Sunday, September 2, 2007

August 15, 2007 5, 2007; 70 Miles 4000 ft of climbing planned and completed.

The day started out just plain dangerous. While you never want this to happen on a long ride, it is particularly perilous on the last day when your concentration can be off somewhat as you begin to think about tomorrow, the day you will not be getting on a bike! About the only good thing I can say about the morning is that it certainly kept my concentration up.

The fog was so thick I missed the turnoff to breakfast (despite a big red neon sign saying “cappuccino” which we had actually scouted out the evening before). More troubling was a piece of road kill which was difficult to see and which Genny and I happily both missed. It was big enough that a hit (and subsequent fall) would likely have sent the unfortunate biker to the hospital.

In the midst of this, (and to begin the last day feel) my friend Rich Preston coming up to meet us, passed me along the route (he was going to go up to Bodega Bay to have breakfast then drive back and meet us for the remainder of the day).

As we got through the morning fog into the sun, today happily fell into the last day, lighthearted emotional pattern for me. Actually, I never understood it, but the same is true on the Tour de France where most of the time, the leader usually does not get challenged on the last day (enthusiasts may remember seeing Lance Armstrong sipping Champagne on his bike on the last day of his 7th tour victory, that wasn't because someone was chasing him). Today, I felt it. As if I needed any more riding experience to appreciate what the pros do, I definitely came away from this experience with a new appreciation for the endurance required. I went at a really relaxed pace, even for me.

We stopped at the Bovine Bakery for a pastry. For those who have ever driven across country on US 80 or 90 (I can’t remember which), the Bovine Bakery at Pt. Reyes Station has been the Wall Drug of this trip. When driving across country from the east, one begins to see signs in Minnesota saying “Wall Drug, 500 miles” (which puts you, I think, somewhere in the Dakotas or Wyoming. And so it continues, “Wall Drug, 450 Miles.” And after seeing these signs with increasing frequency, Wall Drug, 50 Miles, Wall Drug 25 Miles etc., even when it turns out to be a pretty bland rest stop, you absolutely, positively, must stop to see what all the fuss is about.

I listened to Jim and Genny rave about the Bovine Bakery since I first met them months ago and Jim and I went on a scouting tour down the last few days of the ride, passing the bakery. I am pleased to report that the Bovine Bakery lived up to the hype. What a glorious time we had sitting out in the sun, munching down a delectable pastry.

The most significant problem with the Bovine Bakery is that it lives in a cell phone hole where no one’s phone worked. It must have been 10-20 miles before our phones worked again. My wife Vicky was on her way to meet us there and arrived just a few minutes after we left. We finally did meet up and our caravan made its way to San Francisco (though I think we were still out of cell phone range). Jim and Genny parked about 10 miles out of San Francisco. It was in this last stretch that passed the 900 mile mark. And, even better, the picture of my odometer came out. We met up with my friend Larry Kane and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (with, of course, a photo op as we entered San Francisco County in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge). Upon crossing the Golden Gate Bridge we pedaled the last few miles to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, uphill, through the beautiful Seacliff neighborhood.

Frankly, I had not put two and two together, not recalling the Palace of the Legion of Honor, but recognized it immediately when we arrived from field trip, in, I think the 6th Grade (though I have been there in the last five years). It was a great and very picturesque ending spot. So we took pictures.

Jim and Genny were ready to head back to the car and make for home. They biked off with Larry. Rich and Vicky and I went for a great dinner on the Marina, an excellent end to the day and the ride. I slept well that night.