Monthly Archives: February 2012

A morning to crash & burn


Once in a while a day comes along where you wonder, should I have just stayed in bed and not ridden? Those days are thankfully rare, but today might have been one. It was dry as we left the house, as expected; the weather forecast said no rain until late tonight. Wrong. By the time we got to the start it was beginning to get damp, and emotions dampened further when two of our regulars announced that they had to turn back a bit early because HP had called them in for one-on-one meetings, meaning they expected to be fired (both work for the Palm division that HP purchased, wrecked, and is now in the process of open-sourcing the platform).

No drama on the ride up the hill, but up on Skyline it got cold. Nastily cold, as in 37 degrees and rain. We’re spoiled in California; it rarely rains below the mid-40s. That colder stuff just bites right through whatever you’re wearing and generally feels miserable (although not as bad as the 42 degrees and dry at the end of Sunday’s long ride!). Most of our group headed back down 84 when we got to Sky Londa, leaving just myself, Kevin (pilot), Kevin (son) and John. We kept the pace reasonable and stayed warm, but the descent into Woodside wasn’t much fun, with very slippery pavement and more cars than normal. I hung back and let them pass, while the two Kevin’s charged ahead (with John just ahead of me). Pilot Kevin was flying down the hill, making it to the bottom without incident, while the other Kevin crashed & burned just a couple corners from the bottom.

Nothing broken, bike’s mostly ok (rear derailleur a bit banged up, broken helmet), so we were able to continue heading home a few minutes later. Kevin’s going to be a bit stiff tomorrow, but should be OK for Thursday’s ride.

112 miles, great ride, but long winter rides require more thought & preparation

February is a bit early in the season for 100+ mile rides, but Kevin and I had a bit of, well, body work to take care of (the scale hasn’t been our friend lately). It was actually Kevin’s idea to do the Santa Cruz loop, the only real challenge being whether we could get it in during the limited number of daylight hours available, without having to get up too early.

We had a nice roll out to the coast via Old LaHonda and Haskins Grade, holding a moderate but steady pace (22 minutes up Old LaHonda, 2 minutes slower than Kevin can pull off on his own). Turning onto Cloverdale for the run south we were blessed with a mild tail wind, which nicely accompanied us all the way into Santa Cruz. Of course we stopped in Davenport on the way for lunch, and then stopped again for water in Boulder Creek before the long run up to Skyline (Saratoga Gap). It was only as we approached the top that temps started to rapidly cool; the marvelous 64 degrees on the coast were replaced by 42 degrees and substantial wind at the top. My thin full-fingered gloves, which had been perfect during the morning run to the coast, simply weren’t up to the task. Nor was my thin baselayer.

Normally, 42 degrees isn’t an issue, even dressed as I was. For our morning ride, I’m able to keep a full head of steam the entire time, but that’s only for 30 miles. When you hit such conditions 85 miles into a 112 mile ride, it’s a different story! Still, there’s enough uphill on the run north on Skyline to keep you going, just barely. I was having some issues shifting (tough for cold inflexible fingers to find the small buttons for the Di2 electric shifting), but it wasn’t until the descent into Woodside where I got really chilled and started to shiver a bit. Thank goodness it warmed up slightly on the way down, but the graph below tells the story.

My normal max heart rate is 175; check out what happens to my heart rate just after the descent begins. Temporary tachycardia (extremely-fast heartbeat) is a symptom of mild hypothermia. Fortunately without lasting effects.

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