Windy much? Oh yeah! Kevin’s last big ride was a good one.

It’s been a while since the Stage Road Peacocks were out on display. Sometimes you hear them, but rarely see them. When they are out, there’s usually staring at its reflection on the second floor window, wondering who that other Peacock is. Not the smartest birds.

Kevin goes in for brain surgery this Friday (for his epilepsy), so today was his final “big” ride for a while. If the weather had been just a bit nicer, and if Kevin and I were in a bit better shape, it would have been tempting to do a Santa Cruz run. But, the weather, well, one of the windiest days I’ve been on a bike! And our shape? We might have been able to survive a Santa Cruz ride, but just barely, and it wouldn’t have been much fun. In fact, as we were riding through Woodside towards the end of the ride, I mentioned to Kevin that it was hard to imaging riding another 50 miles.

IMG_1598maryPescadero/Tunitas was getting a little old, but at the same time, it would be a shame to miss out on the Pescadero Bakery, so we did reverse Pescadero (Old LaHonda, San Gregorio, Pescadero) with a West Alpine kicker to make it tougher. I’m continuing to see gradual improvement on Old LaHonda, finally getting back under 22 minutes. Two months ago, it felt like I’d *never* get there! Kevin, curiously, was right with me this time, instead of finishing a day ahead. Quite a few riders at the top of Old LaHonda, including Mary Souter, Chain Reaction customer shown in the photo, getting an explanation from Kevin about his upcoming surgery.

Glad we had our leg warmers; it wasn’t really cold, but did spend a fair amount of time in the low-50s. But the real adversary today was WIND. The run from La Honda to San Gregorio was pretty much head-first into the wind and, surprisingly, I was up to it. Definitely a huge relief when we turned south on Stage Road though.

Pescadero Bakery was it’s usual awesome self. I think we frequent it so much we take it for granted; I mentioned to Kevin that, in all seriousness, even though France is the land of excellent pastries, Pescadero is the best.

Then it was time to hit the hard stuff… Haskins and West Alpine. Haskins from the Pescadero side is one of my least-favorite climbs; I just can’t get a rhythm on it. Today, neither could Kevin. Not such a bad thing, I’m thinking, as he said he was going to ride West Alpine at a pretty easy pace. Like that was going to happen!

We did ride the bottom pretty easy, taking 6:40 to get to the Bridge of Death. If we were pushing, it would be right at 6 minutes. I had hope Kevin would keep his word… hope that died once we hit the climb. I stayed with Kevin almost to the Snoopy dog house, but from there gradually ceded time, finishing about a minute behind at Skyline. The good news is that my time was under 44 minutes, so there’s definitely evidence that I’m beginning to get a bit faster on the climbs. A very good thing, that! –Mike–

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What a difference a couple of days make

Same place, same time of day, just a couple days difference.
Same place, same time of day, just a couple days difference.

Tuesday was one of those spectacular mornings to ride, nearly (but not quite) warm enough to go without leg warmers. Did manage to use regular gloves though! Kevin (the kid, not the pilot) didn’t make it, having had trouble sleeping (one of those mornings where you wake him up and it’s “Dad, no”), but pilot Kevin was there, along with Karen, Eric, Marcus & George. Nothing too fast, just a nice conversational pace. Mildly disappointed about that; kind of interested in how long I can keep my times up Kings improving.

Thursday was not quite such an awesome-looking morning, with heavy “marine layer” making Skyline sopping wet in places. The big surprise was the return of Karl! We didn’t know he was out there until getting to the top of Kings (Kevin the kid got there first, after ditching the Pilot and Karen on the way there, while I was chillin’ at the back with Eric). Things started getting nicer towards the end of the ride, with a dry descent on 84.

Thankfully, the weekend looks nice. A bit breezy; certainly not a good day for a “normal” Pescadero/Tunitas run (heading north into the headwind would not be fun!). If we were in better shape, we could take advantage of what will likely be a killer tail wind heading to Santa Cruz! That would be pushing things just a bit much right now. Perhaps reverse Pescadero with West Alpine. –Mike–

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