Wednesday, October 2, 2013


What was I thinking when I suggested to my girlfriends that we ride our bikes up Mt. Tamalpais 48 hours before I leave for China. 

I figured that since I could only bike one day this month, I might as well make it one to remember, so we agreed to take on the challenge and ride up one of the highest peaks in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

If you can't find someone to take your picture, you do it yourself!

Mt. Tamalpais is an icon of beauty that sits majestically in Marin County,  just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  At its highest point, the mountain stands at 2563 feet and boasts a panorama of the City of San Francisco and the East Bay.  Incredible views of quaint Stinson Beach appear to the west. and on a clear day you can see further north to the funky town of Bolinas. 


We started our ride in San Rafael, but didn't start climbing until we'd ridden seven miles to the Town of Fairfax.   The first three miles were pretty steep, around 9-10% grade.  Five miles later we'd climbed 1000 feet, but had a nice reprieve with some ups and downs until we descended to Alpine Lake,  where I ate my hardboiled egg, used the green room, and finished my first bottle of water.  

The next thousand feet of climbing were pretty darn hard with grades of 9-12%, at least that's what my Garmin computer told me.   It helped that we had beautiful scenery to distract us  -- tall stately redwoods, beautiful California oaks, and luscious ferns hugged the sides of this steep mountain road.    With very little traffic and no one saying a word, all I could hear were the sounds of deep breathing. 

After turning left on Ridgecrest Road, we reached the challenging Seven Sisters, a series of steep climbs along the ridge line that make your glutes really, really burn!   While Seven Sisters may be a pretty name, I think Seven Mothers is a more appropriate one.   

                                Deb and Pam climbing the
                                        Seven Mothers

After lunch at the ranger's station, the 10 mile descent into Mill Valley was our just dessert.  By the time we finished our ride back to San Rafael, we'd ridden our bikes 38 miles and climbed 3400 cumulative feet up one of the most beautiful mountains in California .   


When I'm flying across the Pacific Ocean 36 hours from now, I'll remember today's ride and think how lucky I am to be able to do this.