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

It must be a youth thing. That’s all I can figure

Heading up Kings this morning with Kevin, Karl, JR & George
Heading up Kings this morning with Kevin, Karl, JR & George

Kevin safely off the road during his seizure on Kings this morning
Kevin safely off the road during his seizure on Kings this morning
Relieved to find it a bit warmer this morning; summer is just around the corner, right? No fog, no wind to speak of, low to mid-50s. I can deal with that! Unfortunately, just as Kevin’s beginning to get back into riding shape (he’s been on the bike for two weeks now), he’s getting more seizures, and not long after the picture above was taken, I hear the unfortunately-too-familiar “seizure” from Kevin and look back to find him moving himself and his bike off the road. There’s no question that the seizures he’s been getting lately have taken a bit of a physical toll on him; he doesn’t bounce back quite as quickly as “normal.” So, on a morning where he was hoping to get a pretty decent time up the hill, it ended up being about 35 minutes.


This is where the “it must be a youth thing” comes in. Fast-forward to West Old LaHonda and I’m pushing the pace a bit, but dropping nobody, including Kevin. Eventually Karl takes over and the pace increases further, with Kevin coming off the back a bit. Good excuse for me to drop off as well, not that I could have kept up with Karl & George anyway. And then, about halfway through the forest, Kevin takes off. I mean really takes off. Within seconds he’s on the trail of Karl and George up front, aiming to challenge for the final sprint up to Skyline (which George won).

How does he do it? Where did he find that afterburner? I’ve watched the video of him taking off several times, and it’s just mind-boggling. Could I do that back in the day? Maybe. One of my “duties” in races was that of being the “gap closer”, the guy who has to chase down anybody who went off the front. Not sure how an assigned task could become inherited behavior though!

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King’s is easier through the park? I don’t think so.

Rule #1. Do not pass another cyclist unless you are absolutely positively certain you can say in front of him or her!
Rule #1. Do not pass another cyclist unless you are absolutely positively certain you can say in front of him or her!
The Tuesday version of the regular Tues/Thurs ride heads straight up Kings Mtn, from bottom to top (timing starts at Tripp Road). The Thursday version detours through Huddart Park via Greer Road, giving you a few hundred meters of flat road prior to turning up through the back entrance to the park. Of course, you end up paying for that flat stretch, as the park routing is considerably-steeper in sections than when you ride up Kings the entire distance.

Back in the day, we rarely diverted through the park. Not sure when it started becoming a more-regular thing, but believe it was either Eric or Karl who started it. Now, it’s a given. I used to fight it; I used to sometimes say no, we’re not heading up through the park, that’s not the normal route for this ride. But eventually I broke down, because if riding through the park was harder for me, if it was something I didn’t look forward to doing, then obviously it was something I should be doing.

In general, it adds about 90 seconds to the ride up the hill, depending how hard people push it on the flatter sections. If I’m really feeling good, I can manage just under 28 minutes. Today, just over 29 (and I was actually feeling not-so-bad). What can make-or-break the ride, in terms of your overall time, is how well you recover from the nasty stretch just prior to leaving the park and turning onto Kings. Somehow, you have to not tempt yourself to circle around a bit at the top, choosing instead to make a hard right and charge on up Kings. It’s not an easy choice to make, because it takes quite a while to recover from the steep section if you don’t take it easy for a while.

On the other hand, if you just head right up Kings, no detour through the park, there’s little strategy involved, just an evenly-paced climb. Maybe the easier, more-even grade when you ride all the way up Kings is what makes it harder for some? Maybe they prefer the “distraction” of a changing grade, perhaps even an excuse for slowing down to a crawl on the really-steep stuff. But that doesn’t work for me; I’ve ridden both ways far too many times to not have strategy at the back of my mind, for either route.

OK, the photo at the top, what’s that all about? As we turned onto Greer we saw, way up ahead, climbing up Kings, a couple of cyclists. We intercepted them shortly after we rejoined Kings, which meant we were going up just a bit faster than they were. Of course, as we approached, their speed picked up! Actually, just one really picked up, the other dropping off his pace just a bit, giving us a chance to pass. What makes this significant? The fact that, had we not come across him, I might have eased off the pace a bit, content to let others in my group ride on ahead. But once you pass someone, you have to stay ahead of them, and so despite any temptation I may have had to let the other guys ride on ahead, it was a choice I didn’t have. All because I passed someone.

I was actually glad that I’d been forced to keep my pace up, keep my heart rate at a decent level and arrive home after the ride feeling pretty well spent. If it takes riding through the park and passing someone to accomplish that, I’m game.

An awful lot of thinking for a simple bike ride!

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