Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

An interesting Father’s Day ride

IMG_1096imagesAnother solo ride today, since it’s going to be a bit before Kevin’s back on the bike after his accident. He’s actually healing up fairly well, except that an issue has shown up in his right hand that could be a small fracture but it won’t show up on x-ray for a while. It was a bit frustrating, seeing kids out riding with their dads, but Kevin will be back riding soon. Just as it was a bit frustrating yesterday that I couldn’t attend the memorial service for Jobst Brandt, the guy who introduced me to the Santa Cruz Mountains, so many years ago. In fact, it was a Jobst ride that first brought me to the lake in LaHonda. So now we have two of the four photos above explained. :-)

A bit different ride than normal; no loop out to Pescadero this time. Instead I went up 84 (not Old LaHonda) to check out the site where the car hit Kevin last Tuesday, so I could take some photos and gain some clarity in my mind for how it happened. Pretty much nothing to see here, move along. Doesn’t make sense that anybody thought they could thread the needle and squeeze between Kevin and an oncoming car. From there I continued up & over the hill, and in LaHonda spent some time at the duck pond, noticing some very large frogs for the first time.

And then it was time for West Alpine. I was a little bit concerned about taking on a “big” climb, after feeling a bit of pain in my left knee after Thursday morning’s ride, pain which persisted and only very gradually diminished with time. Fortunately, riding seemed to make it better, and my time up West Alpine was my second-best since 2009. I can live with that. Seems that I can climb a bit faster on my own than with Kevin, because I do much better at a steady speed, and Kevin’s pacing is all over the map.

Now those last two photos. Photo #3 is easy; a guy out on Arastradero Road riding in Chain Reaction colors! The last photo is a bit more cryptic. My bike over one of those “stop your bike here to trigger the green light” things… only the light wouldn’t change. It’s a real problem with my current bike because it has too much carbon fiber (including the rims) and not enough aluminum, so the sensing coils don’t pick it up. Hate that. But not enough to want to ride a bike that’s not as light & fast though! :-)

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I could quit riding any time I want to…

IMG_7467wolh_panoOnce in a while, climbing Old LaHonda at the start of a Sunday ride, or Kings on any given Tuesday or Thursday morning, and I’m not quite feeling it, yes, I wonder, why am I doing this? Why am I struggling up this hill, why isn’t it fun yet? That feeling can persist for a while, sometimes half the climb, until I first get to that point of no return (half-way there, can’t turn back now!) and it becomes habit. Something you’re used to doing, one foot follows the other, keep at it and you’ll get there. It might not be pretty but you’ll get there. 10 miles down, 47 to go. Sounds awful when you put it that way, and feels not-so-great thinking it.

Not everyone wants to ride up the hill; you can see the guy on the right using a transporter beam.
Not everyone wants to ride up the hill; you can see the guy on the right using a transporter beam.

And then, you get to… the top. You don’t pause to think about it, you just go down the other side, through the upper forest on West Old LaHonda, past that incredible view of the coast, and everything changes, your mindset shifts, you’re on your way. You look forward to the detour past the LaHonda duck pond, wondering if the turtles will be out (they were), and by the time you hit Haskins, that nasty hill between where you are and where you’ll be, you’re thinking about stretching your legs and seeing how fast you can go in a pleasant way.

On to Pescadero, mild headwinds, not bad, decent speed on a pleasant road shared with a very small number of cars and motorcycles plus a few cyclists in the other direction. Stopping for a drink and pastry at the Pescadero Bakery and I’m a completely-different person than the guy struggling up Old LaHonda just over an hour ago.

And that’s when it hits you, that’s when you realize cycling is a drug, a drug that offers the hangover first and the extraordinary high later. So no, I couldn’t quit, not today, not tomorrow, not as long as I’m able to get past the early-ride blues, not as long as my brain remembers and reminds my legs and lungs how awesome it’s going to be in just 30 minutes or so.

It’s also cool to come across other cyclists that know me through my writings, like Marty from Modesto, whom I came across at the base of the second climb on Stage Road. I slowed my pace for a bit and rode with him; he thought he was holding me up and said to keep on going, and I’m thinking… why? Killing myself on each climb is just one way to ride, and if I’ve got a good excuse to ease off a bit and enjoy good company, why wouldn’t I? Later in the ride, descending Kings, I flew past someone I thought I recognized, on a bike we sold. And I’m thinking… why? Why fly past? So I slowed down and waited at the wide clearing and we rode the rest of the way down together, and I got to show her the alternate route through the park.

There’s a lot more to cycling that just data on Strava. It’s the people you meet and the magnificence of getting places under your own power.

I could no more quit riding than you could pry that rifle out of Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands.

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