Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bakeries, motels, post offices

"So what's your strategy?" asks Ken. It's early in the ride. No one is miserable yet. We still have faith in the plan. Oh, and Advil. Lots and lots of Advil. So far it's working.

"Have two really fun rides" I say. Truth is I didn't give strategy the attention it deserves. The 600K is all about strategy.

How about eat a lot and drink a lot of coffee? Starting at the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station, our first stop. The guy behind me in line asks "what IS a morning bun coffee cake anyway?" No one, including the clerk, can answer. Just buy it, dude. It's delicious.

In 2007 Jim Bradbury and I both got rooms in Fort Bragg. This time I did the same thing without thinking.

A few days ago I read something about a bag drop. So I packed a bag. (This counts as strategy, right?) On the way back, a no-brainer to change clothes. A 45-degree difference is likely between the high and low temps out on the course. Fort Bragg 45, Healdsburg 90. Along with clean clothes, I packed a warm shirt. To prevent shivering.

Ken is going for two rides too, but his motel is in Cloverdale, 80 miles further down the road. His plan is a 400K on Saturday, followed by a nap then a 200K on Sunday. Technically superior. He knows it too! He's got an earbud in one ear, rocking out to his iPod.

Everyone says Fort Bragg (298K) is too early to sleep. That is true. However Cloverdale is another hard 115K into the night, too late! Too early is better for me, a 300K on Saturday followed by a nap and a 300K on Sunday.

Some will ride straight through but on a 1200K you'll have to sleep at some point. Better practice now.

It's actually an issue with this route. The long, beautiful stretch of Highway 128 in Mendocino County. 56 miles of rural scenery between Cloverdale and the coast. Then 20 miles to Fort Bragg. Another 20 miles back to 128. Another 56 miles to Cloverdale. At which point night falls and you get sleepy. Someone on the SF Randonneurs email list summarized it nicely:
GM: The most viable sleeping locations on this route don't exist in the stretch where most folks might ideally 
wish to sleep -- all we need is a Motel 6 smack-dab in the middle of Highway 128. ;) 

If only I had checked the list before the ride, I would have realized there are more options...
JH: I think the discerning rando will spend at least 45 minutes passed out on the floor of the Boonville post office.  Really the high point of any SFR 600.
MJ: JH indicates the proper attitude of the true randonneur, although, really, a post office is a bit wimpy when there are perfectly good grass verges available all along 128 ;-) 
JG: I find the post office in Yorkville to be much more comfortable, but some say the Cloverdale post office is the place to be at 5am for that power nap. I must say when the recent post office closing list came out I checked for closures on all the 600Ks in the area.
JH: I couldn't make it to Yorkville.
DB: I agree. No SFR 600k is complete without at least a 20 minute nap in the Boonville post office.
JOH: I guess I better practice sleeping on concrete floors in my kit...
DB: Not necessary! The Boonville PO had plenty of phone books to line the floor and provide a bit of insulation...
JH: Phone books are too lumpy....I recommend the Penny Saver.

Cyclists will ride completely out of their way to hit an excellent bakery. They will happily stop in a town with a decent motel. But 600K is long enough to run out of essential services. Every place with a zip code has a post office and apparently, a post office will do.

I need my motel bed and Morning Bun Coffee Cake. No picture, sorry. Completely eaten!

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