Saturday, March 26

Over the rainbow (golden colored)

Today I lead the club ride through Marin county and over the Golden Gate Bridge, all three of us. My ride started with two ladies showing up at the optional start in SANTA ROSA. One lady rode there from a few blocks away and the other arrived in an ecomony car with a three bike rack on the roof, (Wizard!) We consolidated in her car and I got to leave my 12 MPG truck behind. Waiting at the official start in Corte Madera brought no new riders.

Promptly at 9:30 AM we headed up the grade between the start and Mill Valley. 250 feet in 2 miles how horrid. For half a mile across the top of the hill the route parallels the 101 freeway. Near the end of that path is a section of hillside dedicated to local horse riders. Two uniformed workers were removing a dense patch of thistles next to the horse paddock. A pleasant descent on Lomita took us to the bike path on the old North West Pacific railroad grade. Crossing Blithedale we continued on the bike path across the tidal flats at the head of Richardson Bay. Major streams of cyclists and a few walkers were going the other way. One of the ladies told me the Paradise loop (?) starts there, goes through the expensive Tiburon area, past China Camp, and back over the hill we had just gone over. Minutes later we reached Sausalito and took surface roads the rest of the way to the bridge. Mikes' Bikes, where the path joins the road, had a seething mob of cyclists around it and the adjacent deli. Talk about location, location, location. Mikes' had it. The climb to the bridge was sweaty and not too painful. We had seen a number of rental city bikes with their riders coming down the hill as we climbed. There were a whole lot more on the bridges' sidewalk. It is one thing to deal with novice riders, whole family loads, on a wide city street. It is an entirely different matter on that narrow bridge path. To add to it most of the bridge maintenance sheds and equipment are kept on the west or bicycle side. And the sharp doglegs around the Bridge towers. The next time I go over the bridge I may just do it at 2:00 AM to have a peaceful ride.

At the south end we three hydrated, ate parts of energy bars, and had our picture taken before the statue of the bridges' builder. The coast back into Sausalito was fun. It is one of the few times a 210 lb. Man on 40 lb. of bike and gear can challenge the posted speed limit. It was almost the only time I could lead the lady who was a sprint distance triathelete. Or maybe she was less inclined to do dangerous things. No shopping was requested in Sausalito, these ladies were dedicated. The men removing thistles had finished and were putting other plants. I loudly praised them as I went by. At the north end of the 101 path the frontage road has a steep, smooth, and nearly straight drop into Corte Madera with a good run-out. We hit 39, 41.5, and 42 MPH, respectively. At the end we loaded up and headed back to Santa Rosa.

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