Ride Recap by Tom Boss MCBC 2017 Solstice Fondo: Hot Riding & Big Smiles

One for the record books (Heat record that is!)

At about 4:30 pm on the afternoon before the Solstice Fondo ride, I started up Loma Alta on a mission to mark a portion of the route. I made it to the 680 Trail and down into Lucas Valley without too much effort. Then I started climbing Luiz Fire Road, one of the toughest climbs in Marin. It was hot, but I caught a sea breeze, which helped. Nonetheless, I knew then that the the next day was going to be rough.

Mother Nature did not disappoint! Temperatures were already in the low 80’s by 8:00 am as the riders rolled out of the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in Fairfax to begin the 39 mile ride with over 7,000 feet of climbing ahead of them. Participants got a taste of what was in store as they climbed Loma Alta and headed down 680 Trail. Luckily, they had a chance to load up on hydration and snacks just before hitting the climb up Big Rock thanks to Mike’s Bikes, the host of Rest Stop #1 and Anne and Rich for volunteering. For many the second climb became a hike-a-bike. But the reward was worth it for most, as Big Rock greedily hoards some of the most amazing views in Marin.


Look to the south and you’ll see the entire profile of the sleeping lady (Mt. Tam) with the San Francisco skyline as a bookend. The new Salesforce Tower really dwarfs the Pyramid Building from this perspective. Look to the East and you’ll see the San Pablo Bay and the Marin/Sonoma wetlands. To the North is Mt. Burdell, Cobb Mountain and Mount Saint Helena, and to the west is Skywalker Ranch, Black Mountain and Mt. Vision.

After taking in the views riders headed down the recently enhanced Big Rock Trail, with its new grade reversals and smooth trail tread. The fun descent finished with a ride through a tunnel and a stop at Rest Stop #2 hosted by Marin Bikes for refueling and Claude for giving out food and words of encouragement to the riders.  At this point riders had another climb ahead of them and the thermometer was getting close to 90 degrees. Most continued onward, including long time Dirt Fondo alum Michelle Beare and guest of honor Rachel Lloyd. A group of LIV Chix, who were leading a group of women riders, decided to take the road back through Nicasio and over White Hill.

OSMO Nutrition and REI along with Katy, Audrey and Julie welcomed riders at Rest Stop #3 at the White Hill summit on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Many riders decided to take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. back to the museum and post-ride BBQ, while others continued on to Tamarancho for a ride on the Flow Trail determined to complete the medium and long routes. Austin McInerny, President of NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), pushed on with a few others destined to finish the entire 39 mile route. And others chose their own routes back to the BBQ.

Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame was the perfect place for the post-ride BBQ and party. Volunteers served up ½ burgers, salads and Lagunitas Pilsner to the hunger riders. The outdoor pergola was filled with sweaty, smiling, dust covered riders exchanging stories about their ride experience.

Check out the Museum at the upcoming Happy Hour at the Hall this Friday, July 21 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Details on this and other events at https://mmbhof.org/events/

While it was a hot and grueling day, most of the riders returned with a smile on their face and those who weren’t as ecstatic, still finished with a sense of accomplishment.

Our volunteers were superb! Thanks to Hilary who checked in riders at Mike’s Bikes in San Rafael on Tuesday then Jeff, Carrie and Lauren checked in riders at the Marin Museum on Thursday. Jeff, Dolores, Lauren and Kara were up early for rider registration and check in Saturday at the Start/Finish. On course were Gwen, Mike, Gavin, Monique, Jim, Jon, Ted and Charlie who kept riders on course, and our sweeps Scott, Janet and Sean who made sure everyone made it home safely. Then there was Maggie, Bjorn, Charlie, Karrie, Oscar, Don, Morris and Chris making sure everyone had great food and libations.

A BIG MCBC Thank You! to our sponsors, including Bay Area Bicycle Law, Marin Bikes, Studio Velo and Mike’s Bikes. We also thank Lagunitas, Clif Bar, LIV, Red Frog Athletics, OSMO Nutrition, REI and GU for their support, and Marin County Open Space for permitting the ride and serving ice water at the top of Loma Alta and Big Rock! And to VehicleSF for creating the unique Solstice Fondo posters, t-shirts and water bottles (we still have a few of the latter, contact us if you didn’t get one on ride day).

Another BIG MCBC Thank You! to the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame for hosting our ride. Don’t miss their upcoming Happy Hour at the Hall this Friday, July 21 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, CLICK HERE for details. And thanks to Sven at Mauro’s Pizza and Pasta, and Good Earth Natural Foods, for supplying rest stop snacks and supplies for the BBQ.

We’d also like to thank  Red Frog Athletic, Liv Chix, REI’s Force of Nature and Rachel Lloyd for helping organize the Women’s Night at the Museum and for supporting the women’s rides!

Next Up – MCBC Dirt Fondo on Sunday, August 27.

CLICK HERE for details and to register.

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