Worst El Nino winter still has a lot of great riding days!

IMG_9343skyline_wolh_wideYou tell me. Look at that picture and tell me winter isn’t a great time for cycling in Northern California?

A bit different ride today; Kevin (my son) was heading to Disneyland with his sister (here’s the link to their Disneyland Strava), so I’d previously checked with the other Kevin (pilot) to see if he knew of any rides Sunday, and eventually emails exchanged and we ended up with 4 of us meeting at Old LaHonda at 9am. Myself, Dan S, Kevin (pilot) and another Kevin (another super-strong nearing-or-just-over 60 rider). Thankfully the pace was pretty easy, just what I needed. We rode the reverse Pescadero loop (San Gregorio first, then south on Stage), stopping for food & drink at the Pescadero Store.

It was outside the Pescadero Store that we came across former Pro cycling Ben King, who’s moved from Vermont to Mill Valley. Add to that the fact that Laurens Ten Dam is apparently moving to Santa Cruz, and we can expect to see a lot of Strava records come tumbling down!

It was on Haskins that I finally felt “in difficulty” as the pace stepped up a bit, but I still had enough left in the tank to head up West Alpine afterward, along with the “other” Kevin and Dan. Pilot Kevin headed back up 84; he missed a great day on West Alpine and Skyline.

It is so hard to believe that many cyclists go into hibernation mode once the first rains hit. It’s beautiful out there. This is not time to hang up your bike. If it’s raining, wait a day or two and it won’t be. That’s just the way it is here. –Mike–

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Now this is more like it!

During even the rainiest winters in Northern California, wait a few days and you'll be rewarded with an awesome ride!
During even the rainiest winters in Northern California, wait a few days and you’ll be rewarded with an awesome ride!
Today’s ride was about as different from Tuesday’s as you could get. Instead of rain & wind, we had clearing skies and warming temperatures. Instead of feeling like a turtle could ride past me up hill, I felt pretty darned good.

We had both Kevins, Eric, JR, and a recent National Champion, Karen Brems, winner of the 50-54 Women’s CycloCross. Since it was Thursday we were riding up through the park, and even that steep pitch in the middle didn’t kill me like it usually does. I’m thinking maybe this is the day I don’t get dropped! I’m also thinking how much faster I can ride on my Trek Emonda. Pretty amazing bike. Nothing wrong at all with my Boone ‘cross bike, but you can notice the 3 pound weight difference on a climb, and it’s hard to beat the carbon wheels on my Emonda for being smooth & fast. Or maybe it was just getting to see the sun that made everything feel so good.

But before getting to the top of the park I noticed the older Kevin (pilot) quite a way back. Not cool to leave someone behind, at least not to me, so I waited up to see how he was doing. Asked if he’d already gone swimming before the ride (yes), and also apparently had done a killer ride yesterday. What the heck, it’s not going to kill me taking it easier up the hill! The last we saw of them was on the long open section, where some of them were at the very top just as we entered the bottom. Some, not all. Kevin (younger Kevin) had apparently taken off, leaving Eric behind and JR even further back. It should have played out with Kevin having a pretty good time up the hill, but a seizure prevented that, putting him on the ground for about two minutes. And yet he still got to the top a few minutes before older (pilot) Kevin and myself.

The descent into Sky Londa was a bit sketchy; varied between dry and quite a bit of water, especially in the corners. It really did feel safer descending in heavy rain on Tuesday, because the traction was so consistent. The final descent (84 into Woodside) was pretty much the same. It’s really tough trying to stay loose and not hold tightly onto the bars, but that’s what you have to do if you want to stay upright. West Old LaHonda more than made up for the tense descending though; it was beautiful seeing the coast clear of clouds and enjoying a sun that finally seemed to have come back from vacation. Yet another great day on a bike. –Mike–

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