This post was written by Mairin Murphy, staff member at our Presidio store who you can usually find in our running shoe or swim/tri departments. Follow along with Le Tour de Ma(i)rin on Instagram or find her on Strava. All roads & parks mentioned below were open and allowed cycling traffic at the time of this writing. Please be sure to check for any park/road closures as the situation evolves!
After most of my triathlons and races I had planned to participate in for April and May were cancelled, I was at a loss of what to do with myself. The pool is closed, my nearest open water swimming spot was a 40 minute drive away, and running is probably my least favorite sport of the three. To add to that sadness and frustration, all of the upcoming pro cycling races and tours were also postponed or cancelled, so my inspiration was lacking, too. Cycling is my favorite sport within triathlon, and I find myself envious of the professionals I see on social media who only focus on riding their bike every day instead of trying to fit in equal amounts of three sports. And so, with all my upcoming events cancelled, and the Giro d’Italia postponed, Le Tour de Ma(i)rin was born.
In order to combat my disappointment, I created my own stage race, against myself. At the moment it is scheduled for seven days around Marin. I am exploring routes I don't normally ride, and trying to see what it would be like to be a professional cyclist (on a much smaller scale). It is organized in a similar fashion to races such as the Tour de California, or Le Tour de France: two flat stages to start with, three mountain stages, a time trial and then my “Champs-Elysees” stage which is simply an easy victory lap. I happen to live in Fairfax (arguably the best spot to start from as a cyclist) and this challenge encourages me to take advantage of one of the most beautiful areas of the world.
And with any bicycle race, there are rules of Le Tour:
- No snot rockets, bodily fluids or water bottles to be shared with your teammies
- Must ride outside, no matter what the weather (as I am a wimp and generally use weather as an excuse to not go out)
- Each ride must be at least an hour long
- Smile or wave at all other cyclists on the road
- Be careful! Now is not the time to get that PB on a descent and end up in the hospital
- Have fun
My personal goals of Le Tour:
- Mash hella watts
- Increase my leg cannon capacity
- Get the peachiest bum in Marin
- ~maybe~ get faster than some of my male coworkers (not that I’m competitive or anything)
Stage 1: Platform Bridge Loop
This was supposed to be a relatively flat, 30 mile loop taking me up White’s Hill, turning right through Nicasio, around the reservoir and back via Platform Bride Rd. and Samuel P. Taylor Park. I would highly recommend it for those who do not feel up to going all the way out to Pt. Reyes, but still want a picturesque, flatter ride. I had planned it to be fairly pleasant, but instead found myself 20 miles from home, soaking wet from rain and hail, and riding home in shorts. Certainly a character building day.
Stage 2: Paradise Valley Loop
This is a classic flat loop that is commonly ridden by those coming from the city. I don’t usually ride it from Fairfax, as there are more stop signs and ‘junk miles’ in order to get to Tiburon. I went during a break in the rain, and managed to see tons of families and some good dogs out for their walk along the water. While the going was slow, it is always a pretty loop to do, especially coming from the city.
Stage 3: Mount Tamalpais Loop
This is probably one of my favorite loops of all time. The weather was great, it was the first day of spring (my favorite season) and very few cars were on the road. To get to this one, just continue straight down Bolinas Rd in downtown Fairfax, and take a slight left at the brick towers to go up past Deer Park. Take a left at the ridge, and continue descending down into Mill Valley.
For the remainder of my “Stages” I have planned Marshall Wall, a Samuel P Taylor Time Trial and the Chileno Valley loop to finish it off. Credit where it's due: this whole challenge was inspired by Kate Courtney (a professional MTB rider who lives in Marin) and her Kate Epic Challenge, where she comes up with extravagant routes in order to try to recreate the Cape Epic MTB race. Her daily updates and posts made me want to create one of my own. I hope you're inspired to do the same!