I did the Marin Century this year. I figured with the commercial we see on Versus during Tour of Cali, which prominently featured the Marin Century rides, it must have a lot of funding, and decided to participate in it this year. It’s actually Marin/Mt. Tam all rolled into one. They had Marin 50k, 100k, 100 miles, and the Mt. Tam 100 miles, 200k, and 200 mile routes. So this was an extremely huge production.
Weather wise, it was cool … very cool. In fact, the sun didn’t come out until the last 20 miles of the century route. For this reason, I decided to not take any pictures. All day, we were greeting with overcast skies, and for a while, we got foggy mists. It wasn’t cold enough to put a jacket on, but I did have arm warmers on most of the day.
As always, in the beginning of a ride, there is a lot of enthusiasm, and lots of energy …. perhaps too much energy. We got our first hills on Lucas Valley Road, and that’s where I started passing everyone. We were maintaining a pretty high pace, even though we were climbing (but it wasn’t steep hills … they were gradual). We were zipping through Nicasio in about 1 hour. I saw the 50k rest stop at the 12 mile mark, and decided to duck in there (I really didn’t need any food, but used it as an excuse to slow up my pace).
Next climb was a right turn on Pt. Reyes-Petaluma, which is another gradual climb, but it is a long climb. We pass by the cheese factory, but it was still early, so no one stopped there. I kept passing, and being passed up by the same two female riders … one very strong … strong hill climber … very aggressive on the climb, but could sustain it. The other was not as strong, but a good long distance rider. I hooked up with them, off and on for the rest of the ride (I mean why not … they are athletic, strong, and pretty good looking women).
We rode through Chileno Valley, and this is where I got caught by myself. I didn’t want to stay too long at rest stops, so when I left, everyone else was still at the rest stop. For a while there, I was wondering if I was on the right route, but eventually I saw someone up ahead, and I reeled them in.
Definitely, the toughest part of the ride was Marshall Wall. I normally do this from Cheese Factory through Hicks Valley, then onto Marshall … but we did this the other way. I haven’t done Marshall Wall too much, but I think this way is much tougher. I think this broke everyone, and it did tax me a little bit, but I was still able to forge through with it.
Fatigue started settling in even before Marshall, so I just had to grind it out. Earlier in the day, I was climbing out of the saddle, and perhaps that spent a bit of energy early on … but if I don’t try to push it, I’ll never get better, right? It’s a give and take.
By the time we finished Marshall Wall, we got to the last rest stop, and the sun decides to come out. Well, at least we didn’t have to contend with heat and hills today, so that was nice. Must be nice for the double century riders too.
We didn’t do Pt. Reyes Station, or Mt. Tam. This was reserved for the Mt. Tam Century. The majority of the riders did Marin Century. In fact, I think there were a smaller number of Mt. Tam Century riders than there were Mt. Tam Double Century riders. I didn’t see anyone do Mt. Tam … kind of odd.
One thing about Marin … they did a really good job of marking the course. I heard some complain about not chalking the road. They used the route arrow stickers, which I think is fine. I do think they could have used more arrows, just to indicate you are on the right road. There was some confusion at one point on the ride, where we saw Whittaker Bluff, and Whittaker Road … not sure which one we were supposed to be on. But other than that, the marking was great. They had what looked like authentic road signs, with an arrow pointing in the right direction. It was great to see those on the street poles, and it was very clear to see. They had that, and the route arrow stickers on the road. They did have one turn that wasn’t clearly marked though … the left on Chileno Valley Rd. Not sure what happened there, but for everything else, couldn’t ask for a better organized ride.
One more problem … some of the rest stops were too well featured. It made me want to eat more and more. Oh well … I guess that’s a good complaint.
I was hoping to finish this ride in 7 hours, but I just missed that. I got about 103 miles, and 6400 feet climbing. Pretty good day, but man, I am aching … this wasn’t even a 7000 foot climbing ride. Regardless, no matter how many doubles I do, 100 miles still is not easy. 100 miles is still 100 miles, and since I really did push it, it aches. We’ll see how I do on Cool Breeze in Ventura later this month. Still undecided on 100 miles or 200k.