No way around it; Kevin and I got schooled today! We invited JeffZ along on our ride, thinking that, maybe, he’d be a bit tired and maybe enjoy a bit easier ride after putting in 600+ miles the past two weeks. Normally we don’t see too much of Jeff on the road; he’s one of those early-morning types, sometimes finishing about the time Kevin and I start. But he doesn’t like cold, so he was all-in with the idea of a ride that didn’t start until 9:45am this morning!
I tried (and succeeded) in coming up with a bit different ride than the norm. Up Old LaHonda (very normal), down 84 to San Gregorio (not too unusual, although typically we head towards Pescadero), then north on 1 to Half Moon Bay (very unusual!), loop through town and head south, looping first up Higgins/Purissima, then Lobitos Creek over to Tunitas. And then it becomes “normal” with the remaining climb over Tunitas and back home via Kings Mtn.
Kevin and I hung with Jeff about 1/3rd of the way up Old LaHonda and then he was gone. Kevin hung with Jeff a bit longer than me, but eventually Kevin faded and in the end, I actually caught up with him and got to the top a few seconds earlier. This was the first indication that Kevin wasn’t at his best.
Heading out to the coast, we really saw the difference between being in OK shape and really having a strong motor. Jeff went to the front and hammered. I can crank out maybe 250 watts for a very long time (if needed); I think Jeff is doing maybe 325. At that sort of difference, you begin to have a tough time hanging onto someone’s wheel while drafting. Yes, that happened a couple times! Usually right after I’d finish taking a (much short than Jeff’s) pull at the front. I have a lot of respect for a motor like that!
The coast was beautiful, with awesome fields of yellow flowers that, for some reason, I didn’t get any pictures of! When we got to Half Moon Bay we stopped at the Moonside Bakery and Cafe for coffee and a pastry (although Jeff just had coffee; this ride probably didn’t even register on his body’s fuel gauge). Then it was time to hit up Higgins/Purissima, which neither Jeff nor Kevin had done in a very long time and had forgotten how nice it was. Of course, by the time we got to Lobitos Creek and it’s really stiff climb, I’m not sure “pleasant” would be a use that Kevin or I would use. The photo at the top of this page shows Jeff on Lobitos Creek a switchback ahead of me, although truthfully, I could have kept much closer if I wasn’t holding back a bit for Kevin.
And Tunitas? Kevin was beginning to feel a bit better after a couple of Advils at the top of Los Lobitos (he thought he’d pulled a muscle), managed to pull even with Jeff on the early steep parts (well ahead of me) but then gradually faded, losing Jeff, and allowing me to overtake him and wait a bit where it levels off. By that point Jeff, of course, was long gone.
And that’s when the “other” Kevin kicked in. Jeff must have been at least two minutes ahead of us by that point, but Kevin decided he wanted to try and catch him. He took off like a rocket; all I could do was just ride within my limits and minimize my losses. No possible way could I have held his wheel. Eventually Kevin got close enough to see Jeff a couple turns ahead, and that was all he needed to go into target acquisition mode. Very impressive when that happens, although I wasn’t around to see it. Kevin bridged the remaining gap, let Jeff know he was there, and then promptly died. I caught up with Kevin with just under a mile to go.
Overall a really nice 63 mile ride. Even though Kevin was off his game for most of the ride, being able to chase Jeff down on the top part of Kings redeemed the day for him.