Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Mt Hamilton- always an awesome start to the year!


I was thinking it would be a very, very long time before I felt like I was in shape for a long ride. Just riding a lot of miles isn’t so tough, but riding it the way I want to ride it, that’s the hard part. I want to look forward to a big climb. I want to feel like I can sprint if challenged. I don’t want to be the last guy up the hill, no matter how good everyone else is. But taking three weeks off the bike (two in November, one in December, for business and vacation travel) had taken its toll.

The endless stoplights heading through downtown San Jose

Thankfully, the last couple of weeks have had me feeling better, and I think it all led up to a really great time today on Mount Hamilton. This is a ride I’ve done every single year on New Year’s Day, pretty much no-matter-what. Today it was Kevin, Alec (from the shop) and Todd joining me. And yes, it was pretty cool in the morning; 36 degrees when Kevin and I rode to the train station in Redwood City. Warmed up to a balmy 42 or so getting off in San Jose!

Todd and Alec met up with us at the base of Mount Hamilton, which takes about half an hour of riding through a sea of stop lights to get there. Without the stop lights, it might literally be 10 minutes faster. But, it’s a good warm-up to the main event.

image3topAlec is pretty new to road bikes, and doesn’t climb quite as fast as the rest of us. But he’s not slow either; you can’t ride up Mt Ham in 1 hour, 50 minutes if you don’t have something in your legs. Eventually Kevin and Todd rode on up ahead a bit with Alec and I arriving at the top a few minutes later.

The usual nice views up on top, although not as spectacular as there must have been a couple days ago when it was windy. Mid-40s so you definitely wanted to stay in the sun, but not so cold that you couldn’t dress well for it and be pretty darned comfortable (we were).

The descent was interesting; Alec more than makes up for his climbing with his descending. Todd took the lead, but Alec clearly enjoys descending, and is pretty good at it.

At the bottom Alec and Todd got their bikes loaded up in their cars while Kevin and I headed off to catch the train home. I’d miscalculated a bit, thinking it would take longer to get to the train station than it did, but that gave us time to find a place to buy lunch before heading back.

57 miles, 5700ft of climbing. If we’d driven to the start it would have been only 38 miles. Somehow 57 feels like a more legit ride. –MikeJ

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It’s normal to have to “recover” by climbing, right?

Leaving Pescadero, Kevin’s looking forward to West Alpine, but not until after he trashes me, as always, at the Loma Mar sprint (town) sign.

It was time for a ride where everything went just exactly right, and today’s ride came really close. Maybe having to backtrack just over a mile on the descent into LaHonda was icing on the cake (something felt not-quite-right with my bike and Kevin (my son) noticed I’d lost my water bottle).

The route was a favorite; reverse-Pescadero with West Alpine. That translates to climbing Old LaHonda, down the other side and straight out to San Gregorio. Then south on Stage Road to Pescadero, lunch at the bakery, then head back via Haskins (in the “hard” direction), and up West Alpine to Skyline. From there you head north to 84 and back down into Woodside. I’ve created a route on Strava where you can download a Garmin TCX or GPX file if you like.

It was definitely a dress-warm occasion, with temps running in the low-40s everywhere but Pescadero, where it was a balmy 55. The climb up Old LaHonda was a bit faster than I expected (22-something) and the hills on Stage Road went by pretty quickly too. I had thought maybe Kevin’s speed would have been held down by being off the bike for a while, but for the first half of the ride, that wasn’t the case.

The weird thing for some, referenced in the title for this piece, is that it felt so good to get onto the Stage Road climbs after the long relatively-flat run to the coast from LaHonda. Doing a climb at a hard effort really helps loosen you up after that.

Lunch at Pescadero was the usual coke and a shared Chicken Club sandwich. Oh, and a chocolate chip cookie too, one of those big-as-your-face types. The climb over Haskins was tough, as always, and not terribly fast. This was where I first noticed Kevin was mortal and had slowed down a bit, especially compared to Old LaHonda, where I was having a bit of trouble keeping up with him.

West Alpine? Always a tough climb, always challenging, and always fun. It’s probably the iconic mid-Peninsula climb, along with Tunitas Creek. No records today; I had to throttle back a few times to keep Kevin close, but it wasn’t as if I was taking it easy. I simply had a (very) temporary advantage because I’ve been riding more than he has.


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