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The world is back in order; Pescadero’s Mastadon back in place

IMG_0593_DxO1200Being Mother’s Day I was supposed to get out early on a ride with Kevin, but being Mother’s Day also meant having to head out and get coffee for breakfast. So the early start I’d hoped for got later and later, and by the time we could finally get going (10:30) Kevin has having issues of the sort that Immodium AD is used for. Solo ride for Dad.

The original plan was the usual “reference” ride. Up Old LaHonda, down the other side, past the LaHonda Duck Pond, over Haskins Grade to Pescadero, then north on Stage and return via Tunitas. No reason not to stick to the plan, and it gave me an opportunity to see what my legs and lungs could do.

You’re never really sure how it’s going to go until you get out there and face down the hill first-hand. You might feel sluggish, you might feel good, You just don’t know for sure until you start climbing the hill, and even then, it might take a couple of minutes to know if you have it, or not. Even though you know this, you’re still playing through the hill in your mind, before you get to it, thinking this is going to be a 24-minute climb or something like that. And that’s pretty much exactly what I was thinking, in the few miles before Old LaHonda this morning, that it would be around 24 minutes. But, I hit the 3 minute timing point just a few seconds ahead, and the halfway timing point indicated I might get just under 22 minutes. Which, of course, I did. “Of course” because I’m nothing if not consistent or predictable; this 59-year-old body rarely pulls a rabbit (really fast time) out of a hat, nor does it unexpectedly fail to deliver the usual (semi-mediocre) effort.

No long stop at the Duck Pond for photos this trip, since I needed to get back as quickly as possible, but I did pause long enough to see the turtles are back, or at least one turtle, made nearly-invisible because it was covered in whatever-it-is that’s growing on top of the pond. Then it was on to Haskins, which I hoped to get under 10, and did. It wasn’t pretty; you’d think, on my own, that I could do it more-efficiently, instead of trying to keep up with someone else’s pace. Doesn’t seem to work that way.

“Lunch” in Pescadero was a Pepsi (they were out of Coke) and one of their oversized chocolate-chip cookies. Couldn’t do a face test because it was too fresh (wouldn’t hold shape) and tough to do by yourself. Then it was into the headwind heading north on Stage, which didn’t seem as tough as expected.

Tunitas? The legs felt like they’d been done-in by the prior climbs, but you do what you gotta do. No tailwind to help with the climb, but I pushed anyway, and then, just a bit before the real climb starts, my Garmin tells me I’m approaching a segment and gives me my best prior time for that segment, and adds insult to injury by giving me a real-time indication of how I’m doing today vs then (how far ahead or behind at any given time, today showing times only in red, which doesn’t mean you’re doing well). Still, I finished the Tunitas climb in 47-something, so overall, it was a pretty good ride. Just got to figure out where and why those segments mysteriously appear as I ride!

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So what does it tell me when a 65 year old guy shows up and out-climbs me?

The obligatory picture of West Old LaHonda, always a beautiful view whether a clear or cloudy day!
The obligatory picture of West Old LaHonda, always a beautiful view whether a clear or cloudy day!

Warm this morning? Oh yeah, still wore leg warmers and light base layers, but definitely didn’t need the base layers. Leg warmers? It was still as cool as 51 or so early in the ride, and early-on in my racing days I was taught nothing was more-important than keeping you knees warm. 60 degrees and below, definitely keep ’em covered!

Today’s riders- Kevin, Kevin, Karl, Karen, Eric, George and that 65-year-old guy, Scott, I think? Kevin, Kevin and Scott were riding off the front a bit, although I wasn’t doing that badly behind, trying to hang with Karl. About 3/4 of the way up Kings I got to take an unexpected (but welcome) rest when Kevin “seized up” and spent just over two minutes on the ground.

You know it's a nice day when you have strong shadows! ( especially when they're chasing you, rather than beating you).
You know it’s a nice day when you have strong shadows! (
especially when they’re chasing you, rather than beating you).

Kevin sought, and got, redemption on the upper flanks of West Old LaHonda. Since Karl had to shorten the ride and leave us at Sky Londa, Kevin had the opportunity to drive the pace and do his rocket-thing on that final steep pitch up to Skyline.

But that Scott guy, 65 years old and able to ditch me on Kings. How does that make me feel? On the one hand, a sense of defeat, as in, I’m worse-off than I thought. The flip side? That I could potentially be a stronger rider in 5 or 6 years than I am today!

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