Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Is there a Strava Tunitas segment handicapped for snakes?

Stopping to rescue snake on Tunitas, stopped earlier to view LaHonda duck pond birds. We may ride hard, but there's always time to enjoy the surroundings!
Stopping to rescue snake on Tunitas, stopped earlier to view LaHonda duck pond birds. We may ride hard, but there’s always time to enjoy the surroundings!

This was an unusual ride. Not unusual for its route; how many times have we done the Coastal Classic (Woodside/Pescadero/Tunitas)? Too many to count. What made it unusual was that it was me feeling better on all three climbs, having to hold back a bit for Kevin. That hasn’t happened in ages. Could have something to do with goofing off with his sister in Disneyland last week? And the stars lining up in just the right way so I had that feeling I could push hard on the pedals and… just keep on pushing hard? One of those rare days where it didn’t seem my lungs were the limiting factor they normally are? Yes, all of the above.

I do wish I’d pushed a bit more towards the top of LaHonda, instead of trying to keep Kevin in sight behind me. Strava tells me my time was just a second out of my top-10 for the past 5 years, and I think I could have made top-5.

Of course we dropped by the duck pond in LaHonda; you can see the large bird in the right-side photo at the top of this page that was hanging out. No turtles, many ducks & ducklings, and yes, that pond is losing water pretty quickly now. I’m not looking forward to rain, from a cycling standpoint, but yes, we need it. If only for the ducks.

The bakery was out of face-sized cookies so a very decadent chocolate muffin had to do. Muffin sounds healthier than cupcake, right?
The bakery was out of face-sized cookies so a very decadent chocolate muffin had to do. Muffin sounds healthier than cupcake, right?

Of course a mandatory stop at the Pescadero Bakery, where the sandwich people at the back of the store know Kevin by sight and get his order going for him. Kind of like the bar in Cheers, where everybody knows your name, but much healthier. Probably not so healthy was the chocolate muffin we had afterward.

Stage Road’s gravel is beginning to lessen but still something to be careful of. Definitely slows you down a bit on the climb, so this wouldn’t be a good time to go for a Strava PR. Same thing for the lower stretches of Tunitas. Wish I understood the point of laying gravel down on the road without any oil to bind it to the asphalt. Not that I’d want to ride on a freshly-oiled road, but at least I’d understand why it was being done (the idea being that the gravel adds a new layer to the roadway, bedding itself into the asphalt with the oil as a kind of glue).

It was just a short distance from the coast (on Tunitas) that we spotted a snake in need of help in the middle of the road. Small guy, still alive, small puncture mark from where it had been dropped by a bird. We moved it off the road and hopefully it will survive. Snakes don’t deserve to be run over by cars or bikes. So yes, we always stop for snakes. Even those with rattles. Just more careful with the rattlers.

I wasn’t sure how Kevin was going to be on Tunitas; the only thing I can rely on is that his pace will be uneven. On a long climb, that can really cause me problems; I do much better at a steady pace. Fortunately, my power meter was helpful as I realized that, over time, Kevin averaged about 275 watts; anything above that and I could pull away from him. Worked great, just watched my power and didn’t worry about him speeding up or slowing down, as long as I could stay within a range of 275 to 300 watts (which I can), I’d be OK. In the end, I could have done better and had a very good time across the steeper middle section of Tunitas, but when I’m riding with someone, I don’t look for ways to drop them. Most of the time. Not today anyway. Kevin, on the other hand, if he’s got a chance to drop me, it’s bye-bye Dad, see you at the top.

In the end it was yet another nice ride to the coast & back. Without question we live in a wonderful place to ride! –Mike–

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Watch for the gravel on coast-side roads!

"No exit" was the theme of today's ride. On Tunitas, turn left, "Bikes not advised." Turn right, "Bikes not advised." Is there a not-so-subtle message they're sending us? And on Stage Road, if you were heading South from San Gregorio, there's no warning about the gravel until you get to the top of the final climb, where it tells you "Bikes not advised." Where are you going to go?
“No exit” was the theme of today’s ride. On Tunitas, turn left, “Bikes not advised.” Turn right, “Bikes not advised.” Is there a not-so-subtle message they’re sending us? And on Stage Road, if you were heading South from San Gregorio, there’s no warning about the gravel until you get to the top of the final climb, where it tells you “Bikes not advised.” Where are you going to go?

I paid for the Las Vegas trip today. No, not gambling debts; I didn’t even put a quarter in a machine. Couldn’t. None of the machines take coins anymore, and I did have three quarters I wanted to get rid of. But I missed both Tuesday & Thursday’s rides, I ate too much bad food, and today was… tough.

It was the regular Coastal Classic, you know the drill, up Old LaHonda, down the other side, over Haskins to Pescadero, Coke and a pasty at the bakery, Stage Road north, and return via Tunitas. I could have deliberately taken it easy, but no, that doesn’t work for me, I had to ride it hard despite that it wasn’t very fast. I even thought I was doing pretty well up Haskins until I discovered it takes a lot longer to cover the last stretch than I thought. At least it did today! Maybe it hurt a bit more because I was on my own, nobody to draft or motivate me to go just a bit harder up the climbs (my son is goofing off in Disneyland with his sister)(which he’ll pay for on Thursday’s ride).

About that gravel. The stuff they use when they chipseal roads is not good for your bike! It’s exactly the right size to get kicked up into your drivetrain, and although it rarely happens, it can cause your chain to jam in the rear derailleur and actually break not just the derailleur but your frame and even the rear wheel. It’s not pretty. Thankfully my bike came out fine, as most do, but maybe it’s 1 time out 1000 that something does, and you don’t want to be that 1.

Stage Road didn’t seem as bad as the lower section of Tunitas. The only good thing about it is that I could quickly write off any sort of Strava time for the climb (and in fact I even stopped at a few places to take picture, like the one above). They do have warning signs for bikes, but they come too late and, in the case of the intersection in the photo, you could go either way and find gravel. Go back and you face gravel. Hopefully it will be gone soon!

It took quite a while but eventually I did catch up to a couple people on Tunitas, the last of whom decided to latch onto my wheel and see if he could do a bit better than normal for the climb. I made no attempt to drop him (not that I could have…) and he did do better than any prior time on Tunitas. Hey, if I can’t go faster myself today, at least I helped somebody else!

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