Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

A really nice ride, despite learning about county road dept thinking cyclists don’t pay for roads

Heading up Tunitas, serious bad news. My Garmin telling me that I’m actually ahead of a very fast pace. This too shall pass.

What a nice day to ride! It didn’t start out that way; pretty gray until Kevin and I finally left the house at about 11am, wondering if perhaps we might be overdressed as the sun came out and things warmed up quickly. Fortunately(?) the upper-60s didn’t last long, dropping to the mid-50s by the time we were heading up Old LaHonda.

No records on Old LaHonda today; just a bit slower than two weeks ago, but there was plenty more hills to ride at a faster pace after getting warmed up. As we started down the “closed” side of West Old LaHonda, we came across a guy that had dealt with one of the county’s road crews setting up signs announcing the road closure. This guy was told (by the county crew) that cyclists didn’t belong on West Old LaHonda because they don’t pay gas tax. OK, first guess we ought to ban Teslas from all roads! Second, nearly every adult cyclist also owns a car and pays gas taxes. Third, gas taxes are only a part of what funds road buiding and repair. Additional and significant funding comes from special taxes (San Mateo County has a 1/2% general sales tax that goes to transportation projects), federal grants, assessment districts, property taxes… there’s a whole lot of money going into our road system that isn’t paid for through “user fees” (gas tax).

For what it’s worth, West Old LaHonda continues just as it has since being “closed” with no obvious signs of the county doing any engineering work or even marking the pavement. If the county is concerned about the hill sliding into the road, you would think there’d be some evidence of survey markers etc. My concern is that the road is simply going to be ignored because local residents suffer almost no inconvenience from the closure (which conveniently is pretty close to the half-way point between 84 & Skyline, so the few residents living in the area likely don’t even have to change their driving routes).

The duck pond’s still there; a bit overcast for great photos. The turtles are back out on their rafts (not sure where they hang out in the winter, but this time of year they share the small wood rafts along with whatever bird might fly in).

Haskins? The mid-sized climb from LaHonda to Pescadero? Kevin and I definitely felt faster on Haskins than we had up Old LaHonda, but couldn’t quite crack 10 minutes (missed it by just 6 seconds).

The baked-goods cabinet at the Pescadero store. Very good stuff inside!

Pescadero? The usual great chicken club sandwich, coke and a cookie. Had to search for a big-enough cookie for Kevin though! They were all “big” but most were “fatter” and less big-around.

Stage Road… one of the few times we’ve had mild & even favorable winds at times heading north! I actually ended up with a PR on the first hill, and Kevin picked one up on the final climb up to Highway 1.

Tunitas Creek? Again, we had favorable winds and, for some reason, were simply feeling like we could ride faster than normal on the flat-ish leadin to the big climb. In fact, as you can see in the photo at the top of this page, we were actually 27 seconds ahead, when we hit the beginning of the main climb, of a very fast time recorded not too long ago by a good customer, Tod Francis. It was partly fun and partly distressing to watch that “ahead” number gradually reduce to zero as we ride up the hill, and then go the wrong way. I knew we couldn’t stay ahead of Tod’s pace, although Kevin did try, racing off the front when it got steep.

Apparently, Kevin’s engine blew a gasket further on though, as he finished just a minute ahead of me (but must have been at least two minutes ahead when I first lost sight of him). I was doing my best to try and keep pace with a group of three just ahead, finally catching up to them after Tunitas levels out. I ended up towing them to the top, which normally might bother me a bit, but today, I was more interested in an “unassisted” time to the top than one assisted by hanging onto other wheels. Not that I haven’t done that in the past! I did end up with my best time up Tunitas in two years. Life could be worse. –Mike

Push this button or another one of your roads will fail!

This puts the West Old LaHonda road closure in perspective (Highway 35 about 3.5 miles south of Saratoga Gap/Highway 9).
A different sort of ride today as younger Kevin had other plans. I’ve obviously had a need to check out the local road conditions, and how can you pass up an opportunity to check out that missing section of 35? Of course, getting there was half, no, 1/4, nah, maybe 1/16th the fun.

I headed south with a route through the foothills, dropping by our Los Altos store to say hi, before heading up one of the local roads I most-dread. Redwood Gulch. That was another opportunity to check out a heavily-damaged local road although it really didn’t seem that bad. Not much water on the road, and just a couple places where it was slightly narrower than normal. Redwood Gulch has actually been on the county’s list of “closed” roads, but there was no signage indicating that. It wasn’t a pretty climb, but I survived. Sometimes that’s enough.

Lots of hillside slippage evident climbing Highway 9, including a short section of traffic-light-controlled one-way pavement. A little bit tight for bikes and cars together, but manageable, and it’s not too long.

The really good news was that Mr Mustard was present at Saratoga Gap. I debated briefly whether I ought to fuel up before going off to see the missing roadway, or after. The decision was made when a young guy in team kit pulled up, and I had a bit too much pride to want to be seen eating something as healthy as a hot dog in front of him. So off I went, past the signs that said “Road closed 2 miles.” I didn’t really know how far it was going to be, so I was a bit relieved it was just two miles.

Well, 3.7 miles later I found it. It’s not like you can miss it… one set of barriers about a thousand feet away (stops cars but not bikes), and another set, with a fence, about 20 feet from where the road ends. I took some photos through and over the fence before going around the left side to get a bit better shots from the other side. It’s not like I came anywhere close to the edge though! Just didn’t want the fence in the photo.

After that it was a mostly-downhill ride back to Saratoga Gap and Mr. Mustard! I did have a minor incident with a car on the way; a group of young guys drove past me pretty close, with someone deciding it would be fun to tap me on the back as they passed, while someone in the front seat was taking a photo. Idiots, yes, but I’m pretty tough to rattle.

So of course, right as I pull up, so do another young cyclist, in racing kit, and I’m thinking yeah, whatever, I’m having my hot dog anyway. I’m not that proud. Funny thing… the kid ordered one too!

I was a bit surprised, looking at Strava telling me my run across Skyline, from Saratoga Gap to 84, was my personal best. It didn’t feel that fast. Descending 84 from Sky Londa, I checked out the mythical “driveway route” that exits from the northern side of the building with the general store. It bypasses the first of the two one-lane signal lights on the 84 descent, which could save a bit of time. Unfortunately, you’ve got to thread your way underneath a gate and pass more than one “no trespassing” sign before you can get where you need to be. A better option would be to hike over a small barrier that prevents traffic from Skyline using it as an alternate route; that barrier’s location can be seen here. Either way does get you past that first light, and in front of the second one where I noticed, for the first time, the signage that says “BICYCLES MUST PUSH BUTTON.” Must??? I mean, what happens if I don’t? I brought it up later with my son, who says that sign has been up there ever since the signal went in. Maybe I noticed it this time because I had plenty of time waiting for it to turn green and there were no other cars in front or behind me.