Tag Archives: ride

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!

Kevin comes full circle; Delta 50k 2005, Delta Century 2012

Kevin’s first organized ride was the Delta 50k in 2005, 7 years ago, when he was 12 years old. Prior to that his longest ride had been 10 miles, so it was a bit of a challenge for him, to say the least.

Kevin in 2005 at the Delta 50k's first rest stop

He’s still annoyed that I billed it as a 25 mile ride (which is what I truly thought it was going to be at the time) but was actually 33.

Today, Kevin removed the last monkey from his back as he rode the 100 mile event (which was actually 98.1 miles, but who’s counting… I mean, besides myself, and Strava). You can find the write-up (and lots of photos) on his original ride here.

That photo on the left was, as they say, the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. From that first organized ride he went on to do several others of similar length that year, and was soon climbing Old LaHonda and later on, Kings Mtn.

Kevin in 2012 at the 80 mile rest stop on the Delta Century

Fast-forward 7 years to today. 100 miles is a distance Kevin can knock off without giving it much thought (he’s a pro at the Redwood City/Santa Cruz loop), and it probably helps that he’s 6 or 7 inches taller than in the old photo, and weighs substantially less. Yet today’s ride was one of his most-challenging in some time, because it’s virtually pancake flat, a whopping 420ft of climbing (even though Strava and Garmin erroneously report it at 1400ft), and also quite windy, and the combination can be a lot tougher mentally and an HC (beyond category) climb used in the Tour de France.

Did I mention it was windy? Pretty much the entire 50 mile outbound segment was into a pretty stiff headwind, something that’s not nearly as big a deal on a hilly ride as it is when it’s flat. And cross-winds strong and consistent enough in a few places that you were literally riding your bike at an angle.

A bridge too-crossed on the Delta Century. 3 times across the same bridge maybe?

Of course, there are advantages to riding into a headwind, because it’s something I can do relatively well, while Kevin struggles in the same conditions. It’s one of the few times I can actually ride him off my wheel if I wanted to. OK, it’s the only time I could do that, since any climb of substance and he’s way ahead of me.

So how was the ride?¬†Flat, windy, and fairly warm (up to the mid-90s in a couple of places). Picturesque? After you’ve passed the 25th or 33rd or whatever boutique Lodi vineyard, they all look pretty much the same. The various bridges between the various Delta islands are interesting, until you realize that the curiously-looped course sends you a couple of them multiple times (three times for one of them, I think!). We started the ride just past 8:30am, finishing just before 3pm. Not too fast (that darned wind!) but still pretty enjoyable with good rest stops and friendly cyclists and darned few cars. Amazingly few cars in fact! There were a few levee roads that went on for several miles without a single car.

Will we do it again? Not really likely; a perfectly-flat century is one of those things on your bucket list that needs to be crossed off, and while you’re riding it, you question why it was on your bucket list in the first place. But that’s actually easy to explain; it needed to be revisited by the new Kevin. And I needed an opportunity to be the stronger of us again, something that’s not going to happen very often anymore. –Mike–