All posts by Mike

Saw 33.7 degrees at the start, day just got nicer and nicer as we rode

How could you not want to be riding on a day like this?
How could you not want to be riding on a day like this?

Just a few of us today; myself, Kevin (not the pilot), JR and Karl. Those not showing up missed a really nice day! Yes, it was cold at the start, and got even-colder as we crossed the San Andreas fault (on Kings right where the bridge crosses the creek, between Josselyn Lane and Tripp Road). I noticed my computer reading 33.7, but according to the Strava download, it hit 32. But as is usually the case, it warmed up nicely as we rode up Kings, a comfy 45 degrees on the middle of the climb, dropping slightly to 43 on Skyline.

Karl and I headed up the first part of Kings a bit faster than Kevin & JR but we waited for them at the park. Dumb. About a mile later Karl and Kevin rode off the front and there was no way I could keep them in sight. But while the climb up Kings kills me, I usually do fine the rest of the ride, improving as it goes, and today was no exception. Would have been nice to get some photos from the iPhone (what’s shown above is a still pulled from the GoPro, so not very high quality), but winter gloves just don’t work so well, no matter how hard you stab at the “shutter button” on the screen, it just won’t “click.”

This morning’s ride was the best Kevin would feel all day; he had gradually-increasing kidney pain while working at the shop and, by 6pm, had to be taken to Kaiser ER, as he has quite a few times over the past few years, for pain management. Finally got him home just past 1am. Kevin will tell anyone who will listen that suffering on a bike is easy compared to the pain of a kidney stone.

Amazing that Kevin rode at all today

The big horse-shoe curve descending West Alpine.
The big horse-shoe curve descending West Alpine.

Once every few months Kevin has what you might call a “kidney event.” He starts feeling pain on his right side during the day, which goes on for a few days at moderate intensity, until one evening it decides it wants to kill him. Not quite literally, but what he goes through often puts him in the ER for 4-6 hours, pumped full of very serious pain meds until it’s under control, usually getting to go home around 1:30am. It’s not fun. Last night was one of those nights, only he wasn’t taken to the ER, he had to deal with it at home. This was partly one of those mean-Dad things, because Dad has noticed this pattern that, whether he goes to the ER or deal with it at home, the episode mostly ends about the same time, 1:30am, and he can finally go to sleep.

A pair of cyclists stranded when one of their chains had broken. Fortunately I carry a chain tool and was able to get them back on their way. Note to self: Carry one of those individually-packed hand cleaning wipes we sell at the store!
A pair of cyclists stranded when one of their chains had broken. Fortunately I carry a chain tool and was able to get them back on their way. Note to self: Carry one of those individually-packed hand cleaning wipes we sell at the store!

Truthfully, I was surprised that Kevin was in any shape to ride this morning. It did take a bit to get going, and he did have a moderate amount of background pain, with the occasional spike to something nasty. We started out thinking of doing a mostly-flat loop down to our Los Altos store & back, but as we passed Old LaHonda, forcing our bikes to not take the right turn up the hill (they’re kinda programmed to do so), Kevin suggested riding up Page Mill as far as Moody, and then heading back down to Los Altos. I said yeah, we could do that, but if we survive OK that far, why not just keep going?

So that’s what we did, we kept going up Page Mill. Certainly not at a very fast pace; Kevin’s pain increases when he stands. But he made it to Skyline, and once there, continued down the other side to LaHonda, then back up 84 & West Old LaHonda before descending back down into Woodside and home.

Not a big ride; just under 50 miles, less than 4800ft of climbing. Nothing like last week’s ride to Santa Cruz! But if you measure success not by what you actually accomplished but rather by minimizing the difference between the best you could have done and what you actually did, then this was a very successful ride.