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01/23/07
Mighty Close Now
Filed under: brevets
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:11 am

Photo by Carlos D
Carlos snapped this shot on the dirt section of the Cross Marin Bike Path during our recent ride together. With the movement, lighting and background, there’s a great feel to this image which really captures this oft-overlooked section of trail. He has a few more on his Flickr stream of the most recent ride, as well as a gallery over on his bike section.

It has come down to the last week, so there’s very little to do but obsess over small details and fret a bit about the weather. Saturday AM is the SF Randonneurs 200K, I’m going to be rechecking and editing lists and going through the last little details.

Ride time has been pretty good, with my highest mileage January in memory. Other than the week after Christmas, I’ve stayed reasonably healthy and have managed a few decent loops on the weekends. I snuck in some hard mid-week rides a few weeks back, and suffered for it - or perhaps more appropriately, those around me suffered for it, as I was tired and cranky for about a week. Got a little scared last Saturday, as the legs just didn’t feel too good for most of the ride. However, they did pretty well on a longer ride Sunday with Carlos, and today they actually feel decent. (Of course, seated at a computer is not the same as pedaling up a hill or two…)  It may have been that last week’s forced layoff was the culprit. In general, my body has done better with more consistent activity, so although I don’t want to cook myself this week, I’m going to make sure that the tires hit pavement a little through the rest of the week.

Which Brings Us to Bike Tech. Speaking of tires (and other bike tech), I nabbed a new set of TG Paselas (700c x 32).  Although there’s plenty of meat left on the “training tires”, these’ll get swapped tomorrow and will have the shine rubbed off of ‘em with the aforementioned shorty rides.  The 32’s (which came stock on the bike) leave me with a lot of pressure options for the rough stuff out by the Lighthouse, and they roll very well. The headlight mount worked like a charm, once a lower travel bumper was installed to keep the light head from migrating downward. The battery is tucked into the Nigel Smythe & Sons Little Loafer and the cable routing runs nicely through the attachment straps. The NS&S LL is really a nicely put together little bag - fits perfectly on the Nitto Mini Front (Camper) rack and is small enough that it forces you to select what you want to go into it. While this might sound like I’m damning it with faint praise, it’s a real plus in my book.  One of my working theories is that gear will expand to fit any means of conveyance.  In other words - bigger bag, more stuff.  With this bag, everything has to earn its place.

(And let me briefly digress about the bag & fabric - it’s the green plaid wool, laminated to an inner layer.  There was a fair amount of wailing and moaning about the “tweedy” look of these on the RBW and iBOB lists. Fact is, from 5 or 6 feet away, it matches closely enough with the worn-in tan of my Baggins Banana Bag. It melds into the background in a way that isn’t quite so apparent from photographs, but when you take a close look at it, the details are interesting and top-quality.)

My plan is to use the front bag for foodstuffs and things I want to get at in a hurry, while the Stuff I Hope I Don’t Need will go aft. As long as I’m fixating on bags a bit, the Banana Bag saved my backside on Sunday’s ride.  In a wonderfully boneheaded move, I never refastened the strap when I checked something at the Marshall store.  When I paused for a phone-check as I turned onto Lucas Valley, there was a rattly sound that wasn’t right. So, I looked. Wiser men than me at that moment have observed, “DOH!” The bag had been unsecured the whole time. Everything which had been inside it - tools, spares, patch kit, etc. had joined hands and held on the entire time - maybe an hour? - and gave me a dirty-but-thankful look as I refastened the buckle.

So, the only things to assemble for the 200K will be an appropriate length of chain link spares (enough for three or four catastrophic failures), some zip-ties (y’never know), a second tube and patch kit (one to give away) and an extra rack bolt.  The NWS is giving a chance of rain Thursday with a slight chance on Friday and Saturday. This has been a change, and means I need to get the fenders ready to mount. Cold has been the prevailing condition, and that’s been what I’ve been focused on dealing with.  This morning is another 34 degrees on the back porch, with frost on the surrounding roofs. I’ve been using knee warmers under the tights, which seems to be about right. The possibility of rain concerns me a bit, as I don’t really have appropriate lower coverage.  Usually when riding, the fenders have protected me from below while the shadow from my upper body has kept my legs reasonably dry. However, I don’t think that’s a formula for success on a ride of this length. I’m thinking a cheap pair of nylon pants, which I might hack off at the knees.  But, I’ll keep my eyes on the NWS feed and see what happens.

Food and Water are a Good Idea. Riding with Carlos on Sunday reminded me how easy it is to get distracted and a little off my plan. I didn’t drink as regularly as I have been doing, and thought my light breakfast would get me to Marshall. By the time we passed through Pt. Reyes Station, I was drinking but feeling thirsty and feeling pretty empty in the belly. I dug out and ground up a Clif Bar in my teeth, but it was a bit of a trick to swallow the solid food - with the headwind we encountered on Hwy 1 drying as well as cooling, I’d gotten a bit dry in the throat. Gross as it sounds, I just kept chewing and rechewing the food until it was seriously close to fluid, then forced down a sip of water with each little section that could be swallowed. That pepped me back up pretty quickly. But, it reminded me that it’s gonna be imiportant not to get giddy and overcook things, both in terms of food/water and efforts expended. The pacing of the fixed-gear will be a bit unlike the coastables, so I’ll need to be aware of the racer-brain and eat.  I may even pre-snip a bar or two, so I can open it easier.

Meting Out the Effort. As I just mentioned, it is also important to stay on my pace. The geared folks will be motoring up some of the hills, and there will be times when I look forlorn and broken.  But, there are a variety of gears on a fixed system, and I need to focus pretty strongly on using momentum and body weight to climb whenever possible. There are probably four sections where I’ll need to really stomp (White’s Hill, Tocaloma Climb to Olema, Inverness Climb towards Mt. Vision and Lighthouse Climb), and more than a couple others where fatigue will create a more abrupt gradient than is apparent, so everywhere I can take it easy will pay itself forward (or would that be “upward”?)

Watching the Clock. Carlos suprised me by pointing out that we had lunched for almost 45 minutes. I’d reckoned that it was maybe 30, but hadn’t been checking my time.

Where to Rest. My plan is a reasonably quick turn-around at the Lighthouse.  As it is on the southern end of Pt. Reyes, a headwind is a strong possibility for the return leg. It also may make some sense to not dally up in Marshall. Pt. Reyes Station is pretty protected and there are a few places to get out of the wind and stay warm, so if I’m feeling peppy, it might be better to retreat to the Bovine Bakery. I’m going to have to think this through a little better - it strikes me as a weak spot in my prep.

Still To Do. Go through 1st Aid Kit. ScotchGuard the nylon windbreaker. Clean the bike and swap tires. Check all bolts and make sure all tools are present. Print and Copy Route Sheet. New batteries for backup headlight/tailight. Charge headlight battery.  Charge Pencam batteries. Figure out any forgotten things to do.

Which means we’re pretty much on final approach at this point…

2 Responses to “Mighty Close Now”

  1. tarik Says:
    Geewillikers, Good luck, and get all that stuff done. I can barely get my ass out the door within 15minutes of my intended departure time these days. Sounds like you are taking this pretty seriously and should do well. Congrats on the prep and go get em.
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    Yeah - it does look frighteningly fastidious when it’s laid out like that. I always figure something unexpected will occur, so it’s best to go through the stuff you can control. Thanks for the good words! Keep yer cats warm out there in the icy southwest…