Sometimes you throw away the planned ride and improvise on the fly

Interesting ride, to say the least. The plan was to ride up Page Mill, down West Alpine, and back via Tunitas. That would have been about 62 miles, maybe 6200ft of climbing. A normal Sunday ride for Kevin and I. No biggie.

Yeah, that was the plan, which started falling apart on the climb up Page Mill. Page Mill wasn’t my idea; it’s never my idea to climb that beast. It’s mainly the lower part, below Foothill Park, that kills me. I just can’t get any kink of rhythm on it. No difference today, but I did fine, as usual, once we got to the “real” parts. Including the steep section between gates 3 & 4. But Kevin was not having an easy time, lagging behind a bit.

By the time we got to the top I knew wasn’t in for the full ride, asking if we could skip the coast today and maybe head south on Skyline, a direction we very rarely ride. OK, that’s fine, we might still get about a 50 mile ride in, heading to Saratoga Gap and down Highway 9, then Hicks, followed by The Maze and eventually stopping for lunch at our Los Altos store.

And, as usual, the ride got better as we went, with Kevin getting progressively stronger. Eating lunch at Peet’s even had a vaguely-similar feeling to eating at a French cafe in the middle of a ride! After lunch we bounced around the local roads a bit, mapping out test ride loops for the Los Altos store, before heading north on Foothill for home.

Things got interesting on Foothill. A fair number of other cyclists out there, enough to start feeling a bit competitive, so Kevin and I start hammering at the front of a small group, putting out quite a few watts and feeling really, really strong. Where did this come from? Don’t know, but it felt good. We looped back home through Arastradero and Alpine but, just a few miles from home, about to pass the base of Old LaHonda, Kevin and I both had the same idea at the same time. Why not climb Old LaHonda before going home?

It was a bit of a nutty idea, made more sensible by agreeing that we’d take it easy, maybe a 27 minute pace. Oh yeah right, like that was going to happen. We finished in 22-something (OK, almost 23, but much faster than 27).

In the end, instead of 62 miles, we rode a more-challenging 73 miles, and had a really great time. Just goes to show you should never give up on a ride. Let it play out. Things almost always get better. –Mike–

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What’s your cadence?

As we head up Kings, a pair of riders in front of us is turning left onto Tripp. I didn't know you could do that! Not climb Kings? That's un-American. Especially when you turn tail right in front of it.
As we head up Kings, a pair of riders in front of us is turning left onto Tripp. I didn’t know you could do that! Not climb Kings? That’s un-American. Especially when you turn tail right in front of it.

It’s January, getting pretty close to the middle of winter, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise if it’s 34 degrees in Woodside as we start the regular Tuesday/Thursday morning ride, but it really didn’t seem right that it was only up to 39 when we got back! Good thing modern cycling apparel lets you ride comfortably in weather like this without dressing up like an eskimo.

Kevin, Kevin, Eric, Marcus & Nigel joined me this morning for what all agreed ahead of time was going to be as easy ride up the hill, but younger Kevin decided to end the truce as soon as we started up through Huddart Park (via Greer). Things started coming apart after we got back onto Kings; I held on until about half-way up at which point Marcus, younger Kevin and Nigel rode away from me. Kind of getting used to that. Marcus was pretending to have a nasty cold but not pretending so much that he didn’t kick the pace up further, dropping Nigel and challenging Kevin to successfully charge past him on the final part of the climb. At least that’s what I’m told; I was quite a bit further down the hill at the time.

The high points were Kevin not having a seizure and noticing that he’s bringing his cadence to a literally-higher level. He’s always known that my too-low cadence can be improved upon, but today we joked that riding with the older Kevin, who’s cadence is ultra-slow, is convenient because he can use older Kevin’s cadence like a metronome. He just has to exactly match each of older Kevin’s pedal strokes with two of his own.

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