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  1. #1
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    The King of the 15 Miler (very long but with nice pictures)

    In my little town, end-to-end and back will give me a nice 12 mile ride.
    If I throw in a trip back to the valley at the south end of town will take me up to about 16 miles or so.
    And I'm comfortable with that. Really comfortable. Too comfortable.
    I had begun to despair that I was forever doomed to do these little jaunts around town.
    When Saturday loomed, I knew I had to get out and GO somewhere. Test myself a little.
    So, I set out for a little journey of, I don't know, 25, 30, maybe 35 miles.
    Maybe head toward a small climb still on my list.

    But it's summer on the coast and that means cold. Grey foggy skies, temps in the mid-50s, wind.
    So.. I put on the kit, I put on the tights, I put on the GoreTex Windstopper jacket (great jacket! Thanks Mrs S!)
    But when I got out and ready to roll, the sun started to come through. It was getting warm.
    Off come the tights and off go I.

    First I head south, to the pier, to warm up before I start the long (for me) brutal climb north out of town.


    It gets warm enough that the sleeves get unzipped and put away.
    I get over the hill and it's all steadily down hill for a few miles before I hit the "flats" by Lake Merced and the Great Highway.
    And... I find my stroke. I'm in my comfort zone (much higher than my comfort zone was a year ago.
    Wow. Am I seeing differences in how I feel and what I can do on a bicycle now).
    I still don't know where I'm going but I'm not coming back for a while, is all I know.
    I stop by my local shop. Mrs S. thinks I have a crush on the woman who owns the shop.
    I ask her if Conzleman Road is "doable" for me.
    She says, "Oh yeah, if you know how to pace yourself, which you do, riding where you ride. And besides, the view is nice so you just enjoy the scenery and forget the ride up")
    "Scenery" Yeah... right.
    But I start out taking my usual way out to the Golden Gate Bridge but I start wondering and wandering.
    What I found would come in handy later and besides, it was a nice change to take a different way to a usual place.
    Eventually I found this view of downtown. And gosh... there's Coit Tower and maybe where I work.


    I get over to the entrance to the west side of the GGB... oh my gosh I need those sleeves again.
    And to zip up. And... why did I think it was a good idea to leave those tights at home? It's cold.
    But I cross the bridge, call my wife and tell her I won't be home for a while.
    I'm feeling GOOD.
    I'm going up Conzelman. Here's the start. Not too bad


    It goes up and around the corner and then it flattens out a bit and goes on for a couple of miles at a nice steady 5.5%.
    It got some bits which bite a little but it's OK. I can do this.
    But as I get around that corner, I am SLAMMED face first into the wind.
    Oh, it's a stiff little breeze, it is. And it's cold. Oh man. I start seeing a lot of this


    You can see -sort of- the road I was following as I look back on it.
    Around the bend, across the middle of the photo (that faint grey line) where it again bends
    around the corner, etc. etc.


    Here's a view of the Pacific with sailboats and the Golden Bridge in the background.
    I'm not making this up. Really


    Things are appearing then disappearing then reappearing as the fog billows amorphously over and around the hills.
    I hear Carl Sandberg's voice.
    But I'm feeling so good. I keep going. But finally, I came around a turn and saw that it kept going to another turn.
    I couldn't remember how much farther I had to go.
    It's really cold.
    It's really windy.
    I really don't like riding into the wind.
    And I really, REALLY don't like riding into the wind uphill.
    Forget it. I stop to eat a Hammer Bar and I live to fight another day.
    Coming down, as car pulled over to let me pass him -the ride down is really worth the ride up- and I got
    hit with a side draft so strong it nearly pushed my bike out from under me.
    I thought I was going down but I fought, I corrected, I stayed up.
    What's my BP now, I wonder?

    But, in the end I got some nice shots when I got back to the bottom of the hill.
    I found out when I got home, I was only 1/2 mile short. A half a mile.
    Darn. Now I have to go back... on a warmer day.
    The climb was actually one where you could settle into a rhythm. I liked it.


    The Marin Headlands. Conzleman Road is in all that white stuff.


    I was at the top of that valley you almost see. It's where I took the pictures of the sailboats


    Continuing south, over this point and down the road about 10 miles is where I live.


    Oh yeah, I almost forgot... when day was done I put in 46.5 miles. I could have kept going easily.
    I could have made a half century, easily but this wasn't about that.
    I want more...
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  2. #2
    Semper Fidelis
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    great ride and pictures, you write a great dialog which captures the ride and your days events
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  3. #3
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    thanks much for your sharing. Your particulars are yours and of that day - but your spirit and the spirit of that day are all of ours. Little kids again out on adventures. The great joy of biking. Priceless.

    Michael

  4. #4
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Nice report, nice pics - thanks.

  5. #5
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    Great pics and a good read....thanks for taking the time to share.

  6. #6
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    As others have said and I agree, thanks for posting. Inspirational ride, and great pictures of a lovely part of the world.

    (Not to steal your thread, I hope, but it brought back fond memories of when I was more of a runner than a cyclist. Lake Merced and the Great Highway - boy, that was a big lake and a long road at the last quarter of the San Francisco marathon 1992! And Marin County - for many visits when the kids were younger, an essential for any visit to your part of the world was a Double Dipsea. Drive to Mill Valley, trot up and over to Stinson Beach, meet Mrs and offspring and join their picnic just before Cardiac Hill on my way back whilst they continued to Stinson, pick up the car and drive round to pick them up in Stinson. Happy times, more than a dozen of them. Wonder if I can still do it? Probably, just a bit slower!)

    Hope this wasn't an intrusion, just your account brought back good memories!

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    In late September I am flying into OAK and driving to Santa Rosa for my eldest nephew's wedding, but you are tempting me to take a side trip during that weekend.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  8. #8
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Great ride report, SKT. You have some beautiful scenery on your rides.
    =============================================================
    My cancer updates:
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    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
    -- Antonio Smith

  9. #9
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wobblyoldgeezer View Post
    As others have said and I agree, thanks for posting. Inspirational ride, and great pictures of a lovely part of the world.

    (Not to steal your thread, I hope, but it brought back fond memories of when I was more of a runner than a cyclist. Lake Merced and the Great Highway - boy, that was a big lake and a long road at the last quarter of the San Francisco marathon 1992! And Marin County - for many visits when the kids were younger, an essential for any visit to your part of the world was a Double Dipsea. Drive to Mill Valley, trot up and over to Stinson Beach, meet Mrs and offspring and join their picnic just before Cardiac Hill on my way back whilst they continued to Stinson, pick up the car and drive round to pick them up in Stinson. Happy times, more than a dozen of them. Wonder if I can still do it? Probably, just a bit slower!)

    Hope this wasn't an intrusion, just your account brought back good memories!
    Yeah, that Great Highway is one looooong road, alright. I've been riding down the Old Great Highway which now is more of a frontage road than anything I guess... certainly not as busy as the main highway. It's nice and flat and, boy, can you get a good pace going on it as you recite the "alphabet streets" rolling by.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    Great ride report, SKT. You have some beautiful scenery on your rides.
    Beverly, I am not a religious guy at all but I'd have to say I am blessed to live where I live.
    I'll take the freezing summers if it means I have the scenery -and the water- I have all around me.
    As long as the earth stays still...
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    SKT - AWESOME!! I could feel your excitement and peace and it was good. Thanks for sharing.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    Yeah, that Great Highway is one looooong road, alright. It's nice and flat and, boy, can you get a good pace going on it as you recite the "alphabet streets" rolling by.
    As far as I recall, I wasn't reciting the street names. I may be wrong, but my memory is more 'left. Ooch. Right. Ooch. Left b*ggarit. Right d*mmit'.

    However, it was my fastest over the distance!

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