First morning with long-fingered gloves, first morning with toe warmers, plus leg warmers & base layers that have been in use the past two weeks… yes, winter is coming and summer is gone. Kevin and I never saw temps higher than 50, but no lower than 42. But no clouds, no wind to speak of, and nobody else out on the road. Well, we saw a small number, but not many.
Since it’s getting colder my breathing is becoming louder again, but there’s an odd common theme for many of my rides lately- they haven’t been particularly fast, but I’ve felt stronger than I’d expect. Doesn’t make much sense; if I actually was stronger, I’d be faster right? Maybe I’m just becoming at peace with not being quite as fast as I used to, recalculating expectations as I get older.
Road work? You said it. Skyline still has two sections of active, one-lane-control road work, near Bear Gulch and another just north of Old LaHonda. Descending 84 into Woodside has three separate sections now; thankfully, the “big” one, the section that’s been under construction since what, last March?, looks to be nearly completed, with new pavement in both lanes. If you hit all 5, like we do on our regular ride, you might get delayed a total of 15 minutes, possibly 20, something to keep in mind if you’re on a schedule.
It was the best of times, it was the… best of times. And I can’t even tell you why. One week off the bike, due to flying out to Wisconsin for Trek business meetings, had me thinking the ride would be a bit of a drag and certainly not fun. And when you add in the numerous delays we faced for road work (including both new ones and extended delays for older ones), it doesn’t add up.
Kevin, Kevin & JR showed up this morning despite this being the darkest morning of the year for this ride, along with being slightly cold and, looking up at Skyline from the start, possibly quite foggy. But I didn’t fear the ride up through the park. Maybe it was because last night I got more than 4 or 5 hours sleep for the first time in 4 or 5 days? Whatever it was, my heart rate scaled nicely with my effort, the way it’s supposed to. 275 watts felt like 20% more than 250, the way it’s supposed to (I know, technically it’s 10% more so 20% doesn’t sound good, but it would usually feel like 50% greater effort, maybe more!).
We didn’t ride very fast, but just a bit faster than pilot Kevin was up to, so I hung back with him when kid Kevin and JR picked up the pace a bit. We climbed out of the fog a few minutes past Kings, and for reasons unknown, the pavement was never wet, so our bike didn’t get trashed. Yet another nice thing.
Since you still can’t get through West Old LaHonda on a weekday, we rode up across the top and descended WOLH to the scenic overlook, checking out the work being done not just on the main section of missing road, but also noticed that they’re getting some work done on the upper section where it slid away a few years ago.
Of course, getting to just about anyplace on Skyline ’round these parts involves delays. There’s the roadwork near Bear Gulch Road (which finally has people working on it again; it had been in limbo for maybe a month or more), and then another spot on Skyline between 84 and Old LaHonda/West Old LaHonda (we did that one twice today). Descending 84 into Woodside there’s the spot they’ve been working on since, when, March? Today that one wasn’t controlled by a light, but rather a flagman, because they needed the whole road blocked off and told us it would be a 10 minute wait. Yikes, we were already running late. Pilot Kevin suggested we ride back up to Skyline and bypass this section using Skywood, which, even though I thought that would be more than a 10 minute delay, we did. Turned out to be just 7 minutes, 35 seconds, so a smart move. And now, yet another section descending 84, no, make that TWO more sections of one-lane road heading into Woodside! A total of 6 in one ride! No wonder we rant about 20 minutes late getting home.
Somehow it all added up to a fantastic morning on a bike.