Old La Honda – Tunitas Creek
Paige, Dave, Kevin and I met at the woodside Park’n’Ride at 10:45am to ride about 40 miles and approximately 4000 feet of clilmbing. I forgot to bring my camera, so no pictures, but perhaps an interesting story.
We started from the parking lot, heading south on Woodside road, and immediately, Paige drops us. It was a sign of things to come. I said to Dave:
and he just looked at me and waived his arm,
“just let her go…”
Paige has been very diligently training for the MarkleeVille Death Ride, and has recorded many many miles. So it was no surprise to me that she was leading the pack. Once we warmed up by catching her, we turned onto Mountain Home road. This road is very secluded and smooth, with very little car traffic. I am told that Larry Ellison of Oracle lives up here. There were many cyclists going both ways, which made it feel like we were supposed to be there or something. Not five minutes on this road, the grade steepened a bit, and everyone shifts down a click, but we hear this loud chattering cominf from Dave’s bike.
clack clack clack clack
and as we all slow to a stop, Kevin said
“That doesn’t sound good”
There are only two occasions on a bike when something like this sound happens. 99% of the time, it is a chain shifted off the front chainring, and the rider pedals but the bike does not move. However, the sound is more abrupt and subtle, like:
click clack – silence
A simple fix to stop, get off, grab the chain with your hand, and then place it back on the chainring. You’re back on your way. The other 1% of the time, it is much, much worse. and since Dave’s sound was more of a
click clack clack clack clack – continues
Kevin and I both could guess that it was worse. It is the sound of a chain being shifted past the largest cog and into the spokes of the wheel. The chain then gets jammed into the wheel and the momentum of the bike pulls on the chain from the opposite side, pulling the derailleur backwards and inwards with great force. The result is often catastrophic failure.
As we get off our bikes, I turn back to see what’s up, Dave is standing off his bike, looking at it, and proclaims,
“Well, I’m done.”
This confirmed my assumption, and as I walked up to him and the bike, it was obvious that he had experienced catasrophic failure. The chain was nicely wedged in the spokes, and even twisted 90 degrees (never seen that). The derailleur had bent inward and upward, but did not shear off the frame (like this) Dave was very well done. Paige went back, and returned with the car. Dave put his bike in and drove home to contemplate his equipment repair plan, while we continued on our mission to conquer the hills and other world domination with one rider less.
Mountain Home up to San Hill Road, and then the start of Old La Honda road, a 3.3 mile climb up. Paige took a fast pace up the hill immediately, and I tried to stay with her. This hill always gets my heart rate up fast, and today was no exception. After we passed a group of riders (also training for the Death Ride), I realized we had dropped Kevin. Paige was going to hit the top and come back down for us, so I stopped to take off my jacket, and Kevin came around the bend. His bike was making a slight clicking sound, but the fact that he was moving meant no major mechanical problems. I figured I would float between Kevin and Paige on the way up, but realized that I should try to push myself on this hill since it is so short. So I tried to catch Paige. 20 minutes later just before I get to the top, Paige comes down the hill and past me to go find Kevin. Once I hit the top, and saw all the big groups of cyclists resting after their climb, I turned back down to meet them. They weren’t far down, and we climbed back up together.
It was at the top where we lost another rider. Kevin’s back was giving him trouble and so he decided to take a short cut along Skyline to King’s Mountain. Although I hadn’t checked the map of this route, I had a feeling it would be similar in magnitude to our ride to Pescadero, so any kind of pain this early on was a good decision to avoid.
So then it was just Paige and I who headed down the other side of Old La Honda road. The decent was exhilerating and the road was really smooth and scenic. I felt bad for never going on it before. It quickly dumped us onto highway 84 west, and we headed out towards the ocean. The grade was slightly downhill, so we were flying the whole way. I should have learned a long time ago that such a free ride does not exist along this mountain range, and that payment will be due upon return. But when you’re screaming down a hill, you don’t think very straight.
We quickly came to the San Gregorio general store. A popular stop for drivers, riders, motorcyclists, and dogs. With a bar, tables, books, gifts, convenience items, and necessities (like a hammer) the place covers all the bases. A band was playing. I bought an egg-salad sandwich. We sat for awhile and then got back on for the return trip.
It was just a little climb up Stage Road heading north, and I could already feel the egg-salad in my side. We hit highway 1, and had an awesome view of the ocean (sorry, no camera!) but only for a moment, as we turned right onto Tunitas Creek Road, and the road home, it was time to pay the piper. The road just climbs up and up and up and up. Never relenting and always up. It felt like over 10 miles to me. The egg salad sandwich definitely was not helping, but I could not keep up with Paige. We stopped once for a potty break and try some wild strawberries along the road, and then another time because I just needed to rest. It was a very fatiguing climb. I never learn my lesson with this mountain range. When you start in the Bay Area, and go down to the ocean, yhou will face a major climb on returning. After what seemed forever, we finally reached Skyline road again, and descended King’s Mountain Road back towards the car.
Since Dave had returned home with their car, Paige decided to ride home to Belmont from there. A true testament to her level of fitness and enthusiasm. Go Paige, go.
I am quite sore today.