Sunday, August 10, 2014

PNW Trip 2014: Orcas Island Bike Ride

Arriving at Orcas Island

On the second day of our stay on the San Juan Islands, we decided to visit Orcas Island and ride up to the famous Mt Constitution, which we also did last summer. We originally planned on staying on Orcas this year, and even though we didn't have reservation to a camp site on the island, we called and were informed that the nice rangers at Moran State Park would accommodate us if we arrive on our bikes. Unfortunately, the heavy traffic near Seattle (from Tacoma all the way through Marysville) meant that we missed not one but two ferries to Orcas. We ended up staying at Odlin County Park on Lopez and enjoyed it very much. But we still wanted to visit Orcas, the island that enchanted us most on our trip here last year.


I'd forgotten my camera battery and decided to make a trip back to the car in Anacortes to fetch it. M. met me on the returning westbound ferry at Lopez, and we headed toward Orcas. It was a cool day with varied and multi-colored clouds. We waited near the ferry dock on Orcas for all the cars to unload and go by before pedaling north and eastward toward Eastsound. 

The first 2 miles has 3 short and medium-graded climbs followed by similarly graded descents. After getting warmed up on these short hills, we switched to our big gears and cruised on the flatland toward Eastsound. We took the scenic bypass and waved hello to the alpacas foraging on Dolphin Bay Road. Eastsound, busy this time of the year from all the summer tourists, came upon us after a fast 9 miles. We slowed and rolled through town and passed Crescent Beach, upped a hill and turned right to continue toward Moran State Park.

This 4-mile stretch has very different vista from the first 9 miles from the ferry. Instead of expansive farmlands and pastures, we were riding among trees. We topped our bottles at the entrance of Moran State Park. The mirror-like alpine lake followed. We knew we were close to Mt Constitution Road. After a small incline passing Camp Moran, we veered left as the road forked and began the climb.

Evergreens line the road

Mt Constitution Road to the summit is one of our favorite, if not favorite road climbs. The gradient is similar to that of Kings Mountain in Woodside or Bolinas-Fairfax Road from Bolinas to Ridgecrest. The pavement is in excellent shape, and the whole trip is pretty shaded. The Puget Sound only became visible in the second section of the climb, but the vista at the top is truly breath-taking. M. was riding her Trek 720 unloaded, and I was carrying a small pannier on my Kogswell P/R with the porteur rack. We were both comfortable riding in our 36 middle chainring and moved the gears up and down as the gradient changed.

Puget Sound Panorama

The climb is almost 5 miles long and we expended quite a bit of effort to ride up at a decent pace. The first thing we did when we got to the top was to stuff our faces with food we had, which was not very much. We were able to take a moment to enjoy the spectacular view of the Puget Sound, with Mt Baker in the background before heading down.

Alpine Lake

I ride downhills faster, so I stopped at the lake to take a few pictures, and M and I got separated here. After some initial confusion and waiting, we got back into contact and she waited for me at the gas station just east of Eastsound. One thing about riding on the island is that you always have to watch time if you have to catch a ferry somewhere, which was our predicament. Since we ran out of water and food, we shared a can of coke at the gas station and began to ride as fast as we can back to the ferry dock. The Kogswell actually performed very well and its standard-sized tubing gave a lively ride that encouraged effort. We got to the ferry dock with minutes to spare and really enjoyed the late afternoon light peering through the clouds on our way back to Lopez Island. Orcas did not disappoint!

Washington State Ferry

More pictures from the ride:

And even more pictures of the ride here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

PNW Trip 2014: Mt Tabor Sunrise Coffee

I realized that I haven't posted for almost a year. It has been a supremely busy year personally and professionally, and my riding mileage has been down, but I have resolved to maintain a respectable amount of riding going forward.

Sun just about to pop out

M. and I decided to do the same thing we did last summer for vacation--Portland for a few days, and the San Juan Islands for a few--since we enjoyed it so much last year. One of the highlights this year of our stay in Portland is joining a group of folks (some I have corresponded with on various bike online groups or forums before) for coffee in the morning outside, at sunrise, at a location that we traveled to on bikes.

Andy and Chris I know from the Riv google group. They were kind enough to set up the date and location. At 5:30, Andy met M and me outside of our Airbnb and we rode through SE Portland neighborhoods, including crossing several very short gravel/dirt sections in parks to get to the foot of Mt Tabor. The morning air is crisp and we began to see a few commuting cyclists when we were near the foot of the hill. Tabor has a gentle gradient and is well shaded. We passed or were passed by cyclists, runners, and (dog)walkers.

Not very long after, we reached a set of benches off the road. Though not quite the top of the hill, this location has expansive views to the East. four people were already there preparing their morning cup of joe. The equipment spans different water-cooking options as well as different coffee-brewing option.

Sun just about popped out from behind a set of mountains at this point (slightly past 6AM). Chris made M and I a cup of coffee with beans roasted by Courier Roaster and a ceramic filter cone. The drink is very good. The conversation, equally good, ranged from ride stories, stories on encounter with Riv folks and Jan Heine, and Portland stuff. The bikes were also very nice: there were at least 4 Rivs, a couple of 80's steel bikes, and my Kogswell.

I chatted with different folks and found out that Oliver follows my blog and also has a Kogswell P/R (which is partly why I am writing again, as I realized people actually read this blog). He was kind enough to take us to the top of Tabor as the group dispersed to the morning affairs (it's a work day after all).

We descended back to SE Hawthorne and cruised toward breakfast. along the way people were opening their garages ready to leave for work, but in most instances instead of a car, a bike or two pulled out, and we were riding amid many other cyclists on every street. One guy chatted with us for a couple of blocks and gave us direction on how to get to a New Seasons Market.

It was an enjoyable way to start the day, and I am grateful to participate in the fun ritual of sunrise coffee outside. I have since purchased a Hario grinder and an Aeropress, now I am ready to do coffee outside in the East Bay also! Who is in?

The rest of the pictures that I took of Sunrise Coffee on Tabor is here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Northwest Road trip with Bikes: Orcas Island and Mt Constitution

Tent site at Lopez Farm
our camp on Lopez Island
After spending two wonderful nights on Lopez Island. Our plan would take us to the largest of the San Juan Islands--Orcas Island. We woke up, de-camped, and packed our gears onto our bikes. We leisurely pedaled to the ferry dock and waited for a mid-day ferry, saying goodbye to this wonderful island along the way. From everything we have read and heard in conversation, Orcas is the hilliest of the major San Juan Islands. Our apprehension only got worse when a tourist riding a Surly LHT told us how he struggled on the roads. The place we planned to stay was in Eastsound Village, so we didn't have much of a choice. After taking a couple swigs of water and a bite of energy food, we began rolling.

Alpaca Farm
Alpaca Farm on Orcas Island
The road pointed north first before turning east toward Eastsound. It was early afternoon and the sun was out in full force, but the breeze from the sound kept the temperature down and the conditions quite pleasant. We were more observant of our efforts so as not to over-ride and struggle later on the supposedly hilly terrain. Though to our pleasant surprise, the terrain, even with our load, was nothing to worry about. I guess our usual riding and touring in the Bay Area hills prepare us well.

Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach outside Eastsound
Orcas is simply beautiful. Quiet country roads, evergreens and pastures everywhere. We took a bypass road that's even lighter in car traffic than the main road, then soaked in the bucolic atmosphere. The 9-mile ride to Eastsound Village went by quickly. Soon we had to slow down to enter this quaint town that sits in the middle of the island. We stopped to call our host for the night to get direction to his lodge/campground.

Riding toward Mt Constitution
Riding by Alpine Lake in Moran SP
We rode by Crescent Beach, upped a hill and arrived at the lodge. Our host Dave was very nice and showed us around. M. was tired so she took a nap on the hammock while I set up camp and went back to Eastsound to get some groceries for dinner and breakfast. We also had plans to get out for a sunset ride up Mt Constitution.

Our camp
our campsite on Orcas Island
After dinner, we relieved our bikes of panniers and locks, and rode toward Moran State Park. At 7:30 it was still very bright, though the temperature was beginning to drop. We rode at a good pace in the crisp but fragrant evening air. Moran State Park is a clean and serene area with big patches of evergreen forest and several alpine lakes. Soon we came to the fork and began climbing on Mt Constitution Road.

Wide panorama
Wide Panorama of Puget Sound from the top of Mt Constitution
Mt Constitution Road is a significant climb that gains 2000 ft in 5 miles. It reminded us of some of our favorite climbs in the Bay Area--BoFax Road from Alpine Dam or Bolinas to Ridgecrest, Kings Mountain Road, and Pinehurst Road. It was very well shaded but with a challenging gradient. We worked hard to crest to the top and enjoyed the output of effort. We were also rewarded with an expansive and jaw-dropping panoramic view of the Puget Sound. The climb itself was enjoyable, but the vista definitely put this climb to among our favorite roads to ride.

Alpine Lake Sunset
It was dusk now and we only have perhaps 30 minutes of civilian twilight left. I put 2 maps on my chest to maintain my core temperature for the descent turned on the dynamo light and headed back to the campground. We cleaned up and ate a snack before getting into our tent, under a tall evergreen, and went into a deep slumber. Tomorrow we will leave the island, but we will surely come back to this lovely place again.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Northwest Road Trip with Bikes: Lopez Island and Orcas Sighting.

A panorama shot from under the walkway to the ferry
Puget Sound from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal
We really enjoyed our time in Portland; so much so that I began second-guessing our decision to head to Puget Sound for 3 and 1/2 days. After all, wouldn't we be able to relax more and have a true vacation if we were to simply chill out in Portland? The calculus on the other side was that this was our first true longish vacation in a while, and we'd already driven all the way up here, so we might as well drive the extra 3 and 1/2 hours to Anacortes and check out the islands. In hindsight, our trip to the San Juan Islands was totally worth the extra drive and planning.

Washington State Ferry
From the ferry deck
Driving on the main corridor on the day before the July 4th long weekend was not the most pleasant experience. We stuttered our way to Anacortes, worried about missing our 5PM-ish ferry to Lopez Island, where we planned on staying the night. We got to the ferry terminal parking lot with enough time to unload our bikes, pack our gears onto the bikes (since we were camping for the next 3 nights) and wandered to the line for pedestrians/cyclists. I bought two tickets for us, chatted with a resident cyclist who is an experience tourist, and proceeded to board the ferry when the ferry worker let us on. Both M. and I were so excited about our trip--we giddily walked around the boat to soak in the amazing scenery and daydreamed about our adventures for the next days. Little did we know at the time that our adventure was indeed about to start, but not quite the way we planned.

Incoming Ferry
Ferry coming into Friday Harbor
The resident cyclist whom I was chatting with found us looking out the window and pointed out that we were on the wrong ferry, as the one we were on were headed directly for Friday Harbor on the main San Juan Island, whereas our intended ferry was the one after. We poured over the ferry schedule and realized that we won't be able to get to Lopez Island until 11pm at night. We considered finding a place to stay on San Juan Island but on late afternoon of July 3rd finding a spot to stay was nearly impossible.

Marina at dusk
Friday Harbor at Dusk
After we got off the boat we decided that we would hang out in Friday Harbor and wait for the late ferry to get on Lopez. We sat around and enjoyed the harbor the best we can. It was getting cooler, and we sought shelter in a enclosed hut on the dock. It was getting late but the darkness was slow to arrive. As we left Friday Harbor at 10:30 or so the night had barely fallen.

Sun is out
Sunrise at the campground on Lopez Island
I'd been to Lopez Island once in 2005, but navigating it at night, even with bright dynamo headlight on our bikes was not easy. We proceeded cautiously and were able to find our campground and stumbled our way to our site. After a long day of travel both of our patience was wearing thin. Somehow we got the tent pitched and we fell into slumber in the quiet evergreen forest on Lopez.

I also made the mistake of not bringing a sleeping bag. I'd checked the weather prior to leaving California, where we had the worst heatwave in several years. Portland was baking when we were there also. The forecast for the islands showed temperature in the 50's. I thought bringing a thin fleece blanket would be sufficient. I was mistaken and had to put on all the layers I had and stayed as close to M. in the tent (she had a sleeping bag) as I could. I did get used to it the following two nights and slept well.

Sequoia at the harbor
Lopez Island Harbor on July 4th
Lopez was very tranquil, even on a day like July 4th. I rode my bike 1.5 miles to the grocery store at the local village center to buy some food and supplies. The town was hosting a 5k run to raise fund for several local organizations. I meandered to the harbor nearby the market and stared for a while before heading back to the campground. Few folks were up at this point and hanging out in the common area. I made some breakfast and woke M. up to eat. After tossing a frisbee for a while I convinced M. that instead of kicking back and sitting in a lawn chair for the rest of the day, that we should take the ferry to San Juan Island again to check out the beautiful coastline on the west side of the island and to try our luck with potential sighting of orcas. M. was doubtful but decided to follow my whim.

Sequoia on Ferry
Bike on Ferry
We collected a bag of snacks and maps and headed for San Juan. After getting off the boat, we rode at a leisure pace toward the coast. The weather was breezy and sunny. There were more cars than I remembered from 8 years ago. After a couple of hilly stretches M. was regretting her decision and missing the hammock back at our camp site. We reached the coast shortly after and began to make our way toward Lime Kiln Point State Park.

Orcas watching
Orcas watching folks and boats
We saw some folks pulled over on the side of the road and made various sounds of exclamation. We stopped and walked up a big rock to see what it was about, and saw a line of boats moving steadily northward undoubtedly carrying passengers to watch orcas. While we were standing there enjoying an amazing vista of the sound, we saw it--an orca surfacing just above water and was moving about. Though it wasn't for long our interest was now definitely piqued. We decided to ride 2 miles to Lime Kiln to get a better view.

The state park had quite a few folks at this point. For the next hour or so, we sat on a rock near the beach in the park and saw 2-3 orcas surfacing from time to time, to the joy of people on the shore. It was truly an amazing sight, even if they were merely small specks from the beach.

Orca sighting!
The best I can do to capture the Orcas
Reluctantly, we got back on the road and headed back toward Friday Harbor so we can catch our ferry back to Lopez. Even without the orcas sighting, the ride up and down the west coast of San Juan was incredibly scenic and relaxing. We rode back to Friday Harbor in time for the ferry. After a low-key dinner and some time in the law chairs, we turned in to catch up on some needed sleep. The next day we planned on de-camping and then go visit Orcas Island before heading back to Portland for the weekend.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Northwest Road trip with Bikes: Portland 1

Hawthorne bridge

 My wife M and I managed to have a break at the same time, so at the last minute we decided to put a road trip together. Destinations that we considered include Portland, San Juan Islands, and Vancouver, BC. After looking at various transportation and lodging options, we decided to travel to Portland and the San Juan Islands for this 8-day trip.

Tram that travels between the two campuses of OHSU;
We loaded up our stuff and bikes--her Trek 720 and my Specialized Sequoia--on our car and began driving north on Highway 5. We were in the middle of a heatwave that impacted much of the West Coast. The Bay Area has begun to cool down as we were leaving, however, the HWY 5 corridor is more inland, and it was scorching once the morning sun had some time to cook the earth. As we left Mt Shasta and California around noon, the car's thermometer was registering triple digit, and hovered there for the rest of the trip to Portland. We stopped in Ashland to have lunch, and stopped whenever we needed to refill our water bottles or gas tank, or empty our bladders. We got to Portland around 6PM, and though it was beginning to cool some, it was still in the 90's and more humid than what we are accustomed to in the Bay Area. We stayed at a house we found on Airbnb in Southwest Portland, near Oregon Health Sciences University. Our host is a nice young couple who had moved to Portland relatively recently.

After settling into our room and rolling our bikes into the garage. My friend Joseph from high school came by and took us to dinner. Since he is vegetarian also, he is familiar with the many vegetarian/vegan options available in Portland. After a short discussion, we decided to eat at Los Gorditos, which is a greasy-spoon, Mission-style taqueria with a full vegan menu.

Vegan mexican food
Great Vegan Cal-Mex food at Los Gorditos
Coming from the Bay Area--the supposed mecca of Cal-Mex food and a metropolitan area with a good vegetarian/vegan population--I thought I had seen the newest and best of vegetarian Mexican food, but I was impressed and humbled by the food at Los Gorditos. The restaurant has on its vegan menu items that are commonplace in regular taqueria but unusual in vegetarian joints, such as vegan quesadilla and vegan chile relleno. When I was ordering, the cashier asked "what kind of vegan meat do you want, tofu, soyrizo, or soy curls?" I felt embarrassed for not knowing what soy curls are--they were good!

Joseph was kind enough to give us his run down of Portland after moving there from Seattle three years ago for a job. Although he prefers Seattle still, he does like PDX quite a bit. He drove us around and we got out the car and walk around the downtown and waterfront areas in the NW. We saw amazing food cart clusters, the long line at Voodoo Doughnuts, and the many folks out and about in and near the Esplanada and the waterfront park. The Willamette River and the several bridges over it provided great ambiance to the summer late dusk (it was close to 10 and it was still not dark out). By the time Joseph dropped us off it was past 10pm. We fell asleep pretty quickly after a long day of driving.

Riding along the river
riding along the river toward downtown
The next morning, we chatted with our host some over breakfast, got our bikes ready and set out to explore Portland. We didn't have any specific destination in mind. From the get go we were impressed with the city's famed bicycle culture; not only were the infrastructure plentiful and well-designed, but the sheer number of people on bikes is perhaps unrivaled in the United States. We rode along the Willamette River and the connecting bike paths toward downtown, and eventually ended up near Voodoo Doughnuts again, but the line was still too long. We were getting hungry as it was close to lunch time so we rode around looking for a food cart cluster--another great feature of Portland. A few blocks away at the intersection of Stark and 3rd, we found DC Vegetarian in a cluster. We ordered a vegan bacon cheese burger (check out this portlandia clip for reference) and a vegan bah mi (Vietnamese-style vegan beef sandwich). They were both extremely delicious.

DC Vegetarian
Food Cart Cluster
The food cart cluster concept is brilliant, and I wonder why more cities don't learn from Portland to encourage it. These clusters are usually located in empty parking lots, and bring benefits to all parties. For vendors, the cost of starting a business is significantly lower than starting a restaurant. Given the low cost, vendors can have a longer incubation period where they can test and adjust menu to find out what customers like. Being close to several, even a dozen or more other vendors attract a wider audience who may not have been coming for a specific food cart, but may end up buying from it once they get to the cluster for various reasons. Once a vendor establishes a clientele and a strong demand, it can set up a location that can serve more customers (see Los Gortidos above). For patrons, having many food carts in a cluster means many options of food, and also innovation of menu where vendors are more willing to try new ways of preparing food because their start-up and ongoing costs are lower. For the cities, food cart clusters energize gray and dead spaces such as parking lots or other empty lots, and generate foot traffic and commercial activities. We found Portland downtown to be buzzing around lunch time where people were out on the sidewalk and benches eating and chatting.

The Redlight
We returned to Voodoo Doughnuts yet again after lunch, but after seeing the unrelenting queue, we decided to move on and check out other parts of the city. We rode across the Burnside Bridge, and rode to Hawthorne. We parked our bikes (great parking infrastructure!) and walked and checked out different stores. M. scored some vintage T-shirts at Redlight, and we decided to check out a tea bar where we can sit and read for a while.

Side of the caboose
The Tea Chai Te Too is located in Sellwood, which is south of the SE Portland. We rode to the river bank and followed a long (4 miles) rail-to-trail Springwater corridor to Sellwood. The trail is extremely well maintained and provide commuters and recreational cyclists a fast, safe, and pleasant way to travel between SE Portland and Sellwood. The front part of Tea Chai Te Too tea bar is housed in a former caboose. It even kept some original setup of the train cart. We ordered several different types of cool tea and read and dozed off for a couple of hours. We decided to eat at Los Gorditos again because it was simply too good.

Crossing Hawthorne Bridge
Afterward, we crossed the Hawthorne Bridge back to the west side. As we exit the bridge (which has separate bike exit ramps) we saw the bike counter, which was showing "6267". Which shows the volume of folks traveling on bikes. We hung out on the Esplanade for a little longer as the sun was setting; folks were out walking and riding around. Portland reminded me of London with its many bridges on the Thames. The ride back to our BnB was very enjoyable, as the temperature has finally dropped to a comfortable level. It was a wonderful day in Portland!

Under hawthorne bridge

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ebisu freshened up

Ebisu 2011 set up

My Ebisu has a very distinctive grey color, and it worked really well with a pair of red Grand Bois Hetres tires. The ones I had on it were there since when the bike was new and has now 2500 miles on them. They are still in good shape. My Specialized Sequoia needed new tires, so I decided to give Ebisu a new look. I put a pair of low-mileage new-to-me white Hetres that I got in a trade recently, and then re-wrap the handlebar with white Fizik microtex tapes. I pumped the tires up to 45 psi with 26"x 1.25" Q-tube superlight butyl tubes (they have lower listed weight than the Schwalbe 650b SV latex tubes) and rode the Ebisu on the recent SFR DART Populaire. Everything being equal, the white performs about just the same as the red ones. Perhaps the red ones feel slightly plusher because they have been stretched and worn some. I also changed the front derailleur to a 8-speed Shimano 600 one to replace the 10-speed R700. The 8-speed front mech has wider cages and allows me to shift the entire cassette without trimming very much in the front. The next project for this bike, which may be months away, is to build a pair of lightweight event wheels out of Pacenti PL23 rims and Chris King/SON Delux hubs.

Ebisu with white tires and bar tapes

SFR DART Populaire: Millbrae to Berkeley

Team Berkeley Cyclers
Team Berkeley Cyclers on Canada Road
I gathered a team together to participate in the San Francisco Randonneurs' DART Populaire event. My teammates Rachel, Deborah, and M. got on BART at 8:45 to get across the Bay for our 10AM start. The DART, similar to Fleche, is a team randonneuring event with each team designing its own route but all ending at the same location. This SFR hosted two distances for DART, 200k and 120k. Given my lack of shape after two months of little riding, our team went for the 120k (Populaire) version. The route starts in Millbrae and meanders down the Peninsula along roads in the foothills, then cross the Dumbarton Bridge to East Bay. It goes east from Fremont and connects to Castro Valley via Palomares Road, then comes back to Oakland and Berkeley on Redwood Road and Montclair.

Water Temple
Taking a Break at the Pulgas Water Temple
Our last teammate Rinaldi met us at the Chase Bank near the BART station, and led us through the easy going neighborhood roads through upscale suburbs on the upper Peninsula. We took the Polhemus Bike Trail over to Canada Road, then rode along the Crystal Springs Reservoir for a while, even stopping at the Pulgas Water Temple. The weather was forecasted to be very hot in the Bay Area, and though at this time of the day it was breezy enough to be comfortable, the pool at the Water Temple was inviting. Canada Road's smooth pavement and a slight tailwind made for fast riding, and we got to Robert's Market in Woodside in decent time. After getting a receipt and taking a brief break, we descended on Woodside Road and rode through Atherton and Menlo Park and headed for the Dumbarton Bridge.

Fixing a dropped chain on the dumbarton bridge
Fixing a dropped chain on Dumbarton Bridge
I was a frequent user of the Dumbarton Bridge as a cyclist when I was working in Sunnyvale and Menlo Park, but all my teammates hadn't riding across the bridge in this direction. While noisy and smelly, riding across the Dumbarton Bridge always impresses me visually. We battled wind on the trail following the span and entered Newark/Fremont on Thorton Road. After making a couple of turns to get on Mowry, we found a Subway Sandwich in a shopping center to eat our lunch.

Even though I felt we were going at a good clip all morning, we barely had time to eat lunch at a leisurely pace. Soon we were on our way again riding toward Niles Canyon and Palomares--the first of two major climbs of the day. Now the weather forecast has become true, and it was hot! M. felt it must have hit triple digit on the tarmac. While Deborah and Rachel rode on toward our second control Westover Winery, M., Rinaldi and I stayed together and slowly made our way up. M. was coming from a business trip and had a late night the night before, and was struggling in the heat. We got to the Winery just as Deborah was about to move again to catch Rachel, who had rode on. The owner of the winery was super gracious and hunted down some cold soda for us and filled our bottles with iced water. Feeling more refreshed and knowing that the summit is close, we rode on and soon we were descending and riding on the downhill rollers that followed. As we approached E. Castro Valley Road, our team regrouped.

M. decided to get on BART at Castro Valley--the heat had done her in, and it was a bit touch and go whether we would make it to the next stop--our 2-hour control. When I was planning the route, the SFR DART organizer Roland Bevan and I had discussed having a control on Redwood Road to be the 2-hour control, and a park entrance (Anthony Chabot Regional Park) 2 miles after the climb and 18 miles from the finish seemed to be a good choice. I even called the park to check if it has a ranger booth at the Redwood Road entrance.

Ebisu at the hard-to-find ranger station
Ebisu at the alusive ranger booth at Anthony Chabot
Deborah had gone ahead, and Rachel wasn't far behind her. When I got there, Rachel hadn't seen Deborah, and was wondering where to get water. I looked over and the sign says "rifle range, 1.9 miles; Ground Campground 2.0 miles; Campground 2.2 miles", my heart sank as we won't be able to obtain a proof of passage in time. I told Rachel to get some water while I wait for Rinaldi. Rinaldi rested some and decided to move on. I went after Rachel to get some water myself. After 2 miles of up and down riding with non-trivial hills, I finally saw the ranger booth at the bottom of a hill. I asked the rangers if they saw cyclists who fit Deborah and Rachel's descriptions but they couldn't tell me. Rachel must have gone to the group campground or the gun range to get water. I filled my bottles with a hose and began climbing back toward Redwood Road. At this point our team wouldn't finish on time.

Top of Crestmont
looks great, but I missed a turn and had to walk back up 20% hills
I rode solo all the way back to Redwood and Skyline and was ready to descend. At this point finally I got some cellphone reception and was able to talk to Rinaldi on the phone. They were just 5 minutes ahead of me. I urged them to head for the finish, and M. is making her way there, too. I dropped down on Crestmont from Skyline, but missed the Butters turn, and end up at a dead-end street after dropping on a couple of 20% descents. At this point, I got off my bike and walked back to Butters, which took me 20 minutes. At least it was very cool now.

With the fog in full force, my ride through Butters and Montclair was chilly--what difference does a couple of hours and less than 10 miles make!--I rode through familiar roads in Oakland and Berkeley and stopped by the house to pick up a jacket before heading to the finish. Deborah, M., Rachel were already there, and Rinaldi brought his family soon after. We vegetarians and vegans on our team, and the staff at T-Rex brought us yummy pasta, salad, steamed beans, and corn bread. Many other DART teams were at various stages of dinner and I said hi and chatted with several folks I know. Rob, our regional RBA told us that 7 teams DNF'ed, and even the 10 teams that finished in time lost riders.

Bike parking at the finish - T-Rex Grill
bike parking at T-Rex 
Over dinner folks chatted and ate merrily, and we all agreed that even though we couldn't get the official credit for the ride, we all had a wonderful day riding and 4 of us had more than 86 miles on our cyclometers. Thanks to the organizer's great effort we had a wonderful gathering at the end.