Monthly Archives: February 2011

That road’s gonna go… and what happened to Ludo & Eric?

Cool, yes, but not raining! As I’ve said before, we can take rain, we can take wet, but the two together aren’t much fun. This morning, for the most part, was fun. Despite being a Tuesday ride (typically the harder one), the testosterone had been left at home, so Ludo, John, Eric, Nigel and I had a pretty civilized ride, with nothing getting tested until West-side Old LaHonda, and even that was pretty moderate.

Speaking of tested, I finally figured out how to shoot viewable video from my Contour HD1080 camera. Prior to this, everything’s been really jerky as each bump jostles the camera and causes it to vibrate. My solution was a bit unorthodox and definitely not very pretty, but the results were great!

I’ll post the results shortly; I’m uploading about 15 minutes of video to YouTube. It’s unedited and without audio, but you’ll get an idea of what West-side Old LaHonda is like, including the run through the forest which, until now, has been nearly unfilmable.

Regarding the “road’s gonna go” teaser, I’m talking about that section of West-side Old LaHonda where the road has been slipping away and they’ve done some cheap & temporary fill to try and keep things in place. Well, after last week’s rain, the pavement in the area is crumbling and it’s not going to be too long before the roadway won’t support a large vehicle. Our fear is that they might stop maintaining the road entirely, letting that section completely slip away because, after all, how many actually need to use it as a through road (other than cyclists)? Hopefully the video I shot today won’t have historical value in the near future.

I was having a bit of fun heading down 84, with the dry pavement letting me push through the corners a bit harder so I had no trouble keeping up with Nigel and John, but about halfway down noticed that Eric and Ludo were no longer with us. Sometimes Eric can be a bit conservative on the descents, so I didn’t think too much of it until we got to the bottom and… no Eric, no Ludo. We waited… and waited… John kept on riding for a bit but Nigel and I headed back up the hill, hoping we weren’t going to find them picking up pieces of their bikes from the roadway and admiring each others road rash. Fortunately, the more-likely and less-painful scenario played out. Eric had gotten a flat, and Ludo stayed to help (good thing, since Eric’s pump didn’t work). Unfortunately, Nigel and I had to climb almost halfway back up 84 before intercepting them on their way down!

But adding a few more miles and a bit more climbing on a nice morning with a friendly group of cyclists… there are a lot worse ways to start the day.  –Mike–

The Perfect 60-mile Ride

The weather turned on us this week, first getting wet, then getting cold & wet. On a bike, wet isn’t so bad, and cold isn’t so bad, but the two together? Bad. Anyone getting out on Saturday got it bad, but most cancelled their rides and seemed to head for shelter at our Redwood City store. Hey, when it’s dark & cold & wet outside, we’re expecting it to be quiet, so having good company (since our customers are cyclists, that goes without saying!) and a few dollars in the register was very welcome.

Click for full-size image and route description

Even more welcome was having a nice day to ride today (Sunday). The weather forecast held up; sometime around 11pm Saturday night it started to clear up a bit, and by the time I got out at 10:30 Sunday morning, it was pretty nice. Not warm nice, not not too cold, and nice skies with a few clouds for contrast.

The view on Stage Road, looking back towards San Gregorio
The view on Stage Road, looking back towards San Gregorio

There were three of us enjoying the day; myself, plus Andrew & Brian from the shop. I did try to convince Burt to ride, but I don’t think he really believed the day would turn out so nice. We did a variant of the reverse Pescadero loop (detailed Google map), starting in Woodside, heading up Old LaHonda and down the other side to San Gregorio, south on Stage Road to Pescadero, then over Haskins Grade (the “hard” way) and back up to Skyline via West Alpine to add a bit more “kick.” You can see the details on the map; this is a ride that’s nice in just about anything but rain (although I’m dumb enough that wouldn’t likely stop me).

Heading north on Stage Road into Pescadero
Heading south on Stage Road into Pescadero

I’ve always tried to see something new on each ride, even on roads I’ve ridden literally hundreds of times before. Today? Easy. Heading out towards San Gregorio there’s a barn on the right hand side, one that you can often see cows hanging out underneath on a hot summer day. Today, out in front, not too far from the road, was a Coyote munching on an animal carcass. I rode past before realizing exactly what it was; it looked, for all the world, just like a large piece of meat that would be hung from a hook at a butcher, all the ribs showing white against the red flesh. As I stopped and started back (had to get a picture, y’know?) the Coyote quickly headed off, very wary of our intentions. Strange thing, that. My recent dealings with Coyotes on rides has been that they just haven’t seemed to care about me as I rode closely past. A couple of years ago, there was one on Mount Hamilton that was heading up the hill alongside the road at pretty much the same speed I was, which was almost creepy.

It did start getting a bit cold as we neared Skyline
Looks cold & was cold as we neared Skyline

Brian was surprised we weren’t stopping at the San Gregorio store, but I generally don’t stop there when doing the counter-clockwise loop, because the much-better Pescadero Bakery isn’t too far off and they actually like cyclists in Pescadero, while at San Gregorio, they’re concerned we’ll be displacing customers drinking their 10am Bloody Marys. Seriously.

Check your tires before riding! You don't want to see this with 30 miles to go.
Check your tires before riding! You don't want to see this with 30 miles to go.

It was in Pescadero that I noticed my rear tire getting a bit soft, and then saw a pretty good amount of exposed casing. Not much life left in that tire; please check your tires carefully before each ride and make sure they’ve got some life left! Thankfully, it held up the rest of the way.

The temperature was pretty nice until we got to the back side of Haskins Grade, but since we quickly started the stiff climb up West Alpine, it wasn’t an issue until we got to Skyline. Not much snow, just a little bit left here & there alongside the road, probably having been washed away by the pretty heavy rains Saturday.