Tag Archives: west old la honda

Big group on the Tuesday ride

Big group at Old LaHonda & Skyline. Left to right, Kevin J, Mike (not me), Kevin S, Chris, Eric, George, Karen, Todd, Marcus, Mike (not me again) & Karl. Missing (turned off earlier) is Jim.

So now I go to bed the night before the Tuesday/Thursday ride wondering how badly I’m going to get beat up… by my son. I knew this was coming, but I didn’t realize how rapidly he would progress. It was only a couple months ago (literally) that Kevin finally broke 30 minutes up Kings and could actually ride with our group without holding us up. And now, he can squeeze off a 26-something time more reliably than I can.

But today I never got to find out how badly he might beat me. Maybe a quarter mile before the start of the climb, one of my two computers came off the handlebar, without me noticing, but Karl let me know he’d seen if fly off and hit the side of the road. OK… I briefly considered whether it was worth sacrificing the climb for a computer… maybe it would still be there when I got back… but it might be tough figuring out exactly where it had landed later, so I watched the others head on up the hill while I made a u-turn and retrieved the computer. Did anyone offer to stay behind and ride up with me? Er, no, but Chris was a late arrival and was coming up behind, trying to catch the group. Yeah, sure, I can just have Chris pace me back up the hill. Right. For about 100 meters or so, and then he vanished. Poof. Gone. Didn’t see him again until the top of the hill.

Eventually I did catch up to Kevin, Todd & Karl. Yes, Karl, who’s recovering nicely from his latest collarbone/clavicle issue. They had been soft-pedaling for a while, actually having conversations, while my lungs are searching for every available atom of oxygen (I was going to say “molecule of air” but is air a molecule? Apparently yes.) I was dying; probably 27:20 or so, a lot of time to be thinking about everybody else already well ahead of me, riding faster, finishing soon.

Very big group this morning. 12 at least, given that there are 11 in the photo plus me, and there might have been one guy who turned off before then (yes, there was one more, Jim I think). A bit foggy at the top, fairly cool, and just damp enough to give me the creeps descending (Kevin doesn’t seem to have such trouble, but then Kevin doesn’t have the years of experience descending that I have, some of those descents ending up on my side instead of my wheels).

For the final sprint it was all Chris. Kevin wasn’t anywhere in sight; obviously, it’s time I get him back to sprinting again (since maybe emphasizing sprinting will slow him down on the climbs).

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–