My first attempt to post from the road, but unfortunately not enough signal to connect today up at Skyline & 9. So I’m filling in what I would have posted if I could have posted.
Saturday, August 28th, the County Sheriff’s department ticketed approximately 25 cyclists for not properly proceeding through the intersection at Canada & Woodside Roads. It’s difficult to figure out exactly what transpired, but it sounds like a group of about 40 cyclists came to the intersection, the front of the group stopped until it was safe to ride through, and the rest followed. Tickets were issued because it’s illegal for a group of vehicles to do anything other than stop individually before going through a stop sign.
The story was reported in the Country Almanac and created a huge response. You can read the article and responses here. Below is my addtion to the fray.
People just don’t understand that we’re all connected, and need to look out for each other. On the return from my ride this morning, heading over the top of Jefferson, a car (seen in the photo) turned onto Jefferson right in front of me. It rolled right through the stop sign (this was at the side street adjacent to the new fire station), at a speed at least as high as what you might see a “bad” cyclist do. I was in plain sight. Did they not see me? Or simply expect that I wouldn’t mind? And yes, I deliberately blurred the license plate in the photo.
Up until a month or two ago, it was easy to say that we were about two months “behind” on the weather curve. That is, in June, we were getting the weather we should have had in April. OK, it’s September, and what we’re seeing today would rank as a great day in March. Cool (50 up on Skyline), drizzly, a bit breezy. If you were a global warming crusader, it would be very difficult to use our current weather as an ally in your fight.
Not too many on the ride this morning; Kevin, Eric, Mike R, Syl and I’m sure there was at least one other guy who left me in the dust as we rode up through the park. Oh, right, Jan! Just looked at one of the photos I took. This morning I’m wondering if I was riding with the wrong group; at the start of the ride a group of 5 women went riding past on Canada, looking far more civilized and social.
The guys wanted to ride through the park and I gave in. I should know better. As much as I claim I don’t need to warm up, there’s something about a steep road on a cold morning that gives me grief, and this morning was no exception. I was so far off the back that Eric was concerned enough about my breathing to suggest I see a doctor about it. Nah, I’m just looking forward to summer finally hitting. It is nice heading through the trees as the sun shines down through the fog though, as you can see in the photo.
I did start feeling better once we got past Skeggs Point on Skyline, as is usually the case. I was feeling fine on the descent towards west-side Old LaHonda, and nobody was pushing the pace on the climb back up to Skyline so I felt good there too! But overall this was my slowest-paced morning ride in ages, and it didn’t have me looking forward to winter.
My daughter Becky, whom many of you know from her work with your Project One bikes and her work with our apparel in the Redwood City store, now has her own blog on-line, appropriately-titled “Becky’s Blog.” There’s a link to it in the menu at the top of this page, and of course here.
See what she’s up to, and don’t forget to leave comments encouraging her to write & ride more! –Mike– (aka “Dad”)
Just a bit cooler this morning than yesterday… by about 40 degrees! I didn’t realize quite how cool it was going to be until I found myself up on Skyline at 50 degrees with no legwarmers. I didn’t feel cold; as long as I kept the motor going, that wasn’t a problem. But it was definitely on the damp side up on top, as you can see from the sun shining through the fog in the photo.
Karl, Kevin, Millo, Eric, Marcos and at some point Mike R caught up to us, don’t know when, but all of a sudden up on Skyline, there he was! A moderate pace up the hill, actually pretty slow at the start but the guys warmed up to a faster pace as it went. Sadly, we passed a dead bobcat as we pacelined on Skyline; beautifully-spotted and quite young, sad to see something like that.
The guys seemed concerned about me staying warm but that really wasn’t a problem; I was more concerned about my knees, and I doubt anyone brought spare leg warmers. West-side Old LaHonda stayed damp & drizzly, which for some reason tempered the pace enough that Marcus and I just sorta walked off the front and stayed there all the way to Skyline. Maybe the wet pavement was slowing people down, not wanting to slip. Unfortunately, the promise offered by drier pavement on the 84 descent (into Woodside) may have been too tempting, as Karl slid out nastily in a corner about halfway down, possibly breaking his collarbone (again), right at the start of Cyclocross season. Mike R headed down the hill to get his car for a ride home, and we’re hoping the best for a speedy recovery for Karl. It’s not fun to see something like that happen right in front of your eyes (and I was positioned perfectly to see the whole thing). And of course I’m trying to play it out in my mind, what exactly happened… it could have been the slightly-gusty winds that nail you as you sail through the unprotected corners. I’ll miss Karl’s wheel as he recovers.
With Kevin (my son Kevin, not pilot Kevin) still out of action due to a kidney stone, I called in the reserves, texting (yes, 54 year olds text, at least those with iPhones anyway) Jeff, one of our reps, who has some serious riding credentials (Devil Mtn Double, plus he’s ridden Sonora Pass with me). We connected in the morning, doing a variant of the Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas loop, but tossing in just a little bit more at the end by heading up Star Hill Road, then south on Skyline and down 84.
While waiting for Jeff at the base of Old LaHonda, I figured I’d try and use the iPhone’s WordPress blogging application to put something up in real-time regarding the ride, but no matter how good the idea or software is, you can’t do much if you can’t see the screen in bright daylight. I did get a nice shot of cyclists on Portola Road though, using my “regular” pocket camera (Fuji EXR200) zoomed out as far as it could go… a mode I never use when riding because you can’t hold it steady enough. Funny how you forget that there are times when you can get a more-interesting photo by zooming in.
It was a beautiful morning, perfect weather for climbing Old LaHonda. I pointed out to Jeff places like “Pipe Country” (about a mile up, where there are pipes coming out of a retaining wall on the left side of the road), “Cytomax Country” (just a bit further up, where it flattens out for a bit giving you a chance to drink), and the half-way point, the yellow house on the left right after the second steep part. We rode a fairly-civilized pace up the hill, about 24 minutes, pretty much exactly the pace Kevin might have capable of. Darn that kidney stone!
Quite a few people at the top of Old LaHonda, but unlike yesterday I wasn’t on a Pied Piper mission so we headed straight down the other side and down to LaHonda, where I introduced Jeff to the “shortcut” to Pescadero Road at Apple Jacks. Amazing the things people who have lived and ridden the roads here most of their lives and don’t yet know! Never assume that your favorite road is known to all.
Another thing different on this ride compared to most was that we came across quite a few other cyclists on the “other” (some would say “wrong”) side of the hill. Many of them customers of mine, and it seemed to surprise Jeff how many fit into this category. At the mandatory stop in Pescadero we came across Susan, whom I came across climbing Tunitas three years ago, and today she told me about coming into our shop four years ago to buy her first pair of cycling shoes, coincidentally at the same time we were fitting Kevin, somewhat reluctantly, to a new pair of shoes. It was clear he wasn’t really into cycling at the time, and she was impressed with how far he’s come since then. So, even though Kevin wasn’t along with us on the ride, it sorta seemed like he was.
From there it was the usual run on Stage Road, made a bit less fun by all the gravel they’ve spread across it, supposedly as a way to improve the road surface. I’ve never understood that. How, without any sort of binding agent (oil), does the gravel embed in the old asphalt? No stopping at San Gregorio but we did cruise by the Bike Hut at the base of Tunitas to pick up some water ($.25/bottle to defray the costs of filtering their groundwater).
There were quite a few cyclists on Tunitas, and up to this point, darned few cars! That changed once we hit Skyline, which we sort of detoured onto via Star Hill/Swett Road (featuring that uber-steep section where I might have been tempted to zig-zag except that the road is very narrow there and a couple of cars decided that that’s where they had to pass me). Heading south on Skyline to 84 though, I had never seen such heavy traffic up there before, probably due to the beautiful weather and the Kings Mtn Art Show.
Ride totals? 63.39 miles, 6328ft of climbing. Missed the definition of a “mountainous” ride by… 11 feet???!!! Food & water are available at “B” (La Honda, a small market), “C” (Pescadero, two excellent bakeries/general stores, both of which like cyclists), “D” (San Gregorio general store, which tolerates cyclists) and “E” (The Bike Hut, which reliably has water but not always food). Also “F” (Sky Londa, a small market as well as Alice’s Restaraunt).
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