In Late 2020 our friend and Ritte rider, Maude, set out to do a pretty incredible ride. Never one to brag, she did it quietly and mostly solo, letting her Strava ride details do the talking afterwards. Immediately, we sent Maude some well deserved Kudos and asked her what inspired this. You don’t have to venture too far from home to try something new, and if you ever needed some motivation to get out of a winter slump, this is it!
Maude’s words, in italics, below:
Earlier this year I committed (pre-pandemic) to adventuring more in my own backyard - Headlands, Marin, and the Bay Area. Friends of Tam is modeled after Club Des Cingles du Mont-Ventoux. The challenge is to ride six popular bike ascents (2 dirt, 4 road) in a single day. Traditionally, people will stick to just the road ascents in a day. The stats for all six adds up to ~128 miles and 18k of climbing. I was intrigued at the idea of connecting all these routes I love in my backyard and to see how it felt to pedal uphill...all day.
With no traditional races on the calendar, I have more time to do things that are in some ways non-competitive and for no other reason than to simply give it a go out of curiosity. I loved that this day of adventure was primarily solo, self supported, on my own schedule, and I had only my own expectations to challenge. My biggest fear was getting mauled by a mountain lion pre-dawn on Old Railroad Grade trail. I was elated when dawn arrived and I had successfully evaded any animal attacks! After that, it was kind of a piece of cake.
I decided to start with dirt, before sunrise, ascending Old Railroad Grade trail and then Eldridge Grade. After descending back home, I swapped from my hardtail to my Ritte Ace and continued on to the four traditional road routes: Fairfax to East Peak via Alpine Dam, BoFax Road, Panoramic Highway from Stinson, and finally Panoramic Highway from Mill Valley to East Peak. I was lucky to have the pre-dawn fog that kept the air clean & mellow, the sun to dry out the roads by mid morning, and tolerable winds all day.
Crazy ideas are always hardest in theory. But once you commit to it, begin, and are in the process of "doing it,” they feel far more reasonable - an empowering experience. You realize that maybe the idea itself isn't the crazy part... Instead, maybe what's ACTUALLY crazy is how easily we are intimidated by crazy ideas! Plus, it's better to be crazy than to go crazy.
I'm still giddy from how happy and joyous this adventure made me. Bikes are fun. Go ride one!
While my winter legs aren’t going to take me up 18,000 feet of climbing in 10 hours right now like Maude, this reminds me why I ride - it’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s rewarding. Go out and get after it, and let us know about your ride big or small!
All six climbs, a ton of variety without venturing far from home
Foggy early morning views of San Francisco
On the trail
On the road
At the top on the last climb!
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