Tag Archives: mr mustard

A great day for a hard ride!

Question of the day: Why does it feel so good, after 70 miles, to finally hit a solid climb? What is it about a climb that rejuvenates your spirits and somehow lightens the load on your legs? You would have been willing, for a good reason, to pack it in but now that you’re on a real climb you feel like you can go on forever?

Last year, by mid-February Kevin and I had already done our first 100+ miler, the classic Woodside/Santa Cruz loop (112 miles from home in Redwood City). Things got off to a slow start this year though, mostly due to Kevin’s various issues with his kidney, but early this week his stent was removed (finally!) and it was time to get back to basics.

Thank goodness the weather forecast was incorrect. I had been concerned about riding in a drizzly fog, but it was so nice out we needed (but did bring) neither leg warmers nor light jackets. It probably helped that we didn’t hit the road until 11am, definitely a bit on the late side for a run to Santa Cruz, but not unusual at all for us (obviously, our ride in February last year must have started a lot earlier or we wouldn’t have gotten back before dark!).

Old LaHonda was ridden at a moderate pace, ending up around 23 minutes for the climb after hanging back for a bit to chat briefly with one of our customers. Kevin followed the plan and rode at the same pace, rather than the sub-20 he would like to, but he’s so short on miles it didn’t seem like a good idea for him to burn too many matches too early in the ride. Yet it was such a nice day there was no way you could completely hold back, so even Haskins ended up being close to a 10-minute climb, a couple minutes faster than I thought likely.

Lunch in Davenport
Lunch in Davenport

Thank goodness the prevailing winds held out! It wasn’t a direct tailwind heading down the coast, but it was close. I’d already decided that, if we got to the coast and it was going to be a headwind into Santa Cruz, we’d be reversing course and doing a shorter ride. No need. We arrived for “lunch” at the Whale City Bakery in Davenport, downing a ham & cheese croissant, coke and a cookie for Kevin, raspberry muffin for me. That took care of us for the run south to Santa Cruz then up Highway 9 to Boulder Creek for the obligatory Mtn Dew stop before the long climb up to Skyline.

80 miles down, 32 to go, time for a cold drink and a hot-dog! Thank you, Mr. Mustard.
80 miles down, 32 to go, time for a cold drink and a hot-dog! Thank you, Mr. Mustard.

Skyline. We’ve grown to depend on Mr. Mustard’s hot-dog stand on Skyline for drinks and… yeah, hot-dogs. Mile 80 in a long ride and a hot-dog actually goes down really well. But we were in Davenport past 2pm, and didn’t leave Boulder Creek until 4:15, and Mr. Mustard leaves shortly after 5! Yikes. We had money for the coke machine at the Saratoga Gap fire station, but it’s just not the same. Fortunately, once we got onto the real climb, the legs started working again and we actually got some Strava-worthy times, personal bests (for the past 4 or 5 years; I was certainly a lot faster back in the pre-pre-pre-Strava days) for both of us. Mr. Mustard hadn’t packed up yet so we scored the usual… hot-dog and a drink!

From there it was the easy north run on Skyline to Sky Londa, returning home not much past 6:30. Plenty of light, still nice out. Great ride.

Toughest 75 miles last week, toughest 56 miles today, what’s next?

What's missing? Mr. Mustard's hot dog stand, that's what? 80+ degrees, dying on the climbs and you're really looking forward to an ice cold coke... and it's not there. Did I arrive too late?
What’s missing? Mr. Mustard’s hot dog stand, that’s what? 80+ degrees, dying on the climbs and you’re really looking forward to an ice cold coke… and it’s not there. Did I arrive too late?

56 miles should not have been as difficult as it seemed to be! It didn’t start so badly; a nice cruise south through the foothills with a stop at our Los Altos store to use the bathroom and check in on things (they looked busy, which is good!) and from there it was all downhill. Or rather uphill. Uphill being, in this case, Redwood Gulch and Highway 9. I had these fine ideas of trying to do the climbs seated, so I could get some decent video. What stopped me? 80+ degree temps, riding by myself, and there’s no way around it, I just don’t have what it takes anymore when it gets really steep.

But what made it worthwhile was knowing that, once I got to the top, Mr. Mustard’s hot dog stand would be there, with ice cold drinks and, yes, hot dogs. A hot dog has to be one of the worst things you could eat on a ride, but it’s not as bad as you think. The right place at the right time makes the difference.

Tried feeding it dollar bills, even a 10 but it just wasn't hungry!
Tried feeding it dollar bills, even a 10 but it just wasn’t hungry!
But Mr. Mustard wasn’t there! Just checked the time stamp on a photo I took… 4:44pm, and he’s usually there until 5. Thank goodness for the Saratoga Gap fire station just down the road, with its outdoor coke machine. Just a couple minutes north on Skyline. I am so looking forward to something cold to drink. Get to the fire station, feed it a dollar bill, and… it’s not taking it. I mean it’s not even making a noise like it wants to. Maybe quarters would work, but dollar bills aren’t today. Had to settle for making some more Cytomax, which probably was better for me anyway and I did, in fact, start feeling a bit more lively shortly thereafter.

What finally got me going was being passed by another cyclist, the only cyclist I saw on all of Skyline. For a (brief) moment I let him go and then thought hey, I don’t have to do that, I’ve got legs, so I chased him down and stayed with him the rest of the way. He did drop me pretty quickly descending 84 into Woodside though.

Overall glad that I got out there, but it will be nice when Kevin’s past his kidney issues and riding with me again. But I remain concerned that my “tough” rides are getting shorter and shorter… what’s next, a 25 mile ride that does me in? Hope not! –Mike–