Monthly Archives: May 2012

We live in “Vacationland”

Vacationland, USA. Or maybe the world.

Vacationland. I saw that in the comments someone made on a ride on Strava. Wherever you live on the Peninsula, just outside your door are some of the most-amazing places to ride a bike in the world. I know a little bit about this sort of thing, having spent quite a bit of time riding in France, often regarded as a cycling paradise. If I were in France, and cycling was a big part of my life, right here, San Mateo & Santa Clara & Santa Cruz counties, would be the sort of place you’d take a vacation and tell everyone back home about the amazing roads, the views, the great places to eat along the way… things that, after living her for awhile, we might be taking for granted.

Today’s ride in Vacationland was the traditional Old LaHonda, Pescadero, Tunitas loop. 58 miles, about 6000 feet of climbing, spectacular weather (no need for leg warmers or jackets). OK, maybe a few stiff headwinds here & there (remember that we don’t admit to tail winds), and checking out the work being done on the west side of Old LaHonda might not have been the best idea (pretty soft & sticky new pavement) Strava details below-

Check out the Peacock staring at itself on the second floor window.

What Strava doesn’t show are the people you see along the way, like Patrick, our Redwood City Service Manager, riding up Old LaHonda on a bike probably 5 pounds heavier than mine, at a pretty good clip. Or the views of the Pacific Ocean and the hills in-between while descending west-side Old LaHonda. Or the fact that I started the ride feeling not-so-great but the warmer weather opened up my lungs and let me explore the limits of my muscles for a change. Or the Peacock staring into the second-floor window of the former “Machine Gun Man” house on Stage Road, wondering when the identical Peacock on the other side of the window would end the stare-down.

Strava says that I had a pretty fast (for me) time up Haskins on my way to Pescadero, but what it doesn’t say is that, for the first time in a very long while, I felt really good on Tunitas and had to hold back for Kevin. This too shall pass; on Tuesday morning’s ride I’m sure I’ll once again be watching Kevin ride away from me up the hill, just as he did earlier on today’s ride on Old LaHonda.

Meantime, when you complain about how much it costs to live here, consider the “Vacationland” argument. Think of what it would cost to have an endless vacation in one of the best places on the planet to ride. Because that’s what we’ve got, and it’s one of the best excuses ever for why you should be finding more time to ride.

How many guys to fix a stuck chain?

We're thinking if we all peer intently enough at the stuck chain, it will give up and fix itself. Or something like that.

Not just the normal through-the-park ride this morning, but a run down the “middle fork” of dead-end Skyline roads (Star Hill/Swett), since west-side Old LaHonda is still closed on weekdays (we know; we rode by on Tuesday to check).

We were heading back up at a pretty good clip until Nigel had a nasty case of jammed chain, bringing him to a quick halt and giving the opportunity for our full complement of bike & tech-savvy guys a chance to feel pretty stupid and helpless as we first tried to pry it out (failed), next thought about cutting the chain (which we quickly realized still would have left the jammed part… jammed), then remove the crank (failed again) and finally remove both chainrings (success!).

The worst part was that this ate up a bunch of time, requiring us to head back via Tunitas and down Kings. Well, it was pretty cold up top (46 degrees) so Karl, Nigel, Kevin & Jan decided that the best way to get warmed up would be to really punch it on that gradual climb back up to Skyline. Ouch. I dropped off the back for a bit but gradually clawed my way back towards the leaders. Despite what seemed like a pretty good run up there, Strava, as usual, shows “There are no accomplishments for this ride.”

Check out the "speed" line (blue) to see how long we were stopped

But there could have been accomplishments! I just checked the downloaded data, and found, for this segment, that subtracting the time we spent stopped for Nigel’s chain mess, we would have had one heck of a great time! If you can believe the data, some of us would have come close to a new Strava record for that segment. How? My total time for that segment was 33:57, but we had stopped for about 16 minutes, 38 seconds. That leaves just over 17 minutes actual riding time. Not bad!