All the way to the Golden Gate

Day 25, Bodega Bay to Berkeley, 78 miles

Tanguy has already left by the time I’m up. I slept a couple hours longer than I wanted to, knowing this would be a long ride. I’d thought of breaking it up, staying at Samuel Taylor, then heading into San Francisco tomorrow. But this morning my resolve is clear: all the way to the Golden Gate!

I usually make a marathon approach to SF. This year I’ve been apprehensive about my abilities, knowing how hilly the earlier part of this day will be. Nevertheless, I am undaunted. I see smoke overhead. The Kincade Fire isn’t anywhere near contained. Ride slow, careful on the hills.

First a stop in Bodega Bay for coffee, then along the bay to the first hill. Temperatures rise with the sun and the terrain, over 80° by mid morning. I pace myself, drinking lots of water, plan to stop often to refill the two bottles I carry. Easy miles to Valley Ford, then a long climb as Route 1 approaches Tomales Bay. I cycle around the bay over a similar terrain to the prior coastline, coves and headlands. Eucalyptus and cypress line the highway, providing moments of shade.

Views are clearing as I leave smoky skies behind me, the sun sparkling on the bay. I stop in Point Reyes Station for more water and a second coffee break. Then I’m on to Olema and the long hill to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. I take this climb slowly, steadily, reaching the crest and descending rapidly towards Samuel Taylor. I enjoy a break from the heat as the highway rolls through the redwood groves of the park. I don’t stop, continuing on through Lagunitas, following the gradual climb through Woodacre and over the Mount Tamalpais pass.

I enjoy the drop in temperatures on my rapid descent into Fairfax, but I’m too late to stop at Barton’s Bagels in San Anselmo. Onward, 20 more miles to the city. I climb into Larkspur, then descend to follow the bikeway which parallels the 101 freeway. Three steep hills, then a descending through Mill Valley and under 101 to Sausalito. I’m feeling the length of the ride as I begin the ascent of Bridgeway to the Golden Gate. Slow and steady, pausing, climbing. It’s chilly now, so I don extra layers.

I reach the bridge and cross on the West path, entering at 9pm just as the gates automatically close behind me. I ride carefully past workers who are entering scaffolding outside the guard rails. Night work on the Golden Gate, there’s a brave profession. I exit the bridge and ride around Crissy Field towards Fort Mason. A stop at Ghirardelli Square for cocoa is disappointing, still feels good to get something warm into my belly. Then I ride through Fisherman’s Wharf and onto the Embarcadero.

At last I descend the elevator to the BART, glad to be out of the chill and ready to end the day. I’m staying with my sons in Berkeley, ready to have a weekend off.


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