Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Redemption & Linearity

The Bridge of Death on Tunitas Creek, real name "Mitchell Creek Bridge" and the beginning of the infamous "Hammer of Thor" Strava segment
The Bridge of Death on Tunitas Creek, real name “Mitchell Creek Bridge” and the beginning of the infamous “Hammer of Thor” Strava segment

There was no reason to suspect that Kevin would have no legs this morning; he’s been riding normally, nothing strange in his defies-medical-theories body this week (no weird kidney or epilepsy issues). But he was struggling to keep up with me up Old La Honda, and heading up Haskins to Pescadero was almost painfully-slow.

Talk about pushing through sludge!
Talk about pushing through sludge!

So what was different? Two things did stick out; first, due to allergies coming in early due to our lack of winter, he’d taken a Zirtec. As did I. Second, no coffee. That was probably the killer. No coffee. Not, apparently, much of an issue for me, but different story for Kevin.

So we did Pescadero a bit differently, first stopping for coffee and that little place on the main drag, just south of the Pescadero Bakery. As Agent Cooper would have said, Damn fine coffee! Not cheap, but very, very good. Followed that up with the usual chicken sandwich & coke & mandatory oversized cookie. Figured that would reset things and he’d get back to normal.

Coffee in Pescadero
Coffee in Pescadero

Kevin was gradually coming back up to speed on Stage Road until one of his seizures hit just starting the first climb. That’s where “Linearity” comes in, as it became clear to me that seizures do something of a brain reset and, as he comes out of it, his disorientation is a sort of temporal displacement. The reason he can instantly come back like a rocket is because the point in time where he emerges from a seizure is not the sum of his experiences up to that point. OK, that’s a bit confusing. Look at it this way- wherever we are, we got there by way of a linear string of events that led to it. When Kevin has a seizure, that string is broken. If he was tired before, he might not be afterward. Whatever mood he was in doesn’t correlate to the mood after. This helps to explain why, when he comes to, it takes him a while to figure out where he is, even though he can “see” where he is. Without the context of getting there, the brain doesn’t process things the way it does for most of us.

"Food" in Pescadero
“Food” in Pescadero

OK, enough psycho-babble. Kevin didn’t really come alive until we hit the main climbing section of Tunitas, but even there, it was a bit of a struggle to keep him on my wheel. Still, my wheel was going pretty strongly, so he was doing a whole lot better than earlier in the day! But the “redemption” part came after passing Star Hill Road. That’s when Kevin kicked things into high gear and it was tough for me to stay on his wheel. Complete turnabout. Sadly, I didn’t pick up a Strava segment for that section, so I don’t know how it compared to other attempts. With the GoPro Hero2 mounted on the front of my bike, the Garmin doesn’t lay down tracks as accurately as it should (the GoPro sends out a lot of electrical interference when on). Main point of all of this is that Kevin rode this section fast & hard, in stark contrast to everything preceding it. And yet, we still ended up just a second or two over 50 minutes for the climb. Grrrrr. It was easy to tell that’s what he was gunning for.

I’m sure Tuesday he’ll be back to his old self and dropping me like a rock up Kings. –Mike–

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Another great ride, but what did I learn?

You can see the faster people in the group, pretty much everyone but me, riding ahead on West Alpine
You can see the faster people in the group, pretty much everyone but me, riding ahead on West Alpine

It gets a bit boring talking about each awesome ride, one after another, a product of yet another mild, near-rainless “winter” in Northern California. 67 miles, met up with the Alto Velo A ride in Pescadero, rode hard enough to feel it in my legs later in the day. I live for that feeling!

But what did I learn/what was unique about today?

  • Stick to the plan. If Kevin has a seizure at the to of Old LaHonda (like he did today after setting a pretty fast pace up the hill), don’t let him cut the ride short because he doesn’t feel well. It’s temporary and passes quickly, and has been a “feature” of many of his best rides.
  • Believe in yourself. When we hooked up with Alto Velo’s “A” ride, the pace was quite a bit faster than what we’d been doing on our own. Heading east from Pescadero I’m trying to figure out when I’m going to get blown off the back. You’re going through the route in your head, literally planning your exit strategy. That’s dumb! I went back to my racing strategy from back-in-the-day. No matter how hard it is hanging onto that wheel in front of you, it’s even-harder losing it and trying to keep from getting too far behind. So I managed to stay with the group until things started to break up on the Haskins climb.
  • Cars don’t have a vendetta against cyclists; they’re trying to kill themselves off and sometimes we just get in the way. It’s amazing how often you see cars pass you on blind corners, moving completely into the oncoming lane.
  • Ride earlier in the day and you’ll find a lot more cyclists on the road; more rabbits to chase on the climbs, more people to introduce the local “bridges of death” to¬†(the bridge at the base of most of the epic local climbs, including China Grade, West Alpine and Tunitas), more trains to catch (groups of riders you can draft behind).

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