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Mt. Tam Double pre-ride route suggestion?

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Mt. Tam Double pre-ride route suggestion?

Old 07-17-12, 11:36 AM
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Mt. Tam Double pre-ride route suggestion?

I'm signed up for the Mt. Tam Double in a couple weeks. I've never ridden in Marin.

I'd like to have some idea of the course and the climbs; where the false summits are and the steep bits. I'll be in the south bay early Thursday morning, and after that would like to try to ride on the course. Given the Double route, are there suggestions on where to start a 75-100mi ride and route to take?

I was looking at the map and elevation profile, and one route I thought was to start at Nicasio Valley School, do a clockwise loop back to the school, then drive up to Valley Ford and do that loop.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 07-17-12, 12:58 PM
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This will be my 4th year in a row doing the Mt. Tam double. It might be tough to pack in everything in one single ride as there are long stretches of flat to mild rollers in between the tough sections early on and then after lunch.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/1404405

The bulk of the climbing early on is from Fairfax to the Summit. After the descents there are some steep pitches out of Muir beach to Stinson Beach. The next section of HW 1 is where you want to pace line. There is a steep climb past the Reservoir around mile 80 heading to Petaluma. After Petaluma it's annoying flat, headwind, rollers (some steep) till mile 120. After that the rollers on HW1 are steep and annoying followed up by Coleman Valley which is hard and has false summits. Joy road is very bad pavement and a steep descent. More rollers along HW 1 until you get the Marshall climb which is tough but not as bad as Coleman Valley.

The general consensus is you will shift more on this double than on any other one due to the constant changes in gradient.
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Old 07-17-12, 11:37 PM
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Thanks for the particulars on the roads. I'll at least ride up to the summit on Thursday, and see what I have time for after that.

Originally Posted by Bostic
The general consensus is you will shift more on this double than on any other one due to the constant changes in gradient.
That'll be a welcome change. I only needed two gears for Alta Alpina, one for the climbing, and one for the flats.
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Old 07-17-12, 11:38 PM
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There is really no specific tough section on this ride, but a lot of rollers and a few extended climbs -- kind of like a thousand paper cuts. The wind could be a factor, or cold, or fog. If you do the Marshal climb now, it will feel easy. It really won't prepare you for mile 160, after battling winds all day. As Bostic said, your shifting fingers will feel sore the next day.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:29 AM
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The climb from Alpine lake to Ridgecrest (28 to 31 on the ridewithgps route) is covered by trees and is usually cold, wet with damp roads. Depending on the weather it then hopefully opens up to clear skies and great views as you head up to the summit. The descent from 42 down to 50 is usually quite foggy and damp and there are quite a few sharp turns to be aware of.
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Old 07-19-12, 09:13 PM
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I will see you there. This will be my 3rd year as Rest Stop Captain at the mile 72 - Point Reyes Station Rest Stop.
It is a mini stop and my whole crew is Mrs. Oldstrong, Lance Youngstrong,(12 year old son) and Princess Oldstrong (14 year old daughter) The 4 of us had a great time last year and the kids are super psyched to be back.

Cccorlew and I did it my 1st year there, then last year it was me, the wife and kids like it will be again this year.
We will take good care of you.
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Old 07-20-12, 03:57 PM
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I went down/up to Marin yesterday to ride a bit of the double route. I don't think I've ever been to the top of Mt. Tamalpais, so aside from seeing all the foggy pics in ride reports, it was all new to me. I had an early morning meeting in the south bay, and was hoping to be in Marin by 11am. Turned out I didn't get started until after 2:30pm, but at that point it was easy enough to find parking in Fairfax for 4+ hours.

Living in the Sacramento area, this time of year it is sunny and brutally hot. All the time. I couldn't wait to get to fog/cold, and as soon as I hoped off 280 and started going down Highway 1 through San Francisco, I was in heaven. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, there was no sun to be seen.



However, within a few minutes (Mill Valley?), there wasn't a cloud in the sky towards Mt. Tam.



I drove to Vallecito Elementary to see where the ride started and what the first part of the route was like, but had decided that I would start my ride from Fairfax and loop around, following the route from there to Pt. Reyes Station, then head back.

Turned out I had left my jacket at home, so I was okay with the sun, until I realized I had left it with the sunscreen. Short detour to the grocery store in Fairfax where $14 and too big of a bottle of sunscreen later I was ready to ride.

I had printed out the PDF file of the route from the Marin Century website, however not being familiar with the roads, I wasn't sure if I was going the right way or not (i.e. route sheet said turn L on West Ridgecrest, but the sign said only Ridgecrest). Eventually I got out of the trees, and after three or four bumps along the ridge I figured out I must be on the Seven Sisters. Again, hard to recognize anything without the fog.



At the top I was disappointed that the peak was so much further up, and that it didn't look like I could pedal up. I'll bring the kids back and we'll go to the very top.

Some might say it was gloriously clear; I think it was just sunny and hot.



It was a nice view though, and probably a lot cooler than across the way at Diablo.



I dropped down from the summit, questioning each intersection and if I was really going the right way. After passing Muir Woods, the wind started blowing. After I turned on to Highway 1 towards Stinson Beach, it started blowing and blowing. At some point I looked at the bike computer and it said the grade was -6%, and I was pedaling as if on the flats to just go 15mph.

By the time I had turned on to Highway 1, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it to Pt. Reyes Station. The headwind was too strong, but more ominous was the clouds had rolled in to the north. I figured from the map that I could turn up Panorama Highway just before Stinson Beach and return that way. I rolled into Stinson Beach to find water though and stopped at a park/basketball court. I asked a guy playing basketball with his kids if he knew about the roads leading up, and getting back to Fairfax. He said he lived in Fairfax, and the roads going up were very rough, and the best thing to do would be to continue on to Olema and take Sir Francis Drake back. It looked crazy far away compared to taking Panorama or Bolinas-Fairfax Rd, but then he said it wasn't too far to Olema.

Just north of Stinson Beach the sun disappeared. Thankfully it wasn't too cold, and in my best aero tuck, I made it to Olema. It was too dark to wear my RX sunglasses, and I wanted to wait as long as I could before stopping to get my RX clear glasses out, so I stumbled along in the tree-covered darkness. Each time I saw a "30 MPH" sign I figured I was finally to Fairfax, but a bunch of those came and went before I finally got back. I haven't driven through Fairfax in probably 10 years, and really liked their bike lanes ... don't waste the space. The camera ISO must have been really high, as the pic is way overexposed, and I was squinting to see where I was going.



It was a good ride, and I'm glad I made it down to Olema to see what the highway was like along there (though looking at the map now, it would have been so much quicker to go uphill from Stinson Beach). I do wish I'd started a few hours earlier (and had a real map), as I was getting anxious at the Samuel P. Taylor SP. Traffic along Highway 1 was fantastic, always giving plenty of room, and hanging back in blind curves. I'm looking forward to full ride in a couple weeks.

And I'll definitely introduce myself to the Oldstrong's. Your "we did 3, lets do 5" with Curtis is my inspiration for doing 5 this year ... Mt. Tam will be #3 ... I'm cherry picking #4 and #5 (Death Valley) for the easier rides.
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Old 07-23-12, 10:47 PM
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I'll look for you there. I traded pulls with you and Ccorlew a couple years ago for the 2nd half of the Hemet Double. It's been a while, but I'll say hello when I get to mile 72, assuming I'm still able to verbalize things as complex as "hello" after 72 miles of this double!

Michael

Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong
I will see you there. This will be my 3rd year as Rest Stop Captain at the mile 72 - Point Reyes Station Rest Stop.
It is a mini stop and my whole crew is Mrs. Oldstrong, Lance Youngstrong,(12 year old son) and Princess Oldstrong (14 year old daughter) The 4 of us had a great time last year and the kids are super psyched to be back.

Cccorlew and I did it my 1st year there, then last year it was me, the wife and kids like it will be again this year.
We will take good care of you.
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