Sunday, April 10

Uphill by Bike and Bus

22.44 miles; 2hr, 56 minutes; ^1780feet^

The SRCC had its Pine Flat Challenge today. 70 miles from town to the top of the climb and return. I was not interested in the miles, just the altitude. As an experiment in savings, I took Sonoma County Transit Bus 60 to Healdsburg and back. The driver admired the lighting system on the bike and we chatted for most of the trip north.

I started at 170 feet across the road from my spouses' car dealer. Up to 200, down to 176, then 214 at the base of the climb. I was there some 10 minutes early and found the letters P F C for Pine Flat Challenge chalked by the bridge marking the base of the climb. The letters were next to a chalked starting line.

I figured they had started already and said that to a rider who rolled up. He took off quickly and I followed him after having some more water. Most of the climb was spent in my 4 lowest gears. One to two miles later several small groups blasted past me. Even a support car. Then others came by one or two at a time. "Oh yes," the stoker on the one tandem told me "We all started a couple of minutes after Noon".

I continued, drinking and nibbling on a Powerbar. At 5 miles from the bottom I checked my time, distance and the bus schedule. If I had continued I might have made mile 6 but going to the top at mile 7 would have made me late for the 2:06 PM bus. Next bus; 4:34 PM.

I could have made the whole climb by getting home later than I wanted to. Next time.

The descent was just within the capacity of my brakes, large, thick cantilevers. I kept it to 16 to 22 MPH for safety's sake. (Stopping at 5 miles also got me off the hill before the hot shots tried coming down at 30 plus MPH.) I waited almost 30 minutes for the bus, Mile 6 would have been OK.

A genuine loony tried to get on the bus ahead of me. He had a grubby skate board, a cheesy guitar with several missing strings, sun shades with lenses shaped like little grey aliens eyes, and several eyes tattooed on his scalp. The driver, Leo, would not let him board for free. The loony finally threw what he thought was a terrible epithet at Leo, "CAPITALIST" and stomped off. When I got off I complimented Leo on how he handled the whacko.


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