One ride that had it all- highs, lows, and in-between. Best of all, a great finish.

Tuesday’s ride… did it even get written up? Yes, I’m way behind. Trying to even remember Tuesday. Just checked Strava to make sure I rode, now a bit of it’s coming back to me. Pretty much a typical Tuesday ride, with Kevin heading up with the fast guys. Thursday was a near-washout, as Kevin developed some nasty flank/kidney pain, likely a small stone, and by the time we got through the park he said he was turning back. I talked him into continuing up Kings, which he did, taking 45 minutes instead of his usual 25 to 26. We turned back at the top, a whopping 17 mile ride, and I was a bit concerned about what Sunday’s ride would be like.

Kevin falling behind on Page Mill. Darned if I can figure out why he has issues on Page Mill and not other similar climbs.
Kevin falling behind on Page Mill. Darned if I can figure out why he has issues on Page Mill and not other similar climbs.

Kevin wasn’t very happy with what I proposed; my plan was to do the ride we weren’t able to complete last Sunday, due to his kidney/flank pain. Up Page Mill, down West Alpine, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road and then return up Tunitas. Last Sunday it was shortened, dropping down West Alpine and then heading back home via 84. For reasons I can’t quite figure out, Kevin isn’t liking Page Mill these days. Used to be me that hated that climb, but I’m beginning to get a feel for it.

So up Page Mill we went, Kevin wishing we were doing Old LaHonda instead, probably because Page Mill is one of the few climbs where I can outclimb him. No idea why. Today was no exception, but he started feeling a bit better towards the top. Then he began to feel a lot better on Haskins, almost to the point of me getting dropped until he started to run out of gas near the top.

Sandwich & cookie break at Pescadero, where the store had┬ámysteriously-unstocked shelves where the cokes were supposed to be! We headed north into the usual headwind and just as we were getting into a good rhythm, Kevin runs over a 2-inch nail of some sort that almost wrecked his new frame (scraping against it as the wheel went ’round). Normally, that would seriously deflate (so to speak) the mood, but not this time. It was surprisingly-easy climbing Highway 1 from San Gregorio to the top, where Stage Road hits it, and I was feeling very strong on the lower, relatively-flat lead in to the real climb on Tunitas. Unfortunately, Kevin wasn’t feeling the same, not yet, so I was still holding up for him, looking at how quickly we made it to the start of the forest, and wondering how good my time might have been if I were on my own.

Of course, such thoughts didn’t last. As soon as it got steep Kevin went rocketing past me, and it was all I could do keep within 20 seconds of him on the way up. Knowing how inconsistent his pace is, I never gave up, gradually clawing back a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there, until I finally caught back up to him, just past the spot where it “rolls over” and flattens out. From there to the top he got his 3rd or 4th or 5th wind, not sure which, and it was all I could do to hang onto his wheel to the top. How differently would things have been if I’d ditched him on the lower flanks and went on at my best pace? Don’t know. I do wish we could have pushed a bit harder earlier, and gotten up maybe two minutes faster. Maybe next time.

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Doping or not, nobody can admit they’re in awe of what it takes to win multiple TdFs

Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.
Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.

A day or two ago, Chris Froome talked about how tough it is to win the Tour de France, how you really can’t take it for granted that, just because you won previously, you should win the next year. Team Sky had suddenly fallen from being the future of the Tour de France for years to come, to an also-ran that appeared fatally-flawed through its dependence on a single person, an all-in plan with no backup.

Nobody else will say it, I will. Someday, somebody’s going to figure out that it ain’t so easy winning multiple TdFs, and that there’s more than just good doping required. Erasing Lance from history such that people are too scared to even mention that they’re in awe of him winning 7 TdFs… it’s just wrong. How long before somebody says “I don’t know how Lance did it…” and the conversation doesn’t turn PC and become nothing but doping?

Telekom was as doped to the gills as Postal, maybe more so. The Spanish teams were a joke, they were so gassed. Very, very few rode clean. It wasn’t just doping that won 7 TdFs (now erased). It was structure (of which doping was a huge part, yes, I get that), it was all-in for one guy, it was pushing cycling technology. Team Sky’s picked up on that, they’ve read the book, but nobody, ever, is able to admit that was the book they read. And no athlete is comfortable saying what they must be thinking.

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