Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Working back up to something bigger (but where was the ride support at Saratoga Gap?)

You've climbed Redwood Gulch & Highway 9, the last couple of miles you're thinking about the reward at the top. Mr Mustard's hot dog stand. Cokes for a buck, hot dog for three. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it works. And for the second time in a row, he wasn't there! This puts a serious damper into Santa Cruz loop ambitions; you live for that coke at the top. The coke machine at the fire station only takes quarters now, and what cyclist wants to carry a bunch of heavy, noisy change? The horror!
You’ve climbed Redwood Gulch & Highway 9, the last couple of miles you’re thinking about the reward at the top. Mr Mustard’s hot dog stand. Cokes for a buck, hot dog for three. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it works. And for the second time in a row, he wasn’t there! This puts a serious damper into Santa Cruz loop ambitions; you live for that coke at the top. The coke machine at the fire station only takes quarters now, and what cyclist wants to carry a bunch of heavy, noisy change? The horror!

Yet another pretty darned awesome day to ride a bike; from 71 to 83 degrees or so, very light breeze. If Kevin and I had been in better shape, this would have been the perfect day for a late-summer Santa Cruz loop! But that wasn’t in the cards; not quite up a 115 mile ride right now. Actually, I could do it without much trouble, but Kevin’s been off the bike too much during the past month.

Kevin displaying a cookie that doesn't pass the "cover your face" test. It's simply too small.
Kevin displaying a cookie that doesn’t pass the “cover your face” test. It’s simply too small.

But if it wasn’t going to be long, it had to be something “ugly.” You know, a ride that you wouldn’t normally consider much fun to do. Redwood Gulch quickly rose to the top of the list. Ride along the foothills, up Redwood Gulch to 9, up 9 to Saratoga Gap (Skyline), reward ourselves with a coke (and, gasp, a hot dog) at Mr. Mustard, then north on Skyline to West Alpine, descend to LaHonda and then back home via 84. It all worked out nicely until we got to the top of Highway 9 and Mr. Mustard wasn’t there. We were both feeling a bit hungry and beginning to feel a bit bonked, but it’s not too hard a ride north on Skyline, and in LaHonda there’s a relatively-new market with sandwiches, cokes, and substandard-sized cookies.

We stopped along the way at the LaHonda duck pond; it’s getting rather ugly looking as the water recedes and the surface is becoming scummy. It was almost surprising that three ducks were able to swim through that stuff and make it to land!

Kevin on the ground on West Old LaHonda. When he takes off on a climb, the only way I'm going to catch him is if he has a seizure. But I'd rather he didn't.
Kevin on the ground on West Old LaHonda. When he takes off on a climb, the only way I’m going to catch him is if he has a seizure. But I’d rather he didn’t.

On the way up the west side of 84 I suggested to Kevin that perhaps we should add additional ugliness by heading north on Skyline to Kings… his response was to promptly ditch me and fly up West Old LaHonda so fast that I kept him in sight for only the briefest of moments. He was on this way to a stellar Strava time, unless he either cracked or had a seizure. Given that there has been some past evidence of an adrenalin component in his seizures (probably the only “trigger” we’ve been able to identify), I wasn’t too surprised, coming around a corner on the upper, forested section, to see him on the ground. Thankfully, as usual, his seizures give him enough warning that he can safely get off the bike.

In the end it was 65 miles at a pretty moderate pace, probably exactly what was needed today. Unfortunately, I’m off the bike through Thursday, as I have to fly to Las Vegas to attend the Interbike trade show. Kevin will hopefully be keeping everyone in line on the Tuesday & Thursday morning rides this week, something he can do better from the front than I can do from the back. –Mike–

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The Lost Weekend

90 inland, 66 on the coast. Gotta love those Bay Area Microclimates!
90 inland, 66 on the coast. Gotta love those Bay Area Microclimates!
Two amazingly-awesome days to ride, Sunday & Monday, what an opportunity! With the shop closed on Monday, I’d been looking forward to this weekend for some time. Maybe get back to the Sierras again; it’s been quite a while since I’ve ridden either Ebbets or Sonora Pass. Or at least something challenging ’round here. That would be logistically easier, since we no longer have a shop van, so no way to transport bikes.

But instead I’ve got a very slow 12 mile ride on Sunday and a 45 mile ride today (that wasn’t quite as fast as I’d hoped for but I certainly suffered!). Kevin’s kidney procedure last Wednesday involved installing a temporary stent, a different sort than he’s had before because this one quite literally has strings attached. And those strings cause a great deal of pain, enough that he was hating life pretty badly the whole time on Sunday so what was supposed to be an easy “loop” through Portola Valley instead made it out to the end of Mt Home before having to turn around.

I was hoping today would be different, that Kevin would be back on his feet, but no such luck. I delayed as long as possible, and spent a number of hours trying to figure out the logistics of a trip to Africa that Karen (my wife) has had on her bucket list… finally, at 3:45pm, I just had to stop doing that and get out and ride.

Hot? Yeah, it was hot, about 90 out there, 87 going up Old LaHonda, and maybe it was the heat that was slowing me down a bit and driving up my heart rate, but more likely I’m just out of shape. Hate that. Hate that I get into awesome shape in France, come back, and life just gets in the way for a while. But I pushed it pretty hard, including the long stretch out to the coast into a headwind. A headwind that made me hopeful that maybe I’d get a push up the lower parts of Tunitas, but of course that wasn’t the case!

But I did get that feeling after the ride that my body had recalibrated a bit, that I had managed to avoid further deterioration, dodged a bullet. Especially appreciated that I was able to get my max heart rate back up to 174; I’d thought 172 was the best I could do. That’s a really good thing. But it really did seem close to not riding at all today, and I just cannot imagine the damage that would have done. :-)

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