Tag Archives: Page Mill

One hot ride today! 65 very tough miles. 95 degrees.

90, 95 degrees, who's counting?

What better way to prepare for the heat we’re likely to encounter in France than riding up Page Mill Road when it’s 90-95 degrees? Making it especially tough is having Page Mill as the first hill of the day. That’s one mean way to start a ride. Page Mill is one of those hills it’s really tough to get a rhythm on; that bottom section starting just past the golf course/country club turnoff is just plain ugly, and it’s not until you get past Foothill Park that you can really get a handle on it. And that handle is pretty darned slippery, especially between park gates 3 & 4, where it’s gut-wrenchingly steep and you’re thinking why didn’t you go up Old LaHonda instead, an easier grade with lots of shade?

Adding insult to injury is Strava claiming I got a personal best on the climb, at 47 minutes. Umm… no. It wasn’t that long ago I did it in 44, and my son probably could have closed in on that time today too, except that he was being relatively-civil and stayed with me all the way up. OK, it seemed like it wasn’t that long ago, but since I loaded the last three years worth of data from my Garmin into Strava, maybe it was longer ago than I thought!

A beautiful day on West Alpine

We wasted no time heading down West Alpine for another date with Haskins Grade, a climb that Kevin claims to hate but is getting much better at, getting his own personal best today at 9:52 despite not climbing it for time. At least not until the last half mile or so when he noticed his time was pretty good and rode the rest hard. Funny how that works.

I’d like to say it was a fun run out to Pescadero, but not really; the stiff headwind and heat made it pretty tough. The upside? It’s rare that a cold Coke tastes as good as it did today!

Heading north on Stage we once again faced a headwind, yet did pretty good times up the two hills, primarily because motivation was provided by rabbits (cyclists ahead of us). Speaking of rabbits, I should have mentioned we had earlier seen a rabbit the size of a small deer as we rode Arastradero between Alpine and Page Mill. It was seriously huge!

The lower and middle sections of Page Mill proved to be Kevin’s undoing; we’d normally climb Tunitas in 45 minutes or so, but he was barely able to turn the pedals for a while. He can out-climb me dramatically on the first couple big hills of the day, but eventually he wears out and I keep on going. He did a miraculous recovery when the steep stuff ended though, charging the rest of the way at a pretty respectable pace.

In the end a tough ride with the unexpectedly-high temps causing a pretty significant weight loss (6.5 pounds for me) due to not drinking enough, even though I tried. Maybe I did drink enough and I burned 6.5 pounds of fat? Don’t I wish!

Rain in the forecast… it’s just that, a forecast. This is California. There will be opportunities to ride!

Day after day of seeing long-range forecasts showing rain, rain and more rain… if you enjoy riding a bike, don’t let it get you down!

  • The weather forecast is often wrong, and when it’s not wrong, it’s at least exaggerated. It hasn’t rained 10 days straight in California in ages, and when it has, it hasn’t rained every single hour on each of those days.
  • You can ride in the rain. Whether it’s a drizzle or a downpour, you can set up a bike for rain use and pretend to mind you’re not getting wet.

Today was one of those days where you wonder how many people stayed home instead of riding and missed out on at least a couple hours in the afternoon when the sun came out, the roads dried, and the clean air & lightly-traveled roads made it a joy to be out riding. But for Kevin and I, we first had to pay our dues.

We got out to a late start (yeah, pretty much the norm), around 11:45, and headed south. The original idea was to ride through the foothills to our Los Altos store, grab a quick bite to eat and then head up Redwood Gulch to Skyline, head north to Sky Londa and home. After spending a bit too much time in Los Altos we modified things a bit, heading north along Foothill and then up Moody & Page Mill to Skyline. Kevin was a bit concerned that we’d run into some real nasty stuff up top, but I just knew otherwise. How? Just my absurd certainty that foul weather wasn’t going to last forever… and it didn’t. The last three hours of the ride saw beautiful weather, fantastic views of the coast (and a mudslide you could see when you looked down on west-side Old LaHonda).

Kevin climbing Moody in bright sunshine, on a day that had been forecast for solid rain. I'd like to claim he was enjoying himself, but this was Moody Road, after all.

Would it have been nicer if it hadn’t been raining at all? And not had to stop a couple times to readjust fenders so they wouldn’t rub against tires? Sure! But how many people looked at the weather forecast and made up their minds they wouldn’t be riding today… and later looked out their windows and saw the sun shining and the roads drying off and realized they missed out?

Be prepared. Have a rain bike handy, something you don’t worry about keeping in great shape, set up with fenders and sturdier, wider tires for more traction and fewer punctures on wet roads. Skip the minimalist seat bag and go big, something with room enough for an inexpensive plastic rain jacket (they don’t stuff so well, but they do keep the rain off). Make sure you’ve got front & rear flashing lights, and, very important, wear a hat under your helmet, so when the rain gets nasty you can just tilt your head down slightly and keep most of it out of your eyes. Don’t even think about timing the ride; it’s not about speed, it’s about being on your bike, rain or shine, hot or cold, because riding a bike makes you feel complete.