This past weekend was the last of the back to back training rides before ALC (now just 12 days away). I was able to participate in the Jonathan Pon Memorial 2-Day Ride – an annual ride to remember Jonathan Pon, the founder of the Positive Pedalers.
On Saturday, riders met up in Mill Valley at 5:30 am for check in, gear drop off, stretching, route review, safety speech, and ride out. Our route took us over Camino Alto, through Fairfax, over White’s Hill, through Samuel P. Taylor park, and to Point Reyes Station. From there, we continued north on CA-1 to Tomales for our lunch stop. After lunch, we were back on CA-1 battling some serious headwinds as we made our way through Bodega Bay and onwards to the 116 turn off that would take us to our destination – the Casini Ranch Family Campground. Upon arrival, I had to find my bag (and sleeping bag) and helped my tentmate set up our tent for the evening. Then, it was off to find a shower (which felt AMAZING), and take a nap before joining the group for dinner. After dinner and some well deserved thank-yous to the organizers and volunteers, we went over the route for Sunday. My evening wrapped up with a trip to the general store for an It’s-It, a quick walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and back to the tent to fall asleep.
Sunday morning’s wake up call came particularly early, in the form of a coyote-deterrent measure that sounded a LOT like gunfire. That was followed up by a family of birds singing furiously for their breakfast, which continued on until my alarm went off. Once I worked up the nerve to unzip my sleeping bag, I got dressed and headed back to the dining area to grab breakfast with my tent mate. We had oatmeal, scrambled eggs and a muffin. Thankfully, they had plenty of coffee for us, as well. After breakfast we were back to the tent to pack up and gear up for the ride. We departed Casini Ranch a little before 7, and headed towards Guerneville on 116. From there, we headed toward Occidental on the Bohemian Highway (a pretty nice climb followed by an even better descent). After a few rest stops (and a pretty decent pace to get us off a section of the route that we shared with the AmGen Tour of California), we wound up in Petaluma for our lunch stop. From there, we took on the Red Hill Rd climb and then had some pretty nice rollers as we made our way to our last rest stop at Northgate Mall in San Rafael. From there, we headed back towards Fairfax and over Camino Alto to return to our starting point.
The entire weekend was fantastic. I met some really great people (some of whom had heard about my accident on the bridge), and got to see a number of folks I’ve trained with on various rides over the past few months. I got to experience camping and what goes into set up and tear down – something I’ll be doing every day for seven days on the ride. I also got to experience the sense of community and the fun that I’ve been told will be a thousand times greater during ALC because of the larger number of people. It was the perfect way to wind down my training – and an event I hope to attend many more times.
Next weekend is a rest weekend (and hopefully my chance to finally see Star Trek: Into Darkness), but looks like it’ll include a celebratory ‘end of training’ ride with the Awesome Ahead group. I’ve not been able to ride with them since I got back on the bike, and I really am looking forward to seeing the TRLs and familiar faces. I’ll also be pulling stuff together to begin packing for the ride – everyone I’ve talked to has said that beginning to pack now will help me to avoid a panic attack later…so you know I’ll be starting early.
Here are a few pictures from Saturday:
My tent mate and I after lunch on Saturday – this was right before the headwinds really started hammering us on our way up the coast.
Our first impromptu rest stop – taking a breather from fighting against the headwinds, I couldn’t pass up taking this shot. As challenging as the afternoon was, we were riding a truly scenic route.
Our second impromptu rest stop – another spectacular view of the ocean (and a break from the headwinds…).
The next two weeks will fly by as I try and take care of final preparations for the ride. I’ll be doing my best to update you on my progress, as well as a draft schedule for blog updates from the road…
Till next time – pedal fast:)