Kevin thought I was dying on Old LaHonda

The deceptively-soft start to Tunitas. Beautiful day but cool enough to require a base layer and leg warmers!
The bare-legged woman of West Old LaHonda
Left a bit earlier than usual today, since we had to get back in time for me to finish packing and head to the airport for a series of flights that will eventually land my wife and I in Cape Town. Presently at 38,000ft someplace over Nevada maybe? Summer is now little more than a memory; there aren’t going to be many, if any, opportunities to ride without leg warmers and a base layer. At least not quite cold enough to require long-finger gloves, although we did bring them, just in case.

I was hoping I’d be nicely warmed up by the time we got to Old LaHonda, but no, it got cooler as we headed up in the shade, and my breathing was the worst its been since, well, since it’s been this cool. I had really gotten spoiled over the summer! Kevin thought we should shorten the ride by heading back down 84 and riding “the loop” but that wasn’t going to happen. Between my breathing issues and the recent bone marrow thing, I’m not about to back down anytime soon and look back at a particular day as the turning point, that day I gave in, the day from which “giving in” might become more the norm than exception. Or, as they say, #notdeadyet.

Frankly, I’ve got to talk with Kevin and encourage him to be more, well, encouraging! Fortunately, as expected, I felt better and better with each passing mile. The struggle to get to the top of Old LaHonda is quickly put to the back of my mind once we’re heading down the other side. The duck pond was its usual pretty self, although the turtles… where have they gone? There were some large ducks sitting on the floating branches where you’d normally see 3 or 4 turtles, leaving Kevin to wonder if Turtles actually hibernate this time of year.

Very little traffic out and, in Pescadero, a nearly-empty Arcangeli store/bakery. Think I know why- they had no cookies out! We weren’t the only ones surprised by that; a woman came in asking about the missing cookies, which her daughter was apparently looking forward to, and voila, a couple cookies appeared from the back room. We snagged some too, although frankly, these cookies did not pass the #cookiefacetest. A bit too small! We met a nice young couple (guy from France, woman from Belgium) cycling from San Francisco to… well, they weren’t really sure. Santa Barbara maybe. They’d just keep going south until their sense of adventure for this particular trip was fulfilled. There’s something appealing to that. It’s certainly in stark contrast to my own trips, where everything’s planned to the nth degree.

Tunitas, well, yes, it’s still there, it’s still a tough haul. I rode with Kevin up to half-way through the steep section before watching him ride on, arriving at the top about 3 minutes later than he did. On the way passed two young women we’d seen earlier on West Old LaHonda, when we’d asked if they might have been a bit cold with their bare, no-leg-warmered legs. “COld? No, numb!” one of them replied at the time. Fortunately it was considerably warmer climbing Tunitas.

Overall a very nice day to be out on a bike. And much more comfortable spending 4 hours on a tiny, thinly-padded seat than the past three hours on this plane have been!

Where did everybody go?

Kevin riding up West Old LaHonda, moon overhead.
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.