Archive for June, 2009
Here’s where the bike path on the way to the Pt. Reyes peninsula crosses over Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Most cyclists (at least those on racing bikes and super narrow tires) don’t use this path because there’s a few dirt stretches that are a little rough. On a cyclotouriste or randonneuring bike, it’s no problem to maintain good speed and relative comfort even on the rough stretches.
I couple weeks ago I posted my first panoramic image. I’m still intrigued by the photomerge feature of Adobe CS3.
Out of deference to Chief Marin, the defeated Coast Miwok leader, I did not “summit” Mt. Tam (that is, I didn’t walk the final 100 yards up the path to the fire look-out) as legend has it the early Indian inhabitants avoided the peak.
The view is still epic. This is a cropped section from the full image. Notice downtown San Francisco jutting out into the bay (and the fog trailing in from the west) just above the head of the woman in the yellow parka standing on a newly constructed viewing platform.
Here are a few views of Tam as one gets progressively closer to the summit.
From the Meadow Club above Fairfax the peak is visible in the far distance (image one). But following this route it goes out of view (with one or two fleeting exceptions) until the last few miles when the summit is once again in view (as seen in images two and three).
Riding toward the summit of Mt. Tam, I struggled to maintain momentum over the series of seven undulating hills, known as “The Seven Sisters” (scroll down to the bottom of this page for more details on the sisters).
Apparently, 90% of all North American car commercials are filmed along this stretch of roadway. I’ve only seen filming once twice.
This fellow was just hanging out in the middle of the road. I don’t know how I spotted him (I guess I was just looking in the middle of the road.)
Lots of variation in terrain on the way to the summit — from oak-studded grasslands and chaparral to the misty Douglas fir and Redwood forests around Alpine Lake seen above.
The recent post about Paul De Vivie inspired me to do something I’d never done before: bicycle from my house in Fairfax to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais. (Velocio’s seventh bicycling commandment, or one interpretation thereof, is to never ride without a purpose — see Velosophy.)
So today, I gave myself this purpose.
I left about 12:30pm and returned about 5:30pm. A three hour climb to the summit; half-an-hour at the top; and an hour-and-a-half to ride back. The summit is about 2,500′ in elevation, but starting from Fairfax you gain and give up (and gain again) much more elevation over the 35 mile round trip. Roughly 6,000 feet of total climbing is actually involved.
I carried two water bottles, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a few ounces of cheese and salami, which provided for three food stops.
The weather was partly sunny with an occasional breeze, some light rain, and pockets of dense fog. I had wool knickers, a wool tee-shirt, a long-sleeve wool pull-over, a rain jacket, a neckerchief, a baseball cap, and a wool beanie to counter the variable weather.
It’s mid-June but my cycling season is still young and I am not in great cycling shape yet so today — I suffered. I also forgot to re-fill my water bottles at the summit forcing me to conserve less than half a bottle on the return.
At two points — the steepest section right before the summit and the last major climb on the return — I was assisted by, of all things, a strong tailwind giving me just enough of a boost to get me up and over.
I could not help but wonder if this beneficence was the work of Saint Velocio watching over me.
A couple weeks ago it was a small fawn (click here for that post) now a skunk.
I placed this guy off the road near a tree and covered him loosely with some sticks. Because the Marin County sky is filled with Turkey Vultures I have hope he will be recycled (if vultures can stand the smell, I don’t know).
And speaking of the often misunderstood vulture, I’m reminded of the final line from poet Lew Welch‘s Song of the Turkey Buzzard: “to keep the highways clean, and bother no being.”
A new Hall of Fame page has been added to The Friday Cyclotouriste. Read about the inaugural members of this elite club.
#1 Velocio (aka Paul de Vivie) b. 1853. The spiritual father of cyclotouring.
Today’s thunder showers never materialized so I headed out toward Petaluma this afternoon. The image looking east on Nicasio Valley Rd. near the reservoir is made up of 12 vertically composed images stitched together using the “photomerge” tool in Adobe’s Photoshop CS3. The weather, the clouds, the light: it was jaw-droppingly beautiful!
What’s a trip to Nicasio without an image (or two) of the local church, some cows, and a hint of the baseball diamond in the middle of the town square?
I think Spirit Rock should bring over a Japanese bonsai master to do some pruning to this Valley Oak. Sacrilege? Perhaps. But once upon a time there was a rock with a small tree. As the tree has grow…well it just seems slightly unbalanced to my eye. Check out the depiction on the upper left of the meditation center’s website which suggests an earlier aesthetic.