The two coffee houses in Fairfax do great business on Thanksgiving. The Java Hut is conveniently located in the centre of the car park where riders who arrive by means other than their bikes gather. The Hut puts out free coffee and pastry on the day of the big ride, their way of saying thanks for the fact that the lot is filled every weekend with mountain bikers spending money in the tiny kiosk.
The Iron Springs Brewery is the usual apres-ride stop, but on this day they have competition from the Broken Drum Brewery a few miles further away, sponsors of a MTB team. The Drum supplies kegs of free beer in a car park that the riders have to pass before they get to the place where they would have to pay for their beer if they passed the free beer, which they don't.
has video and photos of the Appetite Seminar. The "Drake" jerseys are team jerseys from Sir Francis Drake High School, which is less than a mile from my house. Drake is the Northern California high school MTB champion this year. One of the Drake riders shown is obviously a woman coach.
All the high schools in the local school athletic league field MTB teams, and the teams are composed of both male and female riders. Today I also saw team jerseys from Berkeley High School across the bay.
has photos of the course eerily without bikes, from a pre-ride.
The Marin County Sheriff's Department was out in full force, with rescue and first aid equipment. I told them we didn't mean to cost taxpayers money, and I was told they were volunteers, assisted by every forest ranger in the county who had duty that day. One ranger who knows me told me he had printed out my website page
about the ride as background for the rescue squads.
A couple of years ago I saw a sheriff's vehicle drive over the wheel of a bike lying on the ground. Today I saw it happen again, to one of the three tandems on the ride. Ouch.
I got separated from FairfaxPat because I was waiting for a friend who was on my second bike and had started after FairfaxPat and I were the first up the hill. My friend was on his third mountain bike ride, but on the first two much shorter rides he had turned out to be pretty tough, so I expected him to move with the flow. He never caught up with me even though I waited so long I barely got a beer back in Fairfax before it ran out around noon.
Although we didn't have cell phone contact in the hilly country, my friend and I could text message each other. He couldn't tell me where he was on a trail he had never seen, although he couldn't get lost as long as he followed hundreds of other cyclists. I asked riders I knew whether they had seen him, and when I had a report he was on course but far back, I moved on. Later I got a one word text from him, "BAD." As I sipped a refreshing brew from the Broken Drum Brewery ("You can't beat a Broken Drum"), I got a report that he had been struggling on the last climb when last seen nearly an hour earlier. His last message, long after I got home was that he had dropped off my bike and was catching a bus. And that he had learned something about cramps. I left a full bottle on the bike for him, and I TOLD him to bring a lunch, but it was only his third ride and some things you learn the hard way.
Got a text after the ride from Gary Fisher that he had started an hour behind me along with his son and hadn't seen me, but I waited so long for my friend that it is likely he passed me while I hung out in a large crowd at Smoker's Knoll, the gathering spot for the plunge down Pine Mountain about a third of the way through the ride.
Because some very nice retro bikes come out for the ride, I photographed a few of them, and you can see them in the main forum here