Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Still learning about myself… at 58, I don’t yet have it all figured out.

Rarely seen on this, or any other website, a photo showing me (on the right; that's my son Kevin on the left, at the top of Mt Hamilton)
Rarely seen on this, or any other website, a photo showing me (on the right; that’s my son Kevin on the left, at the top of Mt Hamilton)

Some things are too much fun to do just once a year; Mount Hamilton is one of them. Maybe we’ll be starting a new tradition; On New Year’s Day and 4th of July… one of the coldest and warmest days of the year. Either way, a great ride.

We started the day at a reasonable hour, riding down to catch the 9:07am train to San Jose, and then the slow ride through San Jose’s infinite number of stop lights up to the base of Mount Hamilton, where we met up with Andrew, Chain Reaction alumnus (who will be seen again in the store on the two Saturday’s Kevin and I will be gone for France). And yes, it was very unlike the weather for a January 1st ride, running between 82 & 94 degrees most of the way up. It would be wrong to say that I really enjoy riding when it’s hot, that I’m not more comfortable at 72 than 92 on a climb, but the reality is that I climb well when it’s hot.

Kevin thinks he was the person pushing the pace on the first part of the climb, but his story is a bit different from mine. He thinks I was in trouble, I think I was just trying to keep a steady hard pace, which allowed him to get out front a couple times, and a couple times he was behind. In the end all three of us stayed together over the top of the first rise, and, at least for myself and Kevin, it was a good two minutes faster than we’d done before.

Kevin one hairpin behind
Kevin one hairpin behind

It wasn’t going to be a Strava day for the entire climb though, as first we stopped at the top of the second rise so Kevin could use the facilities, and on the final climb, I was just barely hanging on for a while until I decided to just try to keep a steady pace between 200 & 220 watts and found myself gradually riding off the front. Eventually I got far enough in front of Kevin that I was able to stop and take some photos of Kevin and Andrew a curve or two down the hill from me… probably the last time THAT will ever happen!

Don’t know if a full-on effort without stops would have gotten my best time up the hill or not, but I’m thinking not. The really hard ride up the first part of the climb took something out of me, going from 280 watts down to 220 or so. But evidently it took even more out of Kevin (Andrew I’m not so sure about; he apparently had to stop to get a rock out of his shoe on the way up).

Lifesaving coke machine!
Lifesaving coke machine!

Very little traffic on the road today, which surprised us all. Not many bicycles (although we did come across a group of Google cyclists, some of whom we’ve seen on our Thursday-morning ride), or cars, or motorcycles. The parking lot at the top was nearly empty, but thankfully the coke machine wasn’t! This was that rare 2-coke day at the top, both of which went down pretty quickly.

Overall it seemed like a much nicer ride than should have been the case. And I learned something about myself, and how, if I pay attention to the power meter, I can do a lot better, in a relative sense (relative to others on the ride), than if I try to match someone else’s pace. Which, I guess, makes me a pretty boring rider, like Cadel, as opposed to someone more animated like Contador.

Kevin and Andrew at the top of Mount Hamilton
Kevin and Andrew at the top of Mount Hamilton

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Technology is awesome until the battery runs out (8 of 113 miles didn’t happen?)

What's with the hay bales? They're rectangular, not round! Oh, right, we're not in France yet.
What’s with the hay bales? They’re rectangular, not round! Oh, right, we’re not in France yet.

It was time, time to test Kevin’s recovery and my willingness to suffer. Time to do another run to Santa Cruz. Haven’t done so since shortly before Kevin’s kidney surgery 3 months ago, and with our trip to France coming up in less than 3 weeks, and pretty warm weather forecast today (and it will definitely be warm in France!), it was time.

As usual, we got off to a later start than planned when Kevin’s heart rate monitor wouldn’t sync with his Garmin. Actually several heart monitors wouldn’t sync, including both Bontrager and Garmin models. Weird. By the time we got out the door it was 9:30 instead of 8:30, and we still had to

Kevin showing his approval of Davenport Cafe
Kevin showing his approval of Davenport Cafe

stop in Woodside for breakfast (coffee & pastries). Felt kinda sluggish on West Old LaHonda just 10 minutes later, but still rode faster than we should have, given the length of the ride. We also rode faster than we should have up Haskins. And with favorable breezes on the coast, I put in a much harder effort than I should have, so by the time we got to Davenport we were hungry and already feeling like we’d been riding longer than just the 50 miles so far. The Davenport stop itself was far longer than normal; first because the food at the exceptional Davenport Cafe took forever (they were overrun with motorcycle groups that had dropped in for lunch) and second because we discovered, as we were about to leave, that Kevin had picked up a staple in his rear tire. Had we noticed his soft tire when we arrived, we would have had plenty of time to take care of it before the meal arrived. Note to Kevin- always check your tires when you first stop at a place to eat or whatever, not as you leave.

From Davenport to Santa Cruz we kept up a pretty strong pace, fast enough to score a new PR on Strava. Looking at some of the other times posted, I’m sure there have been much-stronger tailwinds than we had today! Yeah, that must be it.

The mapping capabilities and display on the new Garmin 1000 are excellent!
The mapping capabilities and display on the new Garmin 1000 are excellent!

I should mention that the new Garmin Edge 1000 is a phenomenal bike computer, perhaps the only one available with a large-and-clear-enough screen for the over-40 crowd to deal with. I was uploading the ride in real-time using Garmin Connect so my wife could see where we were (and it could be tracked in our Los Altos store, which is open Sundays), and therein lies the explanation for its failure to complete the ride. When you’re uploading in real time, your Garmin is connected to your phone using bluetooth, and it’s sending out new information every 30 seconds. By the time we got to Boulder, 72 miles into the ride, I had a “low battery” indication from the Garmin (down to 18% capacity) and the phone was at 22%. At this rate, neither was going to make it to the end of the ride! So I disabled bluetooth and ended the ride-sharing program, which did in fact keep the phone going (I ended the ride with 13% remaining) but the Garmin died at the base of 84, near Woodside.

90+ degrees at our final water stop before climbing to Skyline
90+ degrees at our final water stop before climbing to Skyline

Overall the ride went very well. The low point was the usual- the run through the San Lorenzo Valley, between Santa Cruz and a point a few miles past Boulder Creek. It’s not a friendly road, being pretty narrow and busy, and the uneven terrain is hard to get in sync with. That plus the 90+ temps were getting to us, so by the time we got to Boulder Creek we were quite ready to down a quart-sized Mtn Dew each! Kevin later complained of feeling “bloated”, claiming that much carbonation expanded his stomach so much that his jersey felt tighter. Whatever the case, he really didn’t get in the swing of things until we’d started climbing a couple miles towards Waterman Gap. From there, it was smooth-sailing home. Almost. No Mr. Mustard at Skyline! Had to settle instead for a Pepsi at the fire station, which we’d planned ahead for and brought quarters (their machine doesn’t take dollar bills anymore).

So are we ready for France? I think so. I think there’s more work to get done getting things settled at the shop than anything else. Working on that one. Still looking for at least one more sales employee, full or part-time (but must be able to work Saturdays, by far our busiest day).


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