Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cloudy, cool, slightly-damp at times, flat tire, and yet a great morning on a bike!

It really doesn’t add up, especially when you include the car crash we came upon that I didn’t even mention in the title. It’s almost June, not the time of year you’re thinking about it being a bit cold and damp. This is when you shouldn’t have to be looking for leg warmers and base layers!

Yet another classic West Old LaHonda picture

Yet another classic West Old LaHonda picture

So what? If you’re determined to have a great ride, you will. Coming off Sunday’s successful 112 miler to Santa Cruz, I was determined! Determined enough that I pulled off a 27:32 up Kings, fastest time in a very long while, and an indication that maybe I won’t blow up on the big climbs in France this year. Even passed up my son near the top, who was feeling the effects of Sunday’s ride in a bad way, the opposite of the feelings I was experiencing. I proved on Sunday that, if I wanted to push down hard on the pedals and go, I could. Confidence. Something I haven’t had a lot of for a while.

We did have a small amount of drama heading down the west side of 84, coming across the scene of two cars that had collided in a corner. No flares out yet, so we’re coming fast around a corner and then bam, hard on the brakes as we came across 4 or 5 cars stopped.

Fixing JR's flat

Fixing JR’s flat

We intelligently moved forward a few cars, preferring not to be last in line in case a car comes flying down the hill and can’t quite stop in time. Better to have a few cars to provide a barrier for us!

Then JR nailed the infamous pothole on Skyline, the one about half a mile south of Sky Londa, same one I hit on Sunday but with better results. Classic pinch flat for JR today. Overall, we arrived back at the start about 12 minutes past schedule. Not that I would keep track of such things.

A great day for a hard ride!

Question of the day: Why does it feel so good, after 70 miles, to finally hit a solid climb? What is it about a climb that rejuvenates your spirits and somehow lightens the load on your legs? You would have been willing, for a good reason, to pack it in but now that you’re on a real climb you feel like you can go on forever?

Last year, by mid-February Kevin and I had already done our first 100+ miler, the classic Woodside/Santa Cruz loop (112 miles from home in Redwood City). Things got off to a slow start this year though, mostly due to Kevin’s various issues with his kidney, but early this week his stent was removed (finally!) and it was time to get back to basics.

Thank goodness the weather forecast was incorrect. I had been concerned about riding in a drizzly fog, but it was so nice out we needed (but did bring) neither leg warmers nor light jackets. It probably helped that we didn’t hit the road until 11am, definitely a bit on the late side for a run to Santa Cruz, but not unusual at all for us (obviously, our ride in February last year must have started a lot earlier or we wouldn’t have gotten back before dark!).

Old LaHonda was ridden at a moderate pace, ending up around 23 minutes for the climb after hanging back for a bit to chat briefly with one of our customers. Kevin followed the plan and rode at the same pace, rather than the sub-20 he would like to, but he’s so short on miles it didn’t seem like a good idea for him to burn too many matches too early in the ride. Yet it was such a nice day there was no way you could completely hold back, so even Haskins ended up being close to a 10-minute climb, a couple minutes faster than I thought likely.

Lunch in Davenport

Lunch in Davenport

Thank goodness the prevailing winds held out! It wasn’t a direct tailwind heading down the coast, but it was close. I’d already decided that, if we got to the coast and it was going to be a headwind into Santa Cruz, we’d be reversing course and doing a shorter ride. No need. We arrived for “lunch” at the Whale City Bakery in Davenport, downing a ham & cheese croissant, coke and a cookie for Kevin, raspberry muffin for me. That took care of us for the run south to Santa Cruz then up Highway 9 to Boulder Creek for the obligatory Mtn Dew stop before the long climb up to Skyline.

80 miles down, 32 to go, time for a cold drink and a hot-dog! Thank you, Mr. Mustard.

80 miles down, 32 to go, time for a cold drink and a hot-dog! Thank you, Mr. Mustard.

Skyline. We’ve grown to depend on Mr. Mustard’s hot-dog stand on Skyline for drinks and… yeah, hot-dogs. Mile 80 in a long ride and a hot-dog actually goes down really well. But we were in Davenport past 2pm, and didn’t leave Boulder Creek until 4:15, and Mr. Mustard leaves shortly after 5! Yikes. We had money for the coke machine at the Saratoga Gap fire station, but it’s just not the same. Fortunately, once we got onto the real climb, the legs started working again and we actually got some Strava-worthy times, personal bests (for the past 4 or 5 years; I was certainly a lot faster back in the pre-pre-pre-Strava days) for both of us. Mr. Mustard hadn’t packed up yet so we scored the usual… hot-dog and a drink!

From there it was the easy north run on Skyline to Sky Londa, returning home not much past 6:30. Plenty of light, still nice out. Great ride.