Good day, good dog: 2010 Mt Tam ride report

Sacha, the wonder poodle

While looking through old notes on facebook, I found this ride report from 2010.  My mind had let these memories slip for some reason and I am happy for the reminder of that day.   I now remember that I was very happy during this ride and then for several days after the event.  Jean has since died.  

First of all I DNFed the Mt Tam double today, but despite that I had a very good ride. I had been very anxious about the ride for a couple of reasons. The first reason was due to an unfriendly letter that the ride organizer sent out last year, about which I was still annoyed. The second reason was that I was likely not to make the lunch time cut-off or the final cut-off. Time cut time limits make me stressed out and I spend the entire ride obsessing about speed and distance, elapsed time etc if I am close to the time limits. If you are close to the time limits, they recommend starting at 4am to give yourself more time. This approach sounds nice, except for the 2 am wake-up call. I hate getting up at 2 am. My recent average speeds indicated that I was likely to make the time cuts, but my speed varies a lot. Not making the time cut was also quite probable.


1) Everyone in the Marin Cyclists and all the volunteers were very nice and no one acted like I shouldn’t be there.

2) I made the lunch time cut by almost an hour. I was clearly going to make the time cuts and this assurance made for a nicer ride. I had a great ride. I went out hard. I rode faster than I usually can ride and I had a higher than normal average speed for that amount of climbing. Furthermore, I love riding in Marin. I rode much of the ride with Gabrielle, which made the ride very enjoyable and faster.

3) DNF: My knee started hurting around mile 35. I rode well until about mile 90. After mile 90, I stopped being able to stand and I wasn’t able to put much power into my pedal stroke from my right knee. I had a hard time starting the bike and a hard time clipping in. Even on small hills, I needed to drop into my lowest gear. I decided that I would pull out of the ride at the Coleman valley loop cut-off. I really wanted to make the cut-off, just to prove to myself that I did it. I have plans for other rides in this month and I didn’t want my knee to be injured by riding another 75 miles that included both the Marshall Wall and Coleman. I rode the 123 miles faster than I usually ride flatter 200ks. I am happy that I ended the ride on on upnote. I wasn’t injured badly and I had a fast and good ride.

4) 2am wake up call: I set my alarm for 2 am Saturday morning so I could start this silly double at 4 am, an obscenely early time. At around 1 am, our poodle started to bark. Jason lost it. He woke up and severely chastised the dog for barking. I then got angry at Jason for getting angry at the dog. Jason and I then tried unsuccessful to get back to sleep for one last hour. In the background I could here a faint alarm. The alarm wouldn’t have awoken me, but now that I am awake, I find it annoying. “Why would someone have an alarm set for 1 am. (who am I to talk?) If your alarm was set for 1 am, why aren’t you getting up and turning it off. Just ignore the alarm and relax and go back to bed. That alarm sounds familiar.” At this last comment, my brain suddenly clued in. I jumped out of bed and left my apartment to find the hallway filling with smoke from our elderly and completely deaf neighbor’s, Jean’s, apartment. Firefighters were called. After much ado, I finally roused our neighbor’s son, who lives on the first floor. Another neighbor who has keys to Jean’s apartment was awoken first and he came and finally got in to her apartment, which was completely filled with smoke. She had left a pot on the stovetop, turned the burner to high, and had then gone to bed. Since our neighbor, Jean, is almost deaf, she didn’t hear the alarm. I pulled the fire alarm pull for the first floor and the 3rd floor and NEITHER fire pull worked. Unbelievable. Jean is ok. Her bedroom door was closed and unlike the rest of her apartment had not filled with smoke. Our hallways still reeks if the smoke tonight.

Jean’s family cooks her dinner each night, so her son unplugged her stove to prevent a reoccurrence. We have had a number of these types of occurrences, but this was by far the worst incident and the only one for which the fire department was called.

I am stunned by how much effort was needed to wake people at 1 am and I can’t believe that our fire alarm pulls didn’t work at all.

So after all that, I wasn’t all that upset about alarm clock going off at 2. We were already awake. I am really happy that the dog woke us up when Jean’s smoke detector started beeping and I am glad that the apartment building didn’t actually catch on fire and I am happy that our elderly and deaf neighbor is ok. I am particularly happy that her stove has been unplugged.

All in all I am pleased pleased pleased with how the day went.

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