San Fran – Two Rock / Valley Ford 200km

Only two weeks into my rando career of 2015 and I got my second 200km ride done! Despite the general forecast of the week being dreary between major storm systems, the weather turned out as fantastic as I could have asked for. Others weren’t so confident in the day though, and turnout was very low. I’m figuring that in rainy places (PNW especially), randonneurs are prepared for the worst and still come to rides with predictions of rain. California being generally sunny and fenderless meant few risk takers, but they missed out on this ride!

Breakfast #2

Breakfast #2

The route started similar to the last – over the big red bridge, through some rolling terrain, and eventually making a turn into new territory in Sonoma County. My jacket only lasted for the first hour, until it started to get warmer out. Just past the a high point where I stashed it, I was riding over nasty shoulder debris and got a glass shard in my Compass tire. I was nearly at the front when this happened, and watched as most of the crowd passed by. I went with a tube change rather than a patch job just in case, and later clocked the time at 10.5 minutes stopped, which isn’t too bad for a flat in my experience.

I engaged Cat 6 racing mode, and would catch someone to briefly hold their wheel before launching ahead again. A few people seemed surprised and uncomfortable with someone behind them, so I kept moving along. I was soon back up to pace and didn’t need to push my luck trying to go fast. The first controle came soon enough, and I got pizza and OJ to keep my sugar high enough to avoid relying on Clif Bars.

IMG_20150207_111221From Petaluma to Valley Ford, I was still mostly riding alone but with other randos typically in sight. It was getting even warmer out, and I didn’t have room to stash any more layers, so I rolled up my sleeves on the climbs. I took an extended break at the second control when a few more familiar faces rolled in, and I would roll out with this small pack including Eric, Metin, and Roy. They were the right pace for me, and great for conversation too.

I recall the point where we returned to familiar roads, as this time there was more wind, and a lot of tree debris on the roads. This made it harder for cars to pass along Tomales Bay, where the road is already a bit winding, and we weren’t riding far to the side to avoid some of the sticks in the road.

IMG_20150207_163107My typical rando-math skills yielded not-so-accurate estimations, as the final approach to the finish was slower than I remember. I was tired, hadn’t eaten or drank enough, and the terrain feels a bit tougher on the way home after 100 miles. My right knee was getting sore from frequent stop/starting in town too. We lost Eric to a flat close to the end, as he told us not to wait up. Three of us finished at 9:15hrs, which still brings down my average 200km pace, so I was very happy with that result. Big thanks to Metin for the carpool, and especially for showing me the best burritos in town on the way home.

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