February 6, 2005: Super Sunday
It's 2:00 AM the night before my planned Super Bowl ride with Romulus and I already feel unprepared and anxious. Following is a litany of the concerns.
Rom came down from the City this glorious sunny morning and we pushed out the door heading south by 9:15. The thought was to head down to Pescadero and head back up to Skyline, then take Tunitas down to Lobitos to Higgins-Purissima and home.
Heading down the Cabrillo south of HMB, the wind seemed to be coming out the southwest right into our faces. Undaunted, we cycled across the hairy Tunitas Creek Bridge and up to Stage Road north of San Gregorio. From the top of Stage to San Gregorio on the 84 is a bombing steep, twisting downhill with both sharp, banked hairpins and long, steep straightaways. Romulus and I both clocked 40.5 MPH on our way down. Yowza!
At San Gregorio, we assessed the time/distance scenario and decided to head up 84 to Skyline. The climb up to Skyline was pretty hectic. There was a steady stream of traffic, not much of a shoulder, and the pavement was dirty, gritty, and rough. Not to mention the fact that it was a pretty long climb.
After a good thirty minutes of climbing, we came across Old La Honda (OLH) road. We've ridden the eastern side of this road several times (See January 15, 2005: Epic ride number one for the year), but I didn't even know this western stretch existed. We discussed the merits of exploring this found money and decided it was worth a look. Turned out to be a very good decision. This section of OLH climbs some impressive switchbacks up to an exposed mountain side that offers unobstructed coastal views. This is an epic hidden gem. It wasn't all good though. The road features many blind corners and in one of them, I almost got clocked by some old geezer in a yellow Mercedes Kompressor that was totally cutting the corner. Only my cat-like panic reflex kept me from an unwanted mash up.
The still of OLH was soon broken by the cacophony of Skyline. Motorcycles, sport cars, RVs, tourist lookie-loos, even the occasional tractor-trailer whizzed breathlessly close as we moved north toward Las Tunitas.
"Skyline has a way of putting it all in perspective," Romulus muttered as we struggled against its undulating grades. You figure once you get to the top of the climb to Skyline, all the hard work is done, but riding Skyline is almost as tough as climbing up to it. In one long downhill stretch heading into La Honda, I completely cracked. My eyes started watering, and a rogue cyclist passed me on the right, nearly forcing into a truck that was zooming past me on the left. I completely buckled, scared the shit out of myself, and had to slow to about 20 MPH for the remainder of the descent. Romulus on the other hand, blazed this stretch. He probably hit about 45 MPH as he just rocketed away from me. He too was nearly pushed into traffic by the rogue cyclist who also passed him on the right.
Eventually, we made it to Tunitas and plunged down towards the coastal shelf once more. I executed this decent much better than last week (See January 29, 2005: Bandit country), however, I was wearing glove liners and it wasn't wet this time, so the had something to do with it. It also helped to have Romulus along setting a crisp, aggressive pace down the tight, curvy, sun-dappled, pot-holed course.
It was a freeway out there. I've never seen so many people on Tunitas, maybe 50. And they were all going uphill too. I guess we didn't get the memo specifying which direction to travel on Tunitas today. As on OLH, some small dick in a Corvette came racing up the hill past us, scattering riders in his wake like a powerboat riffling a flock of ducks.
Tunitas is a fast, fun track, but it's very tough on the arms, neck, shoulders, and hands. The bottom third is the best part because its been repaved with a very smooth asphalt and it's nice, fast, and not as winding. This section will definitely get your blood pumping.
To save time, we rolled all the way down Tunitas to the Cabrillo and headed north to HMB. It was a brutal, into-the-wind slog, but we worked together taking turns pulling into the wind and it went pretty well. At this point though, the pain really started to set in for me and I switched over to autopilot to compensate. I put all my focus on rolling over the cranks and getting home. Don't look left or right, don't think, don't stop, just keep the pedals turning.
Finally we made it home, and not a moment too soon for me. It was another epic ride for Romulus and Cannonball; I was just ready to shower up and crawl into the recliner for the Super Bowl. The day was beautiful -- a chill wind at times but mostly sunny and even warm when the wind wasn't blowing.
Today, I tried three new things:
|Mileage: 58.62||Time: 4:16:07||Avg: 1||Max: 40.5||Weight: 172.5|
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