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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351

    Wind, Rain & Knees: 260 Kilometers

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    On March 1, I rode the San Francisco 300 K Brevet (188 miles). I knew this ride was going to be a stretch for me since I have not ridden more than 63 miles since September. The ride started at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge at 6 AM. Thom drove me over and took some photos. The start was kind of cold and the bridge was very wet. Riding across the bridge is a cool experience, but every other time I've ridden it, it's been a little crowded and I've felt rushed. We rode across the east side of it, so I had a great view of San Francisco Bay. I was hanging back from the bulk of the group, as going around the towers can be a little dicey and I wanted to enjoy the experience. There were no riders or walkers coming at me to navigate around, so I could enjoy the view. The bay was gorgeous. It was still dark but it was pretty clear and I could see lots of lights and the various islands.

    It was early so there wasn't much traffic on the roads and getting over to Fairfax wasn't as irritating as I usually find it. I was riding with three guys, Jason, his friend whose name I don't remember and Phil at this point. Jason and his friend pulled over at one of the coffee shops in Fairfax. Phil decided to use the trail to get through Fairfax and I decided to stay on Sir Francis Drake. It was kind of nice to be alone for a little while to get into my own rhythm. All three passed me on the climb out of Fairfax. I descended down Sir Francis Drake to Samuel P. Taylor State Park, where I caught up with two other riders, whose names I also don't remember. But one of them knew where to get on the bike path through Samuel P. Taylor. It was stunning riding under the redwoods on smooth pavement. It was still early so there were only one or two other people on the path. The trail ends at this really interesting bridge, which I wish I had stopped to take a picture of. But since I remembered to charge the camera, but didn't check to see that I had a card (as I discovered later), stopping or not became irrelevant. We caught up to Phil, Jason and his buddy here.

    We were now a group of six and we stayed together until the secret control by the reservoir. Phil and I left the secret control before the rest, and they all passed me climbing up the hill to Cheese Factory. I rode by myself from there to the first checkpoint at the Safeway in Petaluma. The Safeway was crowded with Saturday morning shoppers, between shopping and eating; I was there a little longer than I wanted. I left before Jason and his buddy, but they soon passed me. I drafted them for a bit, but their pace was just too much for me to hang onto and I was once again a solo rider. This was a bad place to be alone. The ride from Petaluma to Healdsburg is only 30 miles and only climbs 420 feet. I should have been able to do this section in two hours, but I was troubled by a little thing called a headwind the entire way. It was torturous. Going through Santa Rosa the GPS started warning me that the batteries were low. While I was pulled over changing them, two other riders - names also unknown, passed me. I caught up to them at a light and drafted them for about ten miles, when once again the pace became just a little too much for me. It was here I began questioning the wisdom of jumping up to 188 miles from 60! My quads were screaming at me and I found myself constantly tensing up in my shoulders. I was not having fun. The scenery was not great. Why was I out here?

    I arrived at the second checkpoint, the Safeway in Healdsburg. There were lots of riders here, eating real food for lunch. I got a banana and a large size Red Bull and chatted with a couple of the guys while we ate. One of them assured me that we were pretty much done with the wind. He said we would be riding with it for a while on Westside Rd. and then when we headed down the through the Russian River Canyon we would be protected from the wind. He was half right.

    I left with yet a different group and stayed with them for a couple of flat miles. Once they dropped me, I was alone for the next fifty miles. Blissfully, I did have a tailwind and I was feeling much better. My quads were happier. I was now on Westside Rd and riding through vineyards. I saw a lot of limos and there was a little more traffic, but it was great riding. I was back to enjoying myself. I had interesting scenery, I considered stopping for some photos, but felt the need to make up some time. The road was rolly but that tailwind sure felt good. However, once we turned onto River Rd. that dratted headwind reappeared with a vengeance. Fortunately I was mostly descending, but I had to work against the wind for any speed. At one point I had to drop out of the big ring because the wind was so strong. To top it off it began to rain! It was bizarre, the sun was still out, but it was raining. At first I thought the wind was whipping sprinkler water or water from the river up at me. But no, it was rain.

    The rain continued even after I turned onto Route 1. I was so happy to get to that turn. I was hoping for that promised tailwind, as the headwind on River Rd. had really taken the stuffing out of me. Immediately upon turning onto Rte 1, I was confronted with a half mile, 5.6% grade up to Goat Rock Overlook. Fortunately, I did have that tailwind. I stopped at the overlook to consolidate my water bottles and to eat a little Hammer Gel. I was tired, but still thinking Iíd finish the ride. Doing the math I knew I had 76 miles to go and ten hours to do it in. At this point I began counting down the miles. Every now and then I would look out at the ocean and admire the view. This was the part of the ride I had been most looking forward to. But I was so beat; it was hard to enjoy it.

    I was happy when I got to Coleman Valley Rd. and gave it a little wave. Thatís one of the climbs on the Mount Tam Double and on the Tour of California. More pedaling, more suffering, more doing the math on an estimate of my finishing time. I was actually moving pretty well for being so tired Ė with an average speed of 14.7 for this section. Highway One is very rolly through here. The down hills and the tailwind were very welcome. The up hills, not so much.

    I passed Bay Hill Rd., another part of the Mt. Tam Route and knew I was getting close to Valley Ford, where I expected to meet up with Thom. He had parked the car in Nicasio and was going to ride the route backwards to meet me around Valley Ford. I was looking forward to the company as I had been alone for a few hours now. I passed Valley Ford without seeing him. I was a little ahead of where I had expected to be. I had been thinking I would have about a 12 mile an hour pace. But I had averaged 14 miles an hour to this point, 130 miles into the ride.

    About a half mile past Valley Ford I saw Thomís bright orange wool jersey in the distance. He turned around and we continued on to wide spot in the road so he could eat. He asked me how I was doing and I told him that I was feeling pretty thrashed, but thought I could finish. He told me that were some nasty little hills coming up, but assured me that they were little. There were two nasty climbs in this 4.7 mile section and it was here that my right knee decided it had had enough! Since I hurt it in September, Iíve really been focusing on how to keep it from getting irritated on a ride. It feels like something gets really tight behind my knee and stretching my leg out on the bike and angling my foot a bit differently have made the tightness go away. But now that wasnít working. By the time we got to the store in Tomales, I knew my knee was done for the day.

    We got some more food and water, decided we wouldnít bother to stop in Marshall, the third control point, since I was just going to the car in Nicasio. I really didnít want to do even that. To make matters worse the headwind returned just south of Tomales in a small canyon and it was bad. A couple of times I thought it was going to blow me over. Fortunately, it was only through that canyon area. We zipped past Marshall, just about sunset and it was beautiful. Neither of us wanted to stop for pictures. We were both just intent on getting back to the car. Thom was cold, he had left his knee and arm warmers in the car. I gave him my windbreaker, which helped some. I was just tired and wanted to be done. We rode the last ten miles in the dark. Itís a shame we were both so miserable, because night riding can be a neat experience. We got to the car at about 7:30.

    I think Iím still going to do the Davis 200 K next weekend, unless the weather is crummy. They take day of sign ups. Twenty-four hours after the ride, my knee doesnít feel too badly. My quads are tired. The worst thing is my shoulders, all that tensing is not good.

    Total Mileage: 161.9 miles
    Total Climbing: 6122 Feet

    We'll have a few pictures later.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,632
    Thanks for the TR. Sorry the weather could not have been better. Good luck on the ride next weekend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,318

    cool

    V-I am sad to hear you didn't finish but but but..you are a smart chickie and understand your limits. I hope you can complete the 200K next weekend!!

    I love your cycling reports!

    What did you do to your knee again?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    Wow, V, that's a lot of hard work, as much mental as physical it seems. Glad your body is hanging in there and I hope you have a nice 200 next week!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,059
    Hey Veronica, thanks for the report. For me, there's nothing quite like headwind to suck my attitude and energy out of me. Much worse than climbing. Sounds like you put in a really great effort, and also used your brain to know when to stop.

    That was a good report. Thank you!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
    Posts
    4,869
    Good report V - I ride vicariously through you and the other AV crew's rides you know. Sorry your knee acted up - have you ever had it checked out?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583

    Thumbs up

    160 plus miles and plenty of climbing is great, especially since you haven't beenriding a lot. Very impressive. Have a great recovery this week and then have a fabulous ride at Davis.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351

    A Picture from the start...



    There are a few more on our website.

    I don't know what exactly I did to my knee in September. It only really bothers me when I ride. It feels like the ligaments or tendons or whatever just tighten up. It's always stiff when I get up in the morning. Occasionally I feel it when I walk up stairs. I have my regular doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks. But I can just imagine what she's going to say, - so don't ride your bike so much. Maybe I'll be wrong. I also can't think what can be done for it. Stretching helps, but I'm already doing that.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    But I can just imagine what she's going to say, - so don't ride your bike so much.
    I don't understand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    Quote Originally Posted by Melalvai View Post
    I don't understand.

    My knee bothers me when I ride. I suspect my doc will say it's overuse because I ride so much.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    Wow - that GGBridge photo is amazing. (Seriously how did you get ABOVE everything??? You should see our photos from the tower tour.) As is the ride report.

    I suggest perhaps a really good bike fit to make sure everything is set up right. It really helped me - til the whole broken bone business. Oh - I well recall the rollers and the wind in my 300k last year. You made me re-read the report out of sentimentality - or something.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,318

    sports massage

    Hey V,

    I was thinking and am wondering if you might be able to get a sports massage on the leg/knee that bothers you? I've no idea how these things work up there in SF but thought i might throw the idea out.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    1,071
    Great accomplishment! Sorry about your knee and the weather. I wonder if you could have a Baker's cyst, since it bothers you behind your knee?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    Thom was standing in the overlook on the north side. He says he just had the camera on a tripod and took the shot.

    I was freezing and had to stand still forever for this one.

    V.

    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    378
    Congratulations, Veronica! Thanks for the great report and pics. The second pic makes me giggle. "Are We Having Fun Yet?" seems like a good caption.

    Alex

 

 

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