Tag Archives: strava

Strava says 19 “accomplishments” but this guy did better!

I’m struggling a bit on my return, heading over Sand Hill, and catch a glimpse of this guy, probably in his 70s. He didn’t have a great bike, he’d just come up over the opposite side, and his broad smile showed satisfaction, relief, and more sense of accomplishment than anything Strava has given me. Sometimes we get so caught up in our goals, measured in minutes & seconds & kilometers & timing points, that we forget about the things that brought us to cycling in the first place. The first time we made it to Skyline. Making it to the coast. Discovering new bakeries along the way.

When I was 11 years old, I remember having a AAA Bay & River map laid out on the kitchen table, looking at new towns to explore, like Portola Valley, which was out there past Woodside. A year later I’d go to the US Geological Survey center in Menlo Park with my friend Bob Kriesle, to buy maps preparing us for the New World (the mountains between us and the coast), and noticing they had markings for oil wells (oil wells on 84? Who knew?). Every ride was an adventure, not a competition. We’d seek out the tough climbs not for speed, but just to say we’d been there. I had a rack on the back of my bike that we’d carry a couple of quart bottles of Coke for fuel (no water bottles on a Schwinn Varsity). I’m not sure if I’ve found a different path, a type of cycling that’s compatible with who and what I am these days, or if I’ve lost my way. But I do know it’s been a very long time since I’ve crested a hill and had a smile like I saw on the old guy coming over the top of Sand Hill today!

Maybe the day is coming where my time up hills won’t be so important to me, but that day’s not here yet. But I am very aware, and thankful, that there are a great many ways to enjoy cycling.

Until they get Junipero Serra fixed up, you might want to choose a different route. It's worse than it looks, and it looks pretty bad!
Until they get Junipero Serra fixed up, you might want to choose a different route. It’s worse than it looks, and it looks pretty bad!

What about my ride? It wasn’t what was planned, that’s for sure. Kevin (my son) and I were going to head out to the coast, but he’s developed another kidney stone, and after waiting it out for too many hours, it was clear he wasn’t going to be riding and I wouldn’t be heading out to the coast. 2:15pm and there’s just not that much daylight left! So I headed out into the foothills, pushing myself pretty hard since I wouldn’t be getting in many miles, and tossed in the “walking” Joaquin loop off Portola Road to make things even tougher. Eventually I ended up at our Los Altos store, and then headed back on a more direct, less adventurous route, partly because I was feeling a bit spent, and partly because I thought it would be shorter. Uh, no, I must have hit every red light on Foothill! That plus the slow riding on the section of Foothill (maybe Junipero Serra when north of Page Mill?) where they’ve torn up the road and have uneven steel plates that you don’t want to ride over. What a mess they’re making of our roads these days.

As spent as I was, I had been inspired seeing that old guy on Sand Hill so instead of the “easy” ride over Jefferson, I took the Godetia “shortcut” to add one more insanely-steep piece of road. In the end, a very nice ride. Wish I could have been out there longer, but I made the best of the time I had.

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!