First morning with long-fingered gloves, first morning with toe warmers, plus leg warmers & base layers that have been in use the past two weeks… yes, winter is coming and summer is gone. Kevin and I never saw temps higher than 50, but no lower than 42. But no clouds, no wind to speak of, and nobody else out on the road. Well, we saw a small number, but not many.
Since it’s getting colder my breathing is becoming louder again, but there’s an odd common theme for many of my rides lately- they haven’t been particularly fast, but I’ve felt stronger than I’d expect. Doesn’t make much sense; if I actually was stronger, I’d be faster right? Maybe I’m just becoming at peace with not being quite as fast as I used to, recalculating expectations as I get older.
Road work? You said it. Skyline still has two sections of active, one-lane-control road work, near Bear Gulch and another just north of Old LaHonda. Descending 84 into Woodside has three separate sections now; thankfully, the “big” one, the section that’s been under construction since what, last March?, looks to be nearly completed, with new pavement in both lanes. If you hit all 5, like we do on our regular ride, you might get delayed a total of 15 minutes, possibly 20, something to keep in mind if you’re on a schedule.
It was the usual Sunday ride, but with a twist; Larry, the guy I’d ridden in France with this past July, was out here from Houston for a conference, so he joined us (myself and Kevin). Houston. Ever see a topographic map of Houston? You know, those maps that have contour lines showing hills and mountains? Well, there aren’t any. Contour lines that is. Because it’s all flat (which is my the heavy rains they had caused such a mess; all that water with no place to go). So you take a cyclist from Houston, put him on a hill and what happens? Well, the good news is that most cyclists know how brakes work, even cyclists from Houston, so they don’t slide backward back down the hill. But they don’t climb really fast either.
But maybe that’s not so bad, once in a while, to not be charging up the climbs? It gave me a chance to ride more strongly on the flat sections, and, a few times, “play” on a few climbs by riding really hard for a short period of time, basically at a pace that’s going to cause you to blow up and have to spend a long time recovering.
It was a beautiful day to ride, but frankly, the cooler temps caught me a bit by surprise. Kevin asked before we left if we should bring some long-fingered gloves and I told him no. Yes would have been a better answer. Cold toes by the end too; the Kings descent was fast & chilly.