Monthly Archives: June 2012

Good ride for Kevin, better day for me at the shop

Big group this morning, too many to count again. Not a great day for me on the hill, not quite getting under 28, but Kevin once again got just over 25 on Kings, his only disappointment coming towards the end of the ride when he got cut off in the sprint by Keith, which upset Kevin but y’know, you can’t position yourself where he did and not expect that to happen from time to time. The lead guy doesn’t know what’s going on behind, it’s not a straight road, and there’s no official hanging out to make sure you hold a straight line during the final 200 meters.

But what made the day worthwhile for me came much later, when I got to help someone master clipless pedals, someone who’d been having some real problems with them. She thought I’d be putting her in a trainer to master them, but that’s not my style; I think teaching someone clipless pedals in a trainer actually works against them in the real world because the real world doesn’t have you attached to a bike that can’t tip over! So instead I take them out to our parking lot and have them stand over the bike, first clip in one foot, clip it out, do that a couple times, and then switch to the other and do the same, all while one foot is on the ground.

Once they’ve mastered that, it’s all about explaining to them that nothing need be rushed; you start out with one foot clipped in, and you’ve got plenty of time to get the other one in. And most important, unclip a foot well before you come to a stop.

Simple. And in doing this many hundreds of times, I think there’s only been a single person, ever, that I decided clipless pedals weren’t for them. And I’ve dealt with many who were convinced it just wouldn’t work out for them, but it did. This is one of those few things that I can confidently tell people I’m really, really good at.

And by the way,my customer was 70 years old. And going strong!

Do snakes rattle your nerves? The joys of warm-weather riding!

About a third of the way up Old LaHonda Kevin spotted this guy, at first hiding at the edge of the road before deciding to come out and show some skin. Skin and a bit of tail which might sound like a male fantasy but probably not in this case. This guy was the right size and, I think, coloring, for a rattlesnake, and pretty sure I saw a rattle at the end of the tail (you can barely make out the appearance of the rattle in the inset). That plus a little bit of aggressiveness as he raised his head about a foot off the ground. Not your typical gopher snake behaviour, but rattlesnakes typically have a wider head.
Click on image for closer shot of the snake’s head, to help identify as either Gopher or Rattlesnake (looks more like a Gopher Snake head under closer inspection)

The original plan went to pieces when Kevin developed quite a nasty headache prior to the ride (a “cluster” headache I’m told it’s called), but, somewhat against his wishes, I did get him out on the road. He was giving me the silent treatment until we got about a third of the way up Old LaHonda when he yells to me, “Did you see the snake?” No, I hadn’t seen it, but he circled back to show me where it was (although between the time he’d seen it and then went back to find it, the snake had literally holed itself up in a hole in the embankment, but eventually came back out to find out what was going on).

This guy was pretty big, and pretty mobile. The warm weather gets them moving faster, but also a bit more aggressive, so that, once settled into the drainage area along the side of the road, he lifted his head up about a foot or so, definitely trying to strike a threatening pose. Normally, I remove snakes from the roadway so they don’t get run over, but thankfully this guy wasn’t in the road (close though) and besides, I’m not going to play around much with what might be a good-sized rattlesnake. So instead we stayed around for a bit, warning anyone riding up the hill to stay to the other side of the road (since this guy was easily within striking distance of an uphill cyclists’ legs). Check this out for a prior ride where we came across a no-question-about-it rattlesnake.

Eventually we moved on, heading over the top of Old LaHonda and down the other side to San Gregorio. The original plan had been to head to Pescadero and return via West Alpine, but that wasn’t going to happen, not with Kevin still feeling a bit under the weather, so instead we went north to Los Lobitos, took in that nasty steep section and then looped back to Tunitas.

Only 47 miles with about 5100ft of climbing, but still a nice ride, and enough to keep my weight about two pounds below where it was last year.