Tag Archives: road bike

At 55, I’m scared to death that, if I slow down, I’ll never get back up to speed again!

George, Karl, Leslie (pilot-Kevin’s friend), Kevin, Eric, John, Millo, Marcus, Karen… that might be everybody, or I might be missing someone. What wasn’t missed was a day that turned out so much nicer than expected! I put on the long-fingered gloves but really didn’t need to; it probably started around 54 degrees and was up to 64 by the time I got back home a couple hours later. No complaints!

Since it was a Tuesday I knew it would be a bit harder than the Thursday version of our ride, but hard is really what you make of it yourself. Starting up Kings I’m now making sure to not set the pace at the beginning, since people complain that I go hard and then blow up. Not sure how that’s a whole lot different than what I’m doing now… waiting for Marcus and John and Karl to pass by, and then hanging onto their wheels for dear life until… I blow up! The end result is the same; no way can I maintain a torrid pace all the way up the hill. Yet. Working on that one! And I think my new life as a bike commuter is helping out in that regard, since my 15 minute ride home includes a stiff climb at the end, and no matter how tough the day has been, no matter how tired or hungry I am, I still punch it as hard as I can.

Once we get to the park I get a chance to rest for a minute or two, and then continue up the hill at a bit more moderate pace. It’s still tough seeing the fast guys head on up ahead though, and I’ll still try to get back up to them at least once, an effort that pretty much destroys me. As usual. But today at least I got in two hard sprints, with George

This is what tells me I've got it- when you see someone looking back at you. If it's a drag race, there's no point. The only reason to look back would be if you are thinking about cutting someone off (tactics) or shutting down if you don't like your chances.

pushing things each time. Looking at the video I shot during the ride, I saw something that I key on during the sprint, without thinking about it… George pulls ahead, takes a quick glance back and then takes off. It’s that glance that tells me I’ve got it. If you’re serious about a sprint and it’s going to be an all-out drag race, there’s nothing to be gained by looking back, unless you’re thinking about backing down, and if that’s in your mind, you’ve lost already. In George’s case, I think he’s just curious and wants to know where he is vs myself or Karl. If it were a tactical sprint, knowing exactly where the other guys are makes sense, but for either the Skegg’s or Sky Londa sprints, the tactics are played out well before the actual sprint (while you establish your position… basically, whose wheel to sit on).

The most-interesting part of the ride for me wasn’t a sprint though. George and Karl had gotten out ahead on the 84 descent into Woodside, with me in that no-man’s land between them and a few some distance behind. Normally I’d be inclined to wait for those behind if there was much of a gap to the front guys, but today? Today I wanted to see if I could run George & Karl down, in particular on the Tripp Road section where I normally run out of gas and am happy to sit on someone’s wheel. But today I managed to bridge the gap to them, after which Karl promptly attacked, leaving me behind. Good tactic on Karl’s part, since it took me completely out of the final sprint.

This is what I do for fun. Or is it, This is what I do for fun? To tell you the truth, at 55, I’m scared to death that, if I slow down, I’ll never get back up to speed again! –Mike–

The Tuesday-morning ride is coming up to speed, plus “Who are those guys?”

We had some visitors from The City this morning; three guys who had taken the train down, arrived in Redwood City at 7:18am and quickly headed up over Jefferson to join us. And, bad as I am, I can only remember one guy’s name- “Space.” Eric might be able to give me the other two. Either all or some were Google employees, and yes, it would be nice if I were a better ride host and would carry on conversations with the new folk but I’m still feeling fortunate to finish the climb up Kings on the same day as the rest of the group!

Actually, I’m doing a bit better than that. While I had told myself I was not going to follow the first fast wheel up the hill, and I intentionally let Karl get a good gap on me at the bottom, it doesn’t seem to matter. I see that wheel in front of me and claim it as if it were my own bike’s 3rd wheel. Karl started out at a reasonable pace but then gradually increased it, such that the first timing point, the house on the right with a reflecting pool that we used to be able to see 20 years ago before, was fast but not blazingly-so, but the second timing point, the hairpin over the creek, came at about 5:33, about 25 seconds faster than normal. I held pretty tightly until we were close to the park entrance, where we (myself, George, Karl & Marcus) dutifully waited for the rest to catch up. I’ll admit to a bit of disappointment that the wait was relatively short, but the good news is that Eric’s making a comeback, knocking two minutes off last week’s time to the top.


(The video above shows us descending Highway 84 into Woodside)

Regarding disappointments though, I’ll admit I was not at the top of my game for the sprints. Had I gone full-tactical and slowed down ahead of the sprint into Sky Londa, things might have gone differently, but it’s fun to just curl up into a ball and see how fast you can descend, never mind that it takes a bit to get yourself out of that ball and feel like turning the pedals again. Plus you’ve got a string of people on your tail, ready to slingshot in front of you at just the right moment.

Hopefully the three Google guys will read today’s report and leave a comment here. And hopefully they won’t think our group anti-social because of my lack of banter while riding. They did seem like very nice guys.

This ride marked the official start of the faster riding season, finishing at 9:22 (the Tuesday ride typically finishing in-season between 9:18 and 9:22am, while Thursday’s ride is typically 5 minutes slower). It didn’t feel like a take-no-prisoners event, so maybe there’s hope for me. –Mike–