I was looking forward to a bit warmer temps this morning, and got that… maybe just a degree or two, but in the right direction! Sure, we had a bit of ice & wheel-slipping on the final Kings hairpin, but it actually felt nice & comfy up on Skyline. And I’m sure it must have been really nice on west Old LaHonda but we never got there. Why? Because we (myself, Kevin, Nigel, Mark, John & Todd) got to Sky Londa and realized we were missing someone. The other Kevin. The guy who flies jets (as opposed to my son Kevin, who rides uphill as if he’s jet-powered). The guy who does the walk-around of his plane before taking it up into the sky, but apparently has a bit of trouble fixing flat tires. We never found that out until later; when he didn’t show up after a few minutes, we retraced the route backward (which meant riding north on Skyline, the “ugly” direction), but no sign of him. After getting home I got a text from him; apparently after replacing his tube at the top of Kings, the tire blew off the rim, leaving him stranded. Why he didn’t yell to one of us I don’t know, but guess he was close enough to home (he lives up there) that he was able to walk back. Guess I’m going to have to teach another tire repair class, but this time to the guys I ride with!
It was a BEAUTIFUL morning, and I’ve got no pictures to prove it! Once again the GoPro Hero2 fails me. That darned thing has found so many ways not to work, and the problem is that, used on a bike, you can’t tell if it’s working or not because you can’t see the screen. But Strava proves I rode, and claims an average temp of 34 degrees. Yeah, but it felt like 35.
Just four of us on this cold morning, myself, Kevin (pilot), Nigel and an increasingly-rare showing by Marcus (the other Kevin, the one not the pilot, had a doctor’s appointment for tonsillitis; supposedly he’ll be getting them removed, but not sure if that happens after they’ve become really really bad or have had a chance to heal). Just barely made it up the hill under 30 minutes; nobody seemed to be in a big rush, and you just don’t go quite so fast when it’s cold. Thankfully no ice on the roads; it’s been a while since the last rain (and supposedly will be a while before we see it again!).
We did take a brief stop on west-side Old LaHonda for Nigel to take a few photos; if he sends them I’ll post them here. Meantime I’ve got to figure out what makes that GoPro camera tick… or what makes it fail, or something, before I decide it’s more trouble than it’s worth. If you have time, sure, you can stop and make sure it’s working fine, but I don’t add any extra padding to my ride calculations… as if I’d want to get up another 5 minutes earlier anyway?
Which brings up something else… the trip to France in July… is it even remotely possible to consider a flight out of SFO at 6am, if it means saving 25,000 award miles for Kevin’s ticket and about $100 on mine? Compared to a flight at a much-more-reasonable time of 8am? How many $$$/minute for sleep? My guess is that anything before 6:30am gets a very high value in my accounting formula! 6:30am is at least close to 7am, which I consider reasonable. 5am is nuts, and for a 6am flight, I’d have to be at the airport by 5am, which means leaving the house at 4:30am, which means getting up at 4am. And in all likelihood I would not have gotten to sleep before 1am, taking care of last-minute details.
Last night’s episode (full episode available here) of The Good Wife (on of my admitted really seriously guilty pleasures… dumb TV that I make a point to watch) had interesting timing, given Lance Armstrong’s upcoming interview with Oprah. Aside from the continuing stories about politics and will they/won’t they get back together etc., there was an amusing centerpiece dealing with the CAS (Committee for Arbitration for Sport). Some pretty severe liberties were taken; for example, I don’t think it likely you can just call them up and schedule an emergency hearing and expect them to show up, but aside from that, they had a great time making a mockery of the process. Question is, how far from the truth were they? Different universe, outlying planet, or nailed it? I’m guessing outlying planet.
Unfortunately there’s no easy way to skip around, so I can’t give you time points to go to like you could if it were a youtube video, but the first relevant segment does start at about 4 minutes. If you try to skip forward, it throws you an advertisement. Guess it’s only fair. 9 minutes in is the first encounter with the CAS.
It’s not a bad episode overall, worth taking a look at.
Finally, a ride that went according to the plan! It was getting a bit frustrating, as the past couple of weeks have seen a number of rides shortened, some for weather, some for Kevin’s epilepsy issues. Nothing should get in the way of a bike ride, y’know? And today, nothing did. Not even the frigidly-cold weather in the forecast, which we got around by doing what we do best… leaving really late and racing the sun. Nobody does this better than my son and I. 40+ years of riding ’round these parts and I can estimate when I’ll be back home for just about any loop possible. I figured we needed to be home by 5 to not run out of sunlight, and we arrived home at 5:02pm. And yes, we did bring lights, just in case.
It was the usual, the “Coastal Classic” it’s often called, heading up Old LaHonda, down the other side, over Haskins to Pescadero, the three bumps on Stage Road heading north, then back up to Skyline on Tunitas and down into Woodside on Kings.
We left at 12:29pm (isn’t it wonderful that Strava knows everything?), called it a draw at the Loma Mar sprint, split a coke but ate all of a cheesecake ollalieberry muffin (I’m sure it was low-cal) and then headed out for the tough part, those three nasty bumps heading north on Stage. Don’t know why it seems like they’re tougher than Old LaHonda (which, at just under 23 minutes, was pretty slow, even for me), but it seems like they’re just tall enough to be annoying, not tall enough to develop a rhythm on. But today it was worthwhile, the view of the Pacific being so spectacularly clear that you could even see the Farallon Islands!
No headwinds, no tailwinds on Tunitas, so no excuse for going slow, and nothing to help us go fast. Which makes sense; we rode “middle” with a time of about 52 minutes to the top (Strava says 53, but I think that’s one of those Strava things where we needed to blow through Skyline and stop on the Kings Mtn side (east), not the Tunitas side (west). That’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it. For a bonus, we spotted someone walking a cool Corgi dog just before the climb.
Weather-wise, sure, it was a bit on the cold side at times, although it was up to 42 or so by the time we left and rode through Woodside. Got cool enough descending towards LaHonda to put on our light wind-shell jackets (which Kevin didn’t start with; we got a few hundred meters from the house when I asked if he brought one, and said no, he didn’t need it… I told him sorry, that wasn’t a choice, and later, he was very, very glad to have gone back and gotten that jacket!). By Pescadero we could remove them, as it was up in the mid-50s along the coast, dropping steadily to the upper-30s near the top of Tunitas and all the way down Kings.
It was only 57.5 miles, but quality miles, and felt like a much tougher ride than the New Years Day ride up Mount Hamilton.
It’s just not that much fun when you wake up, expecting to get out on your nice bike for a nice ride, and it’s wet outside. Not what the forecast said. Cold, yes. Wet? No. So we rush to get the rain bikes ready, which involves moving the seat & seatpost over from Kevin’s former rain bike (which he’s now using to commute to school) to his new rain bike, the way-cool Foundry with disc brakes. I ask if he’s got a tape measure to set the seat height right; he acts like it’s no big deal, tightens it down, and we take off. But not before dad wisely grabs an allen wrench and puts it in his back pocket.
Kevin, Kevin, John, Mark & darn, forgetting his name, tall guy, friendly guy, commutes back and forth between here and the UK on a regular basis. Grrr… just can’t pull the name out of my head. Hate that! He was claiming to be out of shape and slow, so the two of us rided up the regular way, while the rest of the guys did the Thursday thing and rode up through the park. Good idea we did it this way, because the two of us just barely made it before Kevin (not the pilot) and Mark came barreling up the hill.
And that was pretty much the end of it for Kevin. He stayed ahead of me for about half a mile, and then faded, fast. He was barely moving at one point, saying that his legs felt awful, probably because his seat height was maybe an inch and a half low. And maybe just not feeling great in general. Whatever the case, we headed back down 84 while the rest of the group did the “real” ride (which includes west-side Old LaHonda).
Regarding Kevin’s new bike, a Foundry cross bike with disc brakes… yes, I’m quite jealous. He doesn’t have to worry that he’s grinding through his rim on long descents, and in general has far better braking power in the wet stuff. If Trek doesn’t come out with something like it soon, I’ll probably get a Foundry myself. It really is a cool bike (and we’ll finally be getting more of them in next week). –Mike–
What sort of world exists between my ears? Some hybrid cross between virtual and virtually-proven? It shouldn’t be so annoying when the GoPro fails me (again!), and I should be more forgiving of myself for doing something really stupid like hitting the “stop” button (the one that says I’ve stopped riding) instead of the “lap start” at the base of Kings, only to figure it out when I’m looking for my time after a few minutes and seeing… time standing still! Sure, I’m slow, but I can’t stop time. It only seems like it.
That aside, it was actually a pretty nice morning to ride. The forecast fog had apparently come and gone (looked to have been everywhere, since most roads were pretty damp), leaving beautiful sunshine (you know, perfect conditions for recording the ride, if my GoPro had worked) and temps around 40. Pleasant! Would have had a pretty decent time up the hill (with a little bit of work I was able to figure out the missing section), but about a quarter mile from the top came across Kevin (My son, not the pilot) recovering from a seizure, so nice guy that I am, I stopped and waited for him. Actually it has little to do with being a nice guy; if Kevin delays getting back on his bike, he’ll get an awful headache, feel terribly lethargic, and just want to go home. Experience has taught us the need to get him back into the swing of things very quickly! This is not something covered in the epilepsy literature, but frankly, very little is.
Nice, tidy group today. Eric, both Kevins, Mark & John. Pretty civilized pace; so civilized even I was able to carry on a conversation at times. A good day to ride. –Mike–
But the icky conditions did give Kevin the chance to try out his new Foundry CycloCross bike (yes, we actually do sell something besides Trek… who knew?). We left the house not completely certain of the route; I was favoring staying “low” (in the foothills) but Kevin’s idea of a ride requires that it has to get up to Skyline, or it’s not really a bike ride. We didn’t have time to head “over the hill” and maybe take in West Alpine (it was 2:15pm by the time we left) but we were able to ride up 84 and south through the fog to Page Mill, descend into Los Altos Hills and then back via Portola Valley and Woodside. A very good shakedown cruise for his new bike, whose combination of wider tires and disc brakes should be a big help in more-epic conditions.
Which is a good thing, because if you thought much about it, 30 degrees really should feel that bad! January 3, maybe just three months since it might have been in the low-60s, maybe 5 months from when it will be that comfy again. When it is that warm, in those wonderful few months between May & October, you just can’t imagine what it will be like again to be riding all bundled up, seeing your breath and watching out for black ice on the road. You actually entertain thoughts of wanting to be someplace else, as if the weather in the winter here is something you should flee from. How spoiled we are! Sanity creeps back in though, sometimes shortly after the shower after getting home, sometimes a few hours later, when you realize how good you feel because you rode, how great the fresh clean air feels against your face when you’re flying through it at 35 miles per hour, and how you’ve managed to keep your winter weight to within just a few pounds of your summer “fighting” weight.
So against that backdrop, you wonder why nobody else showed up for the ride this morning, just myself and Kevin. Are they sensible, or us nuts? On a normal winter morning, we’d have 6-8 people on our ride, and see half a dozen or more others descending Kings as we’re heading up, or cresting the east side of Old LaHonda as we finish the west. But not today. That’s OK, we still had a very nice ride, at a modest pace, with me forcing myself to stay seated the entire time (my normal “style” is to spend at least 25% of the time climbing out of the saddle). Good day for that, although I did find myself walking a bit stiffly when we made an unscheduled stop at Sky Londa so Kevin could use the bathroom.
Turns out there was someone else out on the road this morning; as we hit the top of Old LaHonda we found Millo waiting for us. He’d mistakenly thought it a good idea to leave 15 minutes earlier, to make sure he wouldn’t get dropped off the back on the climbs. Not something he had to have worried about this morning!
Yet another great day to be out on a bike! Instead of the usual Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride, it was time for the annual cruise up Mt. Hamilton, the Bay Area’s tallest mountain. I’d been looking forward to a more “casual” ride up the hill this time but that didn’t work out when Burt, my designated casual rider partner, let me know he was going up an hour earlier than our 9am starting time. Dang.
Lots of people riding up the hill today, including Burt (former CR alumni), Steve L & Milo (former Tuesday/Thursday-morning riders), Eric (regular Tuesday/Thursday-morning rider) and Kelsey (if I’m getting his name right), one of our customers. Steve & Milo left just as we drove up, getting maybe a 10 minute lead on us, which Kevin (my son) decided to eradicate sooner than later. First he dropped Kelsey, then Eric drifted off the back a bit, then Eric caught back on and it was my turn off the back… which remained the case up the final climb to the top.
At one point I’m looking at my heart rate, 163, and thinking it’s going to be tough maintaining this for another 45 minutes or so. I’m hoping that maybe Kevin is close to redline so all I have to do is wait until he blows, so I ask him about his heart rate. Now keep in mind that, at almost 57, my max heart rate, absolute max before she blows, is going to be right around 170. Kevin, who’s just turned 20, has a max of around 200, so I’m expecting him to tell me he’s running at 180 or so. Uh… no. 167. I’m am so about to die and he’s just idling!!!
Very few cars on the way up, and not too many bicycles. Yet. That changed very quickly at the top, when we were joined by a sports car rally of some sort, descending, er, rather, ascending on the parking lot at the top en masse. Apparently, the no-entry sign that cyclists ignored was similarly-ignored by 4-wheeled motorized beasts as well.
We “cooled off” for a bit at the top, literally, as it was 34 degrees (according to a display in the observatory). They didn’t even have the observatory open at first, but when they did, it was questionable whether the surging mass heading for it was because people really had to go, or because they knew it was warm inside. Me? Both were good reasons to pay a visit! Even had a mild altercation with a local inside; there was a bin with a ton of newspapers in it, and I figured SCORE! Something to put in-between my base layer and jersey, to keep me a bit warmer on the way back down. Uh, no. Turns out they were the property of some generic old crotchety guy cleaning out his mailbox, and he wanted them, outdated Christmas ads & all. Pretty funny, actually.
On the way back down we started out together, but when we caught up with Burt at Grants Ranch, I dropped off to ride back the rest of the way with him. I wanted to do at lest part of this ride at a civilized pace! We were back at the start by 12:30, making it a 3.5 hour round trip. Not bad, and would have even had a sorta respectable time on the way up if not for a flat tire on the second climb.