Tag Archives: chain reaction

It’s what I do & who I am

The Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride on the lower section of west-side Old LaHonda

How do we define ourselves? Is it the things we’ve accumulated over the years? Our education? How much we weigh, whether our hair has turned gray (if it’s there at all), having to wear reading glasses… ok, this is heading more towards defining our age. I think that’s a guy thing, or at least guys spend a lot of time talking about getting older. If women do spend time talking about this stuff, it’s not around guys. Getting back to the subject…

I ride bikes. That, aside from family stuff, is really what defines me. Sure, my brother and I own a pair of bike shops, and I’ve had to become much more savvy as a business person over the years to keep things afloat in a world that has increasingly less room for error. But if I were suddenly transported into another culture, an alien planet, or maybe Arkansas, it would ultimately be my cycling that defined me.

Today’s definition included the usual Tuesday ride up Kings, stopping for a few minutes halfway up while Kevin (my son, not the pilot) had a seizure (which happens more often than not lately), followed by an enjoyable dash across Skyline, descent on 84 towards the coast for a few miles, then the always-pretty ride up west-side Old LaHonda before diving back down into Woodside.

I wasn’t feeling great for the first part of the ride; something about 53 degrees showing on the bike computer that explained why my lungs were working worse than usual, but finished fairly strong, including the final sprint at Albion, contested primarily by Kevin (my son, not the pilot) who surprised me by flying past early. Thankfully too early, because I was able to come up to his rear wheel for a moment or two, giving me just enough draft to slingshot past at the line. It was close. Too close. But a win is a win. I’m not dead yet.

I am a cyclist. It’s what I do & who I am.  –Mike–


Big group on the Tuesday ride

Big group at Old LaHonda & Skyline. Left to right, Kevin J, Mike (not me), Kevin S, Chris, Eric, George, Karen, Todd, Marcus, Mike (not me again) & Karl. Missing (turned off earlier) is Jim.

So now I go to bed the night before the Tuesday/Thursday ride wondering how badly I’m going to get beat up… by my son. I knew this was coming, but I didn’t realize how rapidly he would progress. It was only a couple months ago (literally) that Kevin finally broke 30 minutes up Kings and could actually ride with our group without holding us up. And now, he can squeeze off a 26-something time more reliably than I can.

But today I never got to find out how badly he might beat me. Maybe a quarter mile before the start of the climb, one of my two computers came off the handlebar, without me noticing, but Karl let me know he’d seen if fly off and hit the side of the road. OK… I briefly considered whether it was worth sacrificing the climb for a computer… maybe it would still be there when I got back… but it might be tough figuring out exactly where it had landed later, so I watched the others head on up the hill while I made a u-turn and retrieved the computer. Did anyone offer to stay behind and ride up with me? Er, no, but Chris was a late arrival and was coming up behind, trying to catch the group. Yeah, sure, I can just have Chris pace me back up the hill. Right. For about 100 meters or so, and then he vanished. Poof. Gone. Didn’t see him again until the top of the hill.

Eventually I did catch up to Kevin, Todd & Karl. Yes, Karl, who’s recovering nicely from his latest collarbone/clavicle issue. They had been soft-pedaling for a while, actually having conversations, while my lungs are searching for every available atom of oxygen (I was going to say “molecule of air” but is air a molecule? Apparently yes.) I was dying; probably 27:20 or so, a lot of time to be thinking about everybody else already well ahead of me, riding faster, finishing soon.

Very big group this morning. 12 at least, given that there are 11 in the photo plus me, and there might have been one guy who turned off before then (yes, there was one more, Jim I think). A bit foggy at the top, fairly cool, and just damp enough to give me the creeps descending (Kevin doesn’t seem to have such trouble, but then Kevin doesn’t have the years of experience descending that I have, some of those descents ending up on my side instead of my wheels).

For the final sprint it was all Chris. Kevin wasn’t anywhere in sight; obviously, it’s time I get him back to sprinting again (since maybe emphasizing sprinting will slow him down on the climbs).