SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


2007.07.08 - Paradise Valley/Mt Tam/Marin Headlands Mixed-Terrain Ride

Climbing Railroad Grade
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop
Yesterday I participated in another epic Mixed Terrain (MT from now on) bicycle day trip. I've done many of these rides before with compatriots Carlos and Cyclofiend Jim, but yesterday was a day of firsts in many regards...

Firstly: This was perhaps the largest group to assemble for an MT ride to date. We started the ride with five people: myself, Carlos, Jeff, Greg, and Jared -- and then bumped into Cyclofiend as we were crossing over the GGB, making us six riders strong. (To maintain full disclosure, Jeff peeled off in Camino Alto to continue out to Point Reyes...)

Secondly: We had the largest bike-type mix to date: I was on my cyclocross bike, Carlos and Greg were on 26" MTBs, Jeff was on a Trek Madone, Jared was on a Riv Ramboulliet, and Cyclofiend was on his fixed/SS Riv Quickbeam. As I mentioned, Jeff split off before the off-pavement stuff, but even still it was interesting to see how bike/tire choices played out during the ride. My CX bike is equipped with fairly meaty 700x38 tires, but I often think I want/need bigger tires -- either for better traction, a cushier ride, more confidence, or whatever. Cyclofiend and Jared were both on road tires (32mm Paselas on the QB and what looked like 25 and 28mm slick tires on the Rambou, respectively), and they both did just fine...there were a couple of points where I wondered if the Rambou would pinch-flat, but that never happened, and Jared climbed and descended just fine, and (according to him) very much enjoyed the ride in spite of the "underbiking" limitation. Cyclofiend even rode much of the route (including the off-road bits) in fixed-gear mode, and if you're at-all familiar with how steep Mt. Tam and the Marin Headlands can be, that is a truly impressive feat! Moral of the story: You can ride any bike off road, it's all a matter of rider skill. Note to self: you don't really need fatter tires!

Thirdly: All the other MT rides we've done have put the off-pavement leg of the route at the start of the ride, allowing us to limp home -- tired, bruised, and dusty -- over the later easy pavement section. Yesterday's ride placed the paved section (the Paradise loop) at the start, and the off-pavement came last. I learned (the hard way) that it's important to pace oneself over the pavement section -- I rode the Paradise Loop fairly aggressively and was plumb-tuckered by the time we climbed up Railroad Grade to West Point Inn! That, coupled with the fairly drastic temperature changes and the cold winds on the latter part of the route really beat me up...I nearly bailed twice, but I'm glad I stuck it out and finished with the group.

60 miles

Cyclofiend's photos
Carlos' photos


Post a Comment

<< Home