Despite the weather, I’m slowly improving

Late May? Really? Winter was less wet!
Just a couple weeks ago I was wondering if my under-30-minute times up Kings were a thing of the past. That would be really sad; it was just a few years ago I was climbing in 26-something. Thankfully I saw some signs of hope this morning, despite the cold & wet morning. Just myself and Kevin; this weather is definitely keeping a lot of people off their bikes, at least in the hills.

I felt OK up to the Huddart entrance, and didn’t die in the steep corners, where I usually get to watch everyone ride away. Not that Kevin was going to do that to me anyway (but more on that later). At the all-important 2/3rds point, the 1.41 mile marker, I was at 20 minutes, 24 seconds. Well darn, there are constants and variables in the world, and the 1/3rd time remaining from that point is pretty solidly constant. I finished at 30 minutes 30 seconds, with a feeling that better times are ahead.

Better weather, certainly. You can see from the photo how mucky it was. And cold. Down to 40 degrees, cold enough that Kevin was thinking, but didn’t voice, that we ought to skip the West Old LaHonda section and head back down 84. I was thinking he might be thinking that, but he was riding just ahead of me and made the right hand turn heading west on 84, down to West Old LaHonda. Once we got there he made it clear he wasn’t really happy about riding in such muck and how he couldn’t ride afterward to his favorite coffee shop because he was wet & cold. But, no time for conversation about such things because he simply took off, hard, and I just watched in amazement at the smooth delivery of power he was putting down. I didn’t even try to keep up; he was out of sight very, very quickly. In fact, he nailed two PRs, including the overall from bottom to top of West Old LaHonda! Moral to the story- if he gets mad, he get fast. Very fast.

I wasn’t feeling too badly myself either, finding legs to push pretty hard through Woodside on the return. Overall, despite the muck, a pretty good ride.

A wild windy day on Skyline; the weather will get nicer soon, right?

It was a dark & stormy night… no, not quite, but sure am glad I haven’t bothered to clean my bike for a while. It’s been one damp ride on Skyline after another.

Normally Kevin and I would be doing the Pescadero loop, but the coast looked to be as fogged in as we could visually see on Skyline, so we opted instead for the always-painful loop through the foothills, up Redwood Gulch and return on Skyline. Even with the tailwinds heading towards Los Altos, I wasn’t feeling on top of my game, which was too bad since it would have been a great day to pick up some Strava records.

Kevin had already had enough coffee prior to the ride so we didn’t make the usual stop at the Peet’s close to our former Los Altos location; this would come back to haunt me towards the end of the ride, as I started feeling a bit bonked. But the upside was that I didn’t feel quite as badly as I expected to, heading up Redwood Gulch and Highway 9.

No Mr. Mustard at Saratoga Gap; where has that guy gone? A quick Google search turns up nothing. We wouldn’t have wanted to hang around up there too long though; it was about 42 degrees, foggy and windy. We gamely turned north, heading into gusty sidewinds that made us forget about the fog and cold and focus instead of just holding our lines. The video gives you an idea of what it was like. Some challenges are fun; this one was an ordeal we were happy to be done with once we started heading down 84 into Woodside.

Tomorrow morning I hope to find some answer to better riding through better breathing. New lung test to see how things compare this year to last, and whether there might be something different I can take, for better results. Last years’ efforts got derailed when my bone marrow issue was discovered, but I’m not letting my pulmonologist off the hook that easily! –Mike–