All posts by Mike

High winds? Check. Heavy rain? Check. Sleep in? No way!

Heading up Kings Mtn this morning, where we got to watch some slow-motion slides in action.

Who knew Kevin and I would be famous for our ride today? But we’ll get to that shortly. First off, yes, when any sensible person was sleeping, and what those sensible people later on came into our stores to buy Wahoo Kickr trainers so they could have simulated rides on Zwift’s Watopia.

But Kevin and I aren’t a subset of those “sensible people.” We woke up to heavy rains driving hard against our windows and though finally, that epic ride we’ve been waiting for! Finally, our wet-weather bikes and wet-weather clothing would get a full test. We really weren’t suprised that nobody else showed up to enjoy our idea of a good time though… I guess they figured that much fun could be bad for you. Roads were pretty much deserted, but we did come across two women out running and exchanged remarks and glances that clearly we were all part of a club in which there are very few members and little evidence of sanity, and yet we were all having a very good time.

The ride up was pretty easy and quite spectacular, with miniature waterfalls everywhere, slow-motion mudslides, and the sound above us of very high winds but we felt only the rain. That’s the interesting thing about climbs up to Skyline. You don’t really ever feel the wind, but it sure makes a racket. Even on Skyline itself, at least the section north of Sky Londa, you can hear it but you’re riding in a special protected zone that seems to exist just for us. Towards the top someone driving the other direction rolled down their window to ask if the road was open. That’s kind of funny if you think about it; there’s an assumption that the bicyclists will get through places the cars can’t. Or maybe they’ve just seen me one of the several thousand times I’ve climbed Kings.

Because we didn’t know if 84 was open or closed, we headed back down Kings, descending very securely on our disc-brake Trek Boone ‘cross bikes. I cannot possibly overstate the advantages of disc brakes for rainy descents. The reduction in stress (on you) is enormous, because your brakes act exactly the way you want them to, when you want them to. No delays, great road traction. Our descend was interrupted by a flat tire close to the bottom, causing us to pull over into a driveway and apparently give great pleasure to a motorist who didn’t think bicycles should be on his or her roads when they’re in such bad condition. You can see “PanicFan”s write-up of us here, and just under it, my response. Kevin and I try to be nice people when we’re cycling, and if we did something that brings a smile to someone’s face, hey, how can that be a bad thing? Balance had been previously provided when, as we were climbing during the height of the storm, another motorist rolled down his window and yelled “You guys are awesome!” Yeah, I’ll admit it, that made my day. 🙂

The Mystery of Marcus Rock Explained!

Far left, Kevin having to survive a trip to Pescadero without a suitable cookie! Middle is the mysterious rock on Tunitas that Marcus posted on Strava. Far right it appears Kevin has discovered its source!

Superbowl Sunday- typically a nice day to ride because there’s not much traffic on the roads. Definitely the case today; in fact, very few bicyclists on the other side of the hill either! Probably because the forecast afternoon rain scared people away from longer rides.

We had toyed with the idea of doing the reverse Pescadero loop (counter-clockwise) and climbing West Alpine, but with the potential for wet roads decided a longer ride might not be the best idea, so we settled on what’s become the usual Sunday ride for me & Kevin… up Old LaHonda, over Haskins, Stage Road then Tunitas. Same as last week. Same as the week before that too if I recall correctly. And my times we just the tiniest bit faster on Old LaHonda (24:00 vs 24:12) and Haskins (10:34 vs 10:49). What Strava isn’t showing is the segment between Flamingo house & Pescadero, where Kevin was absolutely drilling it. I insisted to Kevin that I was actually pushing him from behind, but the truth is that I was doing everything I could just to hang on.

The Pescadero Bakery/General Store was the quietest we’ve seen in ages, and yet… no selection of face-sized cookies! Kevin had something else, as you can see in the photo. But it’s not the same without the cookie face test.

The big surprise was the tailwind heading north on Stage! That’s something you can’t let go to waste, so I made sure we pushed the pace a bit and got a new PR for the first climb… by 1 second. That’s cutting things close! The tail wind also provided for a very fast descent on Highway 1 to Tunitas, and knowing that we’re only 11 seconds off the Strava record for the segment, well, next time there’s a tail wind on that segment, I’m going for it.

On Tunitas we looked for and found the rock Marcus Gosling posted a photo of on Strava. To be truthful, I’d seen the rock last week and pointed it out to Kevin, although he had no memory of that whatsoever. It’s a very odd shape for a rock, leading us to wonder if it is in fact extra-terrestrial, possibly placed there by ancient aliens. Or maybe it’s the world’s biggest kidney stone from a prehistoric dinosaur. Kevin did discover where it had most-recently come from though, on the hillside on the opposite side of the road.

We took it very easy up Tunitas, even stopping a couple times for photos on the way up. The weather was beginning to move in on us, not bad until we began the descent on Kings, and by the time we got home, it was more than just sprinkles. Curiously, it pretty much stopped for two hours right!

Sadly it looks like the usual weather pattern has daily rain on weekdays, clearing up only on the weekend, so it might be another week before we’re out on our Madones again. This year our rain bikes are getting quite the workout… but at least not today.