Neither rain nor sleet nor… yeah, you can depend on us to clear the roads

wolh_branch_1509There are times you look forward to riding your rain bike. Big storm coming in; you go to bed the night before to the sound of wind driving the rain against the windows, and the gutters dumping large amounts of water from your roof. There’s no thinking involved; this is why you have the rain bike, with disc brakes and wider tires. This is why you have the clothes that keep you warm even when soaking wet. This is why you get street cred from being out on the roads at a time when even the cars have been scared away.

This morning was not one of those times. It had rained a bit the evening before, but had stopped by the time I went to bed. But the weather report said we were supposed to get a couple hours or rain that would end just before staring our ride. Unfortunately, the weather report nailed it. No rain, but wet roads. No choice but to ride the rain bikes, on messy roads but no rain.

We got a bit of a late start; not exactly sure why. Kevin and I showed up at the start 3 minutes late… nobody there. We rode towards Kings, looking for tracks in the wet pavement, but found nothing conclusive. I mean, why would anybody be out, now, in the muck, when the roads should be clearing up nicely in just a couple of hours? But one person, older Kevin (pilot) was out there. We spotted him off in the distance, just after turning onto Kings. Don’t know if we would have caught him if he hadn’t stopped to take off his jacket just before the climb. But we did, and proceeded to have a conversational pace up Kings.

It was actually quite pretty out there, with the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds. It’s almost a cliché to say that West Old LaHonda, in particular, was beautiful. At the relatively-slow speeds we were riding, it was easier than most days to pay attention to it. And a bit easier to rationalize stopping to clear the road of debris, as seen in the photo above.

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A bit cooler but still one heck of a nice day to ride

On the left, Kevin having tacos in Pescadero. On the right, the obligatory shot riding up the final Stage Road climb to the coast, with Skyline in the background.

I asked Kevin yesterday, where should we ride? I was thinking something a bit adventurous, although saddened a bit knowing this would have been the very last chance to get to the Sierras, and that wasn’t going to happen. Too much to get done before leaving on vacation with my wife Friday night. So back to the old reliable. Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas.

As usual Kevin takes off like a bat out of wherever, with me trying to hang onto his wheel. Takes me a good hour, maybe 90 minutes to really get up to full speed, while he can take off hard right from the start. He made it to the top of Old LaHonda a few minutes faster than me, just over 20 minutes, and circled back to find me. I’d like to claim that my three minutes slower was by choice, but no, I was gassed, plain & simple.

Haskins was a different story. It’s usually a different story. Kevin kills himself climbing hard on Old LaHonda and I get some measure of revenge on Haskins. Sometimes that just means I can keep up with him, but often I’ll actually have the upper hand. Didn’t quite break 10 minutes; Strava says 10:10, but at least I did get past the 1000 meters climbing/hour threshold.

We had a different-than-normal ritual in Pescadero today. The sandwich line at the bakery was a couple miles long, and we didn’t want to just do the pastry or cooking-thing, so we headed down the street to the combo gas station/tacqueria for a couple of very tasty tacos. Far too tasty to be healthy I think!

Then came the big surprise. Heading north on Stage Road, we actually had a tailwind. Strong enough that, despite the gravel that’s been laid down on the road, we were just 13 seconds off my fastest time on that segment. Fastest time of course refers to the post-Strava world, which began about 9 years ago.

Tunitas? We just tried to enjoy the climb at a moderate speed. I’ll admit it was a bit difficult, wasting a good tailwind ride to the bottom of the climb, but not really THAT difficult.

Overall a pretty nice ride on a pretty nice Fall day. Quite a bit different than last Sunday’s ride in the rain.

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