Last night was not fun… one of those nights where you’re trying really hard to get to sleep which, of course, keeps you from getting to sleep. You feel your pulse racing faster as your anxiety level rises, leading to… more anxiety. I have no idea how little sleep I actually got, but it wasn’t much. Even thought briefly that maybe I wasn’t going to be able to ride, but that’s nonsense. Cycling cures everything, therefore cycling without sleep will help me wake up. And that’s pretty much how it went.
What I didn’t enjoy was waking up to it being dark. Really dark. As in, should daylight saving time really start this early? But it all changes once you get on the bike. You start up the hill past your driveway and it feels… right. The bike feels light. Things are moving. I can do this. That week off the bike didn’t kill me after all.
Large group today; no way to remember everyone, but I’ll do what I can. Kevin, Kevin, Karl, Karen, Nigel, Eric, Marcus, JR, George. Pace up the hill was reasonable for winter; a few guys riding faster up front but nobody trying to kill themselves. I got to the top in about 28:25 or so, faster than I anticipated. My heart rate was also faster than I imagined, running very high for the entire ride, likely an effect of riding without much sleep. Glad I didn’t have any coffee first!
Cool & foggy at the bottom; sunny & warm up top. Just like a typical summer day… in March. This is Why We Ride.
Took a few times to get the quality reasonable; the default upload quality was horrible, so I rendered it as a high-quality AVI file, about 1.2 gigs, and uploaded that. Now it’s watchable! You can even select 1080 HQ resolution.
2 hours 47 minutes edited down to 10 minutes that gives you an idea of what this ride is like (“this ride” being Woodside, Old LaHonda, San Gregorio, Tunitas Creek, Kings Mtn, Woodside). –Mike–
Not quite sure how it works, but the general idea is that there will be, no matter what, a certain number of us who are going to be out there riding on days no sane person would want to, and because we’re out there, you don’t have to be. You can stay inside where it’s nice & warm and think about what sort of crazy person rides a bicycle in the elements, and you even get to feel superior about it. That’s ok. Those of us in the “no matter what” crowd understand that we’re not normal.
Truthfully it wasn’t that bad this morning. Drizzling at the start, but mostly just very wet roads and a bit of that riding-in-the-clouds thing going on. Marcus, Kevin (the pilot), other Kevin, Eric… I think that’s it. As was the case Tuesday I was feeling better than my son on Kings, who was blaming it on being uncomfortable on his bike because he was on his rain bike rather than his newer Trek Madone, and it’s not set up quite the same. In fact, he rode that bike exactly the way it is now for quite some time, and was fine when he didn’t know any better. But when we got the new bike I set it up the way it should be, which meant less aggressively… mostly a higher handlebar position… which he now understands is what he should have, regardless of the fact that it doesn’t look like how racers set up their bikes.
Now remember that part about feeling better than my son on Kings? By the time we got to west-side Old LaHonda the tables had turned, and it was me having trouble keeping on his wheel. Hate it when that happens. In general, it’s the older guys who get stronger later in the ride, while the younger folk, if they don’t feel great early in the ride, never recover (mentally) from that.
Fortunately, the long-range forecast says that was the last of the rain. Unfortunately, I won’t have as much time to ride, because we’ll be open this Sunday (when we’d normally put in a 60-100 mile ride), and the following Sunday is Christmas, and I doubt we’ll get out then. But that still leaves several Tuesday & Thursday-morning rides before the big event, the annual New Year’s Day ride up Mount Hamilton.
A small taste of what my Tuesday & Thursday mornings are like. It’s November so sure, it’s a bit cooler, but you also get those crystal-clear views of the coast, and while it’s “crisp” down below (Woodside), by the time you’re up on Skyline it may have warmed up a bit, plus you’re certainly warmed up yourself.
Not unusual today was Kevin (my son, not the pilot) pulling ahead of me, again, on Kings. Not that Kevin (the pilot) hadn’t done that some time earlier! Even more unusual was me holding onto Geroge’s wheel on the 84 descent into Woodside, with most of the rest hanging back a fair distance. It’s usually me that’s conservative there, with Kevin (my son) riding up front with the fast guys.
I’m ready to declare the end of rain. From now through November, it’s clear skies and warmer temps. Windbreakers are to be left at home, the rain bike can be safely stashed under the house, and you no longer have a good excuse for continuing to carry around your “hibernation fuel” around your belly. Good times are ahead!
And a very good time it was this morning, perhaps one of the last times that I have to head up the hill a bit ahead of the group when riding with Kevin (my son Kevin, not the pilot). Kevin’s wanted to break the 30 minute barrier up Kings Mtn for some time; Tuesday he missed it by 15 seconds, and today, for the first part of the climb, I thought he’d be lucky to get 32. We hit the traditional half-way timing point at just over 16 minutes, not a good sign. In fact, the three timing points I use to gauge my progress on the first half of the climb were all looking pretty bleak, with each successive one being further off the mark than the one before. My theory is that Kevin had eaten way too much way too soon before the ride (a very large bowl of cereal) and was seriously bogged down.
But then something clicked. Kevin claims he started doing his new chant-
It worked. On that nasty steep section in the middle, before the open part, Kevin kicked it up a notch. Or two. We hit the “open” timing point (road marker that says 1.41 on it, the distance in miles to the top) at 20:30, still below the 20 minutes “required” for a 30 minute time at that point, but still accelerating. Normally, if you’re going full-tilt, it’s 4 minutes from the last hairpin (at the archery range road) to the top, and you really do have to be pushing to pull that off. We were, if I recall correctly, just outside of that. But by the time we got to the penultimate timing point we had pulled even with a fast pace, at 28 minutes. Just two minutes left, and as long as he didn’t die, he had a chance. Let me tell you I had a very tough time staying on his wheel on that final stretch, and he finished in 29:42. 18 seconds to spare.
But the ride wasn’t all about Kevin. This was our largest group to date; not even sure how many, probably a dozen or so, and a good opportunity to edit an all-around video of the entire ride, which you can see below. You’ll notice it has the same soundtrack as the video of Kevin’s climb, and actually starts out showing Kevin finishing Kings (and then the rest of the group coming up behind; we had a 5 minute head start on them).
Sorry about the blotchy screen in the lower-right corner for the last couple of minutes; a bit of crud kicked up from a rider in front and stuck to the lens. Obviously, the answer is to ride in front of everybody, but that fails on two counts. First, I’d have to be faster than everyone else, and second, a video without bikes in it is hardly worth calling a video, is it?
Finally, viewable video from the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride. Unedited and a bit long, with a few dull spots, but captures the west side of Old LaHonda quite nicely, especially the run through the forest at the top, which is a difficult spot to get pictures of.
It took a long time to figure out how to keep the camera from rattling around and giving an excessively-jumpy picture. What remains is audio; the placement of the microphone on the Contour HD1080 isn’t the greatest, and there’s a fair amount of rattling coming from my levers. Working on it. But for now, I’m excited that I will finally be able to put together some useful video after all these years!
Look for an edited, annotated version of this video in a few days. –Mike–