Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

Ride reports for everything *but* the Tuesday-Thursday morning ride

First ride in France- I’m good, TSA did a number on bike

Kevin at Lac d’Estaing, our kickoff ride in France
As things go, guess it’s better that I’m good than the bike? The damage TSA did to my large chainring became evident today, but more on that later. After all, it could be worse, could be raining. Oh, right, it did a little bit of that too! But just barely enough to mention.

We got off to a bit of a late start, which is never unusual for us, but today it was caused by a bit of overlapping meds due to the time change. If Kevin takes too much carbatrol (for his epilepsy), he experiences fun things like double vision and instability. This, of course, is worst just after suiting up and getting ready to find breakfast. So Kevin heads back to the room to try and sleep it off, while I get breakfast. Actually, I think everything up to that point is in the earlier diary entry? Geez, sometimes I go days without getting around to things, and now I’m doubling up!

A few hours (and a double espresso) later, Kevin’s all good. I mapped out a 38 mile out-and-back that included a reasonably-decent climb at the end, up to a lake we’d never ridden to before. I’ll admit it is beginning to get tougher, finding new places to ride around here! Actually, it turns out we’d ridden all but the final 5 miles, just a couple years ago. Part of the Col du Borderes that will be featured in this year’s Tour de France, next Friday’s stage in fact (the one that finishes in LeRuns, after climbing the Aubisque). Thankfully, the part we’d ridden before didn’t seem quite as steep as last time, and in fact I even rode it a bit faster. I’ll go further than that even; it didn’t seem nearly as steep going up as it did coming down! That’s a good thing. A very good thing. Of course, for Kevin, it was even easier and he had to wait for me a few times.

So nothing too challenging, and on the way back we stopped at the Monoprix to pick up some stuff we needed (paper towels, toilet paper, an extra drying towel for the bathroom because they only give you two, shampoo, an electrical extension cord with multiple outlets, think that’s it) and then stopped for dinner at the Kebab place. OK, I’ll admit, in the past I thought the Lourdes Kebabs were really good but frankly, Grenoble has them beat. Hands down.

Tomorrow we take a train 40 miles out of town and ride back, via the Aspin, from the side we haven’t yet climbed, and a new route into Lourdes that I discovered on Strava. 56 miles tomorrow, about 6600ft of climbing, so pretty much our normal Sunday ride! Hopefully I’ll have figured a way to get the chainring bent into shape first. It’s OK as long as the pressure on the pedals is steady, but on a descent, it won’t stay on. Not much fun having to freewheel down the whole way.

Yes, we rode Sunday

Sunday was the first (and only) road test of our Bike Friday travel bikes, prior to heading to France. It was supposed to be the regular Pescadero run, but we didn’t get more than 2 minutes up Old LaHonda before Kevin started having nasty pain in his right leg, something he deals with off & on. In a nutshell, it happens because he rides really hard & strong without having a proper “base” of miles, pushing things a bit too far. As long as everything is adjusted *perfectly* he’s OK, but Sunday’s ride exposed a couple things that weren’t perfect. First, the SPD pedals were not allowing his feet to float like his Speedplay pedals do. Second, his saddle was set nearly level and Kevin is one of those very, very odd people that actually need to have a fairly hefty downward tilt or else leg problems make themselves known. It was a physical therapist friend (and former employee and now new dad) Todd N who suggested the downward tilt to fix the leg problem, and he was right. If you have any odd physical ailments, especially if they impair your cycling, I can highly recommend a visit to Todd!

OK, back to the ride. We made some adjustments and got going again, and he was OK for maybe 10 minutes, passing many of the people who had passed up while stopped, until we had to pull over yet again and make some more adjustments, after which the rest of the climb was very, very slow. At the top it was pretty clear this ride wasn’t going anywhere; we headed straight to 84 and home. A whopping 20 miles instead of the usual 58. Not the typical Sunday ride, to be sure. If there’s one thing that separates me from Kevin, it’s consistency. I’ve never imploded on a ride like Kevin has. I’ve always been able to keep going, maybe at a bit slower speed, but in 50 years of riding I could probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve had to shorten a ride because I had “issues.” The flip side is that Kevin has a motor that’s hard to believe. He’s built more like a sprinter, but climbs very, very well.

In the end, it was a very good thing we had that ride. It allowed us to make changes to the fit of the Bike Friday (so it better mimics his Trek Emonda) and convinced him to ditch the usual SPD pedals (which, in France, have the real benefit of being able to walk around in easily) in favor of Speedplays. Fortunately, with the new walkable cleats, the Speedplay “road” pedals should serve very well.