June 16, 2018

Morning, Marin

I thought last week's ride had a small turnout. Today's ride was smaller still.

I'd resisted signing up for the Marin edition of a one-day ride for the Arthritis Foundation, opting for the Pescadero ride the past two years. But there will be no Pescadero ride this year, so I decided to haul myself up to Marin to support the cause. A few days before, a friend decided to join me—that turned out to be quite fortuitous, because I would otherwise have been riding alone all day. [Pretty much.]

Sunny and windy, we both found this ride unexpectedly difficult. The temperature, though, was perfect.

Doe leading two fawns under a fence near Novato, California
A few miles into the ride, I spotted a doe and two (!) fawns next to the road. Mom decided we didn't pose a threat and tolerated our presence as they grazed. I was impressed to watch her drop down and slip under the lowest fence rail—so her offspring could easily follow.

View of Laguna Lake with wildflowers and golden hills, Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, California
I remembered Chileno Valley Road from last fall, and it was just as pretty.

Had I studied the profile more closely, I might not have chosen to donate blood five days before the ride. And I might have been more diligent about getting a mechanic to adjust my finicky front derailleur, which sometimes refuses to shift down to the smallest ring. [I'm apprehensive about looking after my newer bike at group events, so I rely on my older road bike—which hasn't been getting enough love, for sure.]

Dairy farm near Fallon, California
The back roads were quiet, passing mostly through ranches and dairy farms. There were a few steep sections, but the route was mostly rolling hills. I did manage to shift into my lowest gear once. Before and after that one long climb, it balked (and I walked).

View of meandering estuary from Whitaker Bluff Road near Fallon, California
I had a sense, on Marshall-Petaluma Road, that I had been there before. (I was right.) On the Marin Century, some years back, we rode it toward the coast. In the opposite direction, it starts out with a rude climb. I shifted down and carried some speed, but without my lowest gear, I stopped turning the pedals before the grade eased up.

View of Tomales Bay from Marshall Petaluma Road, Marshall, California
With some 20 miles to go, my legs (and I) were ready to be done. I rode for miles without seeing another rider and wondered if they'd missed the turn. [They hadn't.]

Boulder in a field along Marshall Petaluma Road, near Petaluma, California
I was excited, and oh-so-relieved, when Stafford Lake finally came into view.

View of Stafford Lake, Novato, Calfornia
A scenic, but painful, 58 miles and 3,885 feet of climbing.

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