Family Bicycling

April 2, 2012

San Francisco Randonneurs 300k Ride Report

Filed under: Solo Adventures — ttoshi @ 6:24 am

Well, this is ride two (300k) of the San Francisco Randonneurs
Ride Series. I did the 200k last month and the 400k and 600k are to
follow if I dare. My work colleagues wonder why I do crazy stuff like
this. It’s mostly because I love to ride my bicycle, but I also like
to have tangible goals to work toward so I can keep motivated and do
some exercise. With two young kids and their activities like baseball
practice, violin practice, swimming lessons etc., and my normal work
and life routines, I have to work hard to fit in time for training and
riding.
I joked that after my 200k, in preparation for the 300k, I rode
zero miles on the road with my single bike. While that was true,what
I didn’t say is that I did ride with my son and daughter during the
weekends and put in a good 70 miles the last month on the tandem and
triplet, including an inaugural run up Wildcat Canyon with the kids,
where we saw Melarie and Mike et al as well as a bunch of Grizzlies on
the Century Prep Warm Up Ride. Other than that, I did do at least two
spin sessions a week on my bike trainer. Last year I did very high
intensity intervals and about 30-40 minute sessions. This year, my
legs didn’t feel up to those intervals because of a slight knee pain
here or there, I’m too tired that night or my dog ate my homework.
However, I had to do something, so I did longer workouts and watched
some movies. OK, so this form of training was great because I was able
to get some lengthy riding time in on the trainer and watch some good
movies that I got for free from the library.
(*Start digression)
I don’t have Netflix, but I did rediscover the library. San
Francisco Public Library allows you to reserve movies, which is
awesome. It also now allows 3 week rental terms and you can renew the
movies provided nobody else has reserved those movies (In contrast,
Oakland has 1 week rentals and no reservations). For which movies to
watch, I used a great site called criticker.com. Criticker lets you
rank some movies that you watched and it will make recommendations for
you based upon how you rated your watched movies. The more movies you
rate, the better the recommendations and it will match your taste to
other people with similar tastes and you can look at their favorite
lists for ideas. For the most part it is spot on in terms of
recommendations. Here are five of my recommendations from my Top ten
list before we go back to cycling: Seven Samurai (my best movie ever),
Princess Bride (offbeat classic), 12 Angry Men (Henry Fonda, wow a
great Criticker recommendation), GATTACA (Real science fiction–No
guns or aliens in this one), My Neighbor Totoro (my daughter Mei was
named after this perfect family movie, and in Japan there was a huge
spike in that name :) .
(*End digression)
Brevets are self-supported rides. You should carry enough stuff
to get by and know how to fix things should you break down. In order
to become more self-sufficient, I wanted to build up my own bike.
After the death of a fellow rider on Grizzly Peak road as his tire got
stuck in a crack and thrown into incoming traffic, I decided to buy a
frame that allows wider tires to at least help stabilize my ride and
decrease the odds of losing control by using wider, lower pressure
tires. As a side benefit, I get a super comfortable ride that
incidentally is not necessarily slower due to the wider tire. Anyhow,
I saw a Rivendell Rambouillet frame on sale on a bike list and I
purchased it. I had the headset installed by a bike shop and then
built up the rest of the bike myself. For the 300k, I put on my front
wheel with a generator hub that I hand built and used my hand-built
rear wheel as well. If something broke down, then I would have only
myself to blame!
For this ride, my good buddy Randy was not available and I had to
plan on doing it alone. My plan was to spend as little time as
possible off the bike and eat on the bike and stay on the go. My best
time on the Davis Double was 14:30, and this ride is a little shorter
and maybe similarly hilly, so I thought that 15:00 was pretty
reasonable if I managed to keep my rest stops short. I started the
day volunteering for the sign-in. I always try to give back to
volunteer organizations I participate in when I can. Sign-in is easy,
except for the fact you need to wake up a little earlier, but you get
primo parking, which is a perk! Anyhow, fellow GPC-er Bill Monson and
I checked in the riders for the N-Z group and I saw the usual crew of
GPC riders, including Mark A., Mark H., Nancy Yu, Andrew, Eric, Bruce
M. and Rob Hawks.
The ride went well and I took it easy on the hills and kept a
strong pace on the flats. Rich Fisher kindly volunteered at a secret
control and I continued on to Petaluma basically on my own. I stopped
in the Safeway and picked up a can of almonds which I stuffed into my
front bag and some water and continued on my way. With me, I brought 3
bottles of hammer gel and 2 water bottles with Perpetuem, along with 4
baggies full of Perpetuem to refill along the way. I also brought 5
emergency boiled eggs for extra protein and a big bag of Berkeley bowl
fig bars if I ran out of Hammer carbs. All I needed along the way was
additional protein and salt. After quickly leaving the Safeway, I met
Bubba from El Cerrito, who was also riding a Rivendell, and Mack from
Fairfield. Mack was super strong and pulled me most of the way to
Healdsburg. Along the way, I ran into two guys on carbon fiber bikes
and I think one didn’t even have a saddlebag! I was presciently
thinking, so much for self-supported! My bike and provisions probably
weighed 15 lbs more than his bike. Anyhow, they were super nice and
joking about their lack of provisions and one of them said they want a
nice touring bike like mine. We were riding for a little while and I
thought one of the guy’s rear derailleur might have broken, but what
ended up happening was his chain broke and put his derailleur in a
funny angle. Lucky for them, a guy riding with us had a 10-spd master
link and a huge pannier and lots of other stuff I’m sure (despite all
the extras, he was stronger and faster than me!). The carbon fiber guy
had an 11-spd bike, but I guess the master link still worked (It’s a
wonder that Campy didn’t force it to be incompatible :) . After this,
Roland, Mack and I cruised to the next Safeway stop where I got a
chicken breast, corn dog, V-8 and more water.
The corn dog tasted great and I kept the chicken for later. We
passed a bunch of wineries on our way to Guerneville and we held out
our arms wanting to get some wine passed to us, but they thought we
were waving to them. They probably knew it was a self-supported ride
and didn’t want to help us. Anyhow, there were quite a few little
rollers in this section, and a bunch of people including my new buddy
Mack passed me on this short hill. I had no intention of catching
them, but there was a big downhill and turn onto a road perfect for
pacelining and luckily joined the group. We held it mostly together
until we got to Highway 1. Luckily the wind wasn’t bad and I soloed it
to Bodega Bay where I got another corn dog, 2 V-8s and another water.
Every challenging ride will have a section where you feel like
you’re quite stupid and you’re wondering why you are out there and
unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) on this ride there are no sag
wagons to take you home. I felt this way on a relatively steep (my
computer said 11%) section on the way to Tomales Bay. I had a good 5
hours in the bank, and even if I walked up all the remaining hills on
the way home, I would probably still make it on time, but that thought
didn’t make me feel any better. What I’ve learned is that when I feel
like that, there’s nothing better than a bottle of hammer gel. I
probably downed a good 600-700 calories right there, and wow, in about
15-20 minutes, I felt like new.
I made it to Marshall, where the store was officially closed, but
still open for business and I bought a diet pepsi for caffeine for
later. I stuffed that in my handlebar bag and continued on. I didn’t
need any more water since I was close enough to home and had a good
full bottle (and diet pepsi) for liquid and probably another 1000
calories of hammer gel if needed. Life was good and I was thinking
that hey, things are going well, when all of a sudden I heard a pssst.
Yeah, a rear flat. Luckily it was easy to fix and although I didn’t
find the cause, it also didn’t repuncture, so that was good! I
navigated my way back to Sausalito on my own while downing my Pepsi
and teamed up in Sausalito with two others for the finish. I finished
at 8:53 PM, in 14:53 total time, which matched my goal, so things went
well. The bike did great and I was super comfortable in my $15 700x32c
Panaracer Pasela tires. Overall, it was a great ride thanks to the
volunteers and my new found friends. I ended the day with 3/4 of a
bottle of Hammer gel, 4/5 of a chicken breast, 4 boiled eggs, 3/4 of a
Perpetuem baggy and a full bag of fig bars. After this good
experience, I will try the 400k, and will probably continue to carry
the extra 3 lbs of food. Better safe than sorry right?—hmm…

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