Monthly Archives: January 2012

Riding with guys half your age

I should know better than to ride with guys literally half (or less?) my age. But for good or bad, I feel like I have more in common with most 25 year olds than I do 55 year olds. I want to be fast, and don’t believe it’s beyond reason that I can get faster, while many 55 year olds are paying attention to AARP (American Association of Retired People) and thinking about cruises and getting senior citizen discounts at movies.

Actually, I don’t even know how old the guys I ride with are. Todd? Late 20s maybe? And Mike & Andrew? Maybe very early 20s? It’s actually a bit strange thinking I’m twice as old and then some. Besides trying to keep up with them, my main concern is to not become those older guys I rode with when I was much younger, who’d keep trying to come up with ways to put the young guys down because they had bad form or didn’t do things just right. Besides it being a way to try and make up for them (the older guys) being slow, it also had the unintended effect of backfiring on them, causing us younger guys (yes, I was young once) to really want to ride them into the ground. Which, of course, we did!

Todd, Mike & Andrew don’t try to ride me into the ground; they just let me run near 100% for as long as I can before they eventually get bored and take off. On today’s Woodside/Pescadero/Tunitas ride, our early start (7:45am) meant that it was still pretty cool out, so my breathing was pretty ragged climbing up Old LaHonda. I was OK on the moderate grades and had them waiting for me when it got steep. A pattern that repeated later in the day as it got warmer, so it’s probably not really fair blaming my 22 minute time up Old LaHonda on it being cold.

Best reason to not ride quite-so-early to the coast? Because the Pescadero Bakery doesn’t open until 10am! Fortunately, the general store/coffee shop/bar just down the street opens earlier, so I was able to buy a coke to help with the grades on Stage Road. And yes, it was beautiful out there! No clouds, hardly the slightest breeze and not much traffic.

I’d be lying to say that I was looking forward to the Tunitas Creek climb; up to that point I’d taken a few pretty short pulls at the front but didn’t feel like I had my good stuff this morning. We held together until just past the Bridge of Death (the bridge over the creek on the right, just as it starts to get steep) and then I got to watch them charge up the hill while my world was literally swaying from side to side. About 15 minutes later I caught up to Andrew (on the upper, flatter part of Tunitas) and we paced ourselves back up to Todd and Mike, who’d been soft-pedaling for a while so they didn’t finish the climb a day ahead of us.

In the end about 58 miles, just over 15mph average speed (sure seemed faster than that!), and back before noon.

I declare this “A Winter to Ride!”

Pretty amazing out there this morning. 50 degrees, warm enough that most of my breathing problems were gone (still have a cold that’s been hanging on too long, but the difference in how my lungs work in 50 vs 40 degree weather is huge). I even hung with the fast guys up to the first hairpin (just over 5 minutes into the climb) before throttling back. Pretty big group despite some of the regulars not in attendance (no Karl, Karen or Eric, but we did have Todd, Kevin, Kevin, Ludo, Nigel, MikeF, Andrew and was Marcus there?).

It was so nice climbing in nearly-balmy weather, warm enough that I was slightly overdressed. Kevin (my son, not the pilot) was apparently overdressed enough that he overheated less than a mile from the top and had a seizure, very unfortunate since he was heading towards one of his best times on the climb.

I’d prefer it if it weren’t quite so wet ont he descents though. Most of the guys don’t seem to mind much, but I’m just not comfortable with my tires sliding around on the rain stripes, probably because it’s been a very, very long time since I hit the deck so I’m riding a bit too conservatively.

In the totally-absurd category, just heard Roberta Gonzalez (Channel 5 weatherperson) say that the computer models aren’t showing any rain until February 10th???!!! That’s pretty unbelievable. While it’s not likely they’ll reopen Sonora Pass, it’s quite possible Ebbets (Highway 4) and Tioga (120) may give us some interesting opportunities in the weeks ahead.