SFR Pierce Point 200k

Did the SFR Pierce Point 200k this weekend. What a ride! This is usually the time of year we do the Point Reyes Lighthouse ride, but for the reason I can tell you offline, the route changed to Pierce Point. It is somewhat humorous. Anyway, the elevation is actually a little bit more on this route (Strava says 8,509ft for Pierce Point and 8,353ft for the PRL). I was able to complete the brevet in 12:14, which is about 45 minutes faster than last year's jaunt to this area! After 3 years of doing the Point Reyes Lighthouse ride and failing the first 2 times to make either the distance or cutoff time then finally getting it right, it was a little disheartening to see that the Lighthouse ride wasn't going to be an option. However, with only minor differences in the route it proved to be just as awesome and challenging and scenic as ever.

I used my ride notes from last time to help plan. I usually have my bike ready a couple days before the ride and the food the day before and pretty much packed and ready to go that morning. I have to psych myself up for it and eat and sleep well. I was a little worried that my running was going to drain my legs so I tried to take it easy for 2 days before. The other rides I did this month, Mt. Diablo and Point Reyes Populaire, helped me to prepare. Here's a video clip of the start:

To Tomales Point Trailhead (4.5 hrs): Looks like I saved some time here. The other thing is now they have restrooms at the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center at the start, so I didn't need to stop at the Sausalito Ferry restrooms. Also, I didn't stop in Fairfax, though I like to have a quick espresso. I got slightly lost on Miller Ave. and had to backtrack so felt behind. I decided to stop there on the way back instead. Stopped to take a photo of the climb out of Fairfax.

My water stop was Camp Taylor in SPT Park. Loved this whole part of the ride, hardly any traffic that early. It was foggy in Fairfax, and smoky in Lagunitas. I guess there was a control burn. The weather was unusually warm again and hardly any wind heading out to Pierce Point. At first I was worried there would be fog along the coast and I wouldn't be able to see the view, but it was clear and sunny, hot with temps the 60s. Had to peel some layers off. The roads were rough and some slow 4 mph climbs (Pierce Point Road Climb). My quads were burning! Really beautiful out here helps take the mind off of the pain. By then I had eaten 3 oatcakes, 2 clif shot bloks and 3 bottles of water. One thing I didn't do is drink my Perpetuem or SOS, which is what I should have done. I started feeling pain in my  left shoulder and generally out of pep. I was actually thinking that I would not be able to make the whole ride and was considering just heading back. Decided to ride down to Point Reyes Station and see how I felt. It seemed a little easier heading back up over the Pierce Point climb than before. Don't know why. Did my legs get stronger as I ride? Loaded up the water and SOS and reload the bento box with burrito.

To Nick's Cove (3 hrs): Glad to have reached the first checkpoint, trying to get over my mental and physical blocks, I noticed I was feeling a little better after taking the SOS and burrito and things were looking up. Even the pain in my shoulder was gone. I stopped in Inverness to get some water. I finally got the Perpetuem going. By the time I got to Point Reyes Station (around 1:17pm or 2 hrs later) I felt like I had a shot and making the 2nd control in time and some motivation. I stopped at the Toby's playground bathrooms and then keep pushing on. I went too far down Mesa but then later I noticed it connects anyway. Got back on Hwy 1 and prepared to haul ass. This road is annoying because of the lack of shoulder to ride on and all the fast moving traffic that zips by you within a few feet. It's kind of scary. The cure is 50 cars. After 50 cars pass, you're over it. Then there are constant rollers and possible blind curves. I just held my line, hugging that little white stripe like its was my best friend, controlling my speed on the descents and hope for the best. Enjoy the view while you can! By the time I got to Nick's cove felt really great that I had made it and things were looking up. Stopped for restroom break. Feels good to get off the bike and stretch the legs.

To SF (5 hrs): Stopped along the way in Marshall to get some water and a cookie. Long line but the food smelled good! I still had my burritos to eat and second SOS for the home stretch. I had brought an extra Perpetuem but looked like I didn't need it. My goal was to get to the Nicasio Reservoir before sunset to take a photo. Also would be nice to get to the bike path before it gets dark. Glad I made it.

I got to Fairfax in time to have a quick espresso at nightfall (5:41 or about 3.5 hrs from Nick's cove). Topped off the water and headed out. The adrenaline rush of trying to finish on time gave me some Strava PRs. This after thinking I was going to bail on the ride in the beginning. At the end hung out a little bit with other rando riders and mingled a little before heading home. I'm always impressed at how fast the other riders are, even though it's not a race. Very thankful for the volunteers! I enjoyed myself in the back of the pack. For me it is quality time, enjoying nature, time to think, meditate and get some endurance in. As long as I can make the cutoff time without dying, I'm good.

Total: 12:14, 130 miles
3 oatcakes, 2 clif shot bloks, 2 SOS, 2.5 baby burritos, 1 Hammer Perpetuem, 1 chocolate chip cookie, 9-10 bottles of water (including for the carb and electrolytes)

Bike Notes: Lights fully charged lasted well. I brought my Limefuel Blast battery backup just in case.  I use it for my GoPro and phone also. New battery for the bike computer, since I noticed it was crapping out on the last ride.  I checked the tires and they looked good. Only had about 800 miles on them anyway (I have a separate bike for commuting). There was a small 1/2 gash on the side that was only through the rubber so I sealed it with some Loctite super glue so nothing would get inside and push through. I had my bike fully tuned up before my triathlon in the fall and a new handlebar stem replacement. Got rid of the adjustable tri one. I'm finding it helpful to know how many hours it takes me to get to the checkpoints and cities rather than the mileage. It gives me a better idea of how to fuel and hydrate and how much to push the pace. Note to self: Start electrolytes at Samuel P. Taylor. The SOS is so amazing, I might even pre-game my ride with it.

Recovery: Decided to make recovery part of the ride notes since it is important. Seems like all my joints and moving parts were sore, especially my quads in the knee area. After a hot bath, I iced them down and it helped. Unfortunately could not eat dinner and had a Recoverite and a protein shake, and another protein shake in the middle of the night with more ice packs and lots of water. The heart rate when I went to bed was 85. The next day just some light walking and errands. Did not attempt to go open water swimming as I learned my lesson last time. Sometimes the muscles feel ok, but the heart muscle needs a break also.

Look forward to doing the next brevet!
Photo by Deb Ford


SFR Point Reyes Populaire

The SF Randonneurs kicked off their event schedule this year with a "popular" ride, the Point Reyes Populaire! We started the ride at 8:00am with over a little over 100 riders and headed out over the Golden Gate Bridge, which was historically closed to traffic so they could install a median. It was so quiet for a change! Getting an early start on the bridge was critical, as it was going to be pretty crowded with this new attraction of watching the construction crews put in the median. Personally, I would rather ride my bike! This time instead of riding solo, I had a riding companion, as my bf has now built up his mileage to 85 miles. Off we went to get to the first control at Point Reyes Station.

It was great weather for riding, as it wasn't that cold or windy for January. I didn't need the windbreaker, instead had 3 layers: a short sleeve base layer, a long sleeve base layer (under armor), a jersey, arm warmers, and warm tights under the bike shorts. It was kind of overcast and I didn't really even need my sunglasses. I did put sunscreen on just in case.

After a hard push out of Fairfax and a water & bathroom stop at Camp Taylor, we got to the first control around 11:15am. The time stamp on the Bovine Bakery receipt was totally off by an hour, so we wrote down the correct times on the brevet card and the receipt. After quick coffee and lunch break, we went off to get to the next stop, Rancho Nicasio. If you are going to ride all this way, don't miss the ride around the Nicasio Reservoir. It looked especially magical as it was much fuller, and the water was like glass reflecting the hills and sky beautifully!

We caught up with some other randonneurs riding into Rancho Nicasio. There, we picked up some juice and had a small break and then it was about getting back in time. We rode behind the tandems for a bit, then a little easy riding and socializing, taking it easy and steady on the climbs back into Fairfax, then kept an easy pace to recover before the Camino Alto climb. Love the pave on the Corte Madera side, hate the pave on the Mill Valley side! The GGB coming back was very slow because it was so crowded. We could have walked. I'll be glad to get our dedicated bike path back. After some confusion of where the finish was we rolled in around 3:15pm, 75 miles and 7.25 hours total, and enjoyed a great picnic and catching up with friends. This was a great prep ride for the upcoming 200k I have on my schedule!


One Hour ePostal Swim

The USMS Speedo 1-Hour ePostal National Championship is an online event to see how far USMS members can swim for 1 hour in the pool. I did this last year and got hooked. It's a great benchmark for improvement. I had been swimming through the holidays in order to complete my 100 mile goal in Go The Distance and did a good streak of 9 days in a row and swam 14.5 miles last month. This helped a lot as I was able to improve my distance by 375 meters! I have also been using the Finis Agility Paddles to help strengthen my arms and correct form. The fact that it happens at the beginning of the year can also give you a nice snapshot of where you're at and where you want to improve.

Last year: 2575 m
This year: 2950 m
                   375 m improvement!

I did not race this but rather tried to keep a sustainable pace that I would use in a long distance. Also, I didn't swim for a week before the event to let my arms rest from training. Using my trusty Timex Ironman Triathlon watch, I recorded my splits in cumulative 500m sets, then as I got close to the end, in 100s, 50s, and 25s. Being a running focused triathlete that bikes a lot, I'm not a full time swimmer. But now I'm convinced that swimming 2,000 and 3,000 meters a day like full time swimmers can totally help improve your swimming. I had done some speedwork in my tri-training last year. So even if I can't devote every day to swimming, I can carve out a week here and there between races to get some quality training in and then use an annual mileage go to stay consistent throughout the year with at least 3 miles per week. Next, I will try the Jon Steiner Memorial Mile swim for lung cancer research by Tamalpais Aquatic Masters, and see if I can go a bit faster.


Mt. Diablo New Year's Day Ride

Well, one of my New Year's Cycling Resolutions is done! What a great way to celebrate the New Year by riding all the way up to the top of Mt. Diablo! This is an annual ride for lots of Bay Area bike clubs, and for some like myself, a bike pilgrimage.
more photos >>

We met up with the Grizzly Peak Cyclists at 9am at the Pleasant Hill BART station to ride with those experienced with Mt. Diablo. They provided great company, knowledge and a cue sheet! We took the Southgate entrance which is a little longer but less steep. Also, though it was cold, it proved to be warmer on that side of the mountain because of the sunshine. I wore several layers, a windbreaker, face covering, long fingered gloves, warm socks, leg warmers, the works, and was still chilly! On the way back we stopped in Danville at Peet's right by the Iron Horse trail to get a much needed hot cup of coffee and took the Iron Horse Trail Walnut Creek to get food and BART. Good day of riding! Got home after dark.

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