Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

That was NOT easy (getting back onto the bike after illness)

Last time I was on my bike was… riding home Wednesday, leaving a bit early because starting at 4pm I knew something wasn’t quite right and put on a mask. I lasted another hour and a half before heading out the door, feeling flattened. And that was the best I was going to feel for quite some time.

Becky and Kevin had brought something back from a Las Vegas concert they attended (When We Were Young) and it took out everyone in sight. We tested, multiple times, to see if it was Covid. Was not. Most likely either flu or RSV. Until Saturday I couldn’t even remember what it was like to feel ok, much less good. We actually closed the shop Thursday & Friday and reopened Saturday with a skeleton staff. While I was kinda ok on Saturday, being on my feet all day took its toll; Sunday I was just getting by. Thankfully Monday I felt quite a whole lot better, better enough to think I could do a regular ride again this morning (I did commute by bike to and from work on Monday; wasn’t easy, but had to resume life again right?).

Tuesday morning came around and wow, how much darker it got at 6:50am than just a week ago! I prepared for cold with a pretty hefty base layer and made sure the heated gloves were fully charged, but Kevin said PurpleAir was showing 52F up on top, so it didn’t sound that bad.

A bit out of the routine, we started out a few minutes late (not as if we’ve had many waiting for us at the start of the ride for a while, and ex-Pilot Kevin had already mentioned he wouldn’t be showing because he had a really tough ride the day prior). Just trying to drag myself up over Jefferson had me questioning Life, The Universe, and Everything… all at once. I’ve never ridden so poorly. My lungs could not adjust to the change in temp from the house to outside, and instead of things warming up as we approached Kings, it got colder! How cold? 38.6F I think I saw.

I was barely able to get 150 watts at first. Kevin was wondering how far we’d get before I had to turn around and head back down the hill, it was that bad. There was an assumption that we’d just be riding to the top and back down, but when I managed to get to the top pretty much at exactly 40 minutes, it was decided that we’d keep going and head back down 84. Skipping the West Old LaHonda segment, sure, but today, it was a miracle just making it to the top.

It’s going to be a struggle getting back into shape, especially as it’s getting colder by the day. But it’s encouraging that I didn’t give up, I kept on going. And I didn’t ride my age for time. 40 minutes is a lot better than 67 would have been! I figure the riding-my-age thing might be ok if I make it to 90.


Getting back to the basics. Why We Ride.

It was an interesting morning. I dressed appropriately for the cooling temps lately, but still lamented that Summer is over and Winter is coming.

Just me and Kevin this morning, unfortunately the faster, younger Kevin. He pretty much stayed with me on the way up the hill, taking it easy and never out of breath. It was Thursday which meant up through the park, and that steep pitch in the middle hit me even harder than usual, making me wonder if it was going to be possible to do the full ride this morning. You wonder why you don’t turn back, several times up the hill, but you don’t want to look back at this day, this ride, this moment, as the time you look back to when you gave up and from then on, shortening the ride would become routine. Instead, I admit to thinking maybe we’d have to move the ride up and leave 10 minutes earlier. Or maybe at some point in time I could semi-retire and no longer work 6 full days a week at the bike shop, but instead show up a bit late now & then because the ride took a bit longer.

But eventually I did make it, like I always do, and Kevin asks if we need to shorten the ride, maybe do the upper-Tunitas loop instead. I wasn’t having that. I pushed on. Nicer up on top than Tuesday; no fog, no damp roads. Nice views too! My legs were still OK for the little bumps on Skyline, and maybe they’d be OK on West Old LaHonda too.

Some time back we decided that 8:43am was the bail-out time. If we arrived at Sky Londa later than 8:43, we’d need to abandon the West Old LaHonda section and head straight down. That was mainly an issue for rain, which slows things down a bit, especially the descents. But 8:43 is still what I keep in mind, and I told Kevin, as we approached the descent on Skyline into Sky Londa, that, while we were behind schedule, we could make it up on the descent! Yeah, right, a 6 minute descent that we’d have to do in 3 minutes to keep to schedule.

With no time to waste (being three minutes behind schedule) we headed west on 84, with a large propane truck a bit behind to keep the heat on. That actually worked pretty well; the guy seemed to be doing about 27mph, so we did have to put in some effort to stay ahead. And, of course, memories of the movie “Duel” came to mind.

West Old LaHonda was brutal. No legs, no lungs. No rabbits or turkeys either. Where are all the turkeys??? But the view of the coast, sans fog, made it worthwhile. It always does, at least for me. Kevin doesn’t understand my fascination with that stretch of road. He just wants it over and done with. I don’t get it; if I were as strong as Kevin, if I could handle it with such ease, I’d think it was fun!