This week I celebrate the anniversary of my blog, which I and posted every day for the past year. I didn't think it was possible, having never had a blog like this before. I disciplined myself in finding the time to collect my thoughts and write about my journey back into cycling. It became a daily journal of rides I've done, bikes I've bought, parts I've tried, races raced, learning to train right, and people I've met along the road.
Yesterday I did an epic ride with some friends to the top of Mt. Tam and back. 56 miles, and close to 8,000' of climbing. My friend Peter is hosting a gentleman's race of sorts this winter, so we used this ride to plot out the course and segments. We had a good crew at the start, some peeled off and on, some joined midway through, but we had a solid core group finish the entire ride.
We made our way through the Marin Headlands. The trails were pretty rutted out from the storms we've had the past couple of weeks. However, today was the perfect day for a ride, with the sun shining, crisp air with a slight headwind from the north.
David and Josh ascending. We climbed further up into the Headlands before dropping down Dias Ridge. We passed a few trail runners, a horse rider as well as a 90-year-old woman who's hiked up and back down Dias Ridge every day for who knows how long. From there we made our way to Muir Woods and climbed all the way to the top of Tam, a whopping 50 minutes of non-stop ascending. I didn't push myself to hard to keep up with lead, knowing we had a long day ahead of us.
My new trusty steed to carry me up to the top of Tam. I switched my rear tire back to a Racing Ralph for added air volume and traction. I'm sure the Furious Fred I was trying out last week would have been perfect, but it was meant to be a race day only tire. Again, this bike has proven to be the ultimate cross-country machine. Fast up as well as down it has the perfect balance of crisp and tight steering along with a stiff and light pedaling platform to climb any hill. It's finally perfectly dialed-in.
That's about $30k of 29er goodness all lined up in a row. At least. It's cool to see how many 29ers are out on the trail these days. Seeing a 26" wheeled bike just seems so weird now. Halfway down Tam we passed a massive group of riders all itching to chase us down the trail. Made up of a good mix of men and women, old and young, the group caught up to us at the bottom. It's the most riders I've seen on Coastal View, ever.
My friend Peter got a stunning new BMC 29er hard tail. Today was the first time it saw dirt, as well as a flat. The Coastal View trail descent was really fast and fun. Perfect dirt. Someone had done same amazing trail work that week, putting in some much-needed drainage to keep things relatively dry. With no one ahead of me I was able to rip down the trail at full speed. I nearly missed a few corners, sliding into some muddy turns.
I was shown a new section of trail I've never ridden before. It's uphill only. Middle Green Gulch starts at the bottom of Dias Ridge and climbs back into familiar territory. By this point I was ready to get on "the struggle bus".
Also ready to join me on the struggle bus was Peter and Brian. It's been a long day of riding, and we've got a few more climbs to tackle.
My bike hasn't seen that much mud in a long time. Caked from two weeks of riding through storms, never cleaned, topped off with one last epic ride before it gets thoroughly washed.
It's great to look back and reflect on the past year; where I started, where I've been, the goals I've made and accomplished. This blog has been really fun to do. Photography has always been a life long passion, but I've never found the right subject to shoot, other than my dog. I've learned to become a better photographer as a result, whether I'm shooting with my 7D, or various point and shoots, but I've got to say my favorite shots have come from my iPhone, which I carry with me all the time. It's about capturing that right moment, and having something to take the picture.
I've also become comfortable in my writing skills. A steady stream of thoughts, interesting or otherwise mundane. I hope you've enjoyed reading, and continue to do so. I'll keep posting every day until I find something else to focus my energy on.