Tag Archives: Kings Mountain

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).

Kevin does Kings under 30 minutes, Big group, NO RAIN!!!

I’m ready to declare the end of rain. From now through November, it’s clear skies and warmer temps. Windbreakers are to be left at home, the rain bike can be safely stashed under the house, and you no longer have a good excuse for continuing to carry around your “hibernation fuel” around your belly. Good times are ahead!

And a very good time it was this morning, perhaps one of the last times that I have to head up the hill a bit ahead of the group when riding with Kevin (my son Kevin, not the pilot). Kevin’s wanted to break the 30 minute barrier up Kings Mtn for some time; Tuesday he missed it by 15 seconds, and today, for the first part of the climb, I thought he’d be lucky to get 32. We hit the traditional half-way timing point at just over 16 minutes, not a good sign. In fact, the three timing points I use to gauge my progress on the first half of the climb were all looking pretty bleak, with each successive one being further off the mark than the one before. My theory is that Kevin had eaten way too much way too soon before the ride (a very large bowl of cereal) and was seriously bogged down.

But then something clicked. Kevin claims he started doing his new chant-

Never stopping,
Never sleeping,
Never eating,
Always riding.

It worked. On that nasty steep section in the middle, before the open part, Kevin kicked it up a notch. Or two. We hit the “open” timing point (road marker that says 1.41 on it, the distance in miles to the top) at 20:30, still below the 20 minutes “required” for a 30 minute time at that point, but still accelerating. Normally, if you’re going full-tilt, it’s 4 minutes from the last hairpin (at the archery range road) to the top, and you really do have to be pushing to pull that off. We were, if I recall correctly, just outside of that. But by the time we got to the penultimate timing point we had pulled even with a fast pace, at 28 minutes. Just two minutes left, and as long as he didn’t die, he had a chance. Let me tell you I had a very tough time staying on his wheel on that final stretch, and he finished in 29:42. 18 seconds to spare.

But the ride wasn’t all about Kevin. This was our largest group to date; not even sure how many, probably a dozen or so, and a good opportunity to edit an all-around video of the entire ride, which you can see below. You’ll notice it has the same soundtrack as the video of Kevin’s climb, and actually starts out showing Kevin finishing Kings (and then the rest of the group coming up behind; we had a 5 minute head start on them).

Sorry about the blotchy screen in the lower-right corner for the last couple of minutes; a bit of crud kicked up from a rider in front and stuck to the lens. Obviously, the answer is to ride in front of everybody, but that fails on two counts. First, I’d have to be faster than everyone else, and second, a video without bikes in it is hardly worth calling a video, is it?