This morning was going to be special; not just special because it was cold (and 35 degrees really isn’t all that cold), and not just special because it was the last Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride of the year, but also because it was going to be Kevin’s (my son, not the pilot) return. Towards the end of summer he’d gotten strong enough to hang in there with the guys, maybe a minute behind on Kings, but not much trouble elsewhere, then he sliced open his knee not long after school started, which kept him off the bike for a few weeks, and just as he was getting back he got hit with the kidney issues which didn’t resolve until just a few weeks ago.
So this morning we got up early enough to get a slight head start (actually more than slight; we hit the beginning of the ride 7 minutes ahead of schedule) and headed up the hill. As this was Kevin’s first climb up Kings since late summer, I wasn’t expecting much speed, and we didn’t get much. But as is usually the case with Kevin, he starts slow but gradually comes up to speed, so that instead of being passed before the half-way point (which seemed likely), we didn’t get caught until close to 3/4 of the way up the hill. Things were looking good! And the group that caught us seemed large and friendly (“friendly” in this case meant they were heading up at a casual pace and yakking away). Unfortunately, within a minute or so of being passed, Kevin tells me he’s having a seizure, stops his bike, and I get over to him probably just before he would have fallen over. Darn that epilepsy!!! This was one of the more significant ones, where he loses a bit of memory (maybe 30 seconds worth) and becomes a bit disoriented. But within a couple minutes he was back up on his bike and heading up to the re-group at the top.
Unfortunately, Kevin developed quite a migraine after the seizure, probably not helped by the 35 degree temps up on Skyline, so the group forged on ahead while Kevin and I cut out the final loop (west-side Old LaHonda, perhaps the best part of the ride!) and headed home early. We also learned why heading straight down into Woodside instead of doing the extra loop isn’t such a great idea. 7 miles of continuous descending (from the stop of Skyline near Bear Creek all the way to Woodside) gets you cold! Our ride is really about as perfect as you can get, since you have a 3.5 mile descent on Skyline into Sky Londa, then you have to work your way down the gradual descent to west-side Old LaHonda, followed by a tough ride back up to Skyline again before the final 3.5 mile descent to Woodside. You really don’t appreciate how well that works out, in terms of keeping relatively warm, until you alter the mix (like we did today).
In the end, I really have no idea who all was out there today. I do know George was there (who’d mentioned, literally in passing, that he didn’t want to miss my last ride of the year), and Kevin (the pilot Kevin), and Chris (who rode back to check up on us on Skyline), and Todd. There were at least two others. OK, I think Bob was there, and John. Who else? Don’t know. Maybe I’ll see some of them on Saturday morning for the annual New Year’s Day ride up Mount Hamilton.