Bike: Kogswell 700C P/R
Time: 9amm - 7pm
Met up with Gabe, Jon, and Bryan at Box Dog Bikes at 9am for a celebratory ride of Gabe's design. We wiggled over to Golden Gate Park and then out to the Great Highway, where we headed south and enjoyed views of big surf crashing over Ocean Beach. We climbed up Skyline towards Daly City, and zigged over on a couple of side streets towards Pacifica, where we left suburbia behind us, embarking on a little mixed-terrain discovery action, climbing up an abandoned, crumbling, overgrown roadway nicknamed "Planet of the Apes". Mountain bikers and hikers alike were astounded to see our four "touring bikes" on terrain more common to our knobby-tired brethren! At the top, we enjoyed views of Sutro Tower and Mt. Tam to the north, and Half Moon Bay to the south.
Descending now, we found our way back to civilization and connected with Highway One, rolling quickly along the coast to just south of Half Moon Bay. We made a left turn and headed inland onto Tunitas Creek Road. Up, up, and more up! We climbed slowly up this never-ending, winding rural lane, which had been newly repaved in expectation of many faster wheels than ours during the upcoming Tour of California, which is scheduled to follow this same route a couple of weeks from now. Halfway up we paused hungrily at a roadside turnout for a hasty lunch produced from our handlebar bags. Many other cyclists out for training rides passed by and hailed us as we ate. One lone rider pulled up and said hello -- we'd bumped into Willy N., a fellow member of San Francisco Randonneurs! After chatting for a bit, the five of us resumed our ascent. Bryan, newly refueled with some magic grub, jumped off the front of our group, and Willy leap forward to catch. Gabe and I toiled upward, when suddenly someone called out behind "anyone got a pump?!?" I slowed and wheeled around to investigate...
A lone cyclist had a soft front tire. "Is it low or flat?" I asked her. "I dunno" she replied, "I just noticed that it was low." "Flat" I immediately thought. No tube, tools, or pump had she, but fortunately one of her companions wheeled up to us just then, and had a tube to offer. I grabbed my pump and tire levers, and after whipping off her front tire, discovered a tiny hole and a guilty shard of glass lodged in the tire. Replaced tube, inflated tire, and we were all shortly back on our way. Tunitas Creek Road finally lessened its pitch, allowing me to upshift a gear or two, but still seemed endless as I followed it alone through the trees, finally coming upon my group where they were waiting at the intersection of Skyline Blvd.
Across the roadway was King's Mountain Road, and we debated which direction to take in the chilly air. To the right was the famed Alice's Restaurant, left was to follow Skyline north to Route 92, and straight was a fast drop down towards Woodside. We decided to head to Woodside and all donned all our layers in preparation. Willy said goodbye as he headed south, and we plunged downward, enjoying a long coast downhill, ending up at the Woodside Bakery next to Buck's Restaurant. Gnoshing on coffee and pastries, we warmed in the afternoon sun before continuing on Canada Road. We passed the Pulgas Water Temple (which was unfortunately closed) and arrived at the Crystal Springs reservoir in what felt like short order -- I'd ridden this road many times years ago while living in San Mateo, and it felt longer then. After a short stop where we compared our bikes and decided that they all -- each about the same size and with similar low-trail front geometry -- handled quite similarly, we headed north on the Sawyer Camp Trail, which winds around and along the twin reservoirs.
In Millbrae now, we discovered that the last northern section of Sawyer Camp Trail is closed for pipeline work, forcing us to ride along 280 until the next exit (bikes are legal for that stretch). We rejoined Skyline Blvd., aka Route 35, and descended past Daly City towards home in the dwindling daylight. Just before we approached Ocean Beach the sun set for good, and we switched on our headlights and enjoyed the quiet darkness of Golden Gate Park as we re-entered the city. Just as we arrived back at the Box Dog shop, I noticed that my bike computer had gone dead. I got back home just after 7pm, almost exactly ten hours later, just as I'd predicted. Gabe texted me a few minutes later, "102 miles". That felt about right to my tired legs and exuberant spirit!