Three pictures from the ride yesterday.
The first is at the ride sign-in, about 6:30 a.m. Todd Teachout, the guy on the left, organized the ride for the San Francisco Randonneurs; in formal randonneuring parlance, he’s the Regional Brevet Administrator. He registers the riders, makes up their brevet cards and hands them out at the start and collects them at the end of the day, and more: He needs to make up maps and route sheets and ensure the course is the required distance, that the road is actually rideable (flooding and slides during the pre-New Year’s storms affected parts of the route) and that the control points — the places riders need to check in along the way — are in order. Todd’s habit at the start of the ride is to park his pickup in the free, dirt parking lot west of the bridge toll plaza, fold down the tailgate and use it as a desk.
The middle shot is at the start, about 6:50 a.m., 10 minutes before the ride began. If you haven’t been to the Golden Gate Bridge, there’s a little plaza at the south end of the span and on the east side of U.S. 101. Among other objects of attention, there’s a gift shop and a statue of Joseph Strauss, putative genius behind the bridge. It’s a popular spot for cyclists to meet up early on weekend mornings. The little circular flower bed is the focal point for the pre-ride brevet gatherings: lots of milling around and greeting riding buddies and saying hi to folks you know from past brevets. As one of the guys I rode with in 2003 said, “What a bunch of recidivists.”
I stopped a couple times to take pictures along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, a long road that begins just outside San Quentin — yes, that San Quentin — and runs west all the way to the end of Point Reyes, about 42 road miles west. The storm was coming in squally showers, with short breaks between gusty bursts of rain. I took the third shot during one of the breaks. Didn’t take any more shots after this; it was too wet, for one thing, and after a certain point I didn’t feel much like stopping.