124.2 miles in 14:14
After doing 2 Point Reyes Populaires with the San Francisco Randonneurs last year I decided to try the Point Reyes 200k Brevet. I was DFL but it was a great ride and milestone for me! Longest distance rode in one day for sure.
It had been raining but weather looked mostly clear for the day. We just had one short-lived cloudburst then things were pretty dry. It was windy but sunny. I had never ridden all the way out the lighthouse and must say that it is a long trip. Lots of rolling hills with some gnarly climbs at the end, but beautiful ride and views. Nothing but dairy pastures and coastal views. I made the checkpoint just shy of 2 minutes! I was pretty spent after the getting back to Point Reyes station and came to the conclusion that I should have started eating more by the time I got to Camp Taylor. I had packed a bunch of baby burritos, inspired by my friend Lisa. They were perfect for the trip and fit nicely in the bento box.
Since I was here, I decided to keep going up to Marshall even if I didn't make the time limit and enjoy a bowl of clam chowder. It didn't take as long as I thought and I barely made the time limit with 5 minutes to spare and hung out briefly with Bill and Tony who were just finishing up their soup. I had a Red Bull and Clam Chowder and bought some more water. After this I got a second wind, and enjoyed a great ride watching the sun set on Tomales Bay. It got dark when I was on Nicasio-Valley road past the reservoir and I heard the coyotes start howling. There is no phone reception out here and it was pitch black and I could barely see the road with my faint light. For a minute, I lost my bearings and had a mini-panic attack, but I got through it by singing songs and when I saw the silhouette of the bridge I realized I was still going the right way and then finally got to the intersection at Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
The Garmin died at mile 109
Once I got to Fairfax I relaxed into home stretch mode and had hot coffee and brownie. I had a feeling I was not going to make the time limit, but didn't care at this point. My butt and knees and neck were hurting and just was glad to be almost done. It was getting cold and I knew I had a couple more climbs to go, but they were actually good for me because it warmed me up quite a bit. The rain gear also helped keep me warm.
There were no other cyclists on the road at 9pm and I'm glad it wasn't raining. I had the Golden Gate Bridge all to myself on the way back and saw Rob about to take off at the finish and checked in with him. Plus I had a witness that I made it back. My total ride was 14:14, 44 minutes past the cutoff time. I made the mistake of not calling in advance to let them know where I'm at. I'm just glad I finished the distance without any problems and enjoyed an entire day of cycling.
The next day my knees were sore and I felt a little exhausted and dehydrated. I call it a bike hangover, but other than that easy recovery!
Things that helped me on the ride:
bringing real food such as baby burritos, manzano bananas and apricots in addition to gus, clif bars and sports drinks
several pairs of gloves and one insulated pair
layers of clothes
extra pair of socks
a backpack to put everything in
Things I should have brought:
extra batteries for the lights and headlamp
tortilla chips and roasted potatoes (salty)
an extra bottle of water
camera to take pics
The food is a serious thing. I made 4 burritos, One for every 25 miles plus a planned meal stop. The timing of the food is critical to maintain a good pace. Also safety and being visible on the road. I think I could have put on some more lights and reflectors. I look forward to doing this ride again a little more prepared. In order to make the cutoff time with enough time for a few breaks you need to be averaging at least 10mph. It may be a while before I can do a 300k, so will stick with 200k for now. Happy cycling!
Here are the checkpoints and cutoff times to give you an idea of what to aim for
Point Reyes Lighthouse - 54mi
open 9:34 - close 12:48 (5:48hr after start)
Marshall Store - 83mi
open 10:56 - close 15:56 (8:56hr after start)
GGB - 126mi
open 12:53 - close 20:30 (13:30hr after start)
For reference, an Ironman Triathlon takes 17 hours to complete, with the 112 mi bike cutoff time at around 8hrs, with a 2.5 mi swim before and followed by running a marathon.
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