Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel

Oh sure, it would be nice if it were 74 degrees, with just a slight breeze. 60 & windy isn’t quite that, but at least it’s not raining.

But it’s late-April. Is “at least it’s not raining” good enough? Shouldn’t I be breaking free of my dreadfully-slow “winter” body by now? Maybe it is.

Nothing unusual about today’s ride; Kevin & I probably do the Pescadero/Tunitas loop 15 times/year (OK, just checked, 22 times this past year, probably 19 of them with Kevin). There are at least 3 “reference” climbs en route; Old LaHonda, Haskins & Tunitas. You can’t keep secrets from this ride; if you’re not in shape, Strava knows all! But I went into the ride with a small amount of hope because I’m finally seeing my weight come down just a little bit, an indication that winter is on the way out. Yet as we approached Old La Honda I was telling Kevin it might not be a very fast ride up the hill. Just felt a bit like a “high gravity” day. Thankfully that turned out to be a mis-read of my body’s tea leaves.

The gigantic mushrooms on Tunitas. Huge!

I got up Old LaHonda in 22:54, my fastest time since last August. Might have been a bit faster if there hadn’t been a spot where Kevin and I almost had to come to a standstill due to a large passing propane truck. This brings up another issue. Local residents on Old LaHonda have been complaining about all the cyclists now that there’s increased car traffic due to issues on 84. Kevin and I counted the cars today; including both directions, 16 cars total, over a period of 23 minutes. This was about 11:45am; maybe it’s a lot busier earlier in the day? I can see where it might be annoying that bikes generally outnumber motorists and in nearly all cases don’t actually live on the road. Tough to come up with any sort of solution though, as Old LaHonda and Kings Mtn are much safer ways to get up to Skyline than 84 (Woodside Road). I do encourage cyclists to consider descending 84 instead of Old LaHonda though, and if someone’s super-timid descending, climbing to Skyline might not be such a great idea in the first place.

Kevin said the strong indication of wind on the flag was anything but a peaceful sign.
OK, moving back to the ride, Haskins was also climbed fairly quickly, 9:53, similar to my climbing times back in September. Tunitas? Meh. We spent a little time chatting with some people along the way, and even stopped to take a photo of some gigantic mushrooms (bigger than Pescadero cookies!!!). I felt pretty good on the steep middle part, but I’ve done better. That’s OK, overall it felt like a really good ride. Sure, we would have preferred not fighting headwinds on Stage Road, but they weren’t THAT bad.

What does “The Perfect Ride” look like? It sure surprised us!

Who knew a gray day like this could produce a great ride!
Perfect ride, perfect morning, maybe what made it perfect was the unlikeliness of the day for a great ride.

It started much earlier than our normal Sunday ride; typically, we think we’re going to get out at a reasonable hour but by the time we finally get going on a Sunday “morning” it could be almost 11am. That really wasn’t an option today, because we knew rain could move in early, perhaps as early as 11am. Helping us to get motivated for an early start was the on-line coverage of the Amstel Gold Classic, one of the more-famous spring races in the Ardennes (largely Belgium).

Sure, getting up at 7am we only got to see the last hour of the race, but that’s usually where the action takes place, and no exception today. Great finish, right at 8am, and by 8:17am we were out on the road. No time to do the usual coastal loop (and besides, would the Pescadero bakery be open Easter Sunday?) so we did one of Kevin’s favorites, heading over Old LaHonda to LaHonda and up West Alpine.

Definitely no sign of the sun, but it wasn’t looking like we were heading for a soaking either. Just gray. Normally I’m not a fan of gray, but today, it just felt great to be out there, making the most of the morning, beating the rain. We even got to help a customer with a brake that I could hear dragging a bit as she was riding up Old LaHonda. Double bonus for that one- getting to help someone with a bike issue and having a good excuse to take a breather.

The Flanders flag when it used to be displayed at 8100 West Alpine. Would have been fitting to be out today!

West Alpine… oh sure, it was steep, and yes, Kevin escaped on the steeper later section of the climb, finishing a minute ahead of me. Along the way we passed the house that used to fly the Flanders flag, at 8100 West Alpine. For kicks I looked it up on the ‘net and found this. Looks like it sold recently and apparently no restriction in the deed of sale requiring the new owners to continue to fly the flag.

We were feeling the occasional sprinkle heading up West Alpine so the idea of going down Page Mill and doing “the loop” to get in some extra mileage didn’t seem like a good idea; better to head straight back via Skyline, which would have us descending 84 so we could check out the new section of missing road. Surprisingly, the rain continued to hold off, and equally surprising, the new section of damaged roadway has already been largely dealt with by carving into the hill a bit, preserving lanes in each direction, allowing them to work on the area that’s damaged without stopping traffic.

Getting down into Woodside it still wasn’t raining, so we gave thought to riding out to the end of Canada & back, but Kevin had the idea of looping around the hills above Redwood City by heading up over Edgewood and home via narrow back roads. This just happened to have us passing by the coffee shop near Canyon Inn, Emerald Hills CafĂ© & Roastery. A great way to relax for a few minutes before the last mile or two home.

And funny thing… just as we got home, like within 100 meters of our house, it started raining. Actual rain, not just drizzle. Perfect timing. Perfect ride. And back in plenty of time for Easter Sunday dinner. –Mike–