Could *not* get the picture. The steam coming off the rider’s heads. Just doesn’t show up.

From left to right, young Kevin, piece of Karl in the background, Old Geezer Pilot Kevin, Karen and JR. Eric will be arriving shortly. Picture taken be young Kevin’s Old Geezer Dad.

It was such a cool shot, or it should have been, but dang, maybe I waited too long, maybe it was the wrong angle, maybe there’s a lot more the eye can see than the camera. The top of Kings, the faster folk cooling down a bit waiting for the rest to come up the hill, and I swear, there was steam coming off the tops of the riders heads in the relatively-cool (about 40 degrees) air on Skyline.

If it had come out, it would have been cool-enough to make up for my screwing up and hitting the start-stop button at the base of Kings, stopping my computer entirely, instead of the segment timer. I recognized my mistake a couple minutes later, too late to have any real idea of my speed up the hill. The only thing I could go on was that the two Kevins were ahead of me, JR just a short distance behind, the rest following a minute or so further back.

kevin_kevin_kings_peeKevin (my son, not the geezer pilot) later told me they weren’t that far ahead of me at the top, but the picture to the right shows differently; if you click on it so it enlarges, you’ll see geezer pilot Kevin coming up from the Tunitas side of the hill, where he’d gotten rid of the excess Diet Coke he drinks so much of in the morning. Given geezer pilot Kevin’s age, it’s not like he can take care of such things instantly, so I was apparently much further behind them than led to believe. By the way, geezer pilot Kevin is only a few months older than I. Guess that makes me geezer dad of younger Kevin.

The ride was most-noteworthy for being a lot more wet than expected; this was one of those rides where the skies are clear but your bike gets trashed from all the water and crud coming up from the road. The sort of day that puzzles people because they don’t understand why their bike’s a mess when they bring it into the shop, because they say they don’t ride in the rain.

Overall, just another nice “winter” ride. We should have quite a few more of them, now that I’ve got my ‘cross bike all set up again, ready for rain that will likely never come.

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Another great ride, but what did I learn?

You can see the faster people in the group, pretty much everyone but me, riding ahead on West Alpine
You can see the faster people in the group, pretty much everyone but me, riding ahead on West Alpine

It gets a bit boring talking about each awesome ride, one after another, a product of yet another mild, near-rainless “winter” in Northern California. 67 miles, met up with the Alto Velo A ride in Pescadero, rode hard enough to feel it in my legs later in the day. I live for that feeling!

But what did I learn/what was unique about today?

  • Stick to the plan. If Kevin has a seizure at the to of Old LaHonda (like he did today after setting a pretty fast pace up the hill), don’t let him cut the ride short because he doesn’t feel well. It’s temporary and passes quickly, and has been a “feature” of many of his best rides.
  • Believe in yourself. When we hooked up with Alto Velo’s “A” ride, the pace was quite a bit faster than what we’d been doing on our own. Heading east from Pescadero I’m trying to figure out when I’m going to get blown off the back. You’re going through the route in your head, literally planning your exit strategy. That’s dumb! I went back to my racing strategy from back-in-the-day. No matter how hard it is hanging onto that wheel in front of you, it’s even-harder losing it and trying to keep from getting too far behind. So I managed to stay with the group until things started to break up on the Haskins climb.
  • Cars don’t have a vendetta against cyclists; they’re trying to kill themselves off and sometimes we just get in the way. It’s amazing how often you see cars pass you on blind corners, moving completely into the oncoming lane.
  • Ride earlier in the day and you’ll find a lot more cyclists on the road; more rabbits to chase on the climbs, more people to introduce the local “bridges of death” to¬†(the bridge at the base of most of the epic local climbs, including China Grade, West Alpine and Tunitas), more trains to catch (groups of riders you can draft behind).

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