“Pulling Dad Everywhere”???!!! Think he’s forgotten about his roots…

West Old LaHonda looking a bit nicer today than Thursday, when it was fogged in.
Thank goodness back issues don’t have much affect on cycling! I suspect many stay off their bike when they can hardly get out of bed, but it’s simply amazing how kind cycling is to the body. It might have been a bit tougher than normal getting onto or off of the bike a couple times. but that’s about it.

Now, if only you didn’t need lungs in good working order to climb. Then I’d be in great shape!

Today’s ride was reverse Pescadero plus West Alpine, one of Kevin’s favorites. Old LaHonda is still not doing me any favors lately; it’s going to take some time to get back over the 1000VAM (1000 vertical meters of altitude gain/hour) rate. 1 minute, 20 seconds slower than my time exactly a year ago today, which would have been before taking the meds that reduce my hematocrit. How slow was I? 24 minutes, 28 seconds today. Ouch. I’ve got some work to do! Took almost as much time to cross Skyline; literally 5 minutes of cars without a break, caused by a motorcycle-car accident on Skyline just south of us.

The run out to the coast? I was, truthfully, on Kevin’s wheel the entire time. I didn’t even pretend to take a turn at the front. I was just hanging on as he plowed through the headwind. At least I had the decency not to sprint for the Stage Road sign (although after reading Kevin’s Strava post title, “Pulling Dad Everywhere”, maybe I should have?).

We didn’t have an especially-strong tailwind heading south on Stage Road, but still got a bit of a push. Kevin thinks it’s easier riding Stage south-to-north; I much prefer north-to-south (as we did today).

Pasty face test? Looks more like a mask…
Cookies? Where are the cookies in Pescadero these days???!!! Had to settle for pasty today (along with the chicken club sandwich, which we split between us). Hard to do a cookie face test with a pastry, but Kevin did try.

The run east over Haskins is rarely fun and today was no exception. I’m sure there are people who actually like that climb, but for me, I just can’t get into a rhythm on it. In the other direction, it’s not so bad. In the reverse direction, I can’t even get a handle on how long it is, getting fooled into thinking this turn or that turn are further up the hill than they really are. That’s the worst. Much better when you misjudge in the other direction, with the top coming sooner than expected!

The Olive Hill Corgis (one of them anyway)
West Alpine? Yeah, well, I warned Kevin it wouldn’t be particularly fast today. He thought maybe we should go up 84 instead then, but I told him we should stick to his original plan and I’d do the best I could. At 47:48, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I can still develop some power on the steeper pitches, but can’t hold it for very long. Maybe as it gets warmer I’ll be breathing a bit better.

Overall a pretty nice ride, and yes, the Olive Hill Corgis were out, looking for attention. And who can pass up giving Corgis attention?

Cold? Check. Wet? Check. Feeling awful? Not this time!

Skyline in… May? 39 degrees? Wet?
After weeks and weeks (and more weeks) of Tuesday & Thursday-morning rides where I haven’t exactly felt lively, rides where I’ve struggled up Kings and once in a while even felt like turning back, today was finally different. I can’t say why, only that it’s about time.

Kevin (my son) was back from Disneyland, so it was the normal group of regulars… Kevin, Kevin & Karen. Older Kevin (the pilot) was complaining that he was going to be slow, and guess I should have taken him seriously because, for once, there was someone on the ride slower than me! I don’t think that was actually motivation or a reason for me feeling better though; even climbing up through the park, where I’m normally dying on the steeper pitches, I felt OK. We regrouped at the top of the park, where Karen and I headed on ahead, Kevin and Kevin behind. A little further up Kevin (kid) bridged up to the two of us, just to show us he could. I offered to drop back and keep Kevin (pilot) company, but Kevin (kid) said no, keep on going, he’d hang with the pilot. Ugh. Part of me was hoping I could ease off a bit, the other part wanted to see how far I could go.

How far? Yeah, the usual, Karen dropped me on the switchback before the switchback (the second one being the second creek crossing, halfway up the hill). I did my best to both keep Karen in sight ahead and maintain my distance from the two Kevins. It worked. Not a very fast time to the top, but better than the past few months.

Heading up West Old LaHonda
Skyline? Wet and cold. Down to 39.7F on m computer; glad I brought my heavier gloves! Kevin (pilot) and Karen peeled off at Sky Londa, leaving just myself and younger Kevin for the scenic West Old LaHonda section, and scenic it was! That is, if your total palette of colors spans from dull greens to bright grays. Totally fogged in. But, I didn’t care. I was still feeling pretty darned OK. I could put something into the pedals and feel like there was still more in reserve. It felt good. I’m ready for more of it!