All posts by Mike

Redemption & Linearity

The Bridge of Death on Tunitas Creek, real name "Mitchell Creek Bridge" and the beginning of the infamous "Hammer of Thor" Strava segment
The Bridge of Death on Tunitas Creek, real name “Mitchell Creek Bridge” and the beginning of the infamous “Hammer of Thor” Strava segment

There was no reason to suspect that Kevin would have no legs this morning; he’s been riding normally, nothing strange in his defies-medical-theories body this week (no weird kidney or epilepsy issues). But he was struggling to keep up with me up Old La Honda, and heading up Haskins to Pescadero was almost painfully-slow.

Talk about pushing through sludge!
Talk about pushing through sludge!

So what was different? Two things did stick out; first, due to allergies coming in early due to our lack of winter, he’d taken a Zirtec. As did I. Second, no coffee. That was probably the killer. No coffee. Not, apparently, much of an issue for me, but different story for Kevin.

So we did Pescadero a bit differently, first stopping for coffee and that little place on the main drag, just south of the Pescadero Bakery. As Agent Cooper would have said, Damn fine coffee! Not cheap, but very, very good. Followed that up with the usual chicken sandwich & coke & mandatory oversized cookie. Figured that would reset things and he’d get back to normal.

Coffee in Pescadero
Coffee in Pescadero

Kevin was gradually coming back up to speed on Stage Road until one of his seizures hit just starting the first climb. That’s where “Linearity” comes in, as it became clear to me that seizures do something of a brain reset and, as he comes out of it, his disorientation is a sort of temporal displacement. The reason he can instantly come back like a rocket is because the point in time where he emerges from a seizure is not the sum of his experiences up to that point. OK, that’s a bit confusing. Look at it this way- wherever we are, we got there by way of a linear string of events that led to it. When Kevin has a seizure, that string is broken. If he was tired before, he might not be afterward. Whatever mood he was in doesn’t correlate to the mood after. This helps to explain why, when he comes to, it takes him a while to figure out where he is, even though he can “see” where he is. Without the context of getting there, the brain doesn’t process things the way it does for most of us.

"Food" in Pescadero
“Food” in Pescadero

OK, enough psycho-babble. Kevin didn’t really come alive until we hit the main climbing section of Tunitas, but even there, it was a bit of a struggle to keep him on my wheel. Still, my wheel was going pretty strongly, so he was doing a whole lot better than earlier in the day! But the “redemption” part came after passing Star Hill Road. That’s when Kevin kicked things into high gear and it was tough for me to stay on his wheel. Complete turnabout. Sadly, I didn’t pick up a Strava segment for that section, so I don’t know how it compared to other attempts. With the GoPro Hero2 mounted on the front of my bike, the Garmin doesn’t lay down tracks as accurately as it should (the GoPro sends out a lot of electrical interference when on). Main point of all of this is that Kevin rode this section fast & hard, in stark contrast to everything preceding it. And yet, we still ended up just a second or two over 50 minutes for the climb. Grrrrr. It was easy to tell that’s what he was gunning for.

I’m sure Tuesday he’ll be back to his old self and dropping me like a rock up Kings. –Mike–

Why I love shadows

Millo left, Kevin center, Andrew right. All shadowed. Another great day to ride.

There’s nothing better that sharply-defined shadows, your shadow, seen from a bike. Bonus points when that shadow is on the side of a hill, as you see in the photo.

It’s still “winter” in California, and it’s still hitting 70 mid-day, still no threat of rain (although last Tuesday’s ride found pretty wet roads due to earlier fog). A bit on the cool side when we start, even saw just below 40 degrees this morning, but you don’t feel that once you start climbing.

This morning Kevin and I were joined only by Karen at the start, an odd thing for such a nice morning. I joked with Kevin that we might still meet up with Marcus, and we did. A slightly-subdued Marcus after breaking some ribs in a mountain bike race, but still not a Marcus that I can keep up with! Marcus peeled off up on Skyline, just before we came across Millo, waiting for us near Skeggs (he shows up once in a while up on Skyline, having left a few minutes earlier, thinking he wouldn’t keep up on the climb up Kings). Karen peeled off at Sky Londa to get to work, but shortly after that we picked up Andrew, former Chain Reaction employee who got to the start of the ride too late so he rode the route backward until he found us.

In the end we had Marcus, Karen, Millo & Andrew at various parts of the ride, but just myself and Kevin doing the whole route. Weird thing, that!

Next Tuesday’s ride I’m not really looking forward to, as Daylight Saving Time returns so we’ll be getting up an hour earlier, once again a bit before the sun rises. Won’t take too long for that to correct itself though. Life’s tough if that’s the worst thing I can complain about!