dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Mt. Tamalpais, September 2, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed at the near end of a long day on a bike

The mountain was not within my view for the better part of the day. It’s not even as if I were playing peek-a-boo with it. Midmorning, a friend and I headed north on our bikes, planning to ride at least 30 miles in preparation of the Tour de Fuzz in Santa Rosa on Saturday. In effect, this put the mountain behind me, and by the time we turned unto Lucas Valley Road, practically on a whim, I forgot all about the mountain.

Well, the mountain didn’t forget about me. I might not have had Mt. Tam in plain sight, but its reach through the California Coast Range was long enough to make itself felt as I tackled my first serious climbs on a bike. My friend on her road bike took the climb to Big Rock as if she were skating on ice. That means fast…. Not me. Long stretches of steep and curvy road with shoulders dropping into even steeper rocky hillsides, and the relentless stream of cars whizzing by, had me walk the bike in places. I felt particularly bad when a couple of old dudes blew past me, only to turn around and head down the same steep curvy roads for their joyride, I suppose…

I persisted, though. Walk a little, ride a little … and eventually there we were, at the Big Rock. The ride down the other side, though I feared it would be as steep as what we climbed, was mild and lovely, taking us through the cooling redwoods before we made our way to Nicasio for lunch.

I envisioned an easy ride back… all flat, except for White’s Hill, before Fairfax, which I remembered as mellow enough, whenever I drove over it. I thought maybe I’ll even have a chance to catch the peaks of Mt. Tam from a new angle…

It’s a good thing the first time on a new route the spirit of adventure and excitement provides additional gas for pedaling. I sure needed that extra fuel. Turns out the road back home was not flat – nor was White’s Hill an easy climb in temperatures that went up by leaps and bounds since yesterday.

And so, as I huffed and puffed my way up those hills, and as I gripped the handlebars until my knuckles turned white as we rode down White’s Hill into Fairfax, I forgot all about Mt. Tam….

Lucky for me, back in Greenbrae, the mountain was waiting patiently, catching the last few rays of the warmed-up day. And not caring one way or another whether I catch her profile or post about her. Still, I thank her for the gift of this incredible place we get to call home and which affords us these roads through one enchanting valley after another.