Normally the Sunday ride is a bit longer, something between 57 miles (the regular Pescadero/Tunitas) up to 111 (Santa Cruz loop). No time for anything like that today; we had to be in Carmel Valley by 12:30 for my nephew’s wedding.
I gave some thought to doing a one-way ride in the direction of Carmel Valley, something where we’d see how far we could get and be picked up by my wife & daughter, who were driving to the wedding. Didn’t work out though, as there was no place we could be sure we’d be able to take a shower. I considered hosing off at the beach in Santa Cruz (they have rinse-off showers at the boardwalk) but it takes a lot of time to navigate the boardwalk area (cars back up for blocks) and we’d still have to find a place to actually change clothes.
So we chose a short local ride instead, leaving much earlier than normal for a Sunday ride (7:30, same time as our Tuesday/Thursday ride) and head up Page Mill. Not sure why I chose Page Mill; I’ve always had a tough time getting into any sort of rhythm on the first part of the climb, and those steep pitches, if you’re not feeling good, can really kill.
But for some reason, this morning I was feeling pretty darned good, even though it was a pretty cool morning (I saw temps as low as 47). Kevin probably could have ridden just a bit faster up the steep parts, but nicely stayed with me all the way to the top. I ended up with my 4th best time since 2009, an indication that my daily poison pills for my bone marrow issue aren’t cramping my style all that much. A good thing, that!
Four weeks off the bike for Kevin after his busted arm and sure, we wondered how he’d do once he was back in the saddle. I was actually pretty predictable.
Old LaHonda? We took it easy, probably mostly because it takes me a while to get warmed up these days (apparently warm weather has little to do with the amount of time it takes me to start feeling like I want to attack a climb, since it was certainly warm today!), and Kevin really didn’t have his legs back quite yet. He still likely could have dropped me though. He started feeling better as the ride went on though. But even on Haskins, we were still riding at a pretty easy pace. He only started getting his legs back around the time we got to Pescadero.
NO COOKIES IN PESCADERO!!! I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. Shocking not to have a cookie face test. Somehow we survived.
The first Stage Road climb went fairly well, with no fear of being caught as the only bike we could see behind us, well down the hill, was a tandem. Tandems don’t climb very well. Usually. On the second, steeper climb, that tandem looked to be making some ground on us. ???!!! We stayed ahead of it, just barely, until the final Stage Road climb out of San Gregorio. No wonder it was fast. Ted Huang on the front, Christine Thorburn-Huang on the back. We’re talking championship pedigree here! Hanging onto their wheel going up that last Stage climb was probably what pushed Kevin over the edge; by the time we got to Tunitas he’d developed quite a nose bleed and was running out of gas.
We actually stopped at the Bike Hut so Kevin could attend to his nose before continuing on up Tunitas. This was just climbing a hill, going through the motions for Kevin, getting to the top as painlessly as possible. I get stronger as the ride goes on, even if I’m not on top of my game, but that seems to be something more common in older, er I mean, more-experienced cyclists, than those younger. But he made it back, and I have no doubt that on Tuesday I’m going to lose sight of him on Kings as he climbs away from me.