Monday, August 1, 2011

SF Marathon

A quick trip to San Francisco to cheer on my friend running the marathon reminded me of the remarkable drive of amateur athletes. Yet of course, my attention was also caught by a few cycling highlights.

Wardian (center) on pedal-powered stage
The 34th San Francisco Marathon on Sunday featured about 25,000 runners, including the full marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, and a children’s run. The full course traveled along the Embarcadero on the bay, headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge and back again to the city, then looped inside Golden Gate Park, before crossing through the Mission district and finishing in the shadow of the Bay Bridge. The unofficial results included the men’s winning time of 2:27:06 by Michael Wardian, an ultra-marathon runner from Virginia, and the women’s best time of 2:50:04 by Emily Field, in her first marathon at age 25.

At the post-race festival along the bay, the center stage was set up by Rock the Bike, an advocacy group out of Berkeley that aims to promote biking culture by showing, not telling. The stage was powered by passers-by who took turning riding stationery bikes. This pedal power generated enough energy for a lively band and presentation of the race winners.

Earlier that morning, I stumbled upon the Velo Rouge Café, located one block north of Golden Gate Park. This cute neighborhood place offers delicious food in a cozy atmosphere, but they had me at the cycling-themed menu. Try the Mont Ventoux (breakfast egg sandwich on a croissant), the Indurain (three-cheese sandwich with garlic cream cheese), or specials like the Sastre pizza (with pepperoni and jalapenos). The banana bread was perfect. The café hosts live music on Friday and Saturday evenings and suggests a nice bike route through the city on its web site.

Surrounded by runners, I will still find the bikes!

Rock the Bike web site:

Velo Rouge Café
798 Arguello Blvd. (at McAllister)
San Francisco, CA 94118

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