Kevin (not the Pilot) decided he’d better ride with me this morning because otherwise I’d probably be riding alone, so, knee issue or not, he was out there. Of course, he was out there on his e-bike, and this time we set him up with a bag to carry an extra battery so he could ride at higher power levels and not run out. But I wouldn’t have been alone; Kevin (Pilot) showed up as well.
Now, you would think that fighting off someone on an ebike would be a tough act, but the combination of Kevin trying to take it easier on his knees plus this bizarre feeling I’ve had lately where I can push hard and just keep going… it hasn’t been that much of an issue. We did have to hang back a couple times for Kevin (Pilot) though. Now, I can talk about feeling good and climbing hard again, but that last up until we hear someone coming up behind us and, there he goes, Jeff Z on his new Trek Domane, yelling to me “18 pounds of love!”
Kevin (not Pilot) and I ended up waiting for Kevin (Pilot) at the Park Entrance and again at the wide open clearing. It would be nice sometime to see how quickly I can get up Kings, but it’s also kind of nice not knowing, but thinking it could be pretty fast.
I still wake up each ride morning thinking this might be the day where the steak ends, where I don’t feel that good on the climb. But it’s been about 4 weeks straight where I really haven’t had a bad day.
Weather was really nice for the first part of the ride, kicking up to 62 degrees up on top before dropping to 51 as we found our way to West Old LaHonda and back up to Skyline. It was on West Old LaHonda that we came across Jean, a good customer whom you may have seen out on her bike, wrapped up head-to-toe in white, no skin showing to keep herself protected from the sun. She actually does repeats of West Old LaHonda; this morning it would be three of them.
Kevin’s still not able to ride, but has finally left a message with his primary care physician that he needs a referral to the ortho doc. I even set up a spare battery for his e-bike so he could ride at “Turbo” setting the whole way. Hopefully he’ll be on the mend soon. Needs to, especially in the off-hand chance that France will actually let in Americans in September.
Rode pretty good up Old LaHonda, Strava says 22:47. I rode a really strong middle section but faded in the final mile. Hate that. Met up with a good customer out on West Old LaHonda (you’ve probably seen her if you ride much; tall woman on a white w/red Trek road bike, with virtually no skin exposed due to sun issues. Fairly stiff headwind out to the coast but seemed like I was ok with it, looking at wattage numbers that seemed decent enough. Stage Road at 6:43 was best time in just over a year! 15 seconds faster and it would have been in my top 10.
Tunitas. Ah, Tunitas. I was feeling good on the flat section. A bit too good. Hit the Bike Hut right at 3 minutes, which is the target if you want to enter the forest right at 10. Still lots of ways to screw up the next 7 minutes, but I didn’t. Until. Until I rode passed a coiled up snake on the road. Darn. Had to turn around and see if it was OK. The snake was right where a car would drive over it. It looked like an “ok” snake (not a rattler) but if they’re not really big, you can’t be quite so sure what you’re looking at (on the tail). This guy was strange. No sticks around, so I nudged him with my wheel to see if he was alive. He was! I found a dried up vine and tried to prod him off the road and he did the darndest thing. He rolled over on his back. ???!!! Never seen this before. Eventually I got him to move off the road and off I go. About 6 minutes lost, so obviously any idea of a really great time was shot.
Still, you gotta do what you gotta do. Without Kevin holding me back, I could ride until I couldn’t. I started thinking about just one thing. The “Hammer of Thor” section. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was my best in a year. And I managed to keep on going instead of just phoning it in on the flatter part on the top. Nothing like Kevin can do when he’s motivated; he DRILLS that section. In the end, 54:20, which wasn’t bad when you subtract the stop for the snake. I’m going to double-check but it might have actually been more than 6 minutes. But not 12. 12 would have made it a spectacular effort.
Lots of people out climbing Kings as I descended. Nice day. Guess that’s what it’s like this time of year here in the SF Bay Area. I wouldn’t know; this is when Kevin and I are usually in France.