To do a little extra climbing on my short bike ride to Battery Townsley at Rodeo Beach, after I ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ll ride down Alexander Avenue then south on East Road. East Road winds it way through Fort Baker past Cavallo Point Lodge and the Bay Area Discovery Museum to Center Road and Moore Road to the beginning of Conzelman Road. There, it’s about 15 ft above sea level near the Moore Road Pier, pretty much under the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
As Conzelman climbs up the headlands, it passes several scenic turnouts where all those generic Golden Gate Bridge photos (with the San Francisco in the background) are taken. The road climbs up Hawk Hill for almost 770 feet in a little less than 2.5 miles to the Marin Headlands Vista Point.
If you venture down the hill past the Vista Point parking lot, you’ll be rewarded with this view of the Marin Headlands, the Pacific Ocean beyond the Golden Gate and a brief but very steep 18% drop in the road.
I passed an unlikely sight on my ride today through Pebble Beach on the 17-Mile Drive. A team of cyclists in yellow and azure jerseys passed me going south as I headed north. It’s not uncommon to see pro teams out on the road when the Sea Otter Classic is held, but that was last month.
It was Team Rwanda, Rwanda’s National Cycling Team. They were probably out on a training ride here because it’s close to the home of the Rwandan Team’s organizer (and first American competitor in the Tour de France), Jonathan Boyer. They must have just arrived here from the Tour of the Gila, in New Mexico.
The New York Times and other major media have stories on Jan Ullrich’s retirement from cycling today.
Ullrich is one of the great riders of cycling’s current era. He was frequently a threat to Lance Armstrong in many of Armstrong’s Tour de France victories. Ullrich won the TDF in 1997 and finished second five times to Armstrong.
Ullrich’s other major victories were a Gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Road Race, a Silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Time Trial, a victory at the 1997 Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), two wins of the Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) and two (1999, 2001) UCI World Time Trial Championships.
I’m sure the sloppy sample collection and the inconsistent scientific testing procedures done in the name of “fairness” by the World Anti-Doping Agency and their regional organizations in professional cycling have had an affect on Ullrich’s decision.
Having unproven accusations of doping have negatively affected the careers of many other athletes in cycling (and other sports), e.g. Floyd Landis, the current 2006 Tour de France title holder.