My enthusiasm for the Zen-a-thon ride was tempered slightly as it approached, once I had seen the forecast for the day, which was for strong winds. The night before, I had been woken up by noisy gusts outside, and I had a sense of trepidation as they continued through the early morning. I gave myself permission to turn around at the bridge if I didn’t feel comfortable riding in the conditions.
For this fourth year of riding, the group was the smallest yet; that at least simplified the logistics – fewer people to watch over, fewer bathroom breaks or requests for coffee stops, and an easier time maintaining a pace that was comfortable to all. It was a lovely group too, Bryan – with whom I got to catch up about his talk, running, and other things – Helen, long-time friend of Zen Center, and now board chair, and Norma, a new practitioner who was good company.
It was cool and a little damp when we were getting ready to leave, but we hit the bridge as the sun was breaking through – probably the best time of the day to be there, as I think the balance of temperatures over the water and inland helps keep the wind down a little. My strategy was to sit right behind another rider and just stare at their back wheel so I didn’t start looking at the whitecaps on the ocean, or how far there was to the second tower, or anything else that could induce panicky thoughts. And that worked very well; I actually relaxed once we got past the half-way point of the bridge, since the wind was steady and not gusting, and then, once we were over the other side, really began to enjoy the ride. It was warmer on the sheltered side of the hills, in Sausalito and Mill Valley, and after being glad of my clothing choices originally, I now felt over-dressed. We took the long climb at a nice steady pace everyone could keep, and arrived in Green Gulch around 11:15 – definitely the quickest ride yet.
Since it was Norma’s first time at Green Gulch, I had an excuse to take a tour of the garden and fields, all the way down to the beach, while we waited for lunch. As expected, things looked beautiful in the spring sunshine; apple blossoms, poppies, lupins and colourful starts in rows. There were two herons stalking about; one looked intent on something, and didn’t move during the time it took us to walk to the beach and back – we heard that they were likely on the lookout for gophers to skewer and eat…
After happily catching up with a number of people over lunch, I took Jody’s yoga class, which was probably just what my body needed before the ride back over the hill (I just discovered that Jody is on the board too!). I had arranged to stay in Marin, so I was somewhat glad not to have to think about crossing the bridge again – as the wind was still quite stiff – and not to have to deal with whatever craziness might be happening in the park at the end of the 4:20 afternoon.
The high point of the ride, above Four Corners on the Panoramic, with Tam visible behind.
One of the herons in the fields at Green Gulch.
I am finding the iPhone does alright in decent light, with a little tweaking of the results.
Myles rings the bonsho for the end of the day, having been up early making delicious blueberry scones for everybody.