All posts by Mike

Overdid it on the “dirt” idea today; crossed Towne Fire Road off the list of do-agains


The video above shows Kevin attempting to cross the creek at the base of Towne Fire Road.

Kevin’s been pushing to do another off-road ride for a few weeks, after mastering the first attempt on dirt Alpine and a few trails up off Skyline. That ride was only 30 miles or so, not enough to really qualify as a proper “Sunday” ride, but something to get our feet wet. Well, not quite literally; that we saved for today!

It was a bit of a struggle finding more “dirt” within a reasonable distance from home; it’s not much fun riding a cross bike with dirt tires very far on pavement. I thought maybe I had something figured out though. Up dirt Alpine again, some fooling around up on Skyline (Ridge Trail) and then drop into Portola State Park to reconnect with more dirt, this time Old Haul Road (which I’d previously done on my regular road bike with regular tires) followed by Towne Fire Road, which looked really promising on the map, yet I couldn’t find out much about it on-line.

Well there’s a reason you can’t find out about it. It’s because few are dumb enough to do it! The climb up from the creek at the bottom is, at times, brutal, and the “road” abysmal. Just one small section of it appears on Strava (“hidden” at that), with just 21 others ever having ridden it. Given that most of the times were substantially faster than ours, my guess is that they actually rode it during the early 1920s when it might have been paved. Yeah, that’s my excuse. Sure.

Towne Fire Road dumps you off across from Sam McDonald park, on the east side of Haskins, just before it gets steep. Much as this ride was all about dirt, it was a relief to be on smooth pavement again, and within a few minutes be in LaHonda for a coke and sandwich. Kevin was not doing terribly well by this point, while I was feeling stronger as we went. Makes me wonder just how fast Kevin might climb something like Tunitas if it came earlier in a ride, before wearing himself down a bit.

We’ll have more “find the dirt” rides on our cross bikes in the future, but none of them will find us on Towne Fire Road. –Mike–

Ride to eat? This morning, you could say that.

I've said before, and it's really true, cars aren't after cyclists. They're out to kill themselves. We just have to keep out of their way. The guy driving the tow truck w/trailer had just been pulled over by a cop, then took off fast and just about ran into a car in the other lane soon after. Crazy.
I’ve said before, and it’s really true, cars aren’t after cyclists. They’re out to kill themselves. We just have to keep out of their way. The guy driving the tow truck w/trailer had just been pulled over by a cop, then took off fast and just about ran into a car in the other lane soon after. Crazy.

breakfastIMG_5466I was hoping that I’d have a strong ride on my 59th birthday, but in retrospect, that doesn’t seem terribly bright. I was, however, looking forward to something a bit different from the norm, one of our rare “breakfast rides” where, before doing the West Old LaHonda loop, we stop at Alice’s restaurant, order breakfast, ride the loop and, upon our return, breakfast is ready for us.

We’ve done this quite a few times before (although no more often than once every couple of years, but since this ride has been going on a LOT of years…), but the first guy we talked to thought it a bit odd. Fortunately one of the others remembered us doing this years past and we were good to go. I told the guy it would be 23 minutes… I was off… it took 24. Darn!

We started the ride with Kevin (not the pilot), Marcus, Eric, Karen, Karl & Jr. Karen took off down 84 before breakfast while the rest of us enjoyed healthy fare like buttermilk pancakes, bacon breakfast burritos and the one oddball, Marcus, who had a bowl of fruit. He also happens to be the fastest among us, so maybe there’s something to eating healthier. While figuring that out I’ll just try and mask any bad effects by drinking lots of coffee.

not_by_designIMG_5469Speaking of bad effects, that photo showing the water bottle? That design, the dark ring around the bottle? That’s not an external design element. That’s someone’s attempt at growing the latest anthrax cure inside a water bottle. I won’t name names, unless that water bottle shows up on the ride again. It’s OK to clean your bottle once in a while. Seriously!