Having a goal or purpose is important in life and in cycling.
That doesn’t mean you always need a purpose — sometimes it’s okay to allow spontaneity and impulse be your guide.
But on this ride, having the goal of riding to, and circumambulating, Angel Island was critical. Without that goal I would have turned around after 30 minutes because of the extreme gusty wind and fog.
The ride was about 40 miles round trip. I carried water and one PB&J (I ate a hearty late breakfast and didn’t require much else). I wore cotton pants, a cotton t-shirt, a cotton long-sleeve collared shirt. I also brought a thinly-insulated zip-up hoodie for extra layering (but my big regret was not bringing a beanie or cap).
It was sunny and warm when I left Fairfax at about 12:15pm, and the first part of the ride was spent meandering through central Marin towns and cities: the little bike path on the canal behind College of Marin and the path along Corte Madera Creek.
But as I approached the marsh near the Village Shopping Center the winds picked up — probably 15-20 mph head and cross winds with gusts to 25-30 mph on certain straightaways. Gusts flared around nearly every bend of Paradise Drive as I rode the long serpentine back road, past the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, to downtown Tiburon and the Angel Island ferry.
A mile from downtown, the fog and wind let up. The azure sky and stately homes along Marin’s gold coast (Belvedere and Tiburon) stood gloriously against the choppy Bay and the San Francisco skyline. I suddenly felt happy after more than an hour of not-so-happy pedaling.
I had to wait about 20-25 minutes and then caught the 3:00pm ferry across the Raccoon Strait to Angel Island.
When I arrived on the island the fog and wind picked up again and I made a head-down, very earnest turning-of-the-cranks circumambulation of the island. The initial plan was to follow the high fire road, which is the closest a bicycle can get to the top of Mt. Livermore (741′ EL). But the signage was poor and I somehow missed the turn.
Truth be told, I was kind of glad I missed my turn. This way I could follow the more popular (and gentler) Perimeter Road loop and get back to the quay a bit before the 4:20pm return ferry (since I was initially expecting to return on the last ferryboat of the day leaving an hour later.)
Of course, I couldn’t resist stopping for an espresso and a tira misu at Caffe Acri (review to come) once I was back on the mainland. Now, sufficiently energized, I rode furiously home while getting slammed by head winds for most of the trip (but also catching a few miles of tremendous tailwinds — for which I thank the spirit of St. Velocio).
A bit past 6pm, I arrived home to a memorable hot shower.
All in all, it was a frustratingly beautiful day on the bicycle, and well worth the effort!