and regrouped with joseph and naveen. I rode solo in the front for a while, embracing the new road. it was epic, to say the least. the road gradient resembled the road that leads out from alpine dam, towards ridgecrest/7 sisters – interestingly enough, we were heading that direction after this climb. we regrouped at the top of the climb, and waited up for johannes and chris. as you can see in the picture above, the road was damp and covered in pine leaves (correct term…?). we decided not to descend towards fairfax and alpine dam, and opted for ridgecrest instead (2000ft at it’s highest point). it’d be faster, and probably safer because of the road conditions.
after the rollers of 7 sisters, we descended down towards the ranger station, and back towards mill valley and sausalito. most of the roads were dry, but there were several damp patches, that made me slightly concerned. the rubber side was kept down, and the descent went quite well. johannes and chris split off in sausalito to get some food, and I continued on with naveen, joe, and connor, back towards the city. we took the newly paved path (google calls it “e road”) that led under the bridge for one last climb. I had nothing left in my tank, my legs were completely toasted. I spun for a while to rest, as naveen passed me. as we approached the bridge parking lot, I shot out of the saddle and put everything I had in a last ditch attempt to catch him before he hit the parking lot. he made it through the gate a couple seconds ahead of me, though. I was done.
I split off at the end of the bridge, wiggling my way through weekend cyclists, tourists, and oblivious pedestrians walking in the middle of the path across the marina greens. everyone seemed to be in a weird zombie trance, walking mindlessly across the pavement. no one seemed to hear my call outs towards them…I figured it was a combination of sunday and halloween. at least I got home safely.
what awesome ride, big thanks to naveen and joseph for having me out. it was nice meeting some new people, and riding with well-seasoned cyclists.