Tag Archives: skyline

Kevin does Kings under 30 minutes, Big group, NO RAIN!!!

I’m ready to declare the end of rain. From now through November, it’s clear skies and warmer temps. Windbreakers are to be left at home, the rain bike can be safely stashed under the house, and you no longer have a good excuse for continuing to carry around your “hibernation fuel” around your belly. Good times are ahead!

And a very good time it was this morning, perhaps one of the last times that I have to head up the hill a bit ahead of the group when riding with Kevin (my son Kevin, not the pilot). Kevin’s wanted to break the 30 minute barrier up Kings Mtn for some time; Tuesday he missed it by 15 seconds, and today, for the first part of the climb, I thought he’d be lucky to get 32. We hit the traditional half-way timing point at just over 16 minutes, not a good sign. In fact, the three timing points I use to gauge my progress on the first half of the climb were all looking pretty bleak, with each successive one being further off the mark than the one before. My theory is that Kevin had eaten way too much way too soon before the ride (a very large bowl of cereal) and was seriously bogged down.

But then something clicked. Kevin claims he started doing his new chant-

Never stopping,
Never sleeping,
Never eating,
Always riding.

It worked. On that nasty steep section in the middle, before the open part, Kevin kicked it up a notch. Or two. We hit the “open” timing point (road marker that says 1.41 on it, the distance in miles to the top) at 20:30, still below the 20 minutes “required” for a 30 minute time at that point, but still accelerating. Normally, if you’re going full-tilt, it’s 4 minutes from the last hairpin (at the archery range road) to the top, and you really do have to be pushing to pull that off. We were, if I recall correctly, just outside of that. But by the time we got to the penultimate timing point we had pulled even with a fast pace, at 28 minutes. Just two minutes left, and as long as he didn’t die, he had a chance. Let me tell you I had a very tough time staying on his wheel on that final stretch, and he finished in 29:42. 18 seconds to spare.

But the ride wasn’t all about Kevin. This was our largest group to date; not even sure how many, probably a dozen or so, and a good opportunity to edit an all-around video of the entire ride, which you can see below. You’ll notice it has the same soundtrack as the video of Kevin’s climb, and actually starts out showing Kevin finishing Kings (and then the rest of the group coming up behind; we had a 5 minute head start on them).

Sorry about the blotchy screen in the lower-right corner for the last couple of minutes; a bit of crud kicked up from a rider in front and stuck to the lens. Obviously, the answer is to ride in front of everybody, but that fails on two counts. First, I’d have to be faster than everyone else, and second, a video without bikes in it is hardly worth calling a video, is it?

Can you drive that fast on Skyline? Apparently not.

Just 4 of us this morning with Karl, Eric and Marcus heading with me up through the park. Tuesday’s routing is rigid; we absolutely positively will not go through the park on Tuesdays. But Thursdays I’m willing to let the mob decide, and the mob often goes for the back route through Huddart Park.

Nobody was setting any records this morning, although I’m sure Marcus is capable if he desired. I just stayed on his wheel as long as I could and then adopted the more-sensible pace set by Eric.

But the main event had nothing to do with us this morning. Shortly after Skeggs (just after Marcus had left us for home), I hear something coming up from behind, yell out “car” and move to the far-right (I should point out that my normal positioning on a quiet road is not the far-right edge of the road, because you’re not as visible from a distance as you are when you’re in the lane, but I always move over before the car arrives). The time between me yelling “car” and its arrival was incredibly short, because this guy was going incredibly fast. So fast that, when Karl picked the pace up a bit, I jokingly asked him if he was going to try and catch the guy. So fast that I was thinking at the time, can you really drive this section that fast?

The answer is no. Just past the bend in the road we came across the busted remains of a black BMW, upside-down, maybe reduced in height by a third or so as the roof had collapsed a bit. We really didn’t know what we were going to find inside, but didn’t think much of it as we approached the car, figuring that we might be the only people around for a while and whatever needed to be done quickly, had to be done by us. I tried calling but my cell phone didn’t work (neither did someone else’s Verizon; eventually a local resident drove through with what looked like a Sprint PTT (push to talk) phone that did work. Eric went down the road a bit to try his phone there, and stop incoming traffic. We also stopped a car and asked they head down to Sky Londa and notify the fire department. And checked out the condition of the car and the occupant, concerned about the possibility of a fire, in which case we’d have to throw caution to the wind and get that guy out of there, injuries notwithstanding.

As it turned out, there were no leaking fluids, no smell of gas, just some wisps of “smoke” coming from the remnants of 6 blown airbags. The guy was semi-alert but likely cold, and we had nothing to put over him. No obvious external injuries, but someone going from 80+mph to zero in the blink of an eye is obviously going to be busted up a bit. We worked on getting the doors open, which seemed like an impossible task, given the extent of crumpling to the car, but surprisingly, they eventually sprung free. Beyond that, there wasn’t much we could do other than stop traffic and wait for the paramedics, while keeping an eye on the guy’s condition in case anyone asked.

After what seemed like forever, a fire truck, and then an EMT unit arrived, followed later by the requisite string of sheriff’s and CHPs flying up the hill as we rode back down into Woodside, a bit more sedately than normal, a bit rattled, and with fewer miles under our legs because we skipped the west-side Old LaHonda section. For some reason we just didn’t feel like doing it today, plus we were running pretty late. But whatever the inconvenience to us, we were having a far better day than the guy in the black BMW.