Kevin’s off at Disneyland with his sister today, so it was time for a solo ride to the coast, up over Old LaHonda, Haskins to Pescadero, Stage to San Gregorio but then a bit of a change, heading back up 84 instead of Tunitas.
It was an interesting day on the roads; surprisingly-few cars for such a nice day. I did wear leg warmers the entire time, but could have dispensed with them for the return from San Gregorio. The LaHonda duck pond had a couple of interesting birds sitting on pieces of wood, as seen in the photo above. They seemed completely content to just sit there, motionless, pointed in different directions.
The winds were… interesting. Mild headwind going into Pescadero, as usual, but the Stage Road headwind was mostly a no-show. Caught a few breezes here & there but nothing consistent. Slight tailwind heading back up 84, but the strangest thing happened at the top- it changed directions! I had a pretty strong headwind descending 84 into Woodside. Odd thing, that.
On paper, it didn’t seem that bad. 68 miles, 6800ft of climbing. That’s a lot easier than a Santa Cruz loop, and we did that a month ago with no problem. So what made today’s ride so tough? Guess it starts with Page Mill. There’s just no good way to attack that climb; no way to get a sustainable rhythm. It starts out with that ugly section just past the golf course, then another nasty pitch where it intersects Moody, and of course there’s that piece between Gates 3 & 4. And don’t forget that last little uphill grind at the MidPen parking lot near the top.
Not helping is that Kevin was looking pretty good so I told him get going, don’t wait for me, I’ll see you at the top. Kevin made it up a minute faster than I did, no huge deal for Kevin but I was pretty gassed. Maybe he actually got pretty gassed as well, since I found him recovering from a seizure at the top. But hey, it happened after the Strava timing point, so his time was solid!
Neither of us had much in the way of legs for Haskins, a full minute slower than our target time of 10 minutes for that climb, but looking forward to lunch in Pescadero makes it worthwhile. Chicken Club sandwich (split between us), coke, and a giant double-chocolate cookie. We don’t ride to eat, but if you’re going to be eating lunch anyway, why not the best? It doesn’t get much better than the bakery in Pescadero!
Stage Road was tough, as we fought a good headwind the whole way and Kevin wasn’t riding too strongly at this point. I’m used to that being a temporary condition though. Not as if I was feeling very strong either at that point, but I can push through just about anything.
Tunitas. OK, that’s where it gets interesting. Slight tailwind, so I’m doing what I can to take advantage of it and get us to the base of the real climb as quickly as possible. Kevin’s just barely hanging on, but I’ve seen this before, once he gets to the big climb he’s gone. Today was no exception. By the time we got to Lobitos Creek Road it was time to send him up the rest of
the climb alone; no way would I be able to keep up. He flew up the steep parts so hard & fast that he was completely out of sight within a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, neither could he. About 10 minutes into the steepest section (appropriately titled “Hammer of Thor” on Strava) I came across him at the side of the road, coming out of another seizure. Darn. He would have had an awesome time otherwise! We rode up the rest of the way at a pretty easy pace, with Kevin’s potential 44 minute (or better) time becoming just under an hour.
There is no question that Kevin’s on an upswing cycling-wise, killing it on the big climbs. Too bad that he’s at a period in his epilepsy cycle where he’s having seizures more-frequently. –Mike–