Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Today the bear got me.

Once in a while I have trouble getting to sleep Monday nights, because I know I have to get to sleep a bit earlier than normal since I’ve got to get up earlier than normal to ride. And knowing that I have to get to sleep keeps me from getting to sleep. Hate that. Last night was one of those nights, although I didn’t feel all that bad when I got up in the morning, despite maybe 4-5 hours of sleep.

Didn’t feel so bad until I started riding anyway. Even then I didn’t feel all that bad, but Kevin was riding away from me pretty quickly after leaving the house, and my heart rate wouldn’t climb the way it should. That didn’t change after meeting up with the group (Karl, Karen & George) and starting up Kings. I was pretty solidly off the back by the time we got to the park entrance, and it would have been a very lonely ride up the hill if Karl hadn’t dropped back to keep me company.

Meanwhile, up at the front, Kevin and George were laying it down, hard, with Kevin getting up the hill first and taking all contested sprints. Perhaps this is where we point out that Kevin is 22 and George is 59 maybe? And further that George had already been on the infamous “morning” ride before meeting up with us!

I did feel better later in the ride, but never enough to keep up with Kevin. There could have been more to it than just my lack of sleep though; it was darned cold, 36 degrees, up on Skyline! What happened to the warmer weather of just a week or two ago? Maybe Thursday; the current weather report shows a high of 80. Of course, that won’t be when I’m riding. Maybe Sunday I can get back out there without leg warmers and base layers. I hope!

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Page Mill, Haskins, Stage, Tunitas… tough ride!

The all-important cookie test. If it doesn't cover your entire face, it's not big enough!
The all-important cookie test. If it doesn’t cover your entire face, it’s not big enough!

On paper, it didn’t seem that bad. 68 miles, 6800ft of climbing. That’s a lot easier than a Santa Cruz loop, and we did that a month ago with no problem. So what made today’s ride so tough? Guess it starts with Page Mill. There’s just no good way to attack that climb; no way to get a sustainable rhythm. It starts out with that ugly section just past the golf course, then another nasty pitch where it intersects Moody, and of course there’s that piece between Gates 3 & 4. And don’t forget that last little uphill grind at the MidPen parking lot near the top.

Not helping is that Kevin was looking pretty good so I told him get going, don’t wait for me, I’ll see you at the top. Kevin made it up a minute faster than I did, no huge deal for Kevin but I was pretty gassed. Maybe he actually got pretty gassed as well, since I found him recovering from a seizure at the top. But hey, it happened after the Strava timing point, so his time was solid!

Neither of us had much in the way of legs for Haskins, a full minute slower than our target time of 10 minutes for that climb, but looking forward to lunch in Pescadero makes it worthwhile. Chicken Club sandwich (split between us), coke, and a giant double-chocolate cookie. We don’t ride to eat, but if you’re going to be eating lunch anyway, why not the best? It doesn’t get much better than the bakery in Pescadero!

It was a beautiful day to ride, mid-to-upper 60s, clear skies, and despite the drought it's still green.
It was a beautiful day to ride, mid-to-upper 60s, clear skies, and despite the drought it’s still green.

Stage Road was tough, as we fought a good headwind the whole way and Kevin wasn’t riding too strongly at this point. I’m used to that being a temporary condition though. Not as if I was feeling very strong either at that point, but I can push through just about anything.

Tunitas. OK, that’s where it gets interesting. Slight tailwind, so I’m doing what I can to take advantage of it and get us to the base of the real climb as quickly as possible. Kevin’s just barely hanging on, but I’ve seen this before, once he gets to the big climb he’s gone. Today was no exception. By the time we got to Lobitos Creek Road it was time to send him up the rest of

Going from full-speed to zero in the middle of a climb isn't easy on the legs; time for Kevin to take some Tylenol.
Going from full-speed to zero in the middle of a climb isn’t easy on the legs; time for Kevin to take some Tylenol.

the climb alone; no way would I be able to keep up. He flew up the steep parts so hard & fast that he was completely out of sight within a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, neither could he. About 10 minutes into the steepest section (appropriately titled “Hammer of Thor” on Strava) I came across him at the side of the road, coming out of another seizure. Darn. He would have had an awesome time otherwise! We rode up the rest of the way at a pretty easy pace, with Kevin’s potential 44 minute (or better) time becoming just under an hour.

There is no question that Kevin’s on an upswing cycling-wise, killing it on the big climbs. Too bad that he’s at a period in his epilepsy cycle where he’s having seizures more-frequently. –Mike–

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