Climbed Mt. Tam Finally on a Hot Day


Triumph! First time up to summit of Mt. Tam

I finally climbed Mt. Tam, and it would happen to be on the Hottest Day of the year on the Bay Area.  I mean, it was in the 80s in SF … that’s s rarity.

I’m the past, I would normally do either Alpine Dam and head up to Ridgecrest then do they Seven Sisters (set of 7 rolling hills), and then, get to a junction where we usually have a rest stop, then head down Pan Toll Road, down the hill.  But that would skip Mt. Tam.  At this point we usually already have a lot of miles and climbing in our legs that we have little motivation to go up.  Well the same thing was true on this day, but I decided I’m not doing and I’m just continuing up the road, and climbing Mt. Tam.

It was hot to start off with, even after getting off Caltrain by AT&T Park.  I brought a vest and arm warmers, because you can never tell what the climate is like in the city, but there was no fog at all, and it would remain hot.  This also meant traffic was bad.  Normally when I take the first train in on Saturday, it wouldn’t be too bad, but not today.  Plus, the finals of America’s Cup is going on, so lots of traffic at the Embarcadero.

I made minimal stops on this ride, so this was definitely not a social ride, but it also wasn’t a hammer ride, due to heat and climbing I know I’ll do.  Before making the climb to Alpine Dam, I fueled up at 7-11 … like drinking an entire bottle of Gatorade.  I normally don’t do this, but I needed something to cool my core before the climbing starts.


Huddling in the shade at Alpine Dam

Alpine Dam is the usual regroup spot, and usually people stop at the center of the dam to relax and enjoy.  Not this day.  I huddled over to the shade.

Next up was the next climb up to Ridgecrest.  This was a pretty shady climb, but it was still pretty hot.  I started to get fatigued here, and suddenly I had thoughts of bailing on Mt. Tam again.  I had to fight to wipe these thoughts out of my head, and just make it to the next crest at Ridgecrest.


At Ridgecrest, and start of Seven Sisters

At Ridgecrest, there was another group doing a training ride, and they had a support car, supplying water.  They graciously provided it, even to those not in their training ride.  That’s just awesome.  That’s what I love about cycling, such cameraderie.

Next it’s the Seven Sisters.  This is a set of seven rollies, before you even get to the base of Mt. Tam.   This is tough on a hot day, because it is all exposed, wide open.  Since you know there are seven of them, you can almost pace yourself, but with this heat, it’s still a tough climb.


Overlooking Stinson Beach

There are some really gorgeous views from here.  You get some really nice overlooks of Stinson Beach.

Continuing on Ridgecrest, when you finish the Seven Sisters, there is s parking lot, where most take a rest.  This is where in the past we would head down the hill, but not today.  I’m not doing and continuing on up the hill.


Mt. Tam looking east

Actually the climb up Mt. Tam is not that bad.  It is a little shaded to start, and the summit is all exposed.  I think the climb up to Ridgecrest plus the Seven Sisters usually it’s what does everybody in.  Amazing views from up here.


Caltrain Bike Car was busy

By the time I made it down the hill back to Sausalito, I was tired.  I’m looking forward to just sitting in Caltrain, and resting.  I made it to Caltrain just in time … got there at 3:05, and the train leaves at 3:15.  Sweet!  The bike car was also very busy.

Total stats …62 miles, 5000+ feet climbing

Weekend of Extremes

Saturday and Sunday was two very different types of days.  Saturday continued the warm 90+ degree days in California.  I would have to climb one of the toughest hills in the area that day.

Sunday was very different.  It was cold, windy, foggy, and there were parts where it did sprinkle a little bit.  I was definitely not prepared for that.  I did have a base layer, but only had a vest and arm warmers.  Can they just make up their mind?

Sunday’s ride did start in SF, so maybe that had something to do with it.  This was a ride up Alpine Dam and then seven sisters on Ridgecrest near Mt. Tam.

It was really windy, wet, foggy, and the visibility sucked.  Sure I’m up at elevation, but it was so fogged in, I couldn’t see any views at all.  The only thing I relied on was looking for the double yellow line lane markers, and I didn’t have front blinkers, but I did turn on my rear blinkers …. not sure if that helped at all. 

The wind really kicked us around.  On the descent, it threw us around, and we all relaxed on our speed.  All we wanted to do was to get off that mountain.  That made for s very interesting, and very eventful day.

What a complete contrast the two days was.  From hot and miserable, to cold, damp, and miserable.  That just plays havoc on the body.

Mt Tam via Bolinas (or Gladiator Reunion)

Gladiators leaving Nicasio

Gotta get my double century training into high gear, so we decided to do Mt. Tam the long way, going out through Nicasio, to Pt. Reyes, then Bolinas and up to Mt. Tam.  This also brought out the old gang, the “Gladiators” as Pete calls it.  Marco and Ruth, Pete, Ramon, and Chris .. we all came out.  Just like old times, eh?

Ramon needing to trim more pounds for DMD???

Ramon actually had to cut the ride short, but he still did Mt. Tam, but went via Alpine Dam instead.  He probably cut out 20 miles with that route.  He’s training for the Triple Crown Stage race, DMD being the first … he’s trying to get down to 130 lb by then.  The above pic is with him at 140 … let’s compare this with just before doing DMD.  Damn dude, you’re looking fit and trim already.

Mill Valley Sausalito Bike Path

It was an absolutely splendid day.  I was actually quite surprised it wasn’t more busy than it was.  Although there was some event down at Crissy Field, with lots of joggers, that completely filled up Sports Basement parking lot, and we had to strategically find unique parking spaces, but when crossing the bridge, it didn’t seem that bad.  And this was at 10 am!

On the way to Nicasio, the little bump on Sir Francis Drake Highway is really annoying.  It’s not the toughest, but you do have to work … oddly enough, this annoying stretch is where I was working the hardest.  Got my HR up to 175 bpm.  Sometimes it’s those annoying hill bumps that gets your heart rate going the most.  But the reward was the nice fast descent before you make the right turn to go to Nicasio.

The stretch to Nicasio has some rollies and it’s just enough to get distanced by the rest of the pack.  I just hope I’m not too far behind everyone else … I don’t think it was too bad … maybe a couple minutes behind (optimistically thinking).  At least by the time I got there, they weren’t all antsy to get going.

When we made the left turn to head towards Pt. Reyes, that’s where they put the hammer down.  I immediately got distanced in the first couple minutes after the left turn onto Petaluma-Point Reyes Road.  I figure I’d meet them back at Pt. Reyes for lunch.  I just couldn’t believe how fast they were going though.  I knew what was coming up, so I decided to just stay within my pace, and not blow myself out before even hitting the climbs.

After a short sandwich stop at Pt. Reyes, we were off again, down Hwy 1, with a full set of rollies.  I felt pretty good, able to get some good pace, even on some of the uphill on the rollies.  Chris was rolling way past everyone.

A left turn on Bolinas-Fairfax, and now the fun and the climbing begins.  Chris and Pete are charging up the hill, while Marco and Ruth, and myself, we grind it up this hill.  I think my fitness (or lack of it), was beginning to show at this point.  I was just waiting for the shaded portion at the top to appear, but it seemed to be a lot longer and tougher than I remember it to be.  I guess this is the winter effecting me … hopefully I won’t be suffering too much on my double in a couple of weeks.

1st Sister?

I didn’t see anyone at the top at Ridgecrest, so I assumed they went on ahead, so that’s what I decided to do.  At this point, we have a set of rollies which they call the 7 sisters.  I wanted to document these, but I only counted 5.

This is the first one … at least I think it is.  I couldn’t get my camera out in enough time to get a panorama shot, so this will have to do.

2nd Sister

I think this is the second sister.  I had a pair of cyclists in my sight, so at least I could use them as a target to keep pushing.  However, as hard as my mind was set on trying to reel them in, my legs were not in agreement.  However, I did seem to be gaining ground on them, but then I see them stopping.  Well, at least it gave me some motiviation.

3rd Sister ... maybe the toughest

The third sister, is probably the toughest.  Although all of them are fairly short, this seems to have a grinding effect on me.  I do notice that after grinding through this one, the rest of the sisters, or hills are not quite as bad.  But then again, who’s counting, right?  Well, uh, I am … that’s why I am telling you all about it.  LOL

At this point, I have lost track of whether or not this is the next sister.  They were a few small bumps leading up to this, so I don’t know if they count that as one of the sisters.  Whatever the case may be, I know I am at least half way through the seven sisters, so that’s all the counts in my head.  I know that the after reaching the peak of this one, I am home free.


Gorgeous Panorama view of Stinston Beach

Now what’s nice is we do get a really nice view of Stinson Beach just before we get to Pan Toll Road.  On a day like today, I couldn’t help but stop to take a pic.

I get to Pan Toll Road, but don’t see anyone there.  I’m not sure if anyone was going up to the summit, so I thought maybe they would be re-grouping there.  So I decided to go part way to the summit at least.  I’m not sure how far I went, but I didn’t see anyone come down, so I just turned around, and figure I’d meet everyone at the Ranger’s Station.  Well, I got there, and saw Marco and Ruth, but didn’t see anyone else.  We didn’t see anyone else there.  We figured we would wait until 3:45 pm, and if no one showed, we would continue back to the cars.  We wanted to make sure we got back before it got dark.

Tried calling, and leaving txt messages, but to no avail.  Well, once we get back to Sports Basement, then we should at least get a cell signal, and maybe find out what’s going on.  It turned out Chris had waited, and gone on ahead (as he was getting cold waiting).  He got to Sports Basement (re-parked, as I couldn’t find his car at the place we parked).  Pete found his way back too … I guess he did go up to the summit, but he got some emergency calls on his cell, and things got all screwed up.  But we got things all squared away.  I just didn’t think we would be separated that far apart.  I guess I just need that much more training in.

Despite the communication issue, it was quite a day.  The weather was spectacular, and it was a good day to reunite on the bike with the old gang, once again.

My totals … 79.2 miles, 5377 feet climbing.

Return of Taxi

Lately, there has been something missing from the weekend BF rides … can’t put my finger on it.  Sure, we have the hammerheads, and we’ve got the great riding, but there is a void … hmmm … oh yes, there’s that taxi character.  Remember this guy?


Oh yes, Pete … aka taxi777.  He made an appearance today.  Okay, he led this ride, but still, it’s great to have him back on the road.  Hmm … has the time off the bike gotten to him.  Aches coming by???  All joking aside, it’s great to have him back, and he’s having another one tomorrow!  To taxi rides in one weekend … wow!


Here he is dropping in at Sports Basement, even though the actual ride started at the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor’s Center.  We had a small group, Chris, aka PizzaMan, who has a great racing season, Ramon, as you can see above, and one of Pete’s Aid’s ride buddies, Robert showed up.  We were anticipating Marco and Ruth coming on the tandem, but we never did hook up.  They were running late, and we never did hook up during the day.  Maybe we’ll see them on the fixie ride tomorrow, which goes around the Tiburon loop.


Now it wouldn’t be a taxi ride without pictures.  Except that these were taken by me … I’m sure Pete will get around to his pics, and will upload them later on BF.  This was taken as we were going through Mill Valley.  We were riding through at the same time a pack of about 20 riders were going in the same direction we were.  In fact, they basically went the same route we did … up Alpine Dam, 7 Sisters to Mt. Tam, then back.  Very popular route.


Now here’s a vision you don’t see very much … me at the front, taking a picture of Ramon who is behind me.  Well, he is winding down his training … funny, I’m ramping mine up, it seems.

Pete was thinking he was going to be behind us all the way, but that simply wasn’t true.  He was able to keep up, and not to my surprise, was ahead of me on the climb to Alpine Dam.  Even though he wasn’t riding the typical hills, he was still doing these short 20 mile rides on his fixie.  I think as long as you have that base mileage, you really won’t lose too much.


All in all, it was a really good ride, and great to see Pete back out there on the road.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of him.  However, he did mention he took off his computer, so he has nothing to look at on his bike.  Also, not doing any organized rides for the next year?  Well, we’ll see.