Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Started out ugly & slow but turned into really nice ride!

west_alpineIMG_7752
Got off to another really late start (what else is new?). Had to clean up some flight details for my brother Steve, who’s returning from a Trek Travel vacation in Italy. He’d switched his return flights on-line but they weren’t showing up in his itinerary, so I spent about 20 minutes getting things changed from being waitlisted to actually having a flight home. OK, that’s 20 minutes out of a 2+ hour delay. Not sure I have a good explanation for the rest!

Maybe we just wanted to make sure we got to ride when it was uncomfortably-warm heading up Stevens Creek Canyon towards Redwood Gulch? Or maybe we just enjoy racing the sun, trying to time our rides so we get home just before dark.

No Mr. Mustard with cokes & hot dogs... again?
No Mr. Mustard with cokes & hot dogs… again?

Of course even our late start got twisted backward a bit, when Kevin realized he hadn’t taken his epilepsy meds in the morning, we by the time we got done backtracking, it was about 12:30. The original thinking was to do a ride through Big Basin, but not quite enough time for that. Instead we did a run through the foothills to Los Altos, dropping in to say Hi at the Los Altos Chain Reaction and then grabbing a sandwich and coffee at Peets before the run up Redwood Gulch and 9 up to Skyline.

Neither of us felt very energetic so it was a pretty easy pace up Redwood Gulch (if “easy” is possible up Redwood Gulch), and it was a bit annoying to get to the top of Highway 9, at Saratoga

Fire fighters liberating cokes from the machine for us
Fire fighters liberating cokes from the machine for us

Gap, and not find Mr. Mustard! Thankfully, there’s a coke machine at the nearby fire station, and we’d wisely brought along 8 quarters, since the machine hasn’t taken dollar bills in some time. Even more thankfully, the firefighters were there to let us know the machine wasn’t working but they were happy to open it up for us and exchange a couple of cokes for our $2 worth of quarters. Fire fighters truly are heroic!

From there the ride took a bit different route than normal. One option would have been to descend West Alpine, take 84 out to the coast, and return via Tunitas. But how many times can you go up Tunitas before it gets old? This from someone who’s climbed

Incredible view from West Alpine
Incredible view from West Alpine

Kings twice-weekly since the beginning of time… so Kevin suggested an alternative, heading all the way north on Skyline to 92, returning via Canada Road. We compromised; we added the West Alpine descent, then climbed back up to Skyline via 84 before heading north on Skyline to 92. An awesome choice, because the timing was just right for incredible views of the coast and the bay. Nice enough to cause us to stop a couple times for photos, something Kevin usually isn’t into, but today was just too darned nice not to.

79 miles, a bit over 6000ft of climbing, plenty of sun, fair amount of heat, pretty much ended up being the perfect ride for the day.

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Awesome start to the day, not-so-hot middle, great end

Climbing West Alpine we saw a few homes with "Million dollar views." I suspect that's sadly out of date; a "Million dollar view" in many parts of the bay area would feature somebody's back yard. But the "earned" view from a bike? Priceless!
Climbing West Alpine we saw a few homes with “Million dollar views.” I suspect that’s sadly out of date; a “Million dollar view” in many parts of the bay area would feature somebody’s back yard. But the “earned” view from a bike? Priceless!
Kevin providing ride and canine support for the Ravenswood Health Center ride
Kevin providing ride and canine support for the Ravenswood Health Center ride

Interesting day! It actually started Friday, when Kevin took a phone call at the shop from the organizer for the Ravenswood Family Health Center’s benefit ride, looking for someone to step in at the last moment and help out with bike support when someone else wasn’t able to make it. Kevin basically volunteered that we could do it, figuring that it was early in the morning (7am-8:30am) so we’d still have the rest of the day for our own ride or whatever else needed to get done. And maybe that would get us out on the road earlier than normal, since we’d already be up and moving!

It’s quite an event, much smaller in scale than others we’ve helped with, but very well organized, and apparently a very successful fund raiser for the organization. Julie Brody of Atherton does a pretty amazing job putting it all together.

Lemonade concession at the top of Old LaHonda Road
Lemonade concession at the top of Old LaHonda Road

Afterrward we picked up coffee and breakfast for the rest of the family, and should have been out on the road by 10am or so. Should have, but Kevin wasn’t feeling great, probably the result of strong coffee at the morning event followed by more coffee we picked up for breakfast. By the time he felt more-or-less OK it was… 12:30. A bit late for a ride to the coast and up West Alpine, but you do what you have to do. Not very fast up Old LaHonda, as I might have been feeling a bit too-caffeinated myself, but a nice reward at the top, where we found a young kid with Lemonade, asking for $1 donation to a cause (never found out what) but offering it free if you didn’t have anything on you. At that point we knew this would be a good ride!

Flat tire on 84, just west of LaHonda
Flat tire on 84, just west of LaHonda

And it was a good ride, until the first of my flats, on 84 a mile or two past LaHonda. Might be tough to see in the photo, but there’s a small piece of beer-bottle glass that pierced the tire casing. Drat, two cyclists passed while we were putting the new tube in and patching the hole in the tire with a piece of roadside trash (a part of a potato-chip bag). No way to catch back up to them, even though we were going into a pretty stiff headwind on the way out to San Gregorio, and I’m pretty good at that these days.

Stage Road skirted the coastal fog all the way to Pescadero, quite a contrast from the high temperatures back in Redwood City! And nearly all of the gravel is thankfully gone.

In Pescadero we had the requisite sandwich and face-sized cookie from the bakery and, of course, felt just a bit bloated heading back via Haskins Grade. Kevin was having just a bit of knee pain so we took it pretty easy going up Haskins, and no records were in danger of being broken up West Alpine either. That’s OK, the views were incredible and it felt great finally getting in a bit longer and bit tougher ride than the usual Pescadero-Tunitas loop.

Due to the heat our bottles were running dry so we made what was supposed to be a quick stop at Sky Londa, only to find my rear tire was going flat again. Good thing to figure that out before descending 84! Obviously I didn’t get all the glass out of the tire first time through. Guess I get flats so rarely that I’m out of practice!

In the end it was about 67 miles at a moderate pace.

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