Tag Archives: stage road

Just because your star climber abandons doesn’t mean you get in the broom wagon too…

It was a beautiful day to ride! Which is always a good excuse for another shot of West Old LaHonda.
It was a beautiful day to ride! Which is always a good excuse for another shot of West Old LaHonda.

Kevin and I needed to get in some miles; it’s less than two months before we head to France and tackle some nasty climbs. Would have been nice to do a Santa Cruz run,

The "big curve" on Haskins
The “big curve” on Haskins

but school work for Kevin meant he had to get back at a reasonable hour, so we set out to do the loop I did April 21st (I think)- Over Old LaHonda to Pescadero, Bean Hollow and south on Highway 1 to Gazos Creek, return to Pescadero via Gazos Creek and Cloverdale. Food. Cokes. Mix more Cytomax.

Up to that point, things went reasonably well. Kevin was running into some pain issues from his kidney (isn’t this getting to be pretty stale news about now?) so he was just barely hanging onto my wheel as we rode into a stiff headwind, but kept it to himself until we were just about ready to leave Pescadero, saying he wanted to pack it in, call home for someone to pick him up.

Fun. I talk him into heading to San Gregorio before calling for the broom wagon (in racing, the broom wagon “sweeps” the back of the race, picking up racers who’ve abandoned), since it would be much easier for someone to come straight over 84 looking for us, rather than have to figure out Stage Road etc. He makes it, painfully, we call from San Gregorio, then head east on 84 for the intercept. I figured La Honda, and sure enough, just past La Honda, the broom wagon appears.

Waaaaay too soon for me to pack it in though! Can’t even believe my wife asked the question. As if she doesn’t know after 34 years? Just 50-something miles by that point, none really hard, it was time for me to finally shake my legs loose, which I did, getting a new personal best for upper section of 84 up to Skyline.

77 miles, “only” 6200ft of climbing, so it didn’t even meet the definition of a “tough” ride (needs 1,000ft of climbing per 10 miles). The original plan had been to head up Los Lobitos Cutoff and Tunitas, which would have been 1000ft more… still not enough! Maybe next weekend…

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!