The brevet season is upon us. Last year I was away dealing with some important family issues and didn't participate in the winter/spring events. I signed up for the Pt Reyes lighthouse 200k even though I am probably not in the best of shape. This course was the first brevet I did in 2009, and I have ridden it 3 times prior to this year. I figured familiarity with route and passable shape would get me to the finish line--and they did eventually.
I carpooled with some folks from the East Bay instead of catching AC Transit. We got there with 20 minutes to spared, checked in, and listened to Rob's instructions. This year the 200k and the 115k Populaire that shared most of the route took place together, but most of the folks were going for the longer distance on this occasion. The route goes across the bridge, through Sausalito and Fairfax (and all the towns in between) and dropped us on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. I haven't ridden any distance beyond New Year Day's 40-mile ascent of Mt Diablo, and I was definitely laboring in the early going. My heart rate was 10-15 ticks higher when i rode a similar route in the fall.
I got onto the Cross Marin Trail in Lagunitas and the Kogswell did fine on this wet but packed dirt trail (it had very little mud). Going over the hill before Olema brought my heart rate up again. At the top, I stopped and ate an energy bar. To get through the ride I had to monitor my heart rate and put in calorie at a regular interval.
The road to the lighthouse is always the most challenging for me on this route, and today that statement is even truer than in the past. Once getting over Inverness Grade, I battled headwind and crosswind on this up-trending roller all the way to the foot of the hill before the lighthouse. The last climb was steep at times but not too long. It was a great day for surfers, as the wind and waves pound the shores. After checking in at the parking lot at the top, filled my bottle and grabbed some food. I rolled downhill for the return leg. This next section is a down-trending roller, and during the last 4-5 miles before descending Inverness Grade I got tailwind on my back, which helped me get over the hump. I know now I can eke my pay back to the finish.
I typically eat lunch at Pt Reyes Station, but decided to get a sandwich at the Inverness Market today to avoid waiting in line at the Bovine Bakery, and plus I was already very hungry. The market has a nice deli counter and has veggie burger on the menu. A fellow rider Goey rolled up on his touring bike converted from a 80's Schwinn mountain bike and shods 26" big apple tires. We rode the next section together before parting ways when I had to take a call.
The crosswind toward the lighthouse was nothing like the headwind we battled going north toward Marshall. Judging from my heart rate monitor, the wind at times is taking 8-10 mph off my pace. It was especially fierce as I got close to Marshall. Along the way, I waved at fellow randonneurs on their returning leg, smiling because of the equally strong tailwind on their back now.
Marshall Store was busy on this clear day with many tourists ans chowder-seekers. I got my brevet card stamped and began to turn back. The tailwind carried me quickly back to Pt Reyes Station, and I kept a decent pace around the reservoir to Nicasio Ranch. I was definitely feeling the fatigue in my legs at this point. At a reduced pace I retraced the route traveled this morning back toward the City. I turned on my light in Larkspur as it was getting dark. I was actually feeling better after ingesting some much needed food, and climbing Camino Alto presented no challenge.
I stopped several times at various locations before reaching the City to shoot the glowing almost-full moon over the Bay. I got to the finish at 7. The wonderful volunteers were hanging out waiting for the last few riders. I checked in, and got on the road to catch BART back to Berkeley. It was a nice day out for the first brevet of the year