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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Rare Friday-morning ride; Kevin destroys Joaquim

Really, riding isn't all about eating. But this tiny stuffable backback, one of the Tour de France Caravan handouts, works great for picking up breakfast at the end of a ride!
Really, riding isn’t all about eating. But this tiny stuffable backback, one of the Tour de France Caravan handouts, works great for picking up breakfast at the end of a ride!
Kevin didn’t ride Thursday morning due to a short-term stomach bug of some sort, but opted for adding a ride this morning, something that rarely happens. I mean sure, we ride to work & back most weekdays, but the only serious rides are on Tuesdays, Thursday & Sundays. Yesterdays ride was hard enough that I really didn’t have great legs this morning… unlike Kevin.

It started out innocently enough. Up to Skyline? No way. Been there, done that, yesterday. We did “the loop” with a Joaquim kicker. Also known as “Walking Joaquim” for very good reason. We rode pretty strongly up Alpine, and as it started to get steeper towards the end, my legs enthusiasm was declining as rapidly as the road was ascending. Got to the tiny little plateau at the intersection with Joaquim, tried to catch my breath, and started up. Ouch. There was just nothing there, legs feeling so flat I felt like walking. Kevin? He flew up the hill. Stomped on the pedals and was GONE. Nearly a minute faster up that short climb than my fastest time up it. Wow.

It’s possible that yesterday’s ride actually did take something out of me, because my heart rate was as resistant to climbing as my legs. I did recover once we got back on normal terrain, and did a pretty good fast pull on Alpine heading towards 280. Redemption of sorts.

By the end of the ride I felt like we both deserved something from the Woodside Bakery and, unknown to Kevin, I’d snuck that tiny little TdF backpack into my seatbag. Worked out very well.

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