Why did we stop? Old guy crossing Jefferson, slowly, we had tons of time…

Kevin and I are riding on Jefferson heading to work; wide 4-lane road, and this old guy, I mean stooped-over old guy, is slowly making it across the road. Not in a crosswalk. You’re thinking geez, what’s this guy doing? Who’s looking after him? So we’re doing 20mph or so, and by the time we pass him, he’s made it just past the middle of the road. Nowhere close to us. Perfectly safe.

Except that we didn’t pass him. I yelled to Kevin to stop; he looked at me quizzically, wondering, why? There’s no safety issue; we’re nowhere near him and it would seem he’d take another minute to get to where we are.

Here’s why we stopped. Nobody’s looking for an old guy crossing the road nowhere near an intersection. They might, however, see a couple of people on bikes, with not one but TWO bright tail lights. And if they’re focused on us, they might not see the other guy. But… if WE stop, they (the cars behind us) are going to have to stop. Well hopefully anyway! And a car in the other lane might wonder why we stopped, and look around, and see the old guy.

That’s one of the reasons why the law says nobody gets to proceed through a crosswalk, as long as there’s someone in any part of it. You stopping, whether on a bike or a car, sends a signal to others that there’s a reason to stop. It greatly reduces the chance of a pedestrian getting run over. Just something to think about, next time you see someone crossing the street in front of you. Even if you can squeeze by, maybe you shouldn’t.

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Fastest ride up Kings in 10 months; 60 year old working to turn back the clock. But how far?

Unrelated to the main story, more for entertainment, the video shows a driver with a death wish at the base of 84 in Woodside. The truck ahead of the car clearly had its turn signal (for a right-hand turn at the base of the hill), and yet the car... well, you just gotta watch the video.

Strava, unfortunately, knows all. You can’t hide from the truth. You get older, you get slower. Unless… unless you were leaving something on the table before, leaving room for improvement that can take you past where you were before, even though you’re getting older.

Obviously this isn’t the sort of thing a younger person thinks about. It’s tied to that sense that you’re on a downhill slide; that feeling that your best years are behind you. You start to think about things you used to do, that you can’t anymore. But, while the long-term trend is not stoppable, you can, even at 60, have a better year than you did at 59. That is my plan. The past few weeks, I’ve finally seen evidence that it’s possible. My times up Kings are gradually improving, with today’s 28:22 being my best since June 16th last year. My ride Sunday up Old LaHonda was my best since July 5th last year, and West Alpine, best since June 21st last year.

So on the one hand, I could be depressed about my best cycling years behind me, but the real truth is, it still may be possible to turn back the clock a year or two.

Am I denying my own mortality? Sure. Maybe. Is it unhealthy? The opposite I think, as it encourages me to take a bit better care of my body, watch my weight more closely (this winter it had kicked up a few pounds more than I should have let it) and believe in the numbers.

Numbers. It’s all about numbers, isnt’ it? Strava times are obvious. Other numbers came from my breathing test, which showed, even though I didn’t notice it, a significant improvement using an albuterol inhaler. I never got that albuterol “buzz” or any other feeling that it was actually doing something, so I quit using it a while after it was initially prescribed a few years ago. But my test last month showed, at least in the lab, that it should help. After going back on the stuff, establishing a routine and making it part of the plan, I’m seeing my Strava numbers improve as well.

How far can I take this? Not too. I’ve still got an addiction to chocolate that limits my weight loss, and the limited amount of time I can ride doesn’t allow for the type of training that would really do me good (hard rides occasionally, not all the time, because easier rides would be added into the mix).

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