Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Megamonster Enduro

I love the scenery out on HW25 in Paicines
Another year, another Mega-Monster Enduro. I just love this event with its wonderful scenery and Low-Key vibe.
Miss C and Miss P registered riders at the Paicines General Store
This year, rain threatened until the very last minute, so we drove out from SF leaving at about 5am when we learned the event was on! I was a bit nervous as we drove through rain for about an hour, but the skies cleared when we turned onto HW25 at Hollister, and for the most part, the day was dry.
It was misty at the start, but dry (mostly)
I hung around the start for a while, then decided to proceed with my ride. I wasn't feeling super energetic after a heavy week at work, so I planned to head out and see how I did. If I felt ok, I'd try to do the 100k course. If not so good, I'd turn around early.
Heading out into a stiff headwind on HW25. Super scenic even on an overcast day
Heading out into a stiff headwind on HW25. Super scenic even on an overcast day
The day was pretty warm, but the winds were off, and the normal morning tailwind was a strong headwind. Now, the new NM (me; post-injury) doesn't mind headwinds that much. I just tool along, slower than slow, the absence of speed goals making me not mind the winds as much. That said, I was going SLOW. Like, 7-8 mph in the first 15 miles, which include some gradual hills. I started doing the math, and the full 100k was looking like it would take me too long-- I hadn't really planned to be out on the course that long. But, I decided to continue, just to see how I felt.
Helicopter at the fire station
After the first 13 miles or so, the course turns a bit and the head-cross wind eased. My pace picked up to something like my normal level of slow and I pedaled along, feeling strong. I contemplated heading to the 100k turn-around, but then started to get nervous that the winds would turn. This course normally has a morning tailwind, and afternoon headwind that becomes quite strong after about 2pm. What if the wind turned?
This is my favorite photo of the day
I ended up turning around at about mile 20. The ride back was a fast, furious blast, and I was easily keeping a pace at above 22-25 mph on the flats, and even 15+ mph on the climbs (!!!!). What fun that was, and I rolled into the finish with about 40 miles on the day, feeling strong.
the last riders approaching the finish
The wind did turn in the early afternoon, and the 100 mile riders thus had a heavy head-cross wind for 50 miles in the morning, then finishing with 20 miles or so of head wind in the afternoon. Oooph. I was glad that I'd turned back early to enjoy the tailwind. I'll do the full 100k next year (I promise!)
What an enjoyable day, and congrats to all of the riders who braved the sketchy looking weather forecast to come out and ride!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Headlands hike: Pirates Cove Loop

Dan on the very point of the Marin headlands coastal lookout: big views to the south
We did this hike over the holiday break with out of town guests, and the views did not disappoint! Unusually warm and dry weather meant crystal clear views-- up to Pt Reyes to the north and Montara mountain to the south.

Trail down to Pirates Cove beach
We started at Tennessee Valley, heading up the Coastal Trail, then dropping down to Pirates Cove to hang out at the beach. The trail down to the beach wasn't as sketchy as I remembered, but it is steep at points.

Pirates Cove beach
We continued on the Coastal Trail, pausing at the lookout near the junction with the Coastal Fire Road.

Back on the Coastal Trail, looking back on Pirates Cove

Muir Beach viewed from Coastal Trail lookout. The beach had reopened following closure for some improvements and we saw a lot of people down there enjoying the day

We returned to Tennessee Valley via the Coastal Fire Road to Fox Trail. Once you move away from the coast, the big ocean views are replaced by rolling hill views. A steep(er) descent down Fox Trail takes you back to Tennessee Valley. I've done this loop in the opposite direction several times, but I like this variation more I think. And the initial climb up Coastal is a bit more gradual than the Fox Trail climb.

What a great day! Hike was about 6.8 miles. Trail map is here.
Route: Tennessee Valley parking lot, Tennessee Valley Trail-> Coastal Trail (continue to Pirates Cove)-> Coastal Fire Road -> Fox Trail->Tennessee Valley Trail