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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mt. Tamalpai with Ella

San Francisco's West Coast - out in the haze.

Becky needed a few hours of silence, and I had been courting the idea of climbing Mt. Tamalpai in Marin for a few weeks. So, Ella and I loaded up a couple of sandwiches, water bottles, bananas, and what I thought were enough warm clothes - and of course the mountain bike and trailer bike - and trucked it across the bay on a coolish Saturday morning.

We cycled around Mill Valley for 20 minutes trying to find a way out of town. We nearly got out once, but we were heading in the wrong direction. I finally gave up on the map and started asking joggers and cyclists. We worked our way from one local to the next till they finally had us heading up the steepest narrowest avenue in the general direction of the mountain.

Soon we were following state park signs, and gaining on a suffering road cyclist. I stepped it up a notch and nearly caught him as we reached Panoramic Dr., but he dropped off the other side toward the coast just as we caught up to him. Ella and I turned right and pressed on toward the top - paved roads only, today.

The wind whipping in off the ocean at 45 - 50 degrees met us at that same intersection. It was refreshing to me and nice to have the sweat finally stop running in my eyes, but Ella discovered a new complaint. I began unloading our warm gear, adding a layer every few miles, till she had my arm warmers on her legs, both windbreakers on, and her hood stuffed up under her helmet. I realized my descent was going to be cold.

Warming up with the first windbreaker and my "arm warmers" on her legs.
The cookies may have helped too.

We made the top, cheered on by countless other cyclists, where I was thrilled to discover a gift shop stocked with overpriced t-shirts and sweatshirts. They also had a Dry-Fit version, so I took out a 2nd loan on the house, sold a car, and picked up an XL black one - with a nice logo of Mt Tamalpai on front.

1 coffee, 1 hot chocolate, 1 snickers bar, and 20 minutes later we were barreling back down. Ella loves the descents, and forgets to check in for the minute by minute status updates (Are we almost there yet?) when we're flying. We were making great time getting back, when I realized a new stress crack in my frame. We stopped passing other cyclists, and took it easy the rest of the way down.

I'm meeting up with a welder who handles Aluminum in a few hours...

Great ride.

We stopped at "Blackies Pasture" in Tiburon on the way home, where she got to "ride" Blackie.