What the weather was supposed to be. Talk about a no-show!
How ironic that I’m disappointed in this-morning’s ride because it didn’t rain. But after last night’s weather forecast… 100% chance of rain from 7am-11am… how could it miss? Kevin and I got out everything. All the nasty-weather gear, charged up all the lights (figured in really nasty conditions we’d be needing our most-powerful headlights), and went to bed thinking we’d be woken up by howling wind and rain striking the windows in the middle of the night.
This screenshot at 7:10am accurately shows the "no rain zone" protecting us
Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It rained not a single drop on us. It was as if we were being protected by a “no-rain zone”, a big hole in the green (the color of rain on the weather map). It’s not as if it looked exactly friendly looking out the kitchen window as we made coffee and got ready to ride, but it didn’t look like that one epic day of rain we were expecting either.
It gets worse. Heading out on my rain bike, loaded with stuff I wasn’t going to need (like a heavy plastic rain jacket), Kevin and I immediately run into Nigel, heading up Jefferson to the start of the ride. And Nigel has his “nice” bike, the Madone 5.1 he picked up last week, the bike that makes him even faster than normal. And me, I’m feeling, well, tired & slow & old & broken. Just one of those high-gravity mornings, y’know?
It still gets worse. At the base of the climb Kevin (pilot), Kevin (son), Nigel and I are joined by Marcus, again on on light bike with no fenders, no rain gear. To say I struggled and was far behind on Kings is an understatement. I even wondered what the point was, after I lost sight of everyone, before half-way up the hill. Thankfully I recovered enough to suck wheels for the rest of the ride, and finished feeling better than I thought and much better than if I hadn’t ridden at all. But no epic conditions, no cool video to show. Another day. –Mike–
Approaching the top of Old LaHonda and Kings for the first time. Notice the similar expression.
On yesterday’s ride I couldn’t help but notice an expression on a few riders that looked very familiar. We’ll call it “The Look.” Not quite the version we’re used to (where Lance turned around and either sized up or stared down his competition on the Alpe d’Huez a decade ago), but just as symbolic. It’s that combination of presumed relief (is it really over???!!!) and “Why did I do this?” Shortly afterward comes the feeling of accomplishment, and maybe a smile, but that last 20 feet or so, especially when you’re not really sure if that’s the end, what you see in those photos is what you get.
Oh sure, you can pretend everyone’s all smiles & happy at that point, but pictures don’t lie.
Jack-In-The-Box's Bacon Shake. Seriously. And it's as bad as it sounds.
The Superbowl- do you watch it for the game, or the commercials? Unfortunately I paid too much attention to one of the Jack-In-The-Box ads, the one promoting their site “Marrythebacon.com” And so, after the day’s ride, after the Superbowl, it was off to Jack-In-The-Box for something I felt funny even asking for, because, after all, you assume that it’s a joke, that there really isn’t such a thing as a bacon-flavored shake. But there is such a thing, and trust me, you don’t want one. My first impression was that it tasted like cigarette-flavored ice cream. Oh Snap! It’s true that “riding to eat” doesn’t work; you’ll inevitably eat more than you should. But eating something like a Bacon Shake without riding would be worse!
Kevin and I did have a great ride today. Strava details below; in a nutshell, a 100k ride starting in Woodside, up Old LaHonda, south on Skyline, descent on West Alpine, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road and then up Tunitas and down Kings.
5 minutes up Old LaHonda I cut Kevin loose; I really thought he was going to get a personal record but he missed it by about 15 seconds. He’s still just over 20 minutes for the climb, but he’s now riding consistently fast for the entire ride. And he’s famous; on our way through Woodside we passed a group of 4 cyclists, one of whom said “You’re the father & son team! I read you blog all the time!” So one more person who knows that Kevin’s speeding up while I’m slowing down.
As long as the grade isn’t too steep, I’m OK. Kevin’s sweet spot seems to be around 7-8%, which pretty much mirrors my weakness on climbs these days. Steeper, and I can gut it out. 3-5% and I’m sucking that fast wheel in front of me like my life depends upon it. And if it’s not too long I can even manage the 7-8% stuff, like the bumps on Stage Road. But on Tunitas, once we get to the Bridge of Death, it’s all over (and so today, climbing Tunitas, that’s where bid Kevin adieu and met him at the top, a couple minutes after he arrived).
With our mild winter, even or “easy” Thursday rides have sped up quite a bit compared to past years. Today was no exception; even with the tougher “ride through the park” option (where we “shortcut” Kings Mtn by first turning right onto Greer and then ride up through the park, emerging on Kings at the park’s entrance about a mile up the climb) we still got back pretty early (9:23 I think) and with an average speed of just over 16mph.
As usual, no rain, not too cold (didn’t see anything colder than 38) and friendly company. Kevin (son, not the pilot), Karl, Karen, Eric, Ludo, Marcus, Todd, Nigel and one or two others I’ve lost track of. Nigel’s picked up quite a bit of speed since getting his new Madone 5.1 last week; clearly I should have filled his tires with water to slow him down a bit!
Today’s video has nothing to do with this ride. A customer came into the shop earlier, asking about video shot with the Contour GPS camera he was considering buying. That’s when I realized I had a fair amount of raw unedited footage I’d not looked at since shooting it in France, and came across scenes on the Galibier, seen below. Sorry about the strange “floating” frame; I had to use the editor’s stabilizer function because the camera wasn’t mounted very well on the bike so the image was bouncing around a lot.
Amendment to save cycling funding failed. Read about it here- (in a nutshell, it’s bad, but it’s not over)
Warning: Political rant follows! But I think I can sign up people from all sides on this one.
I am saddened not just by the failure of the amendment (making sure a certain amount from the highway funding process goes to cycling infrastructure and Safe Routes to Schools) but also by the nearly-complete partisanship of the vote. Check it out. 100% of the Democrats voted for, joined by only two Republicans brave enough to go against party orders.
Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t about Republicans behaving badly. If this was an amendment for something favoring business interests being pushed by Republicans, I’m sure we would have seen nearly 100% of the Democrats lined up against it.
This needs to stop. There is no absolute right or wrong on most issues, but every single thing that comes up lately has become a litmus test of whether you’re a good Republican or good Democrat serving your party, and not whether you’re a good elected official representing your PEOPLE.
The PEOPLE are not being represented in Congress or the Senate these days. Only the polarized battleplans of the two parties. Nobody is interested in a compromise in which they come out with less than they ideally wanted. We’ve gone nuclear. Literally. But at least with nuclear weapons we understood the dangers and avoided using them, due to the believability of MAD (mutually assured destruction). Everyone loses, so don’t start. Right now, everyone is losing. The only people who might think they’re winning are those that believe that paralysis is good. –Mike–
Who knew I’d create so much controversy with a post asking people to call their congressional representative and support cycling in the upcoming transportation bill? There’s definitely something to the oft-repeated advice that political stuff should be kept away from retail! I would like to believe that the things I asked for had such broad appeal that both sides, left & right, would not have much trouble. Especially since my customer base is presumably favorably predisposed to better infrastructure for cycling! And for the most part, my call to action was well-received. Lots of people sent emails thanking me not just for bringing the issue (Thursday’s vote in the House of Representatives that could potentially end all federal funding for pedestrian and cycling road improvements) to them but also for the clear instructions showing what they could do.
But I had one email from someone on the “left” who was very disappointed that I would ask people to support an amendment from someone (Representative Petri, Republican from Wisconsin) on the “right”, feeling that I was endorsing the person (Petri). The reality is that it’s extremely important this amendment did come from someone on the “right” since it gives cross-party appeal, something desperately needed right now! It’s very unfortunate that the needs of pedestrians and cyclists have become associated with Democrats and derided by Republicans, as a matter of obedience to their party chiefs. I am willing to work with anyone, but especially those traditionally, well, hostile is perhaps an appropriate word, to our needs.
And I received a very different email from someone at least initially offended that I was willing to mortgage his children’s future by spending money today that we don’t have. This was probably a reaction to the last couple of paragraphs in my piece, where I explained that investing in the future represents our belief in that future, and that it’s not an unusual thing to do (giving the examples of having kids and buying houses, neither of which are things that can generally be done using cash on hand but instead represent a commitment to pay on the installment plan). In retrospect, those last paragraphs didn’t need to be there, but in this case, it did start a dialog with the customer in which discussing politics became “real.” Instead of just digging in and saying this is the way it is (as is the norm in DC right now), he explained why he thinks the way he does, and I explained why I think the way I do, and there was actually significant common ground.
Will I walk this path again? Most likely. Even viewed strictly from a selfish business standpoint, there’s likely more to gain than lose (making assumptions that there is in fact some pre-selection of customers that tends to favor those more willing to tax themselves slightly, or give up something else, in favor of better cycling opportunities… this is a bicycle business after all!). –Mike–