4 different ways to analyze your climb. Might be more.

Mark P happy about keeping up with the Big Dogs on Kings this morning, with Kevin (Pilot) just finishing in the background.
Mark P happy about keeping up with the Big Dogs on Kings this morning, with Kevin (Pilot) just finishing in the background.

This morning climbing Kings I got the feeling a consistent effort would pay off, and it did. Instead of doing a suicide effort to play with the fast kids on the block (Kevin, George, MarkP, Nigel, Karl & Marcus), I let them ride away before the first hairpin (over the creek crossing) and let them drift slowly out of sight.

Kevin (my son, not the pilot) shouldn’t have been up there with the fast guys, but he tried anyway, and around the 2 mile mark flamed out spectacularly. Spectacularly enough that I was able to catch and pass him, which is quite a rare thing. I briefly thought about hanging back to make sure he was OK, but since it was looking like I had a slightly chance at getting 26-something, and he had a couple others (Kevin the pilot and JR) who were taking it easy and riding just behind him, I kept on going.

I’ve only been up Kings, um, quite literally between 2 & 3 thousand times, so it’s not like I don’t know the various timing points. This was going to be close, very close. I hit the final hairpin (archery range) at 23:40 and it takes predictably 4 minutes from there to the top, if you don’t fall apart. The 2-minute-warning is at the road marker in the clearing, and from the warning sign for the stop at the top, 30 seconds. I ended up losing 10 seconds on that final run, finishing in 26:50 according to the lap timer on my Garmin.

And that’s the thing. The absolute most-accurate timing is when you do it manually, starting at the Tripp Road sign, and stopping where the broken remants of the old road sign are, just a few feet short of the top, on the right-hand side. That, as I said, was 26:50.

But Strava says the Tripp Road/Skyline segment was 26:27 today. Looking closely at that segment, it beings a few seconds after Tripp Road, and ends… well, hard to tell, but obviously it must be a bit shy of the top. That’s the second way to analyze your climb.

The third way is, simply, how you feel about it. Did you leave anything on the table? Were you efficient or were there peaks & valleys? Did you feel like dry-heaving at the top or were you thinking you should have ridden harder and tried to stay up with the others?

And the fourth is how others view your effort. Those you rode up the hill with, those you were behind, and those you were ahead of. Your peer group, sort of. Are they going to be cruel or kind? That too will affect how you feel about your day on Kings.

And check out this interesting new Strava feature, which lets you watch things unfold as you climb, showing your relative position to others. Very cool!

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Sad ride after putting a pet down

skylineIMG_0478
Pretty nice up on Skyline today, as you can see in the photo, but it took quite some time before there was any enjoyment in today’s ride. Something to do with having to put down my daughter’s chameleon, Galahad, beforehand. Known as “Sir G”, Galahad had been with us for almost 4 years, which apparently is a pretty normal lifespan for a chameleon in captivity. No, he wasn’t stolen from the Amazon or anything like that, but raised on whatever passes for a chameleon “farm”, something more humane than poaching animals from their native environment.

Let me tell you that chameleons do require a bit more special care than, say, a dog, or a cat. Who knew. This little guy has seen the vet quite a few times for various minor ailments (and if you need a good vet on the Peninsula, by all means consider Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos), including surgery. Yes, you can actually do surgery on a lizard.

It had been tough going lately. He wasn’t eating like he should (my daughter has a gram scale that she’d regularly weigh him on, same type you use to compare expensive bike parts), he would get a prolapsed something-or-other and need to see the vet occasionally for stitches (and later removal), and the other day, sitting in his very large home (a 55 gallon terrarium), he decided to let his tongue hang out… and I mean really hang out… should have take a photo of it… he was up on a high branch and it reached down nearly a foot. A chameleon’s tongue is a bit like a coiled spring it turns out. It was frightening to see this, although he did eventually pull it back in.

Sir G lookin' good a few months ago
Sir G lookin’ good a few months ago

So he was brought in to the vet this morning, knowing that sure, he could be pumped full of fluids again and keep going for a while, but this wasn’t a healthy happy lizard and it was time to go. You’d not think that a small lizard (ok, chameleon) could elicit so much emotion from people, but it wasn’t just my daughter and son who were in tears, but also the vet. Me? Must have been a cold, that’s why I was sniffling.

So Sir G was put to rest, after assurances it would be humane (anesthesia first, then the stuff that stops the heart), and an hour later he was taken home for burial in the side yard, alongside other family pets over the years.

So when you see a 30 minute time for going up Old LaHonda, and no trip out to the coast, that’s why. It was hard to get Kevin going at all, and it took time to get his mind off the sadness. After scuttling the original plan (which, by the time we left, would have had us finishing in the dark), we turned south on Skyline, descended Page Mill, and wound our way back home. Just 36 miles and not very fast. We’ll make up for it next weekend. –Mike–

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