Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

The planned ride didn’t include mucking around off Skyline in the rain

This ride had enough issues already; I certainly didn't need to backtrack at this point!
This ride had enough issues already; I certainly didn’t need to backtrack at this point!
Another solo, late ride, thanks to Kevin’s continuing kidney pains (which hopefully will go away as soon as they remove the temporary stent). This was a day I planned something to, as Calvin’s Dad (from Calvin & Hobbes) would say, build character. “Go do something you hate. It builds character.” So instead of the usual Pescadero/Tunitas run, or a slightly-shortened version skipping Pescadero, I mapped out a route that dropped by our store in Los Altos, headed up Redwood Gulch to Highway 9, then north on Skyline to 84, drop down into Woodside and head home.

On the way, I added some extra squiggly stuff (Strava art?) between Arastradero and Foothill College, taking roads I’ve rarely traveled, just ‘cuz. On Strava, when I mapped it out, it didn’t seem quite as hilly as it was in real life. Hilly not in a good way; just obnoxious little climbs you can’t develop a rhythm on and wonder, what’s the point? Not recommended.

Getting pretty cool & sloppy by the time I reached Redwood Gulch
Getting pretty cool & sloppy by the time I reached Redwood Gulch
I should mention that the ride started out pretty nice, too nice actually. When it hit 76 degrees shortly after starting, I had serious concern about over-dressing! It quickly cooled down a bit, and by the time I got to the base of Redwood Gulch, it was 55 and sloppy. Sloppy enough that I gave serious consideration to turning back, thinking it might be too slippery to climb something that steep. I did slip a bit, but that just added to the challenge. It’s Redwood Gulch after all. No matter what it’s going to be nasty, so why not embrace the nastiness?

By the time I hit Highway 9 I was giving serious thought to turning back down the hill, as it just got wetter and colder as I climbed towards Skyline. But…that wasn’t the plan. So I continued, surprised to see an occasional other cyclist out there in the slop, doing a number on their nice road bikes (same as I was) instead of riding something more appropriate for the conditions.

No Mr. Mustard!!!
No Mr. Mustard!!!

The first real indication that I’d made a bad decisions came at the top of Highway 9. No Mr. Mustard!!! I hadn’t eaten since leaving home, and was thinking at least a bag of chips might not be such a bad idea. Not day. I soldiered on, now with wind added to the mix of rain & decreasing temps. But, I was getting into it. Skyline was going by pretty quickly. Until… about a mile before the Page Mill intersection, there’s a guy telling people to turn around. Somebody had knocked down a power line. I tried to find a way around it, in the mud, totally fouling my cleats, to no avail.

Not looking forward to retracing my steps, especially feeling so close to home (nearly all of my climbing now done), but what can you do. I descended 9 all the way down instead of taking Redwood Gulch, because I didn’t feel confident there’d be enough traction on such a steep road to keep myself upright, plus it would be a lot of extra wear on the brake pads and rims.

Time was running out though. Only so much daylight, my front & rear lights were for being seen (as opposed to seeing the road), and I hadn’t eaten in a very long time. I called home to let my wife know I’d be running quite late; she eventually convinced me to meet here in Los Altos and get sagged back. A disappointment, but still ended up with more miles than the original plan, and lots more suffering.

Calvin’s dad would have been proud.

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A little rain scared everyone away?

I wasn’t planning on a solo ride today, but Kevin came down with his bi-annual kidney stone gig, putting him in Kaiser ER for most of the day. I was a bit concerned I’d end up missing the worst of the rain as several “orange” cells came over the house and moved on, but I still got to enjoy some fairly significant rain while out riding.

Some would think it’s nuts to look forward to heavy rain & strong winds, but truth is, if you’re going to get wet at all, you might as well go the distance. Light rain makes just as much a mess of your bike as the heavy stuff, and more than once I was thinking yeah, bring it on, I’ve only seen one other guy on a bike out here; everybody else stayed home.

The ride itself was nothing epic, just the usual Tuesday/Thursday ride, done backwards. It took me a while to get into it; about halfway up Old LaHonda before I felt like I had legs. From that point on, it was fun. I even gave brief thought to the original ride plan, heading out to the coast and up Tunitas, but I had gotten off to a pretty late start waiting to see if Kevin would be feeling better, so it was pretty easy to rationalize not heading out quite that far.

I hadn’t thought about doing the ride backward until I started heading back up to Skyline on 84, after descending west-side Old LaHonda. I was thinking, all this rain, that small waterfall at the edge of Skyline in-between Sky Londa and Kings must really be going. And, as you can see in the video at the top of the page, it was.

Descending Kings had me wondering why I waited so long to get a rain bike with disc brakes. The rain & wind should have rattled me, but the predictability of disc brakes makes such a huge difference in handling and sure-footedness that descending and maneuvering in general feels really good. I even checked after the ride to compare my descending time against my normal dry times, but Strava didn’t pick up the start & end points quite right, probably do to cloud cover. Whatever, if you ride no matter what and can spring for a second bike for bad conditions, make sure it’s got disc brakes! –Mike–

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