The Mt Tam Double was my 5th Double Century of the season and the 6th of the onetoughride series that included the top 4 of the toughest of the Double Century calendar and completing my CTC (for a second consecutive year), CTC Stage Race Series, and the Gold Thousand Mile Club. With the completion of the Death Ride, the total course miles ridden over these 6 events (in the past four months) was 1,133 miles with and just under 85,000 feet of climbing.
I arrived at the start of the Mt Tam Double about 3:30 AM and planned to start with my friends Jason and Mike. We were planning on an early start (mass start is was scheduled for 5 AM) but as it turned out we ended up being a part of an official 4 AM mass start with 32 riders. As we rolled from the start the pack thinned out as we headed for the first of many climbs up Lucas Valley Road. I set the tempo for the first climb but was overtaken by one of the riders about a half a mile from the top. As we descended the other side, most of the pack re-grouped and then split up again over the next 10 miles on Nicasio Valley Road.
As we rolled into Fairfax I missed the first right turn but then saw the group reassembling and was back on course. The pack again split up as we climbed Bolinas Fairfax Road toward the first rest stop at Pine Mountain (mile 24.5). After checking in I headed for the top of the first real climb which was Mt Tam. As I ascended Bolinas Fairfax Road toward Ridgecrest the pack had thinned to a point where I had only seen one other rider. As I crested the top of Tam at mile 38 I was told that I was the 4th one check in. Descending Tam and heading for Santos Meadows I saw Jason heading for the top of Tam. The descent down Pan Toll Road and then out to Muir Woods would be a combination of dense fog, extreme dew (resembling rain), and strong winds. As I rolled into Santos Meadows check point (mile 50) here comes Jason who must have been descending like a rocket.
After a quick refuel Jason and I were back on the road and heading for a ride up the coast. Clearing the next few rest stops and rolling into the Valley Ford Rest Stop at lunch (mile 124) we had a great pace but many of the fastest riders that left at 5 AM had now caught and passed us. After a quick lunch it was off for the infamous Coleman Valley Road climb. If you have ridden it you know, but if you haven't this is one of the toughest 1.4 miles of climbing of the entire course.
After getting dropped by Jason between leaving the lunch stop and the Bay Hill Road climb I caught up with him as I arrived at the Coleman check point (mile 136). Jason had been there for a bit so he rolled and I left shortly thereafter (downing Red Bull #2) and caught up with him as we rolled down Joy Road. As we rolled back into the Valley Ford Rest stop we refueled (Red Bull #3) and caught up with a few friends and were off again with 153 miles behind us and a few climbs to go.
As we got out to the coast it was a constant battle of head winds as we made our way down HWY 1 pacelining to try to pick up some time or at least save some energy for Marshall Wall. At mile 160 it was a quick left for another climb up Marshall. It was clear that the climb with 160 miles on our legs was wearing the group down but after reaching the Walker Creek Rest Stop and a short break we initiated a good pace and picked up few riders that we would ultimately find to be wheel suckers that wanted a free ride.
After a good pace considering the winds that we continued to encounter we had a decent climb and nice fast descent before turning left onto Nicasio Valley Road. As we caught up with another rider we again pacelined out to the final rest stop at Nicasio Valley School and grabbed a quick drink (no, it was not a Red Bull this time) before our final climb up Lucas Valley Road and then heading for the finish. As was the case throughout the day, Jason dropped me on the descent but I was able to catch up with him on the last few miles and we had a great 22 mph+ paceline as we rolled to Las Gallinas for the last 1.5 miles into the finish.
The Marin Cyclists put together one of the best supported rides hands down and this year also met with the same high expectations that I have seen in the past. It was great to ride with Jason (a.k.a. rocket of the descents) who is also my team mate for the FC 508 this year and it was again amazing to see Mike Melville add yet another of the toughest rides to his fixie resume...yes, that is correct he rode this ride on a fixie! And last but not least, I was very cool to see Peg Miller nail this years event well within the cut-offs (after being so close in 2009) and getting her CTC for 2010!
As I near the close of the onetoughride project with one last BIG event to go (the Furnace Creek 508) I am excited to report that we have raised a total of $8,500 and I am confident that we can get that to $10,000...or more by the end of October when I will be wrapping up this project. This project was a complete grass roots effort from the concept to pitching the idea to a number of organizations to marketing the project, fund-raising, and setting up all of the infrastructure to support the project....not to mention the training and completing the events. Because of the 32 individuals, one corporate donor, one foundation and the matching funding of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation WE will make a difference in the research for better treatments and ultimately a cure for the millions of people living with Primary Immunodeficiency diseases like my son.
If you haven't donated please consider doing so right now and remember that every dollar donated is matched which means that right now the $8,500 is $17,000. Being an overachiever, I threw in an extra Double Century and I'd also love to break that goal of $10,000 and hope I can have your support in doing so. Last, the final jersey artwork (all donor names will be on it) will be submitted this weekend to Voler to ensure that I have the jersey for my final stage of the Furnace Creek 508 as well as the photo op at the finish. If your company (or you know of someone else) is interested in making a donation of $300 or more, I will add your company logo to the jersey.
Until next time...Enjoy the ride!
PS: I shaved 35 mins off of last years time coming in at 15:36 vs. 16:11.