Good day for Kevin; he rocked Tunitas for a new PR!

This is what the beginning of a PR looks like; you can see Kevin sprinting away from the safety of our group.

Pretty nice day for a ride! Started out cool and foggy, so I put on some full-fingered gloves and a base layer, even though the weather report said it would get quite toasty later. The fog didn’t take too long to burn off; by the top of Old LaHonda that base layer was coming off! With a bit of a laugh at my expense, as I neglected to put the suspenders from my cycling shorts back up, something Kevin (younger Kevin) enjoyed pointing out to me.

Oh right, who was on the ride. It started with Kevin (younger), Kevin (ex-pilot) and Colin. Along the way we came across Karen, whom we haven’t seen since she was in the hospital for three weeks having a brain aneurysm dealt with, and later on, a very fast group including Nicole and Kathryn, owners of many QOMs (Queen of the Mountain records).

Kevin (younger) thought he would avoid having to think about a fast ride up Tunitas by doing a long, hard pull out to Pescadero. It was just last week that he was well on his way to a wicked-fast time up Tunitas but had a seizure about mid-way that obviously wrecked his time. He was hoping to take it easy and just enjoy the ride today. But apparently rocket fuel came in the form of the three tacos from the Pescadero gas station.

Way off in the distance you can see the group I chased down, thinking it would be a good group for Kevin to test his legs.

Kevin didn’t kill himself on Stage, and in fact didn’t look all that strong on the final climb to Highway 1, but it turns out he was holding something back for the finale. We hit the base of Tunitas with a slight tail wind, and a few hundred meters in front of us was a very fast group that had passed us on Stage. I don’t know why, but I decided to bring our group up to theirs, and it wasn’t too long before Kevin (the younger one, or maybe I should say the faster one) mentioned to me that Strava was telling him we, or I should say he, was in pretty good shape for a good time today.

A happy Kevin at the top of Tunitas

I suggested that he go for it; what I didn’t know was that he was going to go for it right then. He bolted out of our group and sped on ahead, well before the entry to the forest. And that was the last we saw of him. I rode with the fast group as far as the Bridge of Death, and then watched them ride away from me. Kevin (ex pilot) couldn’t keep up with the fast folk, but stayed ahead of me until I managed to claw my way back just at the grassy knoll, where Tunitas flattens out. We arrive at the top about 8 minutes behind the faster Kevin, who had that exhausted but really happy look you don’t see often enough. He’s getting his speed back, and it’s fun to watch.

Overall a really nice ride, even for us slow guys (myself, Kevin ex-pilot & Colin). And as especially nice ride for younger Kevin, who shaved two minutes off his prior best on Tunitas and now owns a 41-something.

It’s not been easy lately, at least not on the climbs

Sunday Kevin and I did a nice ride out to the coast, the direct route over Old LaHonda then 84 all the way to San Gregorio. At least it wasn’t like a few weeks ago, where all I could do was try and hold onto Kevin’s wheel as we motored west; this time I was able to pull up alongside at times and actually talk. Big improvement! But. We had a bit of a tailwind heading up the lower part of Tunitas, and Kevin decided not to waste it. Oh my. We hit the entry to the forest, the beginning of the climb, a full minute under my previous best. We were flying. Once the hill started I lost sight of Kevin pretty quickly, and lost that minute completely pretty much exactly at the bridge of death. From there it was all about limiting my losses, eventually finishing at 48:26, my best time in two years. Kevin would have had a PR if he hadn’t had a seizure on the steep part and lost a few minutes. He still looked quite well rested by the time I caught up to him!

Tuesday morning? As was the case last Thursday, the lungs are telling me no, I don’t want to work that hard, slow down. There’s just not much ability to try and push through. Hopefully I’ll break through soon and feel normal again; maybe it will take some sort of really tough Santa Cruz ride?