Tag Archives: Tunitas

We live in “Vacationland”

Vacationland, USA. Or maybe the world.

Vacationland. I saw that in the comments someone made on a ride on Strava. Wherever you live on the Peninsula, just outside your door are some of the most-amazing places to ride a bike in the world. I know a little bit about this sort of thing, having spent quite a bit of time riding in France, often regarded as a cycling paradise. If I were in France, and cycling was a big part of my life, right here, San Mateo & Santa Clara & Santa Cruz counties, would be the sort of place you’d take a vacation and tell everyone back home about the amazing roads, the views, the great places to eat along the way… things that, after living her for awhile, we might be taking for granted.

Today’s ride in Vacationland was the traditional Old LaHonda, Pescadero, Tunitas loop. 58 miles, about 6000 feet of climbing, spectacular weather (no need for leg warmers or jackets). OK, maybe a few stiff headwinds here & there (remember that we don’t admit to tail winds), and checking out the work being done on the west side of Old LaHonda might not have been the best idea (pretty soft & sticky new pavement) Strava details below-

Check out the Peacock staring at itself on the second floor window.

What Strava doesn’t show are the people you see along the way, like Patrick, our Redwood City Service Manager, riding up Old LaHonda on a bike probably 5 pounds heavier than mine, at a pretty good clip. Or the views of the Pacific Ocean and the hills in-between while descending west-side Old LaHonda. Or the fact that I started the ride feeling not-so-great but the warmer weather opened up my lungs and let me explore the limits of my muscles for a change. Or the Peacock staring into the second-floor window of the former “Machine Gun Man” house on Stage Road, wondering when the identical Peacock on the other side of the window would end the stare-down.

Strava says that I had a pretty fast (for me) time up Haskins on my way to Pescadero, but what it doesn’t say is that, for the first time in a very long while, I felt really good on Tunitas and had to hold back for Kevin. This too shall pass; on Tuesday morning’s ride I’m sure I’ll once again be watching Kevin ride away from me up the hill, just as he did earlier on today’s ride on Old LaHonda.

Meantime, when you complain about how much it costs to live here, consider the “Vacationland” argument. Think of what it would cost to have an endless vacation in one of the best places on the planet to ride. Because that’s what we’ve got, and it’s one of the best excuses ever for why you should be finding more time to ride.

71 degrees on the coast; wet & cold heading home on Kings. Should have left 30 minutes earlier!

Welcome to Daylight Saving Time, when we should be able to sleep in a bit because we’ll be able to ride later in the day, except that the weather forecast said there would be “showers” by 4pm… so sleeping in wasn’t in the cards.

We could have gotten on the road a bit earlier had Kevin spotted this last night and taken care of it then

Of course, the best-laid plans, which included getting all the gear out the night before so we could get out on the road quickly, go to pieces when you make sure your son’s checked his tires, which he hadn’t. The first photo tells the story; that tire wasn’t going much further!

Fortunately, I’d brought a tire home last week, knowing that his rear tire was getting pretty thin, and had him install it. Yes, we could have saved some time if I’d done it myself, but then I wouldn’t have heard such silliness as “Dad, how am I going to do this without a tire lever?” Yikes. This is really my kid? Lightweight road tires don’t need tire levers to remove or install, if you have the needed confidence and don’t show the tire any sign of weakness!

We did the usual; up Old LaHonda, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road to Tunitas and back. It’s tough to come up with a convenient & challenging local ride that doesn’t include a run to the coast, with the return is going to be either Tunitas or West Alpine. West Alpine takes a bit longer so we did the always-dependable Tunitas version. Remember, it was going to start getting wet at 4pm or so.

The run up Old LaHonda was relatively uneventful. No seizures for Kevin this time (first time up Old LaHonda in maybe 4 trips that he hasn’t had a seizure there), but his new meds did mess with his vision for a while, causing us to stop about halfway up the hill until his head cleared up. Surprisingly few cyclists on the road, despite pretty nice weather given that it’s still winter.

Climbing the last part of Stage Road up to Highway 1

At Pescadero we changed the routine a bit, opting to split a sandwich for lunch instead of the usual pastries, and I think proper fueling did help Kevin the rest of the ride. Either that or it was the unusual tail-wind heading north on Stage Road (although Kevin’s will never admit to riding with a tail wind; he’s been taught well!). We finally came across a few cyclists climbing the last section of Stage Road; as I’d mentioned, not many out there today!

The descent finishing at the Tunitas Creek bridge was a lot faster than normal, due to that tail wind we won’t admit to, but instead of making the turn

The two horses and goat near the start of Tunitas

and immediately starting the timed climb up Tunitas, we stopped to take pictures of the two horses & goat that inhabit that first field on the left. Those three have been a fixture for quite a few years, always staying close to each other. When finished, we dutifully road back to the intersection, started our timers and rode west. Kevin had initially wanted to remove his base layer, as it had gotten pretty warm (up to 71 degrees) on the coast, but I suggested removing only our full-fingered gloves since it was likely to get cooler and we climbed, and indeed it did, dropping quickly into the mid-50s. Still very comfortable weather for a stiff climb though. The weather held up nicely for us until… the very top. We felt a few drops as we neared the end of the climb, but it was as if we had gone through a curtain separating the dry coast from the wet bay-side.

The descent on Kings was simply not much fun, having to keep the brakes on hard the entire time, and having the rain wash salty sweat into my eyes. I was really hoping we’d get in before the rain hit; I’ve probably got an hour’s worth of work, maybe more, getting my bike cleaned up and lubed again. But still, a good ride, at a fairly-strong pace, despite my having been off the bike for a week (while I was in Washington DC for the Bike Lobby). And nice to do a ride without Kevin have a seizure too!  –Mike–