Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

A really long week

On Sunday I discovered something I’ve kinda known all along. If you miss a Tuesday ride, it’s no big deal. If you miss a Thursday ride, as I did because I was in Wisconsin (at a Trek gig), it’s a big deal.

Sunday’s ride was the usual, Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas. We actually got out earlier than usual, since Kevin had a date with his girlfriend later that afternoon. But the biggest difference between this and other rides was that, once we hit Old LaHonda, Kevin was gone off the front while I was struggling, badly, up the hill. About four minutes difference by the time we got to the top. Doesn’t seem to matter so much if Kevin skips a ride (or two, or three). Me?

Haskins, well, I thought I was doing OK as I was seeing decent numbers on the power meter, but those numbers had more to do with a bit of extra weight I was carrying (Wisconsin food) than being stronger. A couple weeks ago the Strava segment had me at 270 watts average, 9:49 time. Sunday it was 280 watts average, 9:59 time.

A bit different scene than normal in Pescadero. Maybe because we were “early” (arriving about noon). Not too many bikes, not too many people in general. No line for sandwiches! And somehow I managed to pick up a broken cookie.

We braved the gravel on Stage Road (not bad, really) and marveled at a fairly decent-sized group of cyclists at San Gregorio General Store. Didn’t know any cyclists still went there; it’s not exactly cyclist-friendly and I’m not a fan of a place serving Bloody Mary’s before noon. It was about that time we got passed by an older guy in old-style cycling shoes with toe clips. I asked Kevin if he wanted to show the guy how to *really* climb a hill, but not today. OK, as it turned out, it was more like “not yet.” We took the first part of Tunitas easy, but not long after the real climb began, he took off. At least until I yelled something to him, don’t remember what, so he eased off a bit, then got angry about completely losing his rhythm, acting like I’d destroyed the climb for him. That lasted for about… two minutes. Then he too off again and I didn’t see him until the top. I finished the climb in 55 minutes, a good 8 minutes slower than my solo effort just a week prior.

The lesson? You just can’t take time off the bike when you get older. Thankfully, I love riding, so there’s never a motivation issue. Just the occasional business trip or vacation.

This morning’s ride- well, had to get the rain bikes out some time, right? Just barely enough drizzle overnight, not even overnight, just for a few hours, to make the roads a bit too messy for the nice bikes. Surprisingly, there were four of us today, despite the muck. Myself, both Kevins, and JR, back from France with some stories to tell. We had a civilized ride up Kings, about 33 minutes, but because we were running behind schedule, considered shortening the ride, skipping the West Old LaHonda loop. That decision was made for us when we came across a large male deer struggling with a broken leg, obviously having recently been hit by a car. That added quite a few minutes as we had to track someone down at the nearby fire station to call it in.

The surprise today was my ride home. At 13 minutes, 4 seconds (yes, wondering where those 5 seconds went that would have made it seem really fast!), it was my best time heading home, up the hill, in a very long time. I’d felt pretty tired and uncomfortable most of the day (high humidity kills me) but something clicked riding home. Hopefully more of that to come!

We will pump you up! Not sure if that was the easier or tougher part of the day

The day started with our ride support for the annual Foster City Community Bike Ride, a local event with a pair of short rides through the city. This isn’t for the serious cyclist; Kevin and I spent a lot of time pumping up a lot of tires, some totally flat, most with crooked valves indicating they’d been ridden without care about air pressure for some time. I keep saying that next time, I’m going to make sure the word gets out that bikes should be in decent shape, at least with the tires aired, before showing up. Maybe charge a fee for each tire that requires inflation, donated to a local community cause? And funny thing, you ask if they have a pump at home, and the always claim they do, they just never get around to using it. Maybe… but you do get to put a lot of smiles on kids faces.

It was almost noon by the time we were finished, so we stopped at Noah’s Bagels in Redwood City on the way back for food (pumping all those tires makes you hungry!). Yikes. I thought I had to apologize to our customers for how bogged down things get sometimes… it’s nothing like what we faced at Noah’s. It too FOREVER for them to make our two bagels. Probably 25 minutes. Didn’t know waiting for bagels could be as tiring as pumping up tires! By the time we got home, Kevin was, well, tired-out and not interested in riding, so it was a late-leaving solo gig for me. I was tired too, but I stick to the plan, and the plan was to ride.

It was a slight modification of the usual Sunday ride, up Old LaHonda, down the other side, over Haskins to Pescadero, then changed things slightly to avoid Stage Road, which had recently had a lot of gravel laid down on it. First time in a while I’d ridden the coast all the way from Pescadero to Tunitas.

Old LaHonda both felt and was slow. Almost 26 minutes slow. The sort of slow where you’re wondering how the rest of the ride is going to be. But things changed going down the other side. Maybe it was the adventure of riding on the freshly-gravel-strewn road that broke the spell? I did check my tires at the other end, which came out fine.

I was surprised that I felt OK on Haskins, and continued to push that OK feeling all the way to Pescadero. No records to be broken, as it was a pretty good headwind, but that headwind didn’t break my spirit.

A very odd arrival in Pescadero though; not a single other cyclist to be seen! No bikes along the side of the bakery, no cyclists at the tables out back. Just me. When solo I skip the sandwich, getting just a Mtn Dew and cookie, then headed out to the coast. The headwind theme continued, but wasn’t going to wreck my ride. Plus, the added bonus of a bit of a tailwind at the base of Tunitas!

I was thinking, heading up the lower flatter section of Tunitas, that I’d push hard to see if I could get to the Forest under 10 minutes. It was close, missed it by maybe 10 seconds. I figured a hard effort at the bottom would kind of cook me for the climb, but I just kept going for as long as I could, and never completely ran out of gas. A real surprise after a couple of weeks of lighter-than-normal riding due to special events. Even, somehow, got a PR for a short 4 minute segment that represents the last steep part before it levels out. The total time on Tunitas, 47:43, was actually my best time since 2014, so I feel pretty good about that.

The ride finished with the ultimate deer-in-the-headlights experience. Descending Olive Hill towards Canada, a pair (of deer, duh!) crossed in front of me, just casually walking across, with the smaller one actually stopping, right in the middle of the road, to take a look at me. Almost spooky.

The upcoming week is going to be a bit broken, again, as far as cycling. I should be able to do the regular Tuesday morning ride before getting on a place and heading to Wisconsin, with Kevin, for a couple days of dealer meetings with Trek. I’ll miss Thursday but, I hope, nothing will come up to interfere with riding next Sunday!