All posts by Mike

This, too, shall pass (last day I’ll likely have an edge on Kevin)

Left is looking up Kings from the 2/3rds point, right is looking back. Riders ahead, riders behind, me? In the middle. Could be worse!
Left is looking up Kings from the 2/3rds point, right is looking back. Riders ahead, riders behind, me? In the middle. Could be worse!

Nigel’s back from the UK, although we didn’t see much of him as he went quickly off the front from the start. Marcus and George would have been the likely suspects to haul him back, but not today. Actually, I don’t really know what went on up front as Karl, Eric, George & Marcus headed up the road at a pace I wouldn’t be holding past the first couple of corners. Keven and JR had dropped back behind, JR by choice, Kevin… Kevin just wasn’t feeling like the regular Kevin this morning.

When I got to the section shown above, it wasn’t looking like I could get a great time so I circled and waited a bit for Kevin. Not much to be concerned about though, as he recovered pretty strongly on West Old LaHonda, chasing after Nigel & Karl. They were out of sight much faster than expected, with Kevin afterward expressing a bit of disappointment that he wasn’t closer to a personal PR on Strava for the segment. The things that matter so much when you’re young… sigh… nothing really changes as you get older, does it?

Pretty nice ride overall, getting back to the start by 9:17, a minute ahead of the normal schedule. Doesn’t look to be the case for Thursday’s ride though, as they’re saying a bit of rain. Just like last Thursday. A bit of rain is the worst; annoying, slippery roads, and no real credit for the effort like you get when it really pours on you. Not only that, but it’s scheduled to end shortly after the ride. Unfair!

Is there a Strava Tunitas segment handicapped for snakes?

Stopping to rescue snake on Tunitas, stopped earlier to view LaHonda duck pond birds. We may ride hard, but there's always time to enjoy the surroundings!
Stopping to rescue snake on Tunitas, stopped earlier to view LaHonda duck pond birds. We may ride hard, but there’s always time to enjoy the surroundings!

This was an unusual ride. Not unusual for its route; how many times have we done the Coastal Classic (Woodside/Pescadero/Tunitas)? Too many to count. What made it unusual was that it was me feeling better on all three climbs, having to hold back a bit for Kevin. That hasn’t happened in ages. Could have something to do with goofing off with his sister in Disneyland last week? And the stars lining up in just the right way so I had that feeling I could push hard on the pedals and… just keep on pushing hard? One of those rare days where it didn’t seem my lungs were the limiting factor they normally are? Yes, all of the above.

I do wish I’d pushed a bit more towards the top of LaHonda, instead of trying to keep Kevin in sight behind me. Strava tells me my time was just a second out of my top-10 for the past 5 years, and I think I could have made top-5.

Of course we dropped by the duck pond in LaHonda; you can see the large bird in the right-side photo at the top of this page that was hanging out. No turtles, many ducks & ducklings, and yes, that pond is losing water pretty quickly now. I’m not looking forward to rain, from a cycling standpoint, but yes, we need it. If only for the ducks.

The bakery was out of face-sized cookies so a very decadent chocolate muffin had to do. Muffin sounds healthier than cupcake, right?
The bakery was out of face-sized cookies so a very decadent chocolate muffin had to do. Muffin sounds healthier than cupcake, right?

Of course a mandatory stop at the Pescadero Bakery, where the sandwich people at the back of the store know Kevin by sight and get his order going for him. Kind of like the bar in Cheers, where everybody knows your name, but much healthier. Probably not so healthy was the chocolate muffin we had afterward.

Stage Road’s gravel is beginning to lessen but still something to be careful of. Definitely slows you down a bit on the climb, so this wouldn’t be a good time to go for a Strava PR. Same thing for the lower stretches of Tunitas. Wish I understood the point of laying gravel down on the road without any oil to bind it to the asphalt. Not that I’d want to ride on a freshly-oiled road, but at least I’d understand why it was being done (the idea being that the gravel adds a new layer to the roadway, bedding itself into the asphalt with the oil as a kind of glue).

It was just a short distance from the coast (on Tunitas) that we spotted a snake in need of help in the middle of the road. Small guy, still alive, small puncture mark from where it had been dropped by a bird. We moved it off the road and hopefully it will survive. Snakes don’t deserve to be run over by cars or bikes. So yes, we always stop for snakes. Even those with rattles. Just more careful with the rattlers.

I wasn’t sure how Kevin was going to be on Tunitas; the only thing I can rely on is that his pace will be uneven. On a long climb, that can really cause me problems; I do much better at a steady pace. Fortunately, my power meter was helpful as I realized that, over time, Kevin averaged about 275 watts; anything above that and I could pull away from him. Worked great, just watched my power and didn’t worry about him speeding up or slowing down, as long as I could stay within a range of 275 to 300 watts (which I can), I’d be OK. In the end, I could have done better and had a very good time across the steeper middle section of Tunitas, but when I’m riding with someone, I don’t look for ways to drop them. Most of the time. Not today anyway. Kevin, on the other hand, if he’s got a chance to drop me, it’s bye-bye Dad, see you at the top.

In the end it was yet another nice ride to the coast & back. Without question we live in a wonderful place to ride! –Mike–