Tag Archives: climbing

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).

Any wheel in a storm

OK, it wasn’t really a storm, but the roads were wet enough from last-night’s rain that it was time to get the rain bike out of the garage, with its fenders, wider all-weather non-slip tires and cheaper wheels that I don’t mind so much about grinding into the ground from brake wear. It’s simply nowhere near as fun or efficient to ride as my Madone, but it’s a lot more fun riding in the muck than sitting at home thinking about riding in the muck.

Just a few of us out there this morning; myself, John, Karen and George. Unfortunately for me, all three are stronger than I am on Kings, causing me to lose contact just about three quarters of the way up the climb, but never more than half a corner behind. Still, despite having to fight my way up the hill on tires that are anything but responsive (if you don’t think tires can completely change the personality of your bike, think again!), I did get up in just under 30 minutes, definitely faster than I thought I’d be doing. Oh, right, I’ll blame my rain bike for one other thing- Flinstone bearings. It’s making an awful racket from both the crankset and the rear wheel, undoubtedly caused by bearings that are no longer round.

That’s the beauty of a true rain bike. You replace things when they’re destroyed, rather than worrying about something not working quite right. But- please, please, PLEASE don’t treat your nice bike like that!!! One ride in the rain, just one, can cause enough damage to require a couple of hours of cleaning and continued riding in the rain will require far more frequent replacement of tires, brake pads and even wheels. If you’ve got a nice road bike that you place value in having run properly with good shifting & brakes, get a second bike for rain.

Getting back to the ride, I did start feeling better as it went on, becoming increasingly confident I could hold onto whatever wheel was in front of me,  although I didn’t have a choice in wheels as we headed west towards Old LaHonda, since both John and Karen had to get early and cut the ride short. Thankfully George was in a merciful mood today!