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2002 Holstein Hundred Ride Report
(Saturday, August 17 in Tomales, CA.)

Cows!

See also my photo album from this ride

I picked up Kristin, my roommate for this ride, on Friday late afternoon in Berkeley. We got Thai food at Your Thai while she dropped her kids off at their respective overnight locations. The drive from Berkeley to Petaluma wasn't at all bad, really, taking just over an hour or so. We arrived at our lovely Motel 6, checked in (which took forever due to a fairly brain-dead receptionist), and went in search of bananas (for Kristin) and beer (for me). After zoning out on the tube for a short while, we went to sleep.

We woke up at 5:20 on Saturday morning, got ready, hit the road, and arrived at Tomales School at 6:30. I had no problem registering, even though I didn't pre-register, and they said they didn't allow same-day registration. As a gesture of gratitude for their kindness, I donated an extra $50 to the West Marin Senior Services, the beneficiary of this ride. As I was checking in, I saw Denise & Ralph, and the 4 of us rode out together at 7:30'ish after we all got registered and geared up. The route map was the worst I've ever seen in my short, but proliferious history of non-competitive rides! It had no distances at all other than between rest stops. So a left turn on XYZ street could be 1 mile ahead, or 15 miles ahead. The cue sheet also didn't show the total length of the ride. It also didn't fold neatly into quarters to fit into a standard handlebar-mount map holder (though to be fair, almost no rides' maps do). There also wasn't a map of the route on it. Clearly this was designed by a non-cyclist!

It was foggy and cold (much like last year) as we started. Before long, thanks in large part to the sucky map, we missed a turn, and wound up several miles, and several hundred vertical feet off-course in Dillon Beach. At least we got to see the ocean before anyone else did ;-). We passed another cyclist who had taken the same wrong turn as we had, and on the climb back up (a fairly steep climb, mind you!), we shouted at 6 or so folks who were also heading the wrong way. I think the comination of heavy fog and relatively nondescript route markings lead many folks astray.

The route was largely unremarkable foggy brown hills for a ways, and when we arrived at rest stop #1, we realized that we'd just done a pointless loop-de-loop - exactly what I don't like in a ride. On the positive side, they did have very good food at the first (and all of the other) rest stop - muffins, bread, and the like.

We continued onwards on the rolling, brown, foggy hills for some indeterminate amount of time until Kristin broke a spoke. Unfortunately she was using lightweight low-spoke-count wheels, so we couldn't true them up enough for her to continue riding without risking pulling spokes through the rim :( She waved us on, but I still felt bad about leaving her to the mercies of the thus-far-unseen SAG. So far I was not having a very fun ride at all! At this point I was pretty much sold on joining Denise and just doing the 100km route. My chain started violently popping off from the middle ring to the bottom bracket shell whenever I applied pressure to it, which only intensified my desire to end this thus-far-annoying ride.

Fortunately, I met Kathryn and Barit at rest stop #2, and they lifted my spirits considerably. We "enjoyed" a climb up the "Marshall Wall" (its not so bad, really), met Anna-Maria, and eventually arrived at rest stop #3. Here, we All of us (except Kristin) had a kind staffer take a group picture. There was more great food here (potatoes!), and I chowed down greedily. Soon after RS3, there was another genuine climb (as opposed to rollers) up Marshall-Petaluma Rd., which Anna-Maria boogied up at a brisk pace. I wanted to catch her to get a pic of her, but it was not to be - she was too fast! After an OK descent, Denise parted ways with us (along with Anna-Maria and her boyfriend) to finish the 100km route. I nearly killed myself crossing Hwy 1, as my chain again snapped from the middle ring to the bottom bracket shell under power. This was rather irritating (not to mention unsafe!).

Tomales Bay It was great heading south on Hwy. 1 - new pavement, nice views of Tomales Bay, and the great company of Barit and Kathryn. After a while of enjoying this, we turned off at a widening in the road (rest stop #4). They had super-good flavored tofu here, as well as more potatoes, which we devoured hungrily. Several riders had cow-shaped backpacks on - very fitting!

From this rest stop, we headed east'ish on Pt. Reyes/Petaluma Rd. - a gorgeous road that passes along Nicasio Reservoir and the Cheese Factory (where there was a rest stop last year). This was one of the only fog-free (sort of) stretches of this ride, and we enjoyed it immensely. After a while, we turned on a side road and pulled into Lincoln School, Rest Stop #5, where we hat yet more potatoes, breads, and the like. Despite any other gripings about this ride, the food was first-class! It was getting cooler as we stood around, since the fog was rolling in, so we headed back out.

The next leg was a series of fscking endless rolling hills (indicative of West Marin, so I've been told), mostly with a very annoying headwind. We climbed Wilson Hill (which we'd done earlier in the day (as well as last year), but in the opposite direction - yawn). I was starting to get grumpy again, not really enjoying yet more brown-hills-with-fog-with-headwind, but after a while, we arrived at rest stop #6, where we bantered jokingly with one of the SAG drivers about the availability of hot tubs and masseuses at the finish.

The final 15 miles sucked royally - nothing but rolling hills and very brisk headwinds. Ralph and I traded pulls to the finish, with 6 or so folks hanging on behind us. I definitely didn't care for the last stretch - high traffic, high winds, and high rollers. Bleah.

Eventually, contrary to our expectations of having being sentenced to an eternity of climbing rolling hills with no summit into a headwind, we did pull into the elementary school and finish. Kristin and Denise were there waiting for us, and we got our ride-end meal and patch.

It turned out that when Kristin got back to my car after being SAG'd in, my right-rear tire was flat, so she drove it to Petaluma and got a new/used tire installed - what a sweetie! I chowed down on the chicken (carefully rationed out, as I don't think they had enough), rice, and asparagus (mmmm smelly pee...) at the end, then Kristin and I headed homewards.

Again, I'm left thinking that I won't do this ride again. I had a weird time last year, and again this year. I hate to give a ride a poor review, but this really wasn't all that much fun. The few sunny stretches along Nicasio Reservoir were very pretty, but the other 90+ miles were rather boring. I can't help but think I could concoct a more interesting route than this (say, last year's route, in reverse). Oh well - at least I had good company in Ralph, Denise, Kristin, Kathryn, and Barit!

Ride Stats:
Distance: 104.4mi
Total Time: 9h 35m
On-bike Time: 7h 34m
Average Speed: 13.7mph
Average Speed,
including stops:
9.8mph
Maximum Speed: 50.4mph
Total Climbing: ?? (>4,900) ft

Ride Rating:
Difficulty: 3
Support: 1
Food: 5
Route: 2
Overall: 2.5


Last modified 08 February, 2011 MST
Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul
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