Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

The adventure starts from your doorstep. No long flights, no expensive hotels. Why I ride!

A field of Lavender on Stage Road, just outside of Pescadero.

Long flights, hotels and lots of other expenses so people can get away from home. But all you need is a road bike and you can have an awesome adventure the moment you step out of your home! No need to go to the South of France to see Lavender fields; they’re just two hours away, by bike, in Pescadero! Some complain about the cost of a nice road bike, but a good road bike, properly set up, is amazingly comfortable for very long rides, and if you consider what people pay for a business-class seat in a plane, good for between 10-20 hours of use, maybe a couple of decent meals along with it… the bike seems like the much-better value. And hey, I know where you can get one! OK, on to the ride description.

After last week’s Sequoia Century, I was feeling pretty strong, and I’m still not seeing signs of the normal side effects of my meds (fatigue), so it was time for something reasonably challenging. Kevin wasn’t feeling quite as good at first though, taking it pretty easy on Old LaHonda as he dealt with a bit of side pain and some trouble breathing. That’s a switch! I think the wind was stirring up a lot of things that were irritating his lungs. He pushed on, feeling very gradually better as we went. Pretty strong headwinds going towards the coast, as expected, but I wasn’t having trouble pulling at the front a bit more than normal.

Doing the Pescadero loop counterclockwise made Stage Road much more fun than usual, although no records set as Kevin was still not on his game. It certainly was nice heading into Pescadero at 23mph instead of exiting at 14! Yes, one of the few times I’ll admit to a good tail wind. Would have been a great day to ride down the coast to Santa Cruz.

Kevin enjoying a burrito in Pescadero

Pescadero held a surprise for us. First, the bakery had no cookies. What? No cookies? Second, the line for sandwiches was a mile long. Kevin suggested the Mexican restaurant at the gas station. Good call. Fortunately I brought exactly enough cash ($18) for a pair of burritos; they don’t take credit cards. No money for cokes; had to wash it down with Nuun. Excellent burritos, by the way.

Fully fueled, it was time to hit Haskins the hard way (from the west), followed by West Alpine. There was some fear that we’d be riding too slow to establish a rhythm, but Kevin was recovering nicely and, every once in a while, putting me in a bit of trouble. But hey, he’s 24, I’m 61, isn’t that normal?

West Alpine

Skyline… can’t put a pretty picture on what it was like heading north on Skyline today. Crazy winds and a lot of exposure. And it got pretty cold! 47 degrees, in June??? The skies were even getting ugly, making it look like we might get wet if we didn’t get back quickly. Fortunately, it stayed dry for the entire ride.

67 miles, 6200ft of climbing. Good ride, and really happy to be seeing no bad effects from a medicine that’s designed to act the exact opposite of a performance-enhancing drug. The other good thing? The little aches & pains I’ve had lately, which may or may not be attributable to my meds or what they’re treating? They completely disappear when I’m on the bike. It’s quite likely that they’re simply normal little aches & pains that I shouldn’t be trying to attribute to anything other than normal life. And right now, it seems normal life is good. I just need to stop looking at nasty scenarios on the ‘net, and recognize that people don’t write about anything but the worse-case scenarios, because the other stuff isn’t very interesting. –Mike–

First 100 miler of the year went really well!

First things first- I think it’s nuts to require 100 mile riders to start between 6-6:30am for a century. Combine that with my general avoidance of driving to a cycling event (if you can possibly ride, why not?) and you found me waking up at 5:50am this morning (isn’t that early enough?), getting breakfast going, waking up Kevin at 6, and then leaving for the start, by bike, at 6:50am. Since the ride passes not-too-far from where we live, we roughly followed the ride’s route to the start (um, yes, well we did skip the section up Joaquim…), arriving there 48 minutes later.

By the time we were “officially” riding, it was 7:50am. That’s OK; more fun when you’re chasing people down! Heading immediately up Moody and Page Mill gave lots of opportunities for that. It was quickly evident it would be a very long day for some, as they were off their bikes and walking within just a few miles of the start. Kevin was clearly the stronger rider in the early going, having little trouble on the steepest sections of Page Mill.

After climbing Page Mill to Skyline, it was a quick descent on West Alpine and into LaHonda for the first rest stop. Coffee, fruit bowl, and we’re back on the road again, now heading over Haskins to Pescadero. We rode at a respectable clip but respectful of the fact that we had a very long way still to go. Topped off with a bit more food at the Pescadero rest stop before heading onto the Coverdale loop. It’s at this point where we’re suddenly alone… as in really, nobody else out there. That’s because, up to now, the 100 & 70 mile courses had shared the same roads. But only the 100 milers rode the Cloverdale section, and since they’d all left well before us… we had some serious catching up to do! We were slowed in that endeavor for a couple minutes when Kevin had a yellow jacket latch onto his neck; after swatting it away and making sure it hadn’t been a bee (leaving a stinger behind), we were back on the road, soon making the turn north up the coast, into a strong headwind. If I were designing this course, I probably would have done this loop counter-clockwise, taking advantage of Cloverdale Road being more sheltered from winds than Highway 1. But the good news is that I was feeling pretty good and able to pull fairly strongly into the wind. A headwind that continue all the way north on Stage Road of course!

Fuzzy picture of Sarah Coyle earning Goddess status by handing out red vines on Tunitas.
Instead of heading straight over Tunitas, the route had us doing a bypass on the lower flanks using Los Lobitos and Los Lobitos cutoff. This seems rather cruel but in reality it wasn’t that bad; even the really steep section of Los Lobitos went by pretty quickly. Tunitas itself? We were catching up to a lot of people on Tunitas as I was actually feeling pretty darned good as the ride went on. Best part of Tunitas was Sarah Coyle handing out red vines at the Grassy Knoll (the part where the road begins to level out a bit).

We had to do a bit of creative looping in Woodside to make sure we actually got 100 miles before getting home. The ride went better than I expected; my new meds didn’t do me in. Just felt a bit silly wearing white sun shields (think leg warmers) because I’m supposed to limit my exposure to sunlight. They look positively dorky. Think I’ll try some SPF 5,000,000 sunscreen next time!