Rain has no future in my dreams!

Let’s forget about rain for a moment, and think about the awesome days ahead. Days like this one, in France.

OK, it’s not like I can deny the existence of rain. It intruded once again on this morning’s ride, which saw three of us climbing Kings (myself and both Kevins), and I even managed to catch up to a couple others who were heading up the hill. For a wet ride, it wasn’t all that bad, and I certainly felt a lot better than I did on Thursday’s ride.

But tonight I got to looking through older photos and of course, I’ve got a ton of them from France. I was looking at the 2015 trip, the last time I visited the Alps with Kevin (last year’s trip came close, seeing a stage in the nearby Jura mountains for just a day). 2015 was definitely one of the top trips when I look back upon it; we discovered a phenomenal apartment in Grenoble, and we managed to do all but one day of the trip out of that single location (we took the train back into Paris for the finale and spend one night there before flying home, but 8 or 9 nights in one place, Grenoble, was really nice). We discovered a ton of little back roads, found a few kebab places in Grenoble, and even rode up a mountain named “Col de Morte”. Morte = “death” in French.

It’s still up in the air whether I can make it this year or not. If I do, it’s going to be a shorter trip, leaving on Sunday the 16th and returning Monday the 24th. And it would be without Kevin (my son, not the pilot), who’s been with me on all of the trips from 2008-on. If I don’t go, it will be only the second year I’ve missed the ‘tour since I started this ritual in 2000 (Kevin and I missed going in 2009). Who knows, could be there’s a bit of a mortality issue driving my desire to keep going, because who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do the big climbs?

In the meantime, I’ll keep riding Kings, I’ll keep hitting up the Pescadero Bakery, and those are great things to be sure, but in my dreams, it will be France. –Mike–

What does “The Perfect Ride” look like? It sure surprised us!

Who knew a gray day like this could produce a great ride!
Perfect ride, perfect morning, maybe what made it perfect was the unlikeliness of the day for a great ride.

It started much earlier than our normal Sunday ride; typically, we think we’re going to get out at a reasonable hour but by the time we finally get going on a Sunday “morning” it could be almost 11am. That really wasn’t an option today, because we knew rain could move in early, perhaps as early as 11am. Helping us to get motivated for an early start was the on-line coverage of the Amstel Gold Classic, one of the more-famous spring races in the Ardennes (largely Belgium).

Sure, getting up at 7am we only got to see the last hour of the race, but that’s usually where the action takes place, and no exception today. Great finish, right at 8am, and by 8:17am we were out on the road. No time to do the usual coastal loop (and besides, would the Pescadero bakery be open Easter Sunday?) so we did one of Kevin’s favorites, heading over Old LaHonda to LaHonda and up West Alpine.

Definitely no sign of the sun, but it wasn’t looking like we were heading for a soaking either. Just gray. Normally I’m not a fan of gray, but today, it just felt great to be out there, making the most of the morning, beating the rain. We even got to help a customer with a brake that I could hear dragging a bit as she was riding up Old LaHonda. Double bonus for that one- getting to help someone with a bike issue and having a good excuse to take a breather.

The Flanders flag when it used to be displayed at 8100 West Alpine. Would have been fitting to be out today!

West Alpine… oh sure, it was steep, and yes, Kevin escaped on the steeper later section of the climb, finishing a minute ahead of me. Along the way we passed the house that used to fly the Flanders flag, at 8100 West Alpine. For kicks I looked it up on the ‘net and found this. Looks like it sold recently and apparently no restriction in the deed of sale requiring the new owners to continue to fly the flag.

We were feeling the occasional sprinkle heading up West Alpine so the idea of going down Page Mill and doing “the loop” to get in some extra mileage didn’t seem like a good idea; better to head straight back via Skyline, which would have us descending 84 so we could check out the new section of missing road. Surprisingly, the rain continued to hold off, and equally surprising, the new section of damaged roadway has already been largely dealt with by carving into the hill a bit, preserving lanes in each direction, allowing them to work on the area that’s damaged without stopping traffic.

Getting down into Woodside it still wasn’t raining, so we gave thought to riding out to the end of Canada & back, but Kevin had the idea of looping around the hills above Redwood City by heading up over Edgewood and home via narrow back roads. This just happened to have us passing by the coffee shop near Canyon Inn, Emerald Hills CafĂ© & Roastery. A great way to relax for a few minutes before the last mile or two home.

And funny thing… just as we got home, like within 100 meters of our house, it started raining. Actual rain, not just drizzle. Perfect timing. Perfect ride. And back in plenty of time for Easter Sunday dinner. –Mike–