Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Checking out “closed” West OLH and VAM coming back up

View of the West Old LaHonda road washout taken from across the valley.
Today’s ride was the same and different from most-other Sunday rides. The same in that it was our usual Sunday loop, heading up Old LaHonda, down West Old LaHonda, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road north and back via Tunitas. Different because-

First, I managed to, finally, get back over 1000 VAM for a climb. VAM is a measurement of how many meters you can climb in an hour. I have been struggling for some time to get back to semi-normal climbing speeds, mostly due to a combination of my breathing issues and weather that hasn’t been conducive for normal riding. It’s not like I climbed Old LaHonda all that quickly; still 23-something, but that’s better than anything I’ve done in quite some time. It likely helped that my son (Kevin) was slowed down a bit by a kidney stone issue, giving me something to pace instead of him just riding off & out of sight.

Heading down the other side (West Old LaHonda), yes, we came across “road closed” signs at the top, but rode on through without giving it much thought. We knew where the damaged section was, since we’d ridden up it on Thursday’s ride. We stopped at the scenic overlook, the place you often see cyclists stopping to admire the view of the coastal mountains and ocean beyond, and looked across the valley to where the damaged road was. That’s what you see in the photo at the top of the page. From what we could tell, there was enough remaining that we’d be able to get through, and this proved to be true. The road wasn’t that much different from when we’d ridden up Thursday, but definitely has that look of possibly disappearing entirely if one more car passed over it. We rode through with no issues, but if road crews were out working on it, there’s no way they’d let you pass.

Where Eagles dare to fly!

It’s pretty darned near impossible to get the timing right with these “atmospheric rivers” that have been invading us these past couple of months; the best you can do is to prepare to get really wet and, who knows, you just might not get wet at all!

Today was supposed to be one of those “really wet” days but the scheduled deluge we’d been watching for a couple days began to fall apart as our Sunday morning ride approached.

It was supposed to be heaviest from 7-9am, and then again several hours later. Kevin and I left the house with a very light drizzle about 10:30am, which turned into a very light rain heading up Old LaHonda. We didn’t put on our light rain jackets until exiting West Old LaHonda onto 84, and ended up removing them in LaHonda.

The plan… well, we were pretty flexible today, willing to modify the ride as conditions merited. Things were beginning to look kinda bleak out towards the coast so instead of Peascadero we headed up West Alpine, at a decidedly leisurely pace. It was pretty nice, for once, not killing ourselves on that climb, and having the time to look around and admire the carnage of fallen trees.

The unexpected came on the higher part of the climb, when we came around a corner and a Golden Eagle swooped in and landed on the ground, just 10 feet from us. This was one of those times I wished I had something better than a video camera set to relatively-low resolution with me! He hung out on the ground for 10 or 15 seconds after we came to a stop, before casually flying off. Pretty amazing.

Shortly after that we noticed someone coming up behind us, and funny thing about that, we suddenly started riding faster. Fast enough that the poor guy, who must have been closing the gap pretty rapidly before that, couldn’t catch up. Truthfully, since we’d been taking it so easy, we had a lot of reserves; otherwise, the guy probably would have passed up pretty easily.

We thought about heading north on Skyline, but visibility looked really bad (we were quite literally in the clouds) and getting hit by some pretty heavy winds. Time to head back down, Page Mill in this case. Nice to have really awesome brakes on our rain bikes! One more plug for disc brakes in the wet. Just can’t be beat.

We headed back via Sand Hill, stopping by Sharon Park Shopping Center to check out the relocated Woodside Bakery which, we found out, is closed Sundays!!! So back on the bikes, winding our way through Woodside and discovering that we weren’t quite going to get to the 50 mile mark, and 48 miles doesn’t seem anywhere near as legit as 50. That’s why you’ll see a rather convoluted path on our way home, instead of heading straight over Jefferson. Even then we looked like we might come up .1 mile short, so we did a zig-zag near home and voila, 50.2 miles. Nice ride.