All posts by Mike

Tuesday, yes, did ride, got nailed!

If only the street sweeper had done my side of the road first, I probably wouldn't have gotten "nailed."
If only the street sweeper had done my side of the road first, I probably wouldn’t have gotten “nailed.”
The nail I pulled out of my tire.
The nail I pulled out of my tire.

I felt pretty good heading out Tuesday morning, ready to play on Kings with Eric, Karl, Karen and JR. Except that it didn’t happen; I mean, they rode up Kings, but I missed the start of the ride when I got a nail in my tire just prior to the 280 overpass, almost within sight of the start of the ride. I briefly thought about riding the flat tire a couple hundred meters so they might see me, but that’s not a great idea with carbon rims.

So, ten minutes later, I’m up & running & reversing the course, figuring I’ll meet up with them heading north on Skyline from 84 while they’re heading south. That was the plan, and it should have worked, unless… did nobody show up? That’s not too likely, but then why didn’t I see them? Turns out they were scared off by the road construction on Skyline so they rode one of the dead-end roads (Star Hill I think) to the bottom and then back up, and down Kings. I was coming through a bit too soon to see them emerge from the west side of the hill.

ugly_socksThat was yesterday. This morning I woke up to… rain??? Had to ride my rain bike to work. No big deal there, but I didn’t think about the white socks and light-colored shorts I was wearing. Should have brought a spare set to work. Would it have been better if I had the fenders on my rain bike (which is currently set up for ‘cross so doesn’t have the fenders mounted)? A bit. But I’m sure they still would have been pretty ugly. Kind of looks like coffee stains. Guess it’s time to start thinking about rain as something more than a concept!

Caltrans isn’t doing San Mateo County cyclists any favors

Sunday it was time for another edition of the “ugly” ride, but more than just “ugly” but also with a twist… I wanted a variation I’d not ridden previously. When you’ve been riding in the area for over 45 years, that’s not so easy to do!

But first, why an “ugly” ride? Why a ride that’s not something you normally do because it’s a routine you enjoy? Why look for the sort of terrain where you can never quite get into the rhythm? Because that time off the bike for the trade show a week or two ago killed me. It took me out of my normal routine (5 days without riding), got me into eating too much while away, and when I came back, I just couldn’t quite shake it off. I gained 4 pounds and kept on eating too much, even though I got back into the regular riding routine. The only way I can get out of such ruts is to do something desperate, something uncomfortable. An ugly ride.

Easy to do something different, since Becky and Kevin had left for Disneyworld. So… instead of heading out to the coast, I rode the foothills south to Los Altos, stopped into our store for a bit (Steve knew I was coming, since I’d enabled live tracking on my Garmin and sent him the link, so he could see where I was in real-time), then headed out Stevens Creek Canyon. OK, you’re thinking, another ride up Redwood Gulch. That’s ugly, isn’t it? Not really. There’s a certain amount of “cred” you get for doing stupid-steep climbs. So, instead of going right at the junction with Mt Eden, I went up… Mt Eden. Not too much of a hill, but Pierce follows. Still not too much of a hill, but, as predicted, couldn’t really get into the climb. Consider what follows and you’ve got a potential mental meltdown- the long slog up Highway 9!

Mr. Mustard to the rescue!
Mr. Mustard to the rescue!

But maybe the ride has to be disqualified from the “ugly” category when you’ve got Mr. Mustard waiting at the top? No hot dog today (that would have seemed a bit silly, when I’m trying to shed some pounds), but it had been a pretty warm climb so I bought both a Coke (which I downed on the spot) and an Orange Crush, which I put into my back jersey pocket “just in case” (it’s sitting in the fridge).

One unexpectedly-ugly addition was getting to experience the transition on Highway 35 from Santa Clara Caltrans’ very smooth resurfacing to San Mateo Caltrans’ bicycle-hating rasp-file-imitating chip seal. That’s what’s in the video above, although I made the mistake of letting youtube “fix” it, so it might take a lot of the vibration out.

Today (Monday evening) I finally feel like I’m getting back to “normal.” We’ll see how tomorrow morning’s ride goes. I’m almost looking forward to it!