It’s going to be a long winter

I’m back to a “normal” riding schedule, punctuated with an occasional missed commute to work due to rain, and a slight-shortening of the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride again, due to rain, causing us to drop the West Old LaHonda section in order to get back in time to get a shower before work. But overall, things are “normal” as the holiday season is past (no skipping a ride just because it’s Christmas or something like that, or the shop being open on a Sunday).

In fact, this first week of the new year has been bigger than most, since it included the New Year’s Day ride up Mt Hamilton. I would love for all my weeks to be 180 miles! But perhaps what made today seem most “normal” was doing the Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas loop with Kevin for the first time since Thanksgiving. I’ve done the ride solo at least once, but Kevin’s skipped a ride or two to spend time with his girlfriend.

My thought was that Kevin might wear down a bit as the ride went on; he’s not ridden nearly as many miles as I have this past month. Instead, I found myself struggling to keep up with him on Haskins, a grade I typically pull even with him, sometimes even doing better. On Stage Kevin was having some issues that he blamed on maybe coming down with a cold, but on Tunitas it turned out that he had previously been faking that as a tactical play, pulling away hard and fast as soon as it got steep, finishing 7 minutes ahead of me. He says someone he passed on the way up asked if they could borrow his legs. Must be nice.

Pretty cool out there; 46 to 54 degrees, so it was coffee in Pescadero standing in for Coke. As you can see in the photo above, the cookie test was a total failure; didn’t come close to covering Kevin’s face. Not much choice in cookies either; just oatmeal and butterscotch. Maybe they cut back inventory in the off-season?

Overall it didn’t feel too much different from how I remember feeling last year this time, which is a good thing.

First ride up Kings in 2018 maybe toughest ever

The first of many pictures of West Old LaHonda for 2018. Storm clouds on the horizon!
Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Today the bear got me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. Great rides Sunday and Monday, first on West Apine, followed by Mount Hamilton. Not huge miles, but for Winter, it’s real stuff. Real stuff at a time when there’s been a lot going on in the shop (we had a very successful December, selling many more kids bikes than we have in quite some time) and there’s that cold-weather thing, which, er, enhances my breathing isssues. In July, in France, I have no problem stringing 4 or 5 back-to-back days of solid riding in the mountains. But, it’s warm and, well, it’s France.

But this morning it was Kings, and it was winter, and it was after two other good days on the bike, and a third good day in a row was not to be had. 36 minutes, 39 seconds up Kings. It wasn’t that long ago that I’d have to be sick as a dog to be as slow as 30 minutes. Well, OK, now that I think about it, that would have been 15+, maybe 20 years ago. Yeah, probably 20. But today it was just putting one foot down then the other, standing pretty much the whole way and never getting much power. Just nothing in the legs. JR and younger Kevin finished way, way, way ahead of me. And when I got to the top, it didn’t get easier. It took me half the way to Sky Londa before I felt like I could even remember what normal might be.

West Old LaHonda was a struggle too, but my time of 14:39 was much more in line with normal times for the season. The rest of the ride, well, I survived. The good news is that I set a pretty low bar to improve upon. The rest of 2018 can only get better!