San Francisco Randonneurs 200K Brevet
We expected the monsoon.

The night before, Lisa and I were sure about it: we were gonna get a solid soaking. In a sense, the bravest thing we did that day was show up at the start in spite of a terrible weather forecast. Less than 50% of all the riders who signed up for the ride, a head count of only 32, did show up that morning.

But Mother Nature didn't quite deliver what every meteorologist in the area sensationalized the days leading up to this particular Saturday. Not that I'm complaining though. I just find it amusing that we rummaged through the depleted rain gear inventories at three different bike shops, mostly interested in rain pants to complete a truly badass all-day rain wardrobe, suited up for a hurricane, then managed to not see a drop rain all day.

SFR200 Route Map

What precipitation we didn't get, however, was definitely made up for in the abundance of wind... whipping, gusty wind. It mattered most on the journey out to the customary control at the Point Reyes Lighthouse, where our average pace was reduced to pretty much a crawl.

Naturally, the wind would also be entirely relevant with the most memorable moment of the day, when both Lisa and I were literally blown down with our bikes by some ridiculously violent gusts near the lighthouse. Since this leg of the course in itself was an out-and-back, we actually got a rude foreshadowing of this moment on the way out to the lighthouse. While riding along one of the last rolling hills close to the terminus of Sir Francis Drake Blvd., we crossed a natural gulley of sorts that seemed to act like the perfect amplifier for gusts from the side that were probably exceeding 60mph.

Heaps of drifting sand on the road in that section were a visible warning, but in themselves, hazards that needed to be avoided. Maintaining a straight line through the inches left of safe pavement to roll on, through the stupid crosswinds, was a tall order. On her first passage, Lisa said she nearly got blown clear off the road. On our second passage in the opposite direction though, the wind would have its way with us and simultaneously knock us down on our left sides, off the road, and on the edge of a precarious cliff. Thankfully, however, we landed side-by-side on a soft bed of ice plants, looking at each other in disbelief, chuckling at the hilarity of the situation, and all the while stressed out in a desperate struggle to keep our bikes from blowing away as we wrestled ourselves upright again.

The rest of the ride, what ended up being the same old epic sufferfest to my post-Holiday, unconditioned lard-bellied motor as it has been every time I've done this ride -- well, it all paled by comparison, really. And, thanks to no sense of urgency while we were out on the road, we finished over 3 hours later than I did when I first completed this ride in 2005.

Distance: 128 miles | Elevation gain: approx. 6,700' | Ride time: 10h05m
other SFR 200K brevet reports: 2006 | 2005

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