Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marshall Madness

40+ riders showed up Saturday for what turned out to be a hard, but not quite epic day. The early morning flooding on Hwy 1 South of Tomales and Valley Ford Cutoff were down to just a few inches by the time we arrived. Was kinda hoping for an upstream finish, just for the story books. No time for me to warm up and I assumed (wrongly so) that people would start out more mellow since we were a smaller group. Numbers were down from last years 300+ and noticeably lacking was the full Bissel team along the Cal Giant and the days' fastest rider Andrew Talansky. Though I had hoped for a mellow start I know our dedicated NorCal group and had no doubts that the days' group had showed up to serve a heapin' helpin' of tough love. I surprisingly made it to Hwy 1 with the main group and thought I'd get a nice tow to Valley Ford. I tucked into the middle, then drifted near the back, then the VERY back and then on my own. I didn't bury myself too deep to hold on and hoped the Boyler and Kent would do me the kind favor of picking me up. No luck. I rode from the riser past Bay Hill turnoff to Tomales Bay solo. Luckily managed to catch up to Colby Pastore and Scott Nydam's brother (Bob?) and hung with them until we picked up another cracked threesome on the flats approaching Wilson Hill. We enjoyed the wind to our back, especially since I knew we'd be paying for it as we headed west on Chileno Valley. Jim Keene and NorCal gave us a sweet water and food hand-up at the base of the climb and onto the long march back to Joy. Our group of 6 worked well together and didn't come apart until Middle. We lost one on the decent and then another on the little climb up out of Freestone Cut off. Myself, Royce and Colby took turns to Joy and then finished with a solid climb up the devils back. Picked up Matthias who was struggling to ride his 39x17 due to a broken rear cable. Overall the ride was a great reminder of the parallels of biking to the bigger challenges of life's ups and downs: High in making the split. Low; being dropped and spending "forever" alone. Dreading the headwind and considering the comfort of a warm coffee shop. High, catching a group and to ride with, safe challenging ride the rest of the way home. No major cramps up Joy. Was a pleasure to be out with friends again and see smiling faces at the finish. Until next time.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marshall-Chileno Hopper March 26 , 2011

Weather report: Scattered showers. I know this cuz it's what's happened each of my last four rides. Remember the Hoppers happen rain or shine. There's no bad weather, just bad clothing. If you need to update your Winter gear or buy one extra layer don't forget to stop by NorCal and check out their newly remodeled shop. This Hopper is 100% paved road.

The ride will begin at 10:00 in Occidental. You will need to sign a Grasshopper waiver AND a County of Sonoma Waiver. Cost: $20. This is new so please make sure you sign both. We will be staging at the Old Camp Meekers Rd.(just down Bohemian Hwy. past Graton Rd. ) in order to avoid blocking Bohemian Hwy. If the numbers are large we'll be starting in two waves: Pro 1,2,3 and then everyone else. Like last year we will head up Coleman Valley Rd. and will finish at the top of Joy Rd....:) Last year stats were about 80 miles and 8,000 ft of climbing so plan ahead.

There will be porto-poties at the Union Hotel Parking Lot and the Community Center so please use them. Also, don't forget to pick up a coffee and snack from the Union Bakery. If you haven't had one of their hot, fresh fruit turn overs with a Capucchino you're missing out!

Also, Fork Catering will be at the finish from 2-4 so don't forget to line up early for your tasty morsels.

NorCal will have a neutral feed and aid station at the halfway point atop Wilson Hill. If you want to leave food or water with Jim see him at the start. Please pick up your discarded items at the Occidental Community Center after the ride. I'll will bring the bottles that I have from previous rides. Gnarly ones have been recycled!

Remember these are training rides and not races. You must ride responsibly, never cross the center line and obey all rules of the road.

No sag or support. As always, you will be given a laminate with a map and course directions. You are presented with world class ride and awesome companionship on the road; as well as the start and finish, but there is no aid or emergency services on the route. Not a bad idea to bring a cell phone and some money for a coke and a snickers if you need help making it home!

Rubber side down and dress warm.