This has to be the most-common moderate-distance ride I do- the Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas Creek loop. It’s the go-to ride because it’s safe, it’s reliable (you know where to find food & water), it’s challenging if you want to make it challenging, or just a bit on the “tough” side it you want to take it easy. But there’s no way to really take it easy, ‘cuz you’ve got a few hills along the way-
Old LaHonda (1300ft)
Haskins Grade (800ft)
Stage Road climbs 1, 2 & 3 (about 400ft each)
Tunitas Creek (2000ft)
Total time on the road runs from 3.75 to 4.5 hours, depending of course on how much time you spend at the Pescadero Bakery! But even though it doesn’t take very long, and it’s not even very far (from my place in Redwood City it’s just 58 miles), it still feels like you’re quite a distance from home as you head out past Loma Mar on your way to the coast.
Today Kevin and I had an earlier start than usual (on the road by 8:30am) because he had to be back in time for a 1pm on-line video game contest of some sort, one of those things where you form teams and go after military objectives, which sounds better than saying you’re trying to kill as many people on the other team as possible. Kevin was a bit concerned that we weren’t going to make it back in time, but y’know, after doing this route so many times, it’s not like I don’t have a handle on it. But there may have been a reason for some of his uncertainty, as this was only his 3rd time back on the back after 17 days off due to a kidney issue and tonsillectomy.
He needn’t have worried. While he wasn’t particularly fast going up Old LaHonda, finishing less than a minute ahead of me (22-something), he held up fine everywhere else. We even skipped the near-mandatory stop at the Pescadero Bakery after checking to make sure we had a few energy bars, just in case. And Tunitas Creek provided the opportunity to chase down some rabbits, including Jerry, a very good customer of ours (seen in the photo). We arrived back home at 12:30, plenty of time for his game.
This was not going to be our typical Sunday ride, where we don’t get out the door until noon. I wanted to see most of the 49er playoff game, and it also gave us the opportunity to ride with Jeff, friend & customer, who normally does his riding while Kevin would be dragging himself out of bed. And I wanted to see first-hand just how fast & fit Jeff really is; his Strava scores have been looking pretty impressive lately.
We had to put something fairy tough together for Kevin and I, since a bit too much winter weight has been showing up on the scales lately. Up Old LaHonda, out to San Gregorio, south on Stage to Pescadero, up & over Haskins the tougher direction, then Jeff went back the faster route, via 84, while Kevin and I took on West Alpine. 65 miles, about 6700ft of climbing, and, for the middle of winter, really nice weather!
Jeff proved to be the stronger rider on the climbs today, getting to the top a full minute faster than Kevin, even though Kevin’s posted the fastest Strava times in the past. Me? Another minute or two behind Kevin. I was able to keep up, just barely, on the two Stage Road climbs, but watched them both ride away from me once again on Haskins. It was just myself and Kevin up West Alpine (Jeff having taken the shortcut home), and, nice guy/Dad that I am, when Kevin was in trouble a few times, I waited up. Of course, further up the hill it was Kevin feeling better, and did he wait for me? Not a chance. I asked him tonight about riding up a climb at a “social” pace, and he just looked at me with this quizzical expression and asked “Why?”