I’ll be retiring soon after this Vegas trip!

That's my wife and I and our big winnings! Obviously we no longer need to work and we're looking forward to a life of leisure and travel. :-)
That’s my wife and I and our big winnings! Obviously we no longer need to work and we’re looking forward to a life of leisure and travel. :-)

No ride today; my wife has wanted to see David Copperfield (the guy who makes things disappear and reappear, which is a bit at odds with Vegas in general, which does a great job making money disappear but it doesn’t come back!) for a very long time. And since it was our 35th wedding anniversary, I figured maybe it was time to surprise her.

Very odd though, flying to Las Vegas on miles (award tickets), meaning that I don’t get any elite status points for the trip. Doesn’t make sense to most people that anybody would want to pay for a ticket, instead of fly for miles (sorts free), but remember, I’m the guy who flew to Manila & back, without staying anywhere, just for miles.

The show was much better than I expected, although I agree with the reviewers that the lengthy bit with the alien needs to go. But I missed my big big big chance at show biz fame. The final act, the biggie, where he makes 13 audience members disappear on stage? Well, to be selected, they have these big air-filled bouncing balls flying around the stadium. If one gets to you, it’s your job to hit it backward (over your head) to a higher row. When the music stops, whoever has a ball is one of the lucky 13. OK, ball comes to me, music stops, and I just did what everybody had been doing. I hit it backward, instead of holding onto it. D’oh!

But the elephant in the closet is my gambling problem. Together my wife and I must have spent $35 on slots, and based on our winnings (as seen in the photo), it’s likely we’re coming back for more.

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One ride that had it all- highs, lows, and in-between. Best of all, a great finish.

Tuesday’s ride… did it even get written up? Yes, I’m way behind. Trying to even remember Tuesday. Just checked Strava to make sure I rode, now a bit of it’s coming back to me. Pretty much a typical Tuesday ride, with Kevin heading up with the fast guys. Thursday was a near-washout, as Kevin developed some nasty flank/kidney pain, likely a small stone, and by the time we got through the park he said he was turning back. I talked him into continuing up Kings, which he did, taking 45 minutes instead of his usual 25 to 26. We turned back at the top, a whopping 17 mile ride, and I was a bit concerned about what Sunday’s ride would be like.

Kevin falling behind on Page Mill. Darned if I can figure out why he has issues on Page Mill and not other similar climbs.
Kevin falling behind on Page Mill. Darned if I can figure out why he has issues on Page Mill and not other similar climbs.

Kevin wasn’t very happy with what I proposed; my plan was to do the ride we weren’t able to complete last Sunday, due to his kidney/flank pain. Up Page Mill, down West Alpine, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road and then return up Tunitas. Last Sunday it was shortened, dropping down West Alpine and then heading back home via 84. For reasons I can’t quite figure out, Kevin isn’t liking Page Mill these days. Used to be me that hated that climb, but I’m beginning to get a feel for it.

So up Page Mill we went, Kevin wishing we were doing Old LaHonda instead, probably because Page Mill is one of the few climbs where I can outclimb him. No idea why. Today was no exception, but he started feeling a bit better towards the top. Then he began to feel a lot better on Haskins, almost to the point of me getting dropped until he started to run out of gas near the top.

Sandwich & cookie break at Pescadero, where the store had┬ámysteriously-unstocked shelves where the cokes were supposed to be! We headed north into the usual headwind and just as we were getting into a good rhythm, Kevin runs over a 2-inch nail of some sort that almost wrecked his new frame (scraping against it as the wheel went ’round). Normally, that would seriously deflate (so to speak) the mood, but not this time. It was surprisingly-easy climbing Highway 1 from San Gregorio to the top, where Stage Road hits it, and I was feeling very strong on the lower, relatively-flat lead in to the real climb on Tunitas. Unfortunately, Kevin wasn’t feeling the same, not yet, so I was still holding up for him, looking at how quickly we made it to the start of the forest, and wondering how good my time might have been if I were on my own.

Of course, such thoughts didn’t last. As soon as it got steep Kevin went rocketing past me, and it was all I could do keep within 20 seconds of him on the way up. Knowing how inconsistent his pace is, I never gave up, gradually clawing back a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there, until I finally caught back up to him, just past the spot where it “rolls over” and flattens out. From there to the top he got his 3rd or 4th or 5th wind, not sure which, and it was all I could do to hang onto his wheel to the top. How differently would things have been if I’d ditched him on the lower flanks and went on at my best pace? Don’t know. I do wish we could have pushed a bit harder earlier, and gotten up maybe two minutes faster. Maybe next time.

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