Tag Archives: winter

The coast is always warmer. Right?

Kevin and I had to get in a quick ride this morning since our Redwood City store, normally closed Sundays, would be open today for Christmas shoppers. That meant abandoning the usual Sunday-morning routine of saying we’ll get out the door by, say, 9am and not actually leaving until 10:15 or so. Today, if we needed to be out on the road by 8am to get back in time, then we had to be out by 8!

OK, 8:11am was still pretty close. Still had to come up with something that would alleviate the pain of getting on the scale and seeing something unfriendly, so we chose a fast run over 84 to the coast and back via Tunitas. Best thing about that loop is the coast part, because no matter how cold it is on our side of the hill, it’s always warmer near the ocean. Right?

29.7 degrees shown on the Garmin computer; so cold that I had to highly manipulate the image to get it to show up (LCD screens often fade in the cold). The Trek computer registers more slowly and shows 33 degrees. I’m sticking with the 29.87!

Wrong. This morning saw the temps drop nastily in that little section just past the main descent on 84 (prior to LaHonda)… and stay nasty. And I really do mean nasty. As in, 29 degrees nasty. That was not expected, nor was it expected that the temps would stay in the very low 30s until we were within a mile or two of the coast, where it warmed up to a toasty 40 or so. But y’know, 40 sure felt a whole lot better than 30!

Predictably, nobody else was out there on the ocean side of the hill this morning, because they knew. Thankfully, my biggest fear didn’t materialize, that being the likelihood that the parallel valley that the base of Tunitas Creeks runs up, which is only a couple miles from 84, would be similarly cold. Instead, we had near-tropical temps in the low-40s, climbing to mid-40s on our way up the hill. Totally comfortable & nice! Even better, instead of getting the usual cold blast coming down Kings back into Woodside, it actually warmed up (fortunate for the very large numbers of cyclists we saw climbing up the hill this morning).

Were we prepared for the cold? Sorta. We had our best cold-weather gloves, and within a few hours the tips of my fingers didn’t hurt anymore, so I think we did ok there. No problem for the legs, with thermal tights doing a great job. Booties for the feet so the toes were only slightly blue, no biggie. But we could have done a better job up top. Thank goodness Becky had ordered some heavy-duty Pearl Izumi base layers, over which we had a standard Chain Reaction jersey. What was missing? That all-important 3rd layer, a light windbreaker, left at home. Won’t do that again! Actually I had mine with me but Kevin forgot to bring one, and I didn’t think it would be very sporting if I put one on while he suffered. Oh, you think because I’m a parent that I should have loaned it to him? The same kid who will exploit any weakness in my cycling and run me into the ground? Well, I could have not loaned it to him due to spite, but the reality is that I thought he should be taught a lesson so he won’t forget to bring the jacket next time.

The reality of course is that I forgot it was in my seat pack.

The sky is always blue when you’re cycling!

You could watch the weather on TV and start to believe that the best days for riding are behind us; that rain is coming, that the days are getting both shorter and colder. And you’re expecting me to tell you not to believe such nonsense?

Good times are where you find them, and your bike is that place. It’s always that place. You go to bed the night before your morning ride, noticing that there’s a bit of a chill in the area, listen to a noise that’s familiar and strangely comforting but then realize it’s the furnace kicking on (is it OK to be comforted by the sound of a furnace?), and you think back to just two weeks ago when you were able to go out without leg warmers. For the last time.

But the sky was blue this morning, and with daylight saving time behind us, it was also light out. Nothing wrong with being comforted by that! And yet, we had only a handful of riders this morning; myself, Kevin (son, not the pilot), Eric, Todd & Jim, joined up on Skyline by Steve L, whom we haven’t seen for a while (he usually rides with the older, er, I mean, more “mature” guys who ride a bit later and stay out of the hills). Looking at the video reminds me just how nice & clear it was as we set a deliberately non-challenging pace up Kings, hoping to avoid Kevin having one of his all-too-frequent seizures. Since he didn’t, I guess it worked! Unfortunately, when you look at our time climbing Kings, you come to realize that he can climb very fast, have a seizure, and finish in 29:30. Or he can climb at a pace where he won’t likely have a seizure, and finish in 29:30.

We did run into a bit of fog at the top, or maybe low clouds. Not bad, but the slight dampness made the 43 degrees up there seem a bit colder. Soon, 43 degrees will feel nearly toasty for us!

Watching the ride play on the video in front of me reminds me that I actually did ride this morning. What would it be like, riding without cameras or downloadable GPS data recording the ride? Without two computers on the handlebars, set to simultaneously display two different sets of data that I think are important (heart rate & speed in numbers large enough for 55-year-old eyes to read)? I don’t know. I understand there are people out there who have no computer on their bike at all, and somehow that works for them. Guess they haven’t discovered Strava yet.