Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ride through Marin Headlands to the Pub

This weekend, I start my 40th circumnavigation of the Sun. To celebrate (in part - still some celebrating to do yet) Jackie and I took the day off work and rode through Golden Gate national recreation area (Marin headlands part) from the visitor center up to the Pelican Inn in Muir beach, had a nice lunch, and then rode back again.

If you haven't been to this amazing area, the mountain bike trails through it are challenging, strenuous and scary in parts, and they are pretty epic. By the end of the day, I was getting pretty good at bunny hopping over smaller ditches (there have been a lot of channels cut by the very wet winter), I must admit that I took the "discretion is the better part of valor" angle with some of the bigger ditches though - I could have probably made it, but failure would have been painful. About half of the ride was on fire roads and half on single track, including a very scenic and pleasant climb back up to the highest point of the ride on the way back from the pub (this particular trail you can only climb, not descend, and when you see it it makes sense why).

The stats on the ride were (for both directions): about 19 miles total, 3300 feet of elevation gain, 3 hours of actual riding time, 4 hours in total out on the trail (yes, we stopped for photo and rest breaks a fair bit).

This was only Jackie's third serious mountain bike ride, and it was pretty tough going (more than I thought it would be) with some downhills that had me a little concerned (it wasn't the hill, it was the huge water runoff channels that had sunk into the trail that made those very steep downhills a bit alarming). The climbs were pretty tough at times as well - 3300 feet is a lot of climbing in one day, at least for us.

For those interested, the pictures taken for this posting were from the Nexus One, which I also used to record the entire trip in both directions using the My Trails application (which worked flawlessly, and the whole 3 hour trail recording used about 25% of the battery in the nexus one, implying to me that I would run out of batteries before the new gizmo did, most likely).

For those interested, the tracks of the ride out and then back again are on my Google maps. If you want to know more about the route, you can download KML files (for Google Earth) right from the trail map pages. We went in and out on the same route for the most part (except from the first climb after lunch at the pub). This was partly because the trails you can bike on are limited in the park (many are hike and/or horse only). In truth, this wasn't really an issue - the trails actually did seem quite different in each direction, perhaps next time we would try and weave Bobcat trail into the return route or something like that though.

The Felt (new mountain bike) performed admirably and demonstrated that the limitation is the rider now and not the bike :-). Jackie did really well considering her husband made her do a pretty serious ride for only her third time really mountain biking. The various devices estimated about 3000 calories burned so we had a damn good meal last night, and a whole bottle of wine between the two of us (plus a couple of glasses at the hotel we stayed at to get the evening going).

1 comment:

Dave Briccetti said...

Dick, I can’t concentrate on your wonderful story and pictures, because you have an off-by-one error in your opening sentence, and the borderline ass-burger in me compels me to point it out.

You are starting your 41st trip around the sun. When you complete that trip, you will be 41. When you were born you started your first trip, at the end of which you were one.