Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Overdid it on the “dirt” idea today; crossed Towne Fire Road off the list of do-agains

The video above shows Kevin attempting to cross the creek at the base of Towne Fire Road.

Kevin’s been pushing to do another off-road ride for a few weeks, after mastering the first attempt on dirt Alpine and a few trails up off Skyline. That ride was only 30 miles or so, not enough to really qualify as a proper “Sunday” ride, but something to get our feet wet. Well, not quite literally; that we saved for today!

It was a bit of a struggle finding more “dirt” within a reasonable distance from home; it’s not much fun riding a cross bike with dirt tires very far on pavement. I thought maybe I had something figured out though. Up dirt Alpine again, some fooling around up on Skyline (Ridge Trail) and then drop into Portola State Park to reconnect with more dirt, this time Old Haul Road (which I’d previously done on my regular road bike with regular tires) followed by Towne Fire Road, which looked really promising on the map, yet I couldn’t find out much about it on-line.

Well there’s a reason you can’t find out about it. It’s because few are dumb enough to do it! The climb up from the creek at the bottom is, at times, brutal, and the “road” abysmal. Just one small section of it appears on Strava (“hidden” at that), with just 21 others ever having ridden it. Given that most of the times were substantially faster than ours, my guess is that they actually rode it during the early 1920s when it might have been paved. Yeah, that’s my excuse. Sure.

Towne Fire Road dumps you off across from Sam McDonald park, on the east side of Haskins, just before it gets steep. Much as this ride was all about dirt, it was a relief to be on smooth pavement again, and within a few minutes be in LaHonda for a coke and sandwich. Kevin was not doing terribly well by this point, while I was feeling stronger as we went. Makes me wonder just how fast Kevin might climb something like Tunitas if it came earlier in a ride, before wearing himself down a bit.

We’ll have more “find the dirt” rides on our cross bikes in the future, but none of them will find us on Towne Fire Road. –Mike–

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Now I am the Master, Kevin is the student! This, too, shall pass…

We stop for Corgis! This guy is on Olive Hill, right near Canada. Two Corgis actually, but this guy is a bit friendlier. Great way to approach the end of the ride (3 miles to go).

Last week’s ride had Kevin feeling a bit under the weather (kidney pain issues) so it was a bit on the slow side. Today I wanted to try the same ride again, and see if we could get back up to normal speed.

It started out hopefully, as Kevin rode strongly up Old LaHonda, maybe 4 minutes faster than last Sunday, clocking a 20:something. Me, meh, about a minute behind, and not feeling too badly about that. Nice ride down the back side, seeing JeffZ, someone we see nearly every Sunday, always in the other direction as he’s one of those “early” people, while Kevin and I are firmly in the “later” camp. JeffZ also happens to be a customer, with a Trek Project One we sold him that’s almost as bright as my Chain Reaction hi-visibility “kit” (shorts & jersey).

After passing by the duck pond, which is looking pretty darned weird lately (heavy plant growth completely covering it, making it appear ducks could walk on it, rather than swim), we came to Haskins which, for some reason, Kevin really dislikes. And today he not only disliked it but wasn’t showing anything near the speed he showed on Old LaHonda. Not sure why. The pattern was to repeat itself the remainder of the day, making it one of those extremely-rare outings where I was stronger on the climbs than he was.

Mandatory "does it cover your face" cookie test in Pescadero. It passed.
Mandatory “does it cover your face” cookie test in Pescadero. It passed.

The usual great lunch in Pescadero, the usual mondo-sized cookie too. The run north on Stage Road was a bit nicer than usual because the headwind was just barely there.

And Tunitas? Slight tailwind as we headed east, something you just can’t afford to waste, so I drove Kevin as hard as I could, but found myself getting ahead of him on the steeper parts and having to wait for a bit here & there. That almost never happens. A bit disappointing, as I was really feeling good, partly I think because I’ve taken myself off the meds my doctor prescribed for my Reynauds Syndrome (ice-cold hands caused by circulation issues in the fingers). One of those things where you can read the list of possible side effects and say yeah, that one, that one too, oh yeah, that also. We’d chosen the particular medication because it was one of the few that wasn’t supposed to affect heart rate (slowing it down), and that’s true, it didn’t appear to cause much trouble there. But it certainly did elsewhere, including anxiety and sleep issues, among other things I’d rather not discuss. Norvasc, for what it’s worth.

Getting back to Tunitas, in the end, it was an OK time, but nothing to get too excited about. I’m looking forward to Kevin being up to full steam and me dying to keep up. Next Sunday, I’m sure!

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