Final Tuesday/Thursday ride before heading to France

We got off to a bit of a late start from the house this morning, raising concern that we could arrive late for the ride, something that is absolutely, positively against the rules. Kevin’s solution was to charge up over Jefferson like a man possessed. We overtook someone who was moving pretty well; Kevin kept the hammer down due to Rule #1. Never pass someone you can’t stay ahead of. As we passed the nursery school where it levels off slightly, Kevin says something like “We had to keep the speed up after we passed that guy”, not realizing “that guy” had latched onto my wheel. Kevin is one of those people who very rarely looks back. Needs to work on that.

Actually did get a couple PRs for segments over Jefferson, which wasn’t a surprise. Well, it was a little bit, given that my Strava records go back over 10 years now. Now, you have to wonder, does this mean I arrive at the start warmed up and ready to go hard, or does it mean I arrive already shelled? A little bit of both, actually. We had one other guy with us, Tom, and Tom can definitely challenge Kevin on Kings. I was able to hang on for a while, but could do little but watch them ride on ahead as we neared the park entrance. I managed to finish just over 29 minutes, still a bit over 1000 VAM, but it definitely wasn’t a strong finish; I couldn’t get many watts going on the steeper sections.

I was glad that Sunday’s short ride didn’t impact me very negatively, if at all.

Thursday morning, 8:05am, and we’re off to France. One of those very long travel days, arriving in Paris 7:45am Friday, getting on a train at 11am and arriving in Lourdes, which will be our base during the Tour de France, around 5pm if I recall correctly. Still a *lot* to get done before we leave! Been packing and figuring things out, but I’m about done for the evening (11:54pm right now), figuring it makes sense to get to sleep and wake up early enough to catch the last 90 minutes of tomorrow’s big stage on TV, while continuing to get things organized. Tomorrow I’m expecting to feel pretty stressed, wondering what I’ve forgotten and what loose ends I might have left at the shop. Fun!

Yes, we rode Sunday

Sunday was the first (and only) road test of our Bike Friday travel bikes, prior to heading to France. It was supposed to be the regular Pescadero run, but we didn’t get more than 2 minutes up Old LaHonda before Kevin started having nasty pain in his right leg, something he deals with off & on. In a nutshell, it happens because he rides really hard & strong without having a proper “base” of miles, pushing things a bit too far. As long as everything is adjusted *perfectly* he’s OK, but Sunday’s ride exposed a couple things that weren’t perfect. First, the SPD pedals were not allowing his feet to float like his Speedplay pedals do. Second, his saddle was set nearly level and Kevin is one of those very, very odd people that actually need to have a fairly hefty downward tilt or else leg problems make themselves known. It was a physical therapist friend (and former employee and now new dad) Todd N who suggested the downward tilt to fix the leg problem, and he was right. If you have any odd physical ailments, especially if they impair your cycling, I can highly recommend a visit to Todd!

OK, back to the ride. We made some adjustments and got going again, and he was OK for maybe 10 minutes, passing many of the people who had passed up while stopped, until we had to pull over yet again and make some more adjustments, after which the rest of the climb was very, very slow. At the top it was pretty clear this ride wasn’t going anywhere; we headed straight to 84 and home. A whopping 20 miles instead of the usual 58. Not the typical Sunday ride, to be sure. If there’s one thing that separates me from Kevin, it’s consistency. I’ve never imploded on a ride like Kevin has. I’ve always been able to keep going, maybe at a bit slower speed, but in 50 years of riding I could probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve had to shorten a ride because I had “issues.” The flip side is that Kevin has a motor that’s hard to believe. He’s built more like a sprinter, but climbs very, very well.

In the end, it was a very good thing we had that ride. It allowed us to make changes to the fit of the Bike Friday (so it better mimics his Trek Emonda) and convinced him to ditch the usual SPD pedals (which, in France, have the real benefit of being able to walk around in easily) in favor of Speedplays. Fortunately, with the new walkable cleats, the Speedplay “road” pedals should serve very well.