Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

The officer was looking for trouble, but came up empty-handed

So you’re thinking there must be an interesting story here, because my rides virtually never have issues, with motorists or cops. And for the most part, they still don’t. The good stuff begins in the fifth paragraph.

We did something different today; I’d been sent an email from one of the regulars on our Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride, Geroge (who, coincidentally, is seen in the photo above!), asking if Kevin and I might want to do a “social” ride to the coast with him and a few others… the others being pretty strong riders, so the “social” part was something I questioned but, what the heck, fun to do something different on a Sunday ride, and good to have an incentive to get going earlier (the ride started at the base of Old LaHonda at 8:30am; Kevin and I are usually lucky to be on the road by noon).

So we’re at the appointed place, 8:30am, maybe a minute earlier, thinking we should have left 5 minutes sooner. But nobody else yet. This is definitely not the Tuesday/Thursday ride, which leaves the second our GPS-enabled Garmins say it’s 7:45am. A minute or two and JR shows up, then another Kevin (not the pilot, nor my son; there’s clearly no shortage of riders named Kevin!), George, and Dan S. The ride turned out to be reverse Pescadero with West Alpine, just like Kevin and I did two weeks ago, only this time substituting highway 1 along the coast instead of Stage Road.

Old LaHonda was at a pretty moderate pace, or at least started that way, and very gradually gained speed as we went. Don’t know if anyone noticed that but me. 23:18 for the climb, so a good minute off what I’d normally be doing. So far, so good.

The good stuff starts here: It was on the run out to the coast that “the law” caught up with us. Heading down 84 towards LaHonda, George was riding next to the other Kevin when a CHP cruiser pulled up behind us, doing the usual “ride single file” thing on his speaker and then, when George didn’t respond, asked if those of us who spoke english could raise our hands (while riding). OK, this guy’s a bit odd, but it was also weird that George never heard the guy, nor a couple of us yelling the usual “car back.” Eventually words gets through to George and he pulls into the line, single file, the cop goes flying past, and we figure ok, done with him. Until we get to LaHonda, where he’s at the side of the road and, as we pass, waves at us. It seemed just a bit weird; we kept going for maybe 50 feet or so before asking among ourselves, is he asking us to pull over? So we did, which was the officer’s first great disappointment. He’d already set his lights on and was about to take off after us; we literally shut him down cold as we circled back to him.

The officer says something a bit odd. “Do any of you know this guy?” as he’s talking to George. Um, yes. He then asks George for his name, and is, again, clearly, and I mean quite clearly, disappointed that George gave his real name. He was looking forward to taking him in, like he did another cyclist last week. He went to great trouble to tell us all about it, about the guy’s concern over how his $4000 bike would get put into the CHP cruiser etc. George was, wisely, giving no trouble at all to the officer.

It got weirder. When he couldn’t nail us with something, he started trying to be conversational, kind of faux-nice. He asked what we thought of the new 3 foot law (we told him it was a problem because motorists are scared to cross over a double yellow line to pass us). We didn’t go too far trying to explain to him that we don’t legally have to ride single file, nor did we try to help him out by telling him that he *could* choose to get on cyclist’s cases for impeding traffic. And I just let it slide when he told us we needed to move off the roadway to let people pass (which is absolutely not true and dangerous!).

Eventually we parted ways, relatively-pleasantly, and while┬áriding single-file next time we came across him again, a spot a couple miles down the road where he’d obviously decided to try and ambush us. He just wasn’t getting any breaks today.

We, on the other hand, enjoyed really nice weather, a nice view of a fog bank maybe a mile off the coast, Kevin’s giant face-sized cookie in Pescadero, and a “social” paced climb up Haskins that left me dropped like a rock off the back. But a very nice ride overall, very good company.

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

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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