Got out Sunday for a nice loop of pavement and dirt. Climbed a bit and didn’t lock up anywhere, which was nice. Definitely a bit sore afterwards, but the good kind of sore which denotes that you were able to go the whole time.
But, while I meandered around, there were lessons being taught, Of course, I guess there are always lessons being taught. These were just the ones that I noticed on Sunday.
Don’t Get Pulled Into the Flow -
This is one I see often, and it’s easy to let occur. As I was heading out around San Pedro Point the road is two lane and relatively narrow. It’s kind of a curvy “country” road, with decent enough line of site and quiet enough that you can usually hear traffic approaching. I came upon a group of newer riders, who were spread out a bit in the lane. Heard a car coming up from behind and dropped my speed so as not to be passing them at the same time. They also heard the auto, and single-filed themselves. The driver passed them and the last rider began easing back out, seemingly sucked forward and to their left by the wake of the vehicle. A bad thing, as there was another car behind the first. Luckily, no oncoming traffic and the second driver had passed with plenty of room. But, it was a graphic example of why you always assume that traffic has stacked up behind the first car.
Look Behind -
It’s really a corollary to the first thing. But, if folks on the road, on the trail, entering from the curb or just any manner of forward-facing-but-backwardsly-blind positioning would just flip a look back every once in a while, they’d be startled less and end up much more aware of what was going on. Curves are great times to do this, as quick glimpse will alert you to any movement approaching.
Bring Stuff -
All along the roadway near China Camp were the cars from the trail users of the day. From the back of one car, a voice called out, “Heyougottapump?” Easing back, there were a couple of guys trying to inflate an mtb tire with a short little pack pump. After connecting my frame pump, we had equally poor luck in getting any good results. I could hear something hissing, and the bike owner lamented that he’d probably pinched the tube putting it in. I asked if they had another tube. They did not. They were quite distraught, since they were under a time constraint. But, it got me thinking. I had two tubes (700C, otherwise I would’ve given ‘em one) and three (don’t ask) patch kits in my bag. I was riding. Here, these two guys had driven to the ride and had only one spare tube between the two of them, and no way to patch it. I mean, they were in a car, ferheavensakes! They didn’t have to physically carry anything! Floor pump, basic tool kit (or the whole thing if you have a portable kit), extra tubes all are pretty simple to chuck into the car. But, the lack of that pretty much clipped their trail ride.
Fear the Tourist -
Bridgeway in Sausalito, from the south end of Caledonia Street to the climb out of town, is probably one of the most nerve-wracking sections of road in Marin County. Unless you are engaging in a mixed-terrain route, you are one of the 99.99% of north/south bound cyclists using this route. Tourist density is high, both on the road (narrow) and sidewalk (multiple crosswalks). Having negotiated the main part of town, I was easing along with the flow of traffic on the waterfront section of the road. In front of me was a convertible Porsche with the top down, and I noticed that the passenger was holding up an iPhone as they moved slowishly forward. “Parking Spot Finder” - I didn’t know there was an app for that, but clearly there was. Diving suddenly to the right and stopping, they immediately brought auto traffic to a stop. Luckily, I’d sensed their indecision and erratic-ness, had positioned myself to their left-hand quarter, and was able to move past without being plowed over.
Respect the Bulk of the Bus -
A fine example of abject fear is when you are in the narrow, narrow tunnel on Sausalito Lateral underneath the freeway, and you hear the sound of a roaring bus engine behind you. Maybe I should have taken the full lane before entering the tunnel, but whizzing traffic prevented that, and by the time the bus approached, I wasn’t sure he could see me in the very dark shadow therein. At least he pulled out slightly to give me some room as he blew past - well, before the oncoming traffic forced him back into my lane. Luckily, busses turn only on the front wheels. My forward path was eclipsed (as was the light in the tunnel), but the back end of the bus stayed a few feet away. Slamming on my brakes and edging against the curb, no Jim pancakes (or waffles) were formed.
Honor The Tailwind -
Sunday was the first of what they are forecasting as a week-long heat wave up here. The winds were pretty odd all day, but as soon as I turned onto the trails, I picked up a warm tailwind. Which meant that sweat pretty much got baked off by the sun rather than evaporated by any breezes. By the time I got home, even though I’d sucked down every swallow of my water, stopped to douse my cap a few times and sputtered the last spray onto my legs at the top of the last climb, it took a massive effort just to flop into the shower and sit under the cool water. It was one of those times when you spray cold water on your head, and my the time it reaches your low back, it feels hot. I’ve had this happen a couple times, when you get pushed along by a warm breeze. They are extremely deceptive, because you benefit from the tailwind, but cooked up by the heat. By the time you notice, it’s very hard to recover - much more so than a hot headwind. I think if I hadn’t reached home when I did, I would have needed a bag of ice on my brain for a while before