R8: SCR Dart

The Santa Cruz Randonneurs’ Dart event was the highlight of my 2012 riding year. (A Dart is a 200k team event similar to a flèche, but it is shorter, and teams do not ride through the night.) The finish control dinner was held at the Tied House in Mountain View, with great food, beer, and company. It’s a large enough venue that all teams could show up at more or less the same time and all sit down together to eat, drink, and swap stories. To commemorate the occasion, the Dart organizer commissioned this poster from a fellow randonneure who also happens to be a very talented artist. IMG_0445

This year, I would be sure to participate. John had been trying to arrange a way to get several teams together on the same route, yet with slightly different start times, so we could have a big movable party along the way, but we couldn’t get enough people together for it. I thought it was a brilliant idea, one I hope someone uses sometime! But for this year, John assembled just one team, comprised of everyone from last year’s team except Heath–replaced by the creator of the above poster: Alice Stribling!

It was fun to get the chance to ride with all of them. I haven’t been able to ride with Ely or Jim too much, since both have young families. Despite Jim’s pre-ride moaning about his lack of being in shape, I was pretty impressed with how he rode.

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Jim enjoying the coast

The weather was slightly cloudy for most of the morning, though it cleared up later on the climb up Soquel-San Jose Road. We used the same route as last year, Jesse Marsh’s Coastal Cruz permanent.

Me n Capitaine Quelle Heure Est-Il at the Half Moon Bay wayside...

Me n Capitaine Quelle Heure Est-Il at the Half Moon Bay wayside… photo courtesy of Alice

Randonneuring is soo classy

Typically classy randonneur behaviours on display at Arcangeli’s. Visible in front is Alice’s war wound in her recent battle with the train tracks near Townsend Street in SF

As far as city limit sign sprints, I think John took most of them, though I do recall an intense early-morning contest for Daly City between Ely and John. For some bizarre reason, John and Ely arrived at the Pescadero sign before me but did not cross it, so I won that one. That was odd. But then I stole a really good one at Davenport from a completely unsuspecting Jim, and decided to stop and reward myself with a pint of roadside blueberries, being so far ahead and all…

ride to eat to ride to eat to ride...

ride to eat to ride to eat to ride…

There was a very unfortunate bike crash near the city limit sign: a woman had gone over the railroad tracks at the wrong angle, gotten her wheel stuck, and flipped (according to the blueberry vendors); then, unable to find assistance in Davenport, she got back on her bike to go back the way she came and tripped over the tracks a second time. Agghhh we saw her being loaded into an ambulance as we passed (she still seemed conscious), and the guys at the fruit table spilled the whole story to me as they gave me testers of the honey they were selling. Alice had just taken a dive in SF due to some misplaced railroad tracks, so I’m sure it gave her extra shivers.

The weather was even nicer than last year, a bit more sunny but about the same temperature. Typical coastline views made me think that the SCR strategy of placing most of its brevet routes along CA1 is not such a bad idea after all.

Laid back at the Ugly Mug

Laid back at the Ugly Mug

You can't take riding too seriously.

You can’t take riding too seriously… If you do, it could drive you crazy!

After leaving our old haunt The Ugly Mug cafe in Soquel, we began The Climb. This is the longest climb of the route, an elevation gain of about 1600 feet in ten miles. I started off with my team, Jim taking the lead, and Senor Captain dropping back. I just kept riding at my own pace. I caught up with Jim and we agreed to stop and catch our breath at Stetson Road, about seven miles in. Soquel-San Jose Road is shaded through most of the way, but it was a hot day. The rest of our team were nowhere to be seen, but we figured we’d all collect ourselves at the Summit Store.

Climbing pain...elevation gained.

Climbing pain…elevation gained. We heart Summit Store!

We did! It is truly all downhill from there, so we savored the beautiful downhill stretch of the Old Santa Cruz Highway. Alice, Jim, Ely, and I all took the bike handling skills classes last year, and I still constantly think about putting into practice good cornering and handling techniques. I love how my bike handles descents… like buttercream frosting. mmmm. Not too much later I got to eat some buttercream frosting at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos at our penultimate control.

Everybody wave!

Everybody wave!

We.enjoy.riding.bikes.

We.enjoy.riding.bikes.

When it was time to leave Great Bear, we wound our way through the odd Silicon Valley suburbs to the beautiful Mary Avenue Bike Bridge and took some glam shots of ourselves and our bikes.

Setting up the shot

Setting up the shot… the pedals must be in the correct position

Dramatic angles

Dramatic angles

Les Wotnaughts

Les Wotnaughts

We picked up some weird dude on the way to the Tied House

We picked up some weird dude on the way to the Tied House

Another biketastic California day thanks to the Santa Cruz Randonneurs. John and I got wind vests from the SCR group order to remember how happy we are they put on the summer Dart. Next year they’ll be holding the Central Coast 1000k/1200k instead. Will this be my first 1200 or 1000k? Only time and mmmmbike will tell.

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R5: 5ive times goodness

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For the fifth installment in my 2013 R12, I rode the Coastal Cruz route… for the fifth time! Yes, I like this route. It constituted a full third of my 2012 R-12, including a dramatic photo finish for the 12th installment. The third time I rode it was the first time John and I rode together (for the Santa Cruz Randonneurs Dart), sparking a flame that would turn into a full-fledged bicycle romance, which by now you are sick of reading about if you have been reading this blog. But something I discovered after completing this ride is that John and I have logged approximately 1500 miles together since that dart last August! Whew, that went by fast. Three camping trips, the fleche, the 400k, several 200k permanents, and other rides purely for pleasure, and all of a sudden we are racking up Big Miles. Go Team Poteman! or… Team Coltis? Anyway, John is a super guy and there are many reasons why we are compatible, but I will encapsulate the feelings I have for him by saying life and bicycling are better with him around.

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John takes the sprint for the Santa Cruz county line sign

I had resigned myself to this being my first solo 200k after hearing the tales from the 600k he had just finished two weeks before. I thought I had some difficult stomach issues on the 400k, but his were difficult-er, as he had to stop in the middle of a fast technical descent in the dark to barf by the side of the road. And then ride another 300k or so. Randonneuring is awesome, am I right? This kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time, but it does seem to happen to everybody at least once. When you do as many rides as John has done, it will happen eventually. I believe this is his 6th SR series (one each of 200k,300k,400k, and 600k). After our beautiful and worry-free, even barf-free, bike tour in April, I’m sure RUSA and ACP events don’t have the same shine for John. Even still, he rode along with me (though not for RUSA credit) for my R5. Yay! Check out the flickr set for the typical gorgeous views of the California coast, the lovely weather we enjoyed that day, and visions of the ever-popular Ugly Mug Cafe as seen by its piscine residents. I would consider myself blessed to ride this route five-and-twenty more times or more.

May installment? Check!

May installment? Check! Thanks, Pelican.

R12: The longest mile

The day before my last (hopefully the last!) 200k of this R-12 series, my dad called me on the phone. “We got about ten inches of snow yesterday, and it’s about thirty degrees today,” he informed me in a cheerful voice. My mind’s eye flashed on my own local weather forecast for the next day: low 50s and showers. Although that looks warmer than Wisconsin on paper, I knew by now that the dampness and chill in the bay area often made Wisconsin’s snow seem appealing. He asked me how I was doing, and when I planned to do my final 200k. “Tomorrow,” I said, my voice dripping with equal parts dread and fear. He let out a sympathetic laugh and said, “Well, you know which mile in a race is always the longest?” I was not in the mood for riddles and kept silent. A mile is a mile is a mile, and I would be struggling through 125 rainy, cold specimens of them twenty-four hours from now. “The longest mile is the last mile, Juli. It’s always the hardest. Dad knows you can do it, though.”

“I’ll be riding with a great group of guys, they really know what they’re doing,” I said, trying to look on the bright side. Having been quite sick for the past month, although I felt much better, my training regimen was down to about nil, and I was having more than the usual pre-ride doubts. I emailed Tom Haggerty, who had graciously invited me to join him, Keith Beato, and Steve Haas (yes, the guy who had a heart attack in July had fully recovered and would be riding with us… though he had also been hit by a car in November, and now was riding a new bike). I wanted to be sure my slower-than-normally-slow pace wasn’t going to drag them down. Tom said it would be ok, and he wrote emphatically, “First of all, No DNFs.”

Les anciens: Keith, Tom, and Steve say "We like bikes!"

Les anciens: Keith, Tom, and Steve say “We like bikes!”

Of course, little did either of us know how close to the limit we would be pushing our luck! Riding with Tom, Keith, and Steve was the one bright spot I was looking forward to about this ride, and was relieved and heartened by Tom’s response. And despite all the self-effacing comments made in jest by each of them about me wishing I had ridden by myself, I was so glad for their company! They were funny, teasing each other throughout the day. I could easily tell the three anciens had ridden many, many miles together. To get an idea, look at Tom’s pictures on flickr from the ride. Hilarious!

Another great thing about riding with them was that over the course of the day, we all traded pulls in a sense. We didn’t ride in a paceline, but in the early part of the day, Steve and Tom rode up front… Steve was way up front! This is usually my weakest part of the day. I took my turn at the front after the Ugly Mug, on the climb up Soquel-San Jose Road. In the final stretch through Cupertino, Los Gatos, and Mountain View, Keith blasted ahead of us, really pulling us all toward the finish through his childhood home turf.

The three fellas had only done this route once, a bit eccentrically as an overnight ride Tom had crafted as a commute to his job in Mountain View (attesting to his fitness level, he said when he showed up for work, none of his coworkers could tell he had just ridden his bike on a 200-kilometer overnight “commute”!). For me this would be my fourth time on this course.

The first half or so of this ride was pretty rote, although there were a few tactical errors we made early on from which it was difficult to recover. One was that we did not leave Peet’s until about seven o’clock, almost a full half hour after our scheduled start time. The other was my fault: I had grown accustomed to taking the oceanside path along Sharp Park beach instead of taking the road past the golf course clubhouse, and I really like this way. The guys seemed into taking the path, as they weren’t familiar with going that way, but I think it added several minutes to our time. In any case, somehow we only made it to Arcangeli’s with 45 minutes to spare. I’m also accustomed to hanging out for a while in the lovely creekside back yard they have there, so when Tom announced it was time to hit the road shortly after Keith and I sat down to eat our half sandwiches, it was shocking! But he was right, there was no time to lose– not a pleasant feeling so early on in a ride.

It did not start raining until we were about midway through Santa Cruz, but we were all soaked and feeling frigid by the time we got to the Ugly Mug, with only half an hour to spare at that control. As we rode through Santa Cruz, the guys all asked me questions about the little cafe. I forgot they had used an all-night Safeway as their Soquel control, and had stopped at a diner in Santa Cruz for late-night sustenance. I didn’t want to give anyone high hopes about the Ugly Mug since they usually just had one or two things they could heat up (Birthday chicken pot pie aside), and it being almost three o’clock on a rainy day I figured they’d probably be out of them. Some of my favorite moments in randonneuring have occurred at the Ugly Mug, but today I just wasn’t up to the mellow vibes. I ended up buying a green juice to get my receipt (which, although their register was never on time, now that they’d switched to using a scientifically calibrated, precisely accurate iPad as cash register, they could no longer print receipts at all and had to email my receipt to me! whither the future of randonneuring without cash registers??), and hung out in the back hallway of an adjacent office building (it was warm!) where we parked our bikes, eating the remainder of my sandwich from Arcangeli’s and trying to figure out how on Earth we were going to finish this ride within the time limit. Rain + climbing + wet, dark descent + stoplights, stoplights, stoplights through Cupertino etc. = DNF any way I looked at it. All I could do was try to eat as much as possible to give myself some energy to put a smile on my rained-on face and keep plugging away.

When we got back on the road, I was very much cheered by the climb up Soquel-San Jose Road. I felt warmed by the body heat generated by physical activity, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Tom about radio stations in San Francisco and other rides we’ve done or would like to do. By the time we reached the top, it was quite dark, wet, and chilly. I went ahead to the Summit Store to see if I could find some shelter or warmth while waiting for the fellas to regroup. As the rain steadily fell, my Pelican and I got a whole range of puzzled, sympathetic, and even some terrified, looks as I stood in the vestibule of the store next to the cords of firewood.

Diametrically opposed to the advantages of climbing in the cold and wet stand the disadvantages of descending in the cold and wet: you are not pedaling, so no body heat is generated; and you also move 6-7 times as fast, so the cold air affects you that much more. Luckily, Keith reminded me to put on my extra sweater before we left the Summit Store, the one I had brought in order to have a warm, dry layer to put on for the Caltrain ride home. Eesh. Another difficulty of descending in the rain and cold in this particular route was that the road has lots of switchbacks, yet no streetlights in many stretches– it is utterly rural, in the middle of a thick, dark forest. And as we left the Summit Store, I heard that Steve’s headlight had been shorting out! Luckily it seemed to start working again just as we got back on the road.

The last time the three of them had done this ride, they descended Old San Jose Road and Aldercroft Heights Road in the dead of night. What an amazing challenge and incredible experience to make this beautiful descent in the still of the night. Andrea Symons said that stretch of road “brings an tear to one’s eye,” and I agree. Tom said the group would do that ride again next year as an overnight, and I hope I can go along! Hopefully next time it will be less chilly, wet, and harrowing for me. I did ok by staying focused on Tom’s and Steve’s head and tail lights as they cornered up ahead of me to give me an idea of where the road would bend. Fortunately the wet pavement was not as much of a concern as I would have thought. The night before the ride, I had installed a fresh set of rear brake pads, knowing they seem to wear down faster in the rain.

Long, wet, dark, scary, white knuckle descent handily accomplished (at least, that’s how I felt once it was over!), all of us knowing we had very little time in reserve if any, we entered the short trail section to Los Gatos. We all got down the steep, rocky part, started to gain momentum over the smooth, pleasant, fine gravel surfaced trail that parallels the river, and… Keith called out to let us know he had a flat tire. Now when I look back on it, I can only laugh, but at the time we did not see the comedy in the situation, least of all poor Keith, who had already suffered one flat tire that day. We had about 15 miles to go, and 40 minutes remaining on the clock. Tom suggested we could split up, with Steve and I going on ahead to make sure I would get credit for the ride. Though I appreciated the offer, I didn’t feel good about doing that– I didn’t like the idea of breaking up the group, I felt that we should be able to replace a tube in a few minutes anyway, and I also knew that Keith was doing installment eleven of his own R-12. So, we all set to work. Steve and Tom had headlamps mounted on their helmets, so they helped Keith find his tools and tube. Keith had some trouble getting his tire off the wet rim, so with my ever-unfailing fine motor skills from years of benchwork, I was able to get his tire off. Once Keith got the new tube in, Steve helped him use a CO2 canister to fill it (much faster!). We reassembled ourselves within minutes, and set out again with new resolve.

There are two sections of this route I don’t like: riding through Santa Cruz to Soquel, and riding through Los Gatos, Cupertino, and Mountain View. They both happen to be urban or suburban streets with lots of stop signs, stoplights, and turning lanes of car traffic that awkwardly merge with bike lanes, and they both also precede controls (i.e., stretches where I’m bound to be hungry and possibly slightly just a little bit cranky). I don’t know why every time I do this ride I expect these sections to get shorter, but having done this route a few times now, they stunningly have stayed the same distance. “Okay then,” I said to myself as we entered the heavily trafficked shopping district of Los Gatos, “This is just going to take as long as it takes.” I reached for one of the honey stinger energy goo things my dentist told me to avoid, just to be sure I wouldn’t end up snapping at one of my new-found friends out of a lack of carbs. Steve and I eye our watches, then our odometers. Our odometers, then watches. Steve does some brief mental calculations, and looks at me reassuringly. “We’ll make it,” he says. I try with wet gloves to flip over my cue sheet, but I lose the wrestling match and just get ink and shreds of soggy paper dragged over the sheet. So much for fine motor skills… All the while, Steve, Tom and I are racing to catch up with Keith, who had a three-alarm fire under his saddle all of a sudden!

Which was awesome, because we ended up getting to the 7-Eleven with only five minutes to spare. Five minutes! Think of all the things that take only five minutes. Microwave popcorn? Cup o’ Noodles? Third Uncle? That length of time made the difference between getting credit or not for this ride. What a suspenseful and dramatic finish to my R-12! Thanks Tom, Keith, and Steve for another heroic, epic, comical, entertaining, and challenging day on the bike.

As promised, I bought a bottle of 7-Eleven’s best champagne for us all to drink on the train ride home. Tom had brought cups, so we wouldn’t even have to drink it out of our water bottles! I even offered some to a crazy person on the train who said he had been a bike messenger in New York. Steve presented to me a Real R-12 Medal (in fact belonging to, and borrowed from, Jason Pierce), which was kind of touching, if anything involving Jason Pierce can be described as “touching” without seeming really icky… ahem. As I have mentioned earlier, it was kind of his fault I got wrapped up in this R-12 business anyway, so it seems fitting he was somehow insinuated at the end.

And now, we have come to the end of our tale entitled mmmmbike: appetizing rides carried out while pursuing the RUSA R-12 award. There will be more tales, to be sure, and possibly an entry recording what I think I learned. I’m not sure yet what form my future ride reports will take, since my only goal for the new year is to ride a 400k. Perhaps the blog needs a new subtitle. Writing blog entries about my rides has helped me review what I’ve learned throughout the year, so I definitely want to keep writing. Reading others’ ride reports is endlessly fascinating to me as well, so I want to continue to contribute to the form.

As for riding, ideally I would like to give the Pelican the month of January off, but the Lighthouse brevet beckons. In the meantime, to keep from getting restless, I’ve been enjoying indoor activities such as lap swimming and yoga. I used to love lap swimming in Chicago in the winter months, especially in the mornings when the sun would hit the beautiful indoor pool at the park district near where I lived. Lately I’ve also enjoyed a couple short social rides, and another bike camp to rejuvenate my excitement for riding. Other than that, who knows what the future holds for me and my Pelican? To find out you will just have to stay tuned for the next exciting installment of mmmmbike!

R8: The Happy Birthday Ride/ SCR Dart

The more randonneurs I meet, the less it seems like any has an exact age. Some seem wise far beyond their years, others are many years young. So it may be a little ironic that this month’s ride falls so close to my birthday. My role model in life is the French lady who lived well into her centièmes, eating chocolat, drinking le vin du pays, and riding her vélo every day… so each birthday brings me closer to this goal, right? There is some cause for celebration in that. And riding on (the day after) my birthday had some major perks, especially since it was a fun, social, and well- organized ride like the Santa Cruz Randonneurs Dart.

I knew I wanted to team up with Ely for this event, since I had ridden with him several times before and knew we could ride together well. I had no idea what was involved in putting a team together, but I figured since the ride was scheduled for the day after my birthday, I had to do whatever it took! Fortunately, a far more experienced individual offered to pick up the slack for me, someone who (like me) happens to enjoy a Pelican (or three?) as much as or more than anyone…the illustrious and jolly John Potis. I knew right away when John volunteered to captain that we would have a terrific time.

And we did! The high point of the ride for me was when we arrived in Los Gatos and my brother and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, who just happened to be in Los Gatos that weekend,  met our team at Great Bear Coffee.  The piece of chocolate cake I got out of the deal was certainly not unwelcome, either… thanks, brother Scott!! Did I mention that other perk of riding on my birthday: everybody kept buying me food! The captain picked up my chicken pot pie at the Ugly Mug, Jim got my sandwich at Arcangeli’s, and then of course SCR provided meals for everyone at the finish, where John bought everyone on our team a beer… what more could a randonneuse ask for, really?

How about great weather?

just overcast enough to be pleasantly temperate

Or a nice team photo?

Nous coeur Jesse! Sean Chon jumped ship from Jesse’s team, since we were clearly having much more fun…

The dinner at the Tied House was really touching, since Scott Brittle had hired fellow randonneuse Alice Stribling to design a poster for the event, and we all got to sign the mat it was mounted in. I did not realize that SCR was picking up the cost of dinner for everybody, a generous act I’m sure we all appreciated. SCR also provided monitored bike parking for us– a couple of young people hanging out in deck chairs watching over all our bikes in downtown Mountain View! Adorable.

A hard workout it surely wasn’t… Well, maybe I will make up for it next month. I did get a little sprinting in when I raced to chase down our teammate Jim, who got lost in the moment riding too far off the front and missed a turn. Interestingly enough, the SFR skills class in group riding was scheduled for the following weekend, something I probably could have used before this ride as I’m sure my cycling manners could stand to step up a bit. John was a great captain, though, and kept us all together and on schedule.

I’m not sure yet what September has in store for me. Davis night 200K? Marin Mountains? SCR 400K? Sanfranciscadero permanent? The next full moon is on September 30– perhaps a moonlit permanent? There are too many enticing possibilities for delicious bike riding– I want to do them all, but because of work and other responsibilities, I have to choose just one. See which one I pick in the next exciting installment of mmmmbike!

R6: Coastal Cruz part deux

This was a delightful ride, and I got to meet for the first time and ride with two super people. Lots of chill time and lovely weather. Rather uneventful in a good way. I was sort of on the fence about whether to actually do the ride, since I had been planning to do a double brevet overnight permanent to Healdsburg and back with Ely. We had planned to do the first 200K (out) on the last day of June, and the second day’s 200K (back) on the first day of July, thus making each leg count for one month of the R12. But I had a feeling that we weren’t going to end up actually doing that ride for whatever reason… which ended up being justified. So I’m glad I did decide in the end to ride with Jesse and Gabrielle! What actually clinched the decision for me was when I woke up, my clock radio was playing Joni Mitchell’s song ‘California’. Awww.

As usually happens, we ran into some interesting folk at the Summit Store, at the top of the climb out of Soquel. One guy had some Adventure Cycling stickers on his pack, and Jesse chatted with him for a bit about touring, and another guy complimented me about riding with platform pedals… which seems to only rarely escape comment of one kind or another when I’m out riding. But this guy was nice about it.

Full photo coverage of the ride, including pictures of all our bikes, the socks of the lady at the Ugly Mug, the pastry rack at Arcangeli’s in Pescadero, &c can be found on my flickr page.

R4: Coastal Cruz

Fourth installment in the R12 series for me: San Francisco to Mountain View Permanent route #1288: the Coastal Cruz. Ely Rodriguez invited me to ride with him and his friends Omar and Sean. When Jesse Marsh, the route owner, issued me my brevet card and route sheet, he kindly reminded me to do my taxes before the ride. I did, so without a care in the world (well, mostly no cares), I set off on the morning of April 14 for Peet’s Coffee on Geary.

This ride was a great skill-builder for me. The route has a lot to offer: beautiful views of the ocean along highway 1, some nice climbing along Stage Road, a technical descent or two (a good chance to practice the lessons learned in the SFR bike handling skills class, which I feel becoming more habitual), a chill cafe atmosphere at Ugly Mug in Soquel (another new and important skill for me to learn: this practice of “chillin'”. wish me luck), more road climbing along Soquel- San Jose Road, and even some climbing and descending on a dirt trail! Whew. It was all completely new territory for me, as all my riding thus far has been in Marin County.

Another new experience for me on this ride was pacelining. Most of my training rides I do solo, so I haven’t had the chance to learn this. I still have a lot to learn about it, but toward the end of the segment when we were pacelining, I think it started to click for me. Ely gave us some helpful tips about it, which I tried to put into practice as much as possible.

When we were about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, Sean’s bike started to shimmy dramatically on a steep descent, and his rear tire blew.

Right where the cloud is shadowing the highway in this photo is where Sean’s tire blew out.

I was behind him, and could smell the rubber burning– he ended up with a skid hole through tire and tube about five inches long! He handled the situation amazingly well, and was able to control his bike enough to move off the road and come to a safe stop. Unfortunately he did not have a spare tire, only a spare tube, and the tire boots that Ely had brought were not long enough to  cover the hole. However, Sean “made do”, as we say, and was able to make it for about ten more miles before blowing out the spare tube. We were all close enough to the next control that Sean told us to go ahead while he waited for the patch glue to set, and he would catch up with us at the Ugly Mug control.  Poor Sean ended up having to jog with his bike part of the way to Santa Cruz to reach a bike shop to get a new tire. Sean is a really strong rider, and he finally caught up with us on the ascent to Summit Road. Once I got home I read the Lennard Zinn interview in the latest Bicycle Quarterly about tall riders and frame fitting issues– as Sean is indeed a tall rider, I wonder if that had something to do with the blowout.

In spite of that unfortunate incident, our group made good time overall– 11h16 from start to finish. We had a fantastic meal near the train in Mountain View (meatloaf with mashed potatoes and spinach for me, yum!) and hopped on Caltrain for the return home. Beautiful weather had prevailed for us throughout the day, and once again I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time on the bike.

Peace out dudes!!… (did I say that right??)

As we were riding with Ely the Bagmaker, I had to document the bags we all used. For more photos, visit my flickr page (linked at right). Mine is still in somewhat of a testing phase. I added a strip of leather and bookbinder’s board to the rider side to be able to attach my decaleur at the correct height (which had been set for my other bag). I love the orange brocade on the inside of this bag, and the burgundy outer color and heart shape on the front pocket work for me too. It’s a good bag for me to take on a warm 200k, since it’s smaller and lighter than my other one. In cold or rainy weather, I might need more room for spare socks &c, but on a ride like this one, I didn’t have to worry about that.  Ely was road- testing his bag as well. It’s a new design he’s been working on that can attach to the handlebars without a rack for shorter brevets. The perfect thing for an R12!  Next up for R5 is the Jittery Jaunt. To be continued…