It’s been a while since this ride, but there were some things about it I still think are worth writing about. Other than the obvious one, being the fact that it was the longest of this year’s series. Several points will always make it stand out for me, and then there’s the totally magical, mystifying, unlikely, and amazing thing that happened toward the end! Saving that one for last! But the other five points are good too…
- Sadly I was not able to get my wheels rebuilt in enough time after the 400k to have decent and safe wheels for my bike. So, because I happen to be dating the bicycle equivalent of a shoe horse (who also happens to be a loving and caring and generous person), my boyfriend loaned me one of his bikes. He loaned me… his titanium Steve Potts custom rando. Yes. He hasn’t been riding it too much since he stopped riding most RUSA events, and maybe he thought it needed to be ridden some. I wasn’t gonna ask why, I just rode the crap out of that bike (carefully!) and enjoyed every moment. And I can say I didn’t ask why, but I did feel a slight bit guilty about riding John’s bike. A Ti frame with Pelican geometry that took many a long month to make. Custom made by Steve Potts… A slight bit guilty, but it was nice to have that gesture of support from my sweetheart, and I knew that I would appreciate the bike through every kilometer. The gearing was quite different from my usual setup, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I even wondered if I should change my current gearing.
- Another great thing about riding the Potts was it was set up for only a small handlebar bag and a small saddle mounted tool bag. One of my constant issues with my current setup is that I enjoy the convenience of the highly compartmentalized Berthoud bag, but it discourages me from carrying less somehow. I was really looking forward to the freedom of carrying less. On a 600k, the extra energy expended in carrying more stuff does add up. The bike itself was lighter too, adding up to a real feeling of liberation.
- Graffiti on the bathroom wall in Cloverdale. This is kind of an offshoot of the pleasures of riding alone, since I doubt if I were riding with others, would I have proposed stopping in Cloverdale. But, heavy climbing is uncomfortable if you need to go to the bathroom, and I haven’t ever been comfortable taking a leak en plein air like the mensfolk. So just as I was about to give up on finding a good place with a loo in Cloverdale, I saw the Public Library sign! Having been a librarian, public libraries are real oases to me, and I was curious what the Cloverdale one would be like. So, I went in and found the following graffiti on the ladies’ room wall:
On the way out, I found a nice copy of Two Years Before the Mast in the for sale box in the vestibule. I had a hard time leaving that behind, though would have felt silly carrying it over the hill.
- The campground. It is my second time for this beautiful place. The campground this year had a different feel than the last time, but was even better because John was volunteering there and had brought me a tent to sleep in. I got almost twice as much sleep as when I did this ride in 2014! It’s always hard for me to leave.
- The ride itself! Here, look at some pictures. I rode it mostly solo, though I did ride with Eric M, Therese C, and Dan B for a little while, and some others through Samuel P. Taylor park.
- Lastly, the unlikely and magical thing. When I was descending Olema hill toward Point Reyes Station in the morning of the first day, my changeable-lens sunglasses bounced out of the rear pocket of my wind vest. They were astronomically expensive and purchased with the aid of an REI gift card from my brother, REI membership dividends, and annual member sale and were still expensive, so I was pretty bummed about that. This is the second pair of changeable lens sunglasses I have lost, and I also dislike having the lenses when the sunglasses are no longer there. But I resigned myself to this fate and pedaled on. In the past I have bought a pair of sunglasses from the dollar store in Healdsburg to get me through…
kinda ridiculous, but whatever. Well. On the inbound leg of this route, we climb back up Olema hill. So I’m climbing, and hoping, and scanning the roadside, and climbing, and hoping, and… yes, they were there. I found them! They were not too far from a trailhead, so anyone could have picked them up. But I got them back.
And, more importantly, I finished the ride. I was the last one in, just like the 300k and the 400k, which kind of made me glad in a way. Participation has been down slightly this year for us SFRs. I don’t think I’ve gotten slower; in fact, I improved my time by two hours this year (due to the much lighter bike, most likely). John was there to greet me at the finish (even though he woke up at the same time the day before that I did, then went through all the duties of working at the campground, setting up a tent for me as well as staying up throughout the night, and striking camp and cleaning the campground the next day!), and two Erics were there, and I got to tell the story about my lost and found sunglasses! All good. There were some cloudy skies on this ride, but no rain, I met or surpassed all my time goals, and felt great at the finish.