First ride up Kings in 2018 maybe toughest ever

The first of many pictures of West Old LaHonda for 2018. Storm clouds on the horizon!
Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Today the bear got me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. Great rides Sunday and Monday, first on West Apine, followed by Mount Hamilton. Not huge miles, but for Winter, it’s real stuff. Real stuff at a time when there’s been a lot going on in the shop (we had a very successful December, selling many more kids bikes than we have in quite some time) and there’s that cold-weather thing, which, er, enhances my breathing isssues. In July, in France, I have no problem stringing 4 or 5 back-to-back days of solid riding in the mountains. But, it’s warm and, well, it’s France.

But this morning it was Kings, and it was winter, and it was after two other good days on the bike, and a third good day in a row was not to be had. 36 minutes, 39 seconds up Kings. It wasn’t that long ago that I’d have to be sick as a dog to be as slow as 30 minutes. Well, OK, now that I think about it, that would have been 15+, maybe 20 years ago. Yeah, probably 20. But today it was just putting one foot down then the other, standing pretty much the whole way and never getting much power. Just nothing in the legs. JR and younger Kevin finished way, way, way ahead of me. And when I got to the top, it didn’t get easier. It took me half the way to Sky Londa before I felt like I could even remember what normal might be.

West Old LaHonda was a struggle too, but my time of 14:39 was much more in line with normal times for the season. The rest of the ride, well, I survived. The good news is that I set a pretty low bar to improve upon. The rest of 2018 can only get better!

Climbing Hamilton my legs reminded me I’d ridden West Alpine yesterday!

A group of way-too-enthusiastic cyclists at the top of Hamilton today.
New Year’s Day, which means it’s time to climb Mount Hamilton again! Kind of a ritual, no, not kind of, but a serious ritual that I’ve done for a couple of decades at least. Don’t even remember the first time, just that the idea was started a very long time ago by a good customer, David Harvey. He’s still a good customer, but he’s long since given up on Hamilton, far as I know.

Just me, solo again, as Kevin wa with his girlfriend. Rode down to the train station, took it to San Jose and set off. Nice to have a bit of a warm up before hitting the hill; not so nice to deal with the endless number of stoplights along the way!!!

Beautiful morning to climb; started in the low-50s and warmed up to 64 near the top. Felt a bit overdressed but not too bad, and would rather be too warm than too cold! This was my first year up Hamilton that I didn’t see a single cyclist I recognized, although I’ll probably hear from a few that passed me in the other direction.

After yesterday’s ride up WEst Alpine I knew it wasn’t going to be fast or easy, but it really wasn’t that bad. I had a goal of under 1 hour 50 mintues, and made it with a couple minutes to spare.

Perhaps the hardest part about this ride is making it back to the train station in time. I had to push harder than need be because I thought the train left at 2, and I was hitting every stop light on the way back (in Downtown San Jose). Made it by 1:57, only to find the train didn’t leave until 2:38pm. Time enough to pick up some food and coffee from the train station cafĂ© even!