Smoke gets in your eyes

Sometimes you’re just scratching your head, wondering about priorities… more important to talk on a cell phone than drive carefully?

First things first. The smoke really didn’t seem that bad this morning, even though I woke up with a dry throat that felt like it was coated by dust. Kaiser even sent out an all-hands email warning people not to be outside today if you could avoid it, talking about respiratory issues that could be made much worse through exposure to the smoke. But despite my ongoing breathing issues, the amount of pollution has never really made much of a difference in how I feel. Temperature is the most-important variable; if it’s colder, my breathing becomes worse. If it’s really hot, you can still hear me breathe, but I do much better.

Today Kevin (kid) and I were joined by Karen, whom we hadn’t seen in quite a few months. We took it fairly easy up Kings, but towards the top Kevin was starting to feel some pretty bad pain in his right knee. Certainly not from today’s climb; in all likelihood, it was from hanging onto Marcus’ wheel on Tuesday’s ride, when the two of them went flying up west-side 84. We shortened the ride a bit, eliminating the West Old LaHonda segment, to help Kevin minimize his knee pain.

Most noteworthy event on the ride is seen in the photo above. Pretty unbelievable, a guy driving too-quickly up around a corner, hogging the extreme side of the road such that, had there been anyone walking on that side, he couldn’t have possibly avoided them. Oh, and he was holding a cell phone in one hand at the same time. That prompted me to send the photo above in an email to Woodside’s Town Engineer, with this message-

Woodside has a number of signs encouraging better behavior for cyclists. What about motorists? How many accidents occur from people texting or talking on their phones (without headsets)? I’ve attached a photo from this-morning’s ride showing a guy rounding a corner on Albion, at speed, just one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding a phone near his face. If someone had been walking on that side of the street, you’d be dealing with a serious injury (or worse) right now. People like this are a danger to all road users, including the many people we see on Albion with strollers, those out walking their dogs (and horses!), cyclists and other motorists.

Why not a campaign to eliminate distracted driving, making the community roads safer for all, especially those who live in Woodside and enjoy taking morning walks? That could get a lot of community support from residents, as well as cycling groups.

I’ll let you know if I hear anything back. –Mike–

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.