This photo from yesterday hopefully captures some of the most suffering I have ever experienced on a ride. Phil told @coolin815 and I that we should do some unofficial mtb race out of Muir beach that was long and had around 8k feet of climbing. Forecast was cold and rainy. After driving up and getting in at midnight, Colin and I awoke to good looking weather and decided to go do it.
Only a dozen other souls were as dumb or stubborn as us and we took off up a brutal climb from the get go under a foreboding sky with deep mud already under tire. I forgot to install a computer mount on my bike and the course I had uploaded to my wahoo was not cooperating, so I quickly found a guy to ride with and follow as the lead 5 rode away on the first wall of a climb. After a few wrong turns while following iPhone guy, it was pretty clear we were never going to make contact. But that was fine with me. We were having a blast ripping the descents and suffering together in the rain on the climbs as I tried not to swallow too much mud.
After about 2 hours, the initial loop was done and we took off on the next one, spirits were still high but about 3 min in, iPhone guy turned around saying he had to get to his son’s basketball game. Having never ridden a mtb in the bay area, I stopped and sorted my wahoo out, go the route loaded and working, tucked it halfway under my @jakroousa bibs so I could kind of see the screen and set off again alone. Climb. Climb. Climb. Into the freezing rain up railroad grade to the top of Mt Tam, took a few wrong turns at the top, put on my rain jacket, began cursing Phil a bit, and eventually found my way, turning off Tam onto a ripping fire road where I passed Colin riding uphill as I flew down. Huh…? I was starting to get really cold hucking it off some huge water bars on an impossibly long downhill. Eventually I got to the bottom at Lagunitas lake and checked the wahoo. The course was nowhere to be found on it, and I was freezing, shivering, and miserable with no feeling in my toes and fingers, even with 4 layers and a rain jacket on my core. After taking a bunch of wrong turns, I finally pulled out Google maps in a frantic move to get home before I literally died.
I rode for about 15 min through the pouring rain before Google maps tried to send me on a trail where bikes weren’t allowed. I was so sad and cold, but decided the only sure way to get back to the van was to ride back up the monster downhill I had come down. Still dying a millions deaths, I was happy to climb for the first time in my life to breathe a little heat back into my frigid body. It started hailing and raining even harder as I climbed back into the mist on mt Tam. Eventually I made it back to the pavement and after checking maps again, I pedaled as hard as I could to stave off what would surely be frostbite and amputated limbs down the pavement all the way back to the van.
Everyone from the race had left, with only Colin hanging out in the van, eating peanut butter from a huge jar, using his recently repurposed front derailleur chain catcher. He told me that only two people had finished and everyone else had bailed out way earlier with some maybe even getting driven down because they were so cold. It took my toes about 5 hours to get back to normal, but I am happy to report I still have ten digits even though my white jakroo kit will never be the same (seriously, it has been through 3 washes and still had mud in it). Thank you @prmooney for recommending I do this. Revenge is a dish served cold. Very very cold.