Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Le Tour is just 6 weeks away…

Tough to know if I’m ready for France. Actually, not so tough at all. I’m ready. Whether that means I’ll be as strong as I’d like to be is almost irrelevant. I’m ready now. It’s been a tough past 4 or 5 months, but I’m beginning to ride a bit stronger, the weather is getting a bit better week by week, and the coverage of the Giro is getting me into the mood of, well, being someplace else.

I could, perhaps should, feel bad about leaving the shop during July, when things are pretty busy, but I’ve got a great staff in place, led by BeckyJ and MikeF. I’d just like things to settle down just a little bit and seem normal for a few days at a time, instead of what seems to be a constant feast or famine. And of course it would be nice if the various health issues in my family would stabilize too, like Kevin’s final epilepsy surgery (now scheduled for June 6th, a fair amount later than I’d expected) and Karen’s chemo for her thankfully-not-metastasized breast cancer.

Right, the ride this morning. Karen, Karl, JR, Marcus, George & Eric. First ride with temps getting to 60+ by the end; I actually felt slightly overdressed in base layer and leg warmers! Nothing too fast today, which didn’t bother me.

Now back to the Tour de France. I got thinking about some of the past years, and the theme music that, I don’t think, has been equaled since. Like what’s below.

I know what follows is Phil Ligget and his, to many, tiresomely-repeated phrases and perhaps excessive rooting for the home-town riders (for broadcasts in the US, that would be riders from… the US). I never thought that was so bad, to tell you the truth.

I am so ready for France. For the long flights, for the transfers from CDG to Montparnasse train station, the long train ride to Lourdes, several days in the Pyrenees followed by a train to Avignon, seeing the Ventoux stage on Bastille day… it’s like a comfortable old shoe. It’s nearly as much routine as my Tuesday/Thursday ride up Kings. Time to play the “good” theme music once again! And to get ready for what, to me, has become the “sound” of France; that set of tones unmistakably associated with French trains…

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Long easy ride with an old friend

Larry heading up Tunitas Creek, a couple miles from Skyline. He’s a lot happier now than a few miles earlier, riding up the appropriately-named-on-Strava “Hammer of Thor” section.

One of my most-memorable bike rides was in 1973; a 6-day ride staring in Redwood City and heading to Davis, Grass Valley, Incline Village, Calaveras Big Trees, Modesto and finishing in Palo Alto. I raced the Sierra Road Race the day before, and Mount Hamilton the day after coming home. Strava would have been very proud of me that week! The guy I rode with, Larry Rairden, raced for arch-rival San Jose Bike Club (I think?), while I rode for Pedali Alpini. We had a great time, doing an early version of “credit card touring” by staying at the homes of fellow bike racers along the way. I’ll never forget the Incline Village to Calaveras Big Trees day… heading up Ebbetts Pass into a raging thunderstorm! Thankfully it had largely passed by the time we got there.

After high school we all (our group of cyclists) mostly lost track of each other; no Facebook then, so Larry heading to San Diego, me to Santa Cruz, others elsewhere, we might just as well have been on different planets. But when Facebook did come along, a lot of us started reconnecting, and the rest is history. Or something like that. Larry went to work in the oil industry in Texas, but once in a while biz brings him back to the bay area and he drops by the shop to say hi. This trip he was out here for several days so I found a bike to loan him and this morning reacquainted him with our local hills.

Larry climbing Stage Road up to Highway 1
Larry climbing Stage Road up to Highway 1

Since he wasn’t familiar with the Pescadero Bakery, that became an obvious destination. I don’t think the pastry disappointed! He was awe-struck by the beauty of our coastal mountains and valleys, despite it being what many might call a “gloomy” day (heavy overcast). I’m guessing that cycling ’round Houston isn’t terribly scenic.

Larry isn’t terribly fast right now, but did want some miles, so we tacked on a loop up north, taking in Higgins Purissima and Los Lobitos cut-off. 73 miles in all, at a pace that actually allowed me to carry on a conversation! This, too, shall pass (as soon as my son’s back on a bike).

One of the young women at the Pescadero Bakery sending her regards to Kevin.
One of the young women at the Pescadero Bakery sending her regards to Kevin.

Speaking of my son, he’s well-enough recognized at the Pescadero Bakery that I was asked where he was by one of the young women who often works the register.  Yeah, that’s me, “Kevin’s Dad.” Remembering when kids didn’t want to be known as someone’s son.  🙂  Kevin did, by the way, get in a 23 mile ride on his super-duper Tacx trainer. Any thoughts I might have had of having a huge advantage when he’s finally allowed back on the road are rapidly disappearing. You can see his ride here. He wasn’t certain, but thinks it was in Australia.

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