Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Amazing that Kevin rode at all today

The big horse-shoe curve descending West Alpine.
The big horse-shoe curve descending West Alpine.

Once every few months Kevin has what you might call a “kidney event.” He starts feeling pain on his right side during the day, which goes on for a few days at moderate intensity, until one evening it decides it wants to kill him. Not quite literally, but what he goes through often puts him in the ER for 4-6 hours, pumped full of very serious pain meds until it’s under control, usually getting to go home around 1:30am. It’s not fun. Last night was one of those nights, only he wasn’t taken to the ER, he had to deal with it at home. This was partly one of those mean-Dad things, because Dad has noticed this pattern that, whether he goes to the ER or deal with it at home, the episode mostly ends about the same time, 1:30am, and he can finally go to sleep.

A pair of cyclists stranded when one of their chains had broken. Fortunately I carry a chain tool and was able to get them back on their way. Note to self: Carry one of those individually-packed hand cleaning wipes we sell at the store!
A pair of cyclists stranded when one of their chains had broken. Fortunately I carry a chain tool and was able to get them back on their way. Note to self: Carry one of those individually-packed hand cleaning wipes we sell at the store!

Truthfully, I was surprised that Kevin was in any shape to ride this morning. It did take a bit to get going, and he did have a moderate amount of background pain, with the occasional spike to something nasty. We started out thinking of doing a mostly-flat loop down to our Los Altos store & back, but as we passed Old LaHonda, forcing our bikes to not take the right turn up the hill (they’re kinda programmed to do so), Kevin suggested riding up Page Mill as far as Moody, and then heading back down to Los Altos. I said yeah, we could do that, but if we survive OK that far, why not just keep going?

So that’s what we did, we kept going up Page Mill. Certainly not at a very fast pace; Kevin’s pain increases when he stands. But he made it to Skyline, and once there, continued down the other side to LaHonda, then back up 84 & West Old LaHonda before descending back down into Woodside and home.

Not a big ride; just under 50 miles, less than 4800ft of climbing. Nothing like last week’s ride to Santa Cruz! But if you measure success not by what you actually accomplished but rather by minimizing the difference between the best you could have done and what you actually did, then this was a very successful ride.

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112 miles in February. On a beautiful day like this, why not?

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It was Thursday the subject came up- where are we going to ride on Sunday. And both Kevin and I were thinking the same thing, but there’s this strange unwritten rule that, if it’s the Santa Cruz loop, it can’t be spoken. It’s simply understood.

It wasn’t going to be fast; we knew that ahead of time. It’s February, after all. The “fast” longer rides come later in the year. But Kevin’s been riding better lately, keeping up with the faster guys on the climbs (which means he’s way ahead of me), and I’m good for 100 miles pretty much anytime.

This was the “classic” Santa Cruz loop, heading up Old LaHonda, over Haskins almost to Pescadero, taking the Cloverdale/Gazos Creek “shortcut” to Highway 1, then south to Davenport for lunch, further south to Santa Cruz, up Highway 9 to Skyline, north on Skyline to Sky Londa and then descend back into Woodside on 84.

It’s a rare winter day that you can ride without legwarmers, baselayers or long-fingered gloves, but we took our chances that today would be that rare day and we were almost right. The forecast had shown lows in the upper-50s, but there were parts of the run to the coast where we saw it drop as low as 45. Thankfully it warmed up as we got out of the trees, so we didn’t quite get to that “sure wish we’d brought warm stuff” stage.

Winds were very light, which meant we missed out on the often-strong tailwind on the coast. But better no wind than a headwind!

Lunch at the Davenport Cafe was as usual… phenomenal. Best burritos anywhere. Service was a bit slow today, but worth the wait. These are not quantity burritos, they’re quality. One of the things that makes the difference is that the meat is lightly crisped (probably fried for a bit after cooking), giving it a different type of texture than the typical burrito.

The only bad thing about stopping for lunch in Davenport is that you immediately have to tackle a small hill when you start out, but it is small, and about 10 minutes later it was time to clear out the cylinders and see what I could do. There was a chance I could pay for the effort later, but it felt like the thing to do at the time, and it felt good. I’ve ridden that segment quite a bit faster at other times, but those were, frankly, wind-assisted. Today, it was just me. And of the 9 people riding that segment on Strava today, mine was tied for fastest, so I’m ok with it. :-)

Highway 9 was the usual slog to Boulder Creek, narrow road, fair amount of traffic, but could have been worse; the road was closed between Santa Cruz and Felton for maintenance, but not closed in the way that would keep bikes out. Of course, we didn’t know that would be the case, just hoped it would!

Boulder Creek was the usual stop for Mtn Dew before the run up to Skyline. Kevin was running low on energy while I was feeling better as the ride went. So no records broken there either, but Kevin became re-energized upon seeing that Mr. Mustard was back in business at Saratoga Gap. Heading north on Skyline we were passed by someone near Page Mill, and Kevin would have none of that. The guy had passed us on a climb and seemed to have a lot more horsepower than we did, but looks like it was mostly for show; he started slowing down after a bit, and Kevin sped up. We passed him in a mile or so and by the time we covered another mile, he couldn’t be seen.

In the end it was 112 miles that felt like a lot less.

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