Feb 7, 2011

Roasters, Mission and a broken saddle

Saturday was certainly a day filled with a lot of interesting on-the-bike stuff. For one, I finally manned up and jumped into the Roasters ride. For those who don't know, it's a very fast 70 mile ride that goes out to Pt. Reyes from the bridge and then comes back via Olema and Samuel P. Taylor woods trail. The first 17 miles of the ride are relatively mellow, but once the ride passes Fairfax, all gloves come off. I didn't have any expectations for myself and the goal was to hang on for as long as I could. I wasn't really worried about being dropped because if it happened, I knew the route like the back of my hand, so it's not like I would have been stuck in the middle of nowhere.

I got to the bridge about 7:50 and met Appel there. In a few minutes, the rest of the Roasters gathered and we took off over the bridge, down Alexander and into Sausalito. I was curious to see what would happen up Camino Alto, but fortunately, it was a rather mellow pace up that climb, so I didn't have to start hammering from the get-go. We then made our way through the little towns on the way to Fairfax: Cotra Madera, San Anselmo, Ross, San Rafael, etc. And once we passed the coffee shop in Fairfax, I knew I had to start paying attention.

The first tough (because it's fast) climb on the menu was White's Hill and I hit it hard, probably too hard as I was one of the front 3 or 4 guys cresting it, and considering there were about 25 or more in our group, there was absolutely no reason for me to work that hard that early. We then hit the long downhill that transitions into a flat and goes until the turn to Nicasio. Since I was one of guys in the front after the downhill, I rotated to the front for a bit and then a guy in a Bespoke kit rotated in front of me. And that's when I made the Boonan-like mistake - I rotated to the very back to chill out and recover from my White's effort, but after the Nicasio turn and the first little roller, a longer climb started and I was too far back in the pack. The effort on White's, together with the very fast pace of the group resulted in me getting dropped on that hill. Had I been more in the front, many guys would have passed me, but perhaps there would have been a wheel to latch on to at the very back. Once the group crested, there was no chance I would catch them.

On the one hand, I felt good about staying with them up White's - I feared that's where they might drop me in the first place. On the other hand, I felt rather disappointed that I made the mistakes I made and got left in the dust. However, I did not let up, I continued to hard and eventually caught another guy from our ride, Steve from Roaring Mouse. We teamed up and pressed on to Pt. Reyes. Since there was not more group to chase, we figured we might as well make a mini stop at Pt. Reyes. After about five minutes, however, we were back on the bikes and heading toward Olema. I hit the Olema hill relatively hard, pushing 300+ watts the whole way, and then eased off once we descended and jumped onto the Samuel P. Taylor trail. However, once we got onto the main road, we jumped on the wheel of another guy who was heading in our direction. He pulled for a bit and then we started alternating pulls.  The guy was taking very hard pulls - I didn't have a problem keeping up, but they were still very hard pulls. I still took all of mine at just above 300 watts. It got very interesting as we began to climb White's hill from the north. I got on the nose and began to pull, as we continued to climb, I started pushing harder, then harder, then even harder, probably in the mid to low 500s by that point. Steve made an attempt to pass me as we were approaching the crest, I kicked it up even more and pulled ahead of him, but he was smart enough to keep a reserve and attacked again, taking the crest by about an inch (I think), but it was all in good old friendly fun. Oh, and we totally dropped the the other guy we were working with, oh well.

The White's descent is always fun, but freaky scary, the cracks in the road are a real pain to navigate and half the descent is ridden very light in the saddle. We made our way back to Fairfax and just in time, too, as I ran into a whole bunch of Mission Cycling folks chilling out at the coffee shop.

The Mission group was just about to head out of Fairfax and a good number of them were going to Nicasio. My legs felt good - despite a relatively hard 60 miles already in them - so I figured I'd tack on another 20 mile loop to my ride and make it a century for the day. I haven't ridden with the club in a while, so it was definitely nice to catch up with some people and see some familiar faces, as well as meet new ones. Going up White's the second time was definitely more painful and needless to say, my efforts for the remainder of the ride were not that hard, but I did have a few 300+watt pulls here and there. On the way back, the climb out of Sausalito was definitely one of those. It was nice to put in some longer miles as my double century rides are fast approaching!

The other story of the day was that I did most of that ride with a broken saddle.  I heard it crack around mile 35 or so. My second broken Fizik saddle in 12 months, which is kind of disturbing. The good part is that Fizik has an awesome warranty department, but I don't really understand why these high-end saddles keep braking.

That's the damage. An identical break to by previous Fizik.
As before, Fizik will be sending me a new saddle from Italy. But if that one doesn't hold up either, I'm probably going to be looking for an alternative. Has anyone switched from a Fizik Antares to something else that was equally or more comfortable?

Still to come: A few words about the members only Mission ride on Sunday and the wheel building event I will be attending later tonight. I know, still playing catchup with this blogging thing, but I'm almost up to date.


  1. My Antares broke in the exact spot after 6 weeks. Before I switched to the Antares I rode a Time Activ (sans love canal)and found it to be far more comfortable than the Fizi:k, and inexpensive at $57.99 CDN. It did however break after a year and a half of commuting, 20 KM round trip. Alternatively I would also recommend a NOS Selle Italia Titanium Flite (circa '89). It's a little bit harder in the center than Antares but I've never had one crack.

  2. My friend recommended this site to me. Congratulations on your Roasters ride on your bike. Good to meet up with mission cycling folks.