PRs may be harder to get, but not impossible!

Heading up Pescadero Road towards Haskins, near the start of a lengthy Strava segment, one that we actually scored a personal best with today!
Strava says I’ve ridden the segment from Pescadero to the start of the Haskins climb 39 times since 2008. In the opposite direction, it’s likely many times that; truthfully, climbing Haskins from the coast side isn’t all that much fun. But that’s what we did today, and, using favorable conditions (not too hot and slight tailwind) Kevin and I set a new PR for that section, beating my 2013 time by 3 seconds. Not much, but as you ride the same roads over and over and over, and you get older and older and older, it gets tougher and tougher and tougher to get new pesonal records!

It was the “Reverse Pescadero with West Alpine” route today, about 67 miles, 6158ft of climbing, 15.8mph and 203 weighted average watts. I’m OK with that. Kevin’s average watts will have been much, much higher, since he did a dramatic pull from LaHonda all the way to San Gregorio, into the wind. How much difference does drafting make? Kevin averaged 251 watts for the section, vs my 166. Anyone thinking drafting doesn’t make a huge difference doesn’t know how to draft! Trust me, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become very, very good at drafting. 🙂

I also *finally* got over the 1000 VAM mark (vertical meters of climbing/hour) on Old LaHonda. 1003, to be exact.

Overall, Kevin’s weighted average power of 218 watts for the ride isn’t that much higher than my 203 though, so clearly I was doing my best to pull my weight the rest of the way. Kevin did get to unleash his legs on West Alpine; all I could do was watch him ride away and hope he was having fun. Unfortunately I did catch up to him about 3/4 of the way up, where he’d had to stop for a brief seizure. I wasn’t having much fun on West Alpine, dealing with some really extensive sweating, totally soaking my headband messing up my glasses enough that I had to remove them for the upper part of the climb. It wasn’t that hot at the time (59 degrees) so even with leg warmers and a base layer, I shouldn’t have been sweating quite so much. Obviously, I need to ride faster, more often!

There is some evidence the new breathing meds are working; it’s not as if my times are rapidly decreasing, but I’m not gasping for air nearly so much and can even talk a bit on a climb, something I haven’t been able to do in ages. I’m thinking I just have to retrain myself to breathe like a normal person does.

Apart from the sweating issue (accompanied by a bit of drop in power) on the upper parts of West Alpine, there was a feeling that things are improving. At least, once I got past the idea that there was absolutely no possible way for me to take a pull as Kevin charged towards San Gregorio! Very, very impressive ride by Kevin on that section. –Mike–

It really was Flag Day on West Old LaHonda!

Flag Day does have some special meaning to me; it would have been my Dad’s 87th birthday I think. Sadly, he didn’t quite make it to his 57th, passing away far far far too early 30 years ago. I remember very well, just over 5 years ago, creeping up on the age he died. Very odd to think I’m living a stage in my life he never got to. To some extent, I consider this “bonus” time, although with the irony of knowing that it was an MPN (myeloproliferative neoplasm) that did him in, and it was just over a year ago that I found I, too, have an MPN, fortunately a variant that’s much easier to deal with, and hopefully one that doesn’t progress, as his did, to something worse. But in the meantime, I can say, in true Star Wars fashion, “I am an MPN warrior, like my father before me.” 🙂

As you can see in the photo it was pretty dreary “up on top” again; what you can’t see in the photo is we had a bigger group than we’ve seen in a while. 5 of us today; myself, Kevin (kid), Kevin (pilot), JR and Karen. Kevin (kid) and Karen did their thing, heading up Kings at a reasonable clip, while the rest of us took it much easier, finishing several minutes later.

I’m really looking forward to leg warmers and base layers being the exception rather than the rule. It didn’t get that cold, about 45F, but would be nice to be back up to 60 like last week!