Winner of the 2013 100 Miles of Nowhere, Coed Simultaneous Bike and Kayak Relay, Oakland CA Division
By Jessica F
It would be a bit hyperbolic to say that the only reason I wanted to participate in 100 Mile of Nowhere was to have a ridiculous course, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t remember if I knew about this park with a great view before I started scheming over 100 Miles of Nowhere or not.
Great view, eh? (Downtown SF, the Bay Bridge, and Treasure Island, for those of you not from around here.) I love infrastructure: bridges, railroads, transmission lines, ports. This has the additional historical footnote of being the westernmost point on the Union Pacific Railroad.
Plus, the water link from one end of the park to the other would be my hook to get my kayaking boyfriend to participate. First I thought we would both bike and kayak, but the number of transitions seemed overwhelming. So we agreed that he would kayak and I would bicycle. Flat water kayaking for a whitewater kayaker is basically like being on rollers in a basement for a mountain biker.
Because kayaking is much slower than bicycling, we decided it would be a parallel relay event. (This is probably a concept I’ve invented. Which hopefully means we’ve placed first in our division: Coed Simultaneous Bike and Kayak Relay, Oakland CA.) The bicycle leg was 80 miles, and the kayaking leg was 20 miles, back and forth across the narrow section of the park horseshoe.
I’ve included the Strava screen for the ride. Started from the house, a bunch of times around the park, and a deviation for a sausage at Rosamunde’s before heading home to realize an extra loop around the block was needed to hit 80 miles.
The day was great: sunny, not too hot or windy, lots of birds (pelicans, blue herons, white egrets, avocets, gulls by the dozens and Canada geese by the hundreds). My boyfriend, T, got the best view of a pelican diving for a fish just ten feet off his kayak. Next time we do this, I’ll be getting a kayak leg, too. Getting hissed at by Canada geese multiple times just doesn’t have the same cachet.
However, if you are familiar with Arrested Development, you’ll understand why I was concerned for his well-being after seeing a harbor seal early on in the day, but it kept its distance. Sand sharks and bat rays were also hanging around.
I have done one other 100 Miles Of Nowhere, a few years ago with a friend doing loops of Golden Gate Park. One of the interesting things about spending all day in a park is seeing the ebb and flow of various parts of the community interacting (and operating completely separately in different areas), and generally all having a good time.
The Middle Harbor Shoreline park also has the benefit of being along the shipping channel. One of the bike legs looked out at multiple sailboats heading out the morning, a huge container ship coming into port later that day, and at the end, a large Coast Guard ship, probably heading up out of the Gate and up the coast. I can’t describe the effect of seeing these different sized vessels gliding by, apparently crossing my path at the end of the bike path.
We ended up taking about 8 hours to do the ride/paddle, and Strava shows me with 6 hours and 40 minutes of rolling time.
PS: FYI, Fatty, you’ve created another Strava user. I was wondering if I needed to bring out my long unused GPS device to track the ride, and of course thought about iPhone apps. When I saw Strava on the list of bike tracking apps, I immediately chose it. And ended up with a couple of trophies by the end of the day for the competitive Oakland Middle Harbor area. Also, I was impressed that Strava didn’t destroy my battery. I managed to get through all 8 hours with battery left over. As good or better than my purpose-built GPS device. Of course, most of the time, the screen was off. I’m just disappointed I didn’t know how excellent (and easy-to-use) Strava was for my first real mountain bike ride last weekend in Pennsylvania.