Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Don’t spend a week off your bike

The LaHonda duck pond remains covered by red "something" but whatever it is, it doesn't seem to bother the ducks.
The LaHonda duck pond remains covered by red “something” but whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to bother the ducks.

Doing the “Coastal Classic” should be pretty easy; after all, we’ve done it so many zillions of times before. But last Sunday we did a mostly-dirt ride on ‘cross bikes which, while significant in effort, wasn’t too many miles (less than 40). And since then, I’ve spent time at the IBD (Independent Bicycle Dealer) Summit in Phoenix, where I spent just a few miles, on two days, riding mountain bikes (and one of those days was mostly carrying a mountain bike while hiking, due to lack of belief it was possible to actually ride such rocky terrain). Plus not one day commuting to work & back.

30 years ago, missing that week probably wouldn’t have mattered. Or at least not mattered much. But at 58, yeah, it matters. Life at 58 really isn’t that much different from life at, say, 25, except that “use it or lose it” is no longer an abstract concept, it’s a reality. Which doesn’t mean you can’t take time off, but when you do, you won’t be starting up where you left off. Which means we rode up Old LaHonda at a pretty leisurely pace (25 minutes) and Haskins not much faster (12 minutes). About 3 & 2 minutes slower than normal.

But the food at Pescadero Bakery was as good as ever, the giant cookies just slightly smaller than normal, the fierce headwinds on Stage died down and Tunitas wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t all that bad either.

Perhaps the best thing about the ride was that Kevin had no seizures, a significant departure from the past several days, where he’s had several pretty gnarly episodes, both at work and at home. So yes, there’s some evidence that his cycling is actually good for his seizures.

The other interesting thing about riding with Kevin is that, whether intentionally or otherwise, he finds some part of the ride that would best be described as “redeeming.” Today, it was the top of Tunitas. He was flying on that part, eventually dropping me about a mile before the finish. For me, rides rarely have any single section that offers redemption; rather, it’s the ride as a whole, and without exception, post-ride I’m always glad I rode, no matter how tough it was.

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Hi, I’m Mike, I suck at technical Mountain Biking

You can see Steve coming up fast on the guy rockin' it on the technical descent through the rocks. You're thinking yeah, that guy better move out of the way or Steve's going to run him over! Team Chain Reaction schooling the world! Yeah!
You can see Steve coming up fast on the guy rockin’ it on the technical descent through the rocks. You’re thinking yeah, that guy better move out of the way or Steve’s going to run him over! Team Chain Reaction schooling the world! Yeah!

No, this is not the first step in a 13-step program, because that would imply I’m going to get better. Ain’t going to happen. I just can’t suspend my disbelief, the idea that I can ride over rocky terrain and not crash and burn and maybe look like a human tumbleweed rolling down the hill.

Well, um, sure, like that's gonna happen. I was hoping to get a more-impressive photo, before Steve unclipped. This might not be his area to shine, but trust me, I suck even more.
Well, um, sure, like that’s gonna happen. I was hoping to get a more-impressive photo, before Steve unclipped. This might not be his area to shine, but trust me, I suck even more.

It’s not as if my brother Steve was a lot better. But I think he sucked less, and that’s a good thing. He’s at least getting out on a mountain bike fairly often, but obviously in very different terrain than what we experienced today.

Obviously, we didn’t travel all the way to Arizona to do two short mountain bike rides! This was the “fun” part of a 3 day program called the IBD Summit, one of those things where you get together with a bunch of the best dealers across the country (70 shops represented) and a lot of distributors (they outnumbered us 2 to 1) and discuss what can be done to make cycling better for everyone. We’re facing some significant issues in this industry, with the number of brick¬†& mortar bicycle retailers dropping fast, especially in more-rural areas. What people are noticing is that bicycle retailers are actually part of the infrastructure that enables cycling, and that areas without many shops are in decline, participation-wise. Why? Because not everything can be done on-line, like fix a flat, make a bike fit better and ride more comfortably, even help choosing the right type of bike for a given area.

The message to the industry is that it’s not fair that the brick & mortar retailers get charged more than the on-line players (we do, this is honestly true!) and it’s especially not fair that our end of the business ends up incurring the costs and time of dealing with warranty issues that arise, regardless of where purchased. Things may finally change for the better.

But enough of that. Enjoy making fun of my incompetence, and yes, it really could be that the purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others. As in, if your technical mountain biking skills are like mine, when you get out on the trail, you don’t want any witnesses.¬† –Mike–

 

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