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Atfer Umunhum anything’s easy, right?

Kevin, Kevin & Marcus at the turnaround point on West Old LaHonda.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel this morning, but knew the ride wouldn’t be nearly as tough as Sunday’s ride to & up Mount Umunhum. I wasn’t wrong, but I also wasn’t quite as right as I’d hoped!

It started badly; this morning was the first day in ages where it was dark outside when the alarm clock went off. Hate that! And it was a bit cooler too, so back to base layers and leg warmers. Which also meant I was back to having issues breathing again, something that becomes not such an issue in warm & hot weather, but when things start to cool down a bit, I’m sounding like a steam engine when I climb. It’s also possible that the bad air from the north bay fires could be a factor as well, but y’know, I’ve really not noticed issues in “bad” air with my breathing. Just cold.

Kevin (kid) and Marcus just kinda rode on ahead of me once we hit Kings. They weren’t going fast; rather, I was going slow. Kevin (pilot) stayed with me, a reversal of last week when he was feeling bad and I kept an eye on him.

Until West Old LaHonda is finished being repaired, we’re now doing out-and-backs from either the top (via Skyline, opposite Old LaHonda) or the bottom, using our normal routing. We ride about a mile up from the bottom, to where the work is being done, then turn around and ride back up 84 to Sky Londa, then down into Woodside.

Marcus was feeling really fast today and set an absolutely torrid pace on the climb back up to Sky Londa. Younger Kevin was glued to his wheel, and I was hanging on behind him. After a minute or two of an insane pace, I looked back and saw the other Kevin (pilot) had been shelled off the back. Not a surprise, and a good excuse for me to drop back and find him. Meanwhile Marcus and younger Kevin flew to a 56th place Strava time for that segment. Now, 56th doesn’t sound all that impressive, until you realize that’s out of something like 6000, many of them top-class bike racers. Their time was 8:55; my best for that segment is 10:15. Looking at Kevin’s wattage figures (275 average), I don’t think there’s much chance I could have hung on.

Not as steep as it looks. Steeper!

Climbing out of Portola State Park on Camp Pompino Road.

Think different. Last week, we re-routed the usual ride to Pescadero, due to heavy fog at the coast. Today, again, we spied heavy fog at the coast (from the “picture spot” on West Old LaHonda Road) and re-routed again. This time doing something a bit more challenging than last week.

As nearly all Sunday rides do, this one first climbed Old LaHonda to break in the legs. At 22:52, it was my best time since August of last year. Kevin paced me nicely up the hill, and forcing myself to drink on climbs (pretty much required by the hydroxyurea I’m taking for my platelet issue) is likely helping too. Curiously, my heart rate was just a bit off (slightly low), something that continued the rest of the day, but if it doesn’t slow me down, I’m good!

Heading down the other side, we saw the heavy fog on the coast. Kevin wanted to do a repeat of last week’s ride, but I had a different idea, doing something we hadn’t done in a very long time. Ride halfway up West Alpine, and then drop down into Portola State Park. It took some convincing but Kevin eventually went along, reminding me many times that it didn’t like a great idea as we picked our way through missing pavement and debris on the nastily-steep descent. We even came across a very ominous sign on the way down… a dead rat lying on the road.

That descent is not just nasty, but also seems far longer than it really is. One of the few roads where climbing out goes a lot faster than expected… which is not a bad thing! Yes, it’s insanely steep at times, but in an oddly nice sort of way. Had it been 10 or 15 degrees warmer, things might have been otherwise. But at 70 degrees or so, not bad. Another benefit to the climb being so steep is that, when you get back onto West Alpine to continue the climb to Skyline, it actually seems easy!

At just 52 miles it wasn’t a very long ride, but it definitely had some punch. I thought it was a lot of fun. Kevin might suggest otherwise.