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

A meandering missive on Bike To Work Day

"Downtown Improvement Project" off West Old LaHonda
“Downtown Improvement Project” off West Old LaHonda
The final climb to Skyline on West Old LaHonda is *so* much harder than it looks!
The final climb to Skyline on West Old LaHonda is *so* much harder than it looks!

Every day should be like today. It’s going to rain, that’s a given, but it waits until you finish your morning ride, and your ride to work, before it starts. And then it ends in time for the roads to dry out for your ride home! Is that perfect or what?

It was even a bit warmer this morning; no lower than 41 degrees! Amazing what just a 5 degree difference can make. Not many of us out there to enjoy it though; myself, Kevin and JR. Ah, right, one more person, Tom joined us for the first time in quite a while. Just to the top of Kings (and in enough of a rush to get to work that he had to head right back down Kings, passing JR & I as we were still on the way up).

"Downtown Improvement Project" off West Old LaHonda

Kevin actually pulled for a bit descending 84 west, something rarely seen. West Old LaHonda was a pretty as every single one of the other 663 times Strava says I’ve ridden it since sometime in 2008. That’s actually a pretty amazing thing… 663 times on that segment of road. 663 times I’ve looked forward to “that view.” 663 times I’ve passed that outhouse-like building on the left-hand side of the road with the “Downtown Improvement Project” sign. That comes out to… what do you know, just over 100 times/year, which means I’ve ridden past it twice a week (since the beginning of time as we know it, which goes back to March 23rd, 2008.

Yet another interesting thing to note. Pre-Strava vs Post-Strava. Do the couple hundred thousand miles I rode prior to March 23rd, 2008, count? I’m guessing not. My earliest almost-daily diary entries go back maybe 10 years earlier than that, so maybe I could stretch credibility as far as 1998. I would have been 42 then which, coincidentally, it the answer to Life, The Universe, & Everything. Backing that up is the absolute fact that riding at 42 degrees is comfortable while 41 (and below) is not.

Getting back to the present, Kevin and I celebrated Bike To Work Day by stopping for both donuts and coffee on our ride in to work, arriving a good two hours ahead of the rain. And we’ll be riding home in an hour or so, again, without rain. And without guilt too, since it did rain in the middle of the day.

Random oddness:  A page of quotes reminding me that the movie Buckaroo Bonzai is so much better than most people give credit for.  I’ve always liked that movie, but have had a tough time understanding why. Looking at those quotes, it’s easy to find the answer.

“Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is.”

This is the good life. Now we just have to find some employees so Kevin and I can head to France in a couple of months! I will probably not be the easiest person to get along with come mid-July if I’m climbing Kings instead of Alp D’Huez. :-)


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A Big Day in 5 Parts

IMG_0650broom_wagonThere are times when it’s easy to relate to the picture at the right, showing the infamous “broom wagon” that follows major bike races, the last vehicle in the entourage, whose job is to make sure there are no stragglers and to pick up those who have lost hope. Those days you wonder why you’re out there; the climb seems to be winning out over your efforts to get to the top. Your memory becomes your worst enemy, as you start to think about days in the past when it wasn’t so tough, it was even fun, you were beating everyone else. But not today. Today you find yourself wishing for that broom wagon to come along and put you out of your misery.

I would love to tell you I’ve never had days like that, but that would not only be a lie but it would also reinforce the ridiculous notion that life should be without struggle, that life should be about, as Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) would say, jumping from peak to peak, each day better than the day before.

I wish!

We have a choice. We can embrace the broom wagon as a way out, or we can do everything possible to keep it at bay. I prefer the later, and I motivate myself, on those days where climbing Kings seems to be an exercise in futility, by remembering that Kings is just one hill, early in a ride, and things will get better.

Today was one of those days things got better. It was just myself and Kevin this morning; everyone else was heading directly to the Tour of California. I wasn’t doing that badly, but not that great either. Cold mornings (down to 37 at one point) don’t bring out the best in me. But once we started descending towards West Old LaHonda it began to warm up a bit, and things just got better and better.

But that was just the first part of the day. Instead of spending the day at the shop, today I took the train to San Jose and rode another 22 miles (some of them quite hilly) to the Tour of California’s stage finish. Two guys in Stanford kit were heading the same way and tagged along with me, thinking I knew where I was going (which was true, since I’d programmed a course into my Garmin). Those 22 miles were a lot tougher than expected, especially a couple of steep climbs (which, carrying camera gear, you really feel), but perhaps not as tough as the 12 miles battling a headwind back into San Jose to catch the train home. Funny thing though; headwinds don’t cause me as much grief as they used to. 18, 19, 20mph… sure, it would be easier to go slower, but it makes sense to go faster and get through it more-quickly.

And the train ride back was interesting too! The conductor turned out to be a big fan of our website and my writings, and had some good conversations with quite a few other cyclists on the train.

The toughest part of the day? Probably the 3 miles home at the end. Might have had something to do with not having any food since breakfast? No matter, running on empty, you just put one foot down, then the other, and climb the hill back home. By the end of the day it was something over 70 miles, with some quality climbing and quality headwinds!

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