All posts by Mike

But it was worth it.

This morning climbing the big hill on my Tuesday/Thursday-morning bike ride, I had thoughts of turning around half-way, thinking I’d been doing this for 40+ years, maybe it’s time. But I pushed on through, because I’m not ready to face that reality yet, and what would I post here? That the time will come when you have to give up, not put your dreams on hold but realize they’re not possible?
Fortunately I don’t have too many days like this. One thing that keeps me going, pushing through such thoughts, is that I’m 65, been doing this for 51 years, and there has yet to be a day I didn’t feel better at the end of a ride than at the beginning. Or I should say, a day I thought afterward, I shouldn’t have ridden. Or ridden so hard.
I think the key thing is that what I do to myself, pushing myself, is voluntary. I am in control. When you’re dealing with issues at work, or at home, finances, kids, spouses… those can wear you down because you can easily feel like things are happening to you, other have control over you. Your exercise routine is totally you. You own it. You are it. You have 100% agency. You know what you accomplished and nobody can take it away from you. You didn’t let some obscure type of cancer stop you. You didn’t let all those things you *have* to do and aren’t appreciated for or feel like you’re just spinning wheels… they didn’t stop you. The doctor who told you “If you’re tired, just rest” didn’t stop you.
The only person who can really stop you… is yourself. This morning I didn’t let that happen. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like giving up. It wasn’t easy. But it was worth it.

Good day for Kevin; he rocked Tunitas for a new PR!

This is what the beginning of a PR looks like; you can see Kevin sprinting away from the safety of our group.

Pretty nice day for a ride! Started out cool and foggy, so I put on some full-fingered gloves and a base layer, even though the weather report said it would get quite toasty later. The fog didn’t take too long to burn off; by the top of Old LaHonda that base layer was coming off! With a bit of a laugh at my expense, as I neglected to put the suspenders from my cycling shorts back up, something Kevin (younger Kevin) enjoyed pointing out to me.

Oh right, who was on the ride. It started with Kevin (younger), Kevin (ex-pilot) and Colin. Along the way we came across Karen, whom we haven’t seen since she was in the hospital for three weeks having a brain aneurysm dealt with, and later on, a very fast group including Nicole and Kathryn, owners of many QOMs (Queen of the Mountain records).

Kevin (younger) thought he would avoid having to think about a fast ride up Tunitas by doing a long, hard pull out to Pescadero. It was just last week that he was well on his way to a wicked-fast time up Tunitas but had a seizure about mid-way that obviously wrecked his time. He was hoping to take it easy and just enjoy the ride today. But apparently rocket fuel came in the form of the three tacos from the Pescadero gas station.

Way off in the distance you can see the group I chased down, thinking it would be a good group for Kevin to test his legs.

Kevin didn’t kill himself on Stage, and in fact didn’t look all that strong on the final climb to Highway 1, but it turns out he was holding something back for the finale. We hit the base of Tunitas with a slight tail wind, and a few hundred meters in front of us was a very fast group that had passed us on Stage. I don’t know why, but I decided to bring our group up to theirs, and it wasn’t too long before Kevin (the younger one, or maybe I should say the faster one) mentioned to me that Strava was telling him we, or I should say he, was in pretty good shape for a good time today.

A happy Kevin at the top of Tunitas

I suggested that he go for it; what I didn’t know was that he was going to go for it right then. He bolted out of our group and sped on ahead, well before the entry to the forest. And that was the last we saw of him. I rode with the fast group as far as the Bridge of Death, and then watched them ride away from me. Kevin (ex pilot) couldn’t keep up with the fast folk, but stayed ahead of me until I managed to claw my way back just at the grassy knoll, where Tunitas flattens out. We arrive at the top about 8 minutes behind the faster Kevin, who had that exhausted but really happy look you don’t see often enough. He’s getting his speed back, and it’s fun to watch.

Overall a really nice ride, even for us slow guys (myself, Kevin ex-pilot & Colin). And as especially nice ride for younger Kevin, who shaved two minutes off his prior best on Tunitas and now owns a 41-something.