Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

First 30 miles and I wanted to call for sag. Next 40 were awesome!

This is what awaits you when you’re having a tough day and voluntarily make it even tougher.
First things first; yes, it’s been a few days and we did ride Thursday. It was wet, and it was really not a day I wanted to ride anything but my fastest, lightest, easiest bike to ride up a hill. My Trek Emonda, not my rain bike. But rain bike it was, and I lost track of Kevin (kid) and Karen mid-way through the park. It did get a bit easier once onto Kings, but I only started feeling semi-normal after being up on Skyline for a bit. We had to skip the West Old LaHonda section because I had to catch a flight out of town in a couple hours; too bad because with the receding storm it would have been beautiful.

The original plan (remember, there’s always a plan) was that I’d be gone on bike industry biz through Sunday, but thankfully the meetings ended earlier than expected Saturday, allowing me to catch the last flight out of town (Colorado Springs) that afternoon, instead of Sunday. Which meant… I’d get to ride Sunday!

Of course Kevin had already made plans with his girlfriend, knowing that I was supposed to be out of town, so it was a long solo ride. It originally wasn’t going to be quite so long, maybe 50 miles, but a tough 50 miles. I headed south through the foothills, stopping for coffee in Los Altos before heading up Redwood Gulch. I hate Redwood Gulch by the way. I was going to take it super-super-easy, and would have, except that I spotted another rider about a minute ahead of me and he became my rabbit. I didn’t figure I could possibly catch him, but I wasn’t going to let him distance me either. But, with nothing in my legs, it was an academic exercise in my head, not on the road.

When I finally hit 9 I was hoping I’d feel better, but no, I was climbing without joy. By the time I reached the top, I felt like phoning for a sag wagon, a feeling reinforced by the lack of Mr. Mustard’s hot dog & coke stand. That’s when I made the decision. Instead of making the ride easier, make it harder. Head south on Skyline (further from home, adding miles and climbing) to see the rebuilt section where the rode had collapsed a year or two ago. And somehow, heading up the grade, I started feeling better. The rebuilt section of the road is, well, a rebuilt section of road. You wonder why it took so long, and maybe why they didn’t simply cut into the hill a bit instead, but it’s nice to have the last of the major winter road projects finished.

Riding back on Skyline, I found I was able to attack the smaller hills pretty hard. Really hard in fact. An amazing turnaround from how I felt earlier in the ride. My original plan for the ride was a bit over 50 miles, and after adding the detour to the rebuilt-road section, 60 miles. Now, I was thinking, why not make it 70? So I continued north all the way to Kings, even a bit further to make sure I’d get the mileage needed. Dropping down into Woodside it was looking like I might end up just a bit shy so I did an out & back on Runnymede (the road that runs parallel to Canada, accessed near the overpass close to Canada College) and finished the ride with 70.44 miles.

The difference I felt between mile 30 and those further on was an unbelievable contrast. I really can’t explain it; hard to believe it should take me 2.5 hours to warm up. But maybe it does, maybe I’ve just got to make all my rides a whole lot longer. If only I had the time!

A bit cool but wow, what a beautiful day to be on a bike!

This was one of those very late, almost chasing-the-sun days. Kevin wasn’t feeling great and didn’t want to ride in the cold, so with some difficulty we set him up on his Tacx trainer to ride Zwift, while I did a solo run to the coast.

It wasn’t absolutely required that I stick to the original plan; it would have been easy to rationalize not heading out to the coast and north into a headwind solo, but I figured I could just take it easy and see how it played out. Definitely glad I didn’t wimp out; it was one of the most beautiful days ever, with the light breeze and rains of the past couple days clearing out the skies so much that distant mountains looked like you could reach out and touch them.

I intentionally took it easy on Old LaHonda, saving something for Haskins. How easy? According to the Strava upload on my Garmin, I was literally running half the speed of former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon’s record time. Pretty sad to be reminded, as you start the climb, how fast it’s humanly possible to ride. Could not have saved enough to keep up with the gang-in-black though. Three dressed in black head-to-toe, no lights that I recall, coming up behind me at the base and passing me about 1/4 of the way up. Looking at their Strava times there was no way I could have kept them at bay, so glad I didn’t try. At least not too hard.

Good news- the first days of rain haven’t toppled the Pescadero Mastadon yet! He was standing tall, held in place by guy wires while tending a flock of geese. Yes, headwinds going towards the coast as well as north to Tunitas, but nothing too bad.

Food in Pescadero? I don’t know what’s going on there. Maybe it’s because I arrived pretty late? No cookies, literally a less-than-half-filled case with stuff I wasn’t too interested in. Settled for a raspberry ring (which actually was pretty decent) and a Macaroon. Plus a Mtn Dew, of course. Even though it was just 50 degrees it still felt surprisingly nice in the little mini-park in back of the store; no doubt a bright sun with few clouds makes a big difference.

Tunitas? Yeah well, I was thinking, briefly, that maybe it would be OK with a mild tailwind, but it ended up being almost 54 minutes! Yikes. I really thought it felt more like 50, maybe even upper end of 49. Nope. There just wasn’t much left to push on the upper part. The declining temps could have been a factor; it was 38 degrees for most of the climb, and didn’t warm up to a toasty 45 until back into Woodside. Definitely a good thing I brought two pair of winter gloves, one for milder temps, the other heavier-duty. Needed the heavier-duty gloves descending Kings for sure! And of course, I saw a fair number of people out there not even wearing leg warmers.

Winter in California. Even when we hit a patch of rain, just wait a few days for some really nice cycling weather. This was one of those days.