Yes, I’ve been riding, just not writing

Yes, I’m actually two rides behind. Well, no, I’m behind in reporting the two rides. No matter how crazy things get, I’m going to find a way to ride, but maybe not get a chance to write about them as quickly as I should. The closing of our Los Altos location in a couple of weeks has definitely been weighing heavily on my time.

Tuesday morning it was just two of my, myself and JR, and thank goodness JR showed because I don’t know if I could have gotten up the hill without him pacing me. It was one of those “high gravity” mornings, but somehow he got me to the top in just under 30 minutes. I would have guessed it was going to take 33 or 34. Beautiful up on Skyline, as you can see in the picture.

Thursday? Thursday I show up and nobody’s there. Just me! I dutifully left on-time and began climbing through the park, which, for the first time in ages, had the gate closed at the bottom. I’d like to think that added a few minutes to my time, but maybe 10 or 15 seconds would be the most. I kept plugging away at a moderate pace and was surprised, just over halfway up, to see a group of 4 cyclists ahead of me. I was very, very slowly gaining time on them, finally catching up just before the big open clearing. Turned out to be JR, Scotty, Ben (I think?) and another guy new to the ride, although since they’d left a bit earlier, not sure if it was them on my ride, or me on theirs.

Skyline was not so pretty on Thursday, just really wet. Fortunately not too cold, since none of us were wearing leg warmers or long-fingered gloves, but it was a far cry from the heat of last weekend. And the West Old LaHonda concrete barriers? Still there.

Friday morning (technically it already is Friday morning as I write this) will be different than it’s been for the past 4 months… no blood test! I’m now on a monthly schedule, which I’ll take as an indication my doctor isn’t too worried about me. The other good news is that my son Kevin finally got the OK to ride again, so he’ll be back out there Sunday, making the Pescadero run for the first time in a month. And even though he hasn’t been on a bike in that long, he’ll still be faster than me on the climbs. Sigh.

Labor Day, cooler, but very few people riding?

Even passing by the super-popular Stanford Dish trail, there were very few people hiking up to it, far fewer than normal. Where did everybody go?
It wasn’t a “real” ride day; I had some work to get done, including taking care of a few loose end in Los Altos, but I figured why not combine work with riding? So at about noon I headed out into really weird skies, felt a few sprinkles, quite a bit of wind and rode from Redwood City to our Los Altos location, where I met up with my wife and did some transfers between the two stores (she had a car, obviously).

Along the way I saw very few people, but one did stand out. On the Robleda “roller coaster” in Los Altos Hills, that piece of road that used to be really fun before they put the stop sign in the middle of it? There was a guy ahead of me wearing, get this, a first-generation hard-shell helmet, the Bell Biker. That helmet is seriously 35 years old and probably about as effective at this point as wearing a styrofoam hat. Of course, being safety-conscious, he had a rear view mirrow attached to it. And then proceeded to blow thorugh the Robleda stop sign, and another two after it, without slowing down in the slightest. Pretty strange and pretty annoying.

Strava “warning” me that a segment is approaching and challenging me to do something about it.
The plan was to ride pretty easily, but darn that Strava and the “segments” feature. I’m heading back, about to turn right to go up Sand Hill from Foothill, and up pops a 6 minute, 6 second segment ridden by George Smith, one of our semi-regular Tuesday/Thursday-morning riders. And it started teasing me. I was actually ahead of his time, likely because I was getting favorable stop lights. So instead of “just” riding, I started pushing, seeing if I could do better than George, and somehow, I ended up with 3 seconds faster. Never mind that, looking at the fastest times for that segment, I’m seeing 4:22.

It certainly warmed up on the return, as high as 87, but that’s still 10 degrees cooler than yesterday. And tomorrow is supposed to be cooler still. I’m ready for it!