Mt. Tamalpais Double Century
There. I've completed my 30th double century. Can I quit now?
This year's Mount Tam Double was a third go for both Lisa and me. Lisa gave me a hall pass to do my own thing, so this was the first time in many many rides that we didn't ride together. I admit the detachment felt a tad weird and I put up with a touch of guilt all day for it. I had a fellow Oaktowner, Jason P. (attempting his first double century -- second if you count a 300k brevet he did in March), for company most of the morning.
The wind played a huge part in the ride this year. The sections through Marshall, Bodega Bay and Nicasio proved to be dramatically more challenging with some really mean headwinds. And when those same winds hit us from the side on several parts of the course, it really raised the pucker factor.
The conditions seemed to take so many by surprise, especially since there was nothing notable in the weather forecast about it the night before. The ride director took notice and to decided to extend the final time-cut by a half-hour. A handful of riders did benefit from this and were visibly thankful. It seems that wind has been a point of contention on so many rides we've done this year, so much that I feel like I've been toughened a bit by it all, hence coped a lot better with it here than I would have in previous years.
Payback in tailwinds didn't really kick in until the stretch between Valley Ford and Petaluma. Awesome tailwind for nearly 20 miles. I deliberately took it easy and used the free ride to recharge for the final stretch through Nicasio and Lucas Valley to yield my best final miles on this ride in the three times I've done it.
The DNF rate spiked on this ride. 54 or so riders listed as DNF, but that includes people who may not have made the time cut at mile 114, and all other riders who cut the ride short here (to 170 miles) but still got back to the finish on their own power. So to quickly categorize them as DNFs seems a bit harsh and unfair.
My low point on the ride, as usual, was the Valley Ford-Coleman Valley-Valley Ford loop -- mile 114 to 142. Still, overall I think I managed this ride better than I ever have. Not fast or heroically strong by any measure, but I was able to really control and smooth out the effort curve throughout the day. I felt like I really in tune with my fuel tank, knew when to go hard, when to chill, and -- most of all -- how to keep the fun of it all alive and well.
The one thing I didn't count on was a missed turn on the way back from Coleman Valley, which cost me an extra ELEVEN miles -- one extra climb, and a ride back into the stiff wind to get back on course. Basically, the Coleman Valley loop completes back at Valley Ford, yet I found myself in Sebastopol.
45 minutes down the toilet. That translated to an extension of my weakest segment to a dreadful 39 mile loop between services. Yup, grumpiness overcame me for a few moments, but quickly thereafter I simply laughed at myself for being such a dunce.
Consolation? Knowing that, without that flub, I probably could have finished not long after 8PM. Still, finishing before the stroke of 9:00 was something I'm pretty happy about, mostly for the fact that I was able to get over the final climb (Lucas Valley) with daylight remaining -- a first for me.