Category Archives: Personal stuff

A Day at the Races followed by “Ugly” ride

Kevin looking "Pro" with a pair of cameras hanging from his neck
Kevin looking “Pro” with a pair of cameras hanging from his neck

I really should have gotten out on an early ride this morning, and then taken Kevin to the Burlingame Criterium so we could practice taking race photos before heading to France. But I really hadn’t settled on heading to the Burlingame Crit until the last moment, much too late to get in a ride first. Ideally, we could have ridden to the race, but Kevin’s not yet cleared to ride (and won’t be until at least after an MRI on his right hand Tuesday morning).

Kevin did get to feel kinda “pro” with two camera bodies hanging from his neck, one with his workhorse 55-250mm lens, the other with an 11-22mm wide angle I let him borrow. Kid with a new toy; he got some pretty nice pictures from the wide angle. Looks like it will be in the kit we bring to France. What won’t be is the “Africa” lens, the massive 150-600mm zoom. Just too much to handle, certainly too big to be carrying up monster climbs on a bike! It really made me appreciate the light weight and reasonable size of my 70-200 F4l.

Best "kit" we saw at the races; check out her matching nails!
Best “kit” we saw at the races; check out her matching nails!

It was 3:30 by the time we got home, which, this time of year, isn’t too late to get out for a good ride. But, since it couldn’t be a “real” ride (long distance), it had to be “ugly.” And nothing’s uglier than heading north on Canada to 92 & up to Skyline, then south. Lots of traffic on 92 but it was the heavy headwind that made it not-so-fun. The traffic itself doesn’t feel like a safety issue, but the noise is deafening.

Skyline heading south was actually fun, with a bit of a tailwind allowing me to keep my speed up. I took a brief stop at Skegg’s to check out the view, but the spot off the parking lot set up to see the bay is so overgrown you can’t see much anymore. How sad, thinking that trees are getting in the way of the view!

There's a house in the background with a "million dollar view." I get dozens of "million dollar views" every time I ride. So what's my bike worth?
There’s a house in the background with a “million dollar view.” I get dozens of “million dollar views” every time I ride. So what’s my bike worth?

At Sky Londa I headed west to Old LaHonda where I tried to save a snake (too late; it was squirming around but punctured by a bird that had dropped it onto the road) and made a couple of stops just to admire the view. You don’t always have to be in a rush!

After descending back into Woodside I came across an old customer (that doesn’t sound right!), John & his wife, on a tandem. I complained it wasn’t fair, two engines on one bike, and thought about the days my wife and I used to ride a tandem… a lot. But at some point the decision had to be made… keep riding the tandem or stay married. Glad that John figured out how to do both!  –Mike–

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Kevin hit by car while descending 84


Some days are fun to write about. But days when your morning bike ride results in spending three hours in the ER, well, this is one of those not-so-fun days. It started out nicely, climbing up through the fog on Kings, good run across Skyline, nice views from West Old LaHonda. Descending 84 was something else entirely. Most of the group had gotten ahead of us on the descent, while Kevin and I were hanging back just a bit, with some concern about possibly-damp pavement. It’s not like we were riding slowly though; our speed was right at 30, coming out of a tight corner, when the incident happened. Below is the “storyboard” taken from the video.

1:02 into the sequence and the car comes past me with a couple inches to spare. I was doing 30, he must have been doing 10mph greater.
1:02 into the sequence and the car comes past me with a couple inches to spare. I was doing 30, he must have been doing 10mph greater. Kevin is maybe 30 feet in front of me.
at 1:04, just two seconds later, a car passes in the opposite direction, way to the side of the road. This car, the car that passed me, and Kevin, all tried to share the same piece of road at the same time. The driver that clipped Kevin chose him as the path of least resistance.
at 1:04, just two seconds later, a car passes in the opposite direction, way to the side of the road. This car, the car that hit Kevin, and Kevin, all tried to share the same piece of road at the same time. The driver that hit Kevin chose him as the path of least resistance.
At 1:09 I've slowed down and come to a stop just past Kevin, a couple seconds after the car knocked him down.
At 1:09 I’ve slowed down and come to a stop just past Kevin, a couple seconds after the car him him.
The mirror that broke on impact with Kevin. No soft tap here.
The mirror that broke on impact with Kevin. No soft tap here.

Watching the entire sequence, the car that hit Kevin came up on us pretty fast. We were traveling an average of just over 30, the car first appears at 19 seconds, at 33 seconds you see him drifting well over the fog line, and at 40 seconds he’s on my tail. In 20 seconds he covered the same ground we did in 28 seconds. The actual location of the crash can be seen here.

The good news? The driver did stop, and in fact gave Kevin a ride back home, after which we took him to the ER where he spent a whole lot of time sitting around and hurting really badly, and a little bit of time getting x-rays, having his wounds cleaned out, and wishing he could walk to the bathroom instead of having to pee into a container. I got the driver’s name, his phone number, and a picture of his car with the license plate and the broken mirror. What I did not do was take a photo of his driver’s license (stupid!) or get his insurance information.

I’ve also got a photo showing the license number of a car that likely saw the accident and pulled up behind us, offering to call 911.

What Kevin got out of it is a heavily-bruised and battered body, an uncertain amount of time off a bike, and a bike that went from 30 to 0 in a manner it’s not designed for, and not considered safe to ride.

Tomorrow morning I call the CHP and follow up on things, making sure we get the contact info for the insurance company and that a proper report has been filed, since this incident was caused entirely, without any possible way to consider otherwise, the driver’s recklessness. I’m convinced he wasn’t the type that targets cyclists, or if he was, he quickly understood the seriousness of what happened and had a come-to-Jesus moment. But this is not a forgive & forget sort of thing. Kevin could have been killed; falling off a bike at 30mph, even with a helmet (which is cracked, by the way, yet Kevin had no head injury, thank you Bontrager!) is not something to be taken lightly. Plus missing work and losing shape as he prepares to ride his bike in France next month.

But thankfully Kevin will recover… and I’ll start thinking about running a video camera at the front of my bike again, not just the rear. –Mike–

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