I've done my friend Murphy's "San Mateo Wheelman club ride" each of the three times he's led it. A group of friends get together, ride at a liesurely pace to somewhere, then ride back to the city via public transportation. Or something like that.
Anyway, with my focus on running right now, and not very good at deviating from a focus, I volunteered this year, because his ride is such fantastic, relaxed fun that I felt important to support it even if I wasn't going to participate as a rider.
This year's route started in San Francisco and worked its way in a dirty, indirect manner to the Ibis Cycles headquarters in Santa Cruz. Consistent with the leasurely, informal nature of the ride, the route was chosen only the day before. It's always exciting to see where Murphy's going to send his friends.
After a flurry of reorganization related to who had a car and who was was able to drive a car, I was assigned to checkpoint 2, a new parking lot (empty in satellite view but not yet on StreetView) off Skyline Boulevard. I hate to see trees replaced with pavement, and this is no exception, but the growing demand for mountain biking, hiking, and running on the trails around Skeggs Point were putting a load on the road-side parking, apparently. Certainly the lot proved popular during my time there.
I went down with Peter, who'd normallly be riding the event on his single-speed, but that was in distress, and so he opted to help instead.
Our task was to count the riders passing through, give them water, milk, soda, coffee, or other beverages, cook them sausages, and help them with whatever misclaneous needs they had, including calling the SAG wagon for them if they chose to bail out at mile 45. For just two people this was going to be a fun challenge.
Only when we arrived did we assess the collection of stuff in the car. There was a grill, in two parts, with a propane tank. There were various beverages. There was 14 gallons of water. There was an ice chest for which Peter had purchased a small bag of ice. There were sausages, and one very small container of Osmo hydration powder.
I thought we were marginal on the water, as the day was warm, especially for March, but clearly on the Osmo we were low, and on bananas we were nonexistent.
We managed to figure out the grill and the water dispensers. The grill was hot, even on the lowest setting, and I was afraid the sausages would overcook (they were pre-cooked to start with) before riders arrived. We targeted an earliest possible arrival at 11:15 am, but given the technical challenge of the route, that was optimistic. After all, this was a leasurely ride.
A friendly range came by and told us in his friendly ranger way that the grill wasn't allowed. No problem, I responded, and we shut it off. So it was cold sausages for the riders today.
An end to the hot sausages.
Surprisingly or not, hungry riders will eat almost anything.
The bigger problem was the general shortage of food. Peter made several trips 3 miles to the 84-Skyline junction to refill water jugs. He also got more ice, more Coca-Cola, and all of their meager supply of bananas. Still, some riders arrived at a poor time and didn't get water. I directed these riders to the store, a 3 mile descent, where there was a spigot.
After, Peter and I and a sagging rider got into the Windstar van, along with the bike I'd ridden to the start, and drove to Santa Cruz, the finish. The sag van took more sagging riders.
No cash for you!
I'd brought my running shoes, expecting an opportunity to get a run in at some point, and I wasn't disappointed. In Santa Cruz I left Ibis, ran up Western Ave, then High Street connecting quickly with Empire Grade. The route was essentially 7.6 km up, 7.6 km down. It was a great run made somewhat less great by the combination of high speed traffic and disappearing shoulders on Empire. I'd run into blind corners, running on the left side of the road, holding my arm outstretched so oncoming cars would see me sooner. If there was overtaking traffic from behind, eliminating the possibility of oncoming cars going into the opposite lane, I'd just bail to the shoulder if I heard cars coming. But I love the opportunity to be able to run up an extended climb, and the descent was good work for what has been a weakness.
I felt okay on the downhill, arriving at the finish of the ride just in time to see Paul rail the final corner and finish smooth-as-silk. I then chatted a bit with the finish volunteers before heading inside. There I enjoyed the excellent food, and the excellent friends, which were assembled there.
After a fun post-ride party, I got in with the first group home. The ride back across the city from Roaring Mouse near the Golden Gate Bridge at night was a good cool-down from my run and the long trip back from Santa Cruz. My Garmin Edge 500 was incapacitated during the ride, however: it was too busy updating all of its FIT files with daylight time. I have no idea why it does this instead of using universal time. But I'm not a developer.