Thursday, August 30, 2007

Old La Honda

Yesterday was a scorcher, so it seemed like the ideal day to go to the coast. Last time I went over the hills to the Pacific was 2000, so now would be a good time. Transit was free (spare the air day), so it seemed like there were good opportunities to bale if needed. I had planned on Alpine-Westridge-Portala-Old La Honda to get up, then finding a good way down, and then one to Half Moon Bay, and a bus or biking along 92 back. 92 wold be the opposite direction of commute traffic, so it seemed like a good idea...

Unfortunately, I got a little bit of a late start... Then Westridge was closed for some utility work. No problem, I'd just take the next through street. That would be Golden Oak. Unfortunately, while Alpine is mostly flat, the inner streets seem to go straight up. I eventually made my way up, and over to Cervantes and down to Westridge. Unfortunately, I turned the wrong way on Westridge. When I hit Escobar, I knew I had gone the wrong way around, but I took advantage of the opportunity to see if it went through to Ladera (it didn't). Then back up and down some hills to get to Westrdige and Portola, and finally to Old La Honda.

Old La Honda is nice and shady. Unfortunately, the hour of meandering around in the hills before was right in the sun. The climb was even nicer than I remember it. It also seemed to have more traffic. (Not a whole lot, but it wasn't an empty road like Alpine). It took me about 34 minutes. From this site, the record time is about 15 minutes. So, where did I lose those 20 minutes? I decided to give myself some handicaps:
1) An hour of climbing in the sun before starting
2) Poor bike (I'm using a beat-up Trek mountain bike with a slick rear tire. Even compared to my stolen Specialized Globe hybrid, this one is a clunker that requires a lot more energy. It was also weighed down with two baskets filled with work stuff (computer, backpack, clothes, etc.) from the commute home from work.
3) Lack of familiarity with the route. (It was less steep and shorter than I was mentally expecting. There were also a few ill-made gear decisions)
4) Pure lack of ability on my end. (After all, I'm no where near a world-class cyclist)
So which ones were most significant? Lack of familiarity probably accounted for no more than a minute. (I guess I could try it again to verify.)
The previous climbing was probably a little more of an impact. Though, I'm guessing that the bike was probably the most significant factor, followed not far behind by 'me'.

On the way back, I decided to just take Skyline down to 84. You can't round corners super fast with a loaded down beat up mountain bike. Then Portala/Alpine/Arastradero/Fremont/Foothill... Unfortunately, I had a slow flat on the way home. After months without a flat, its been 4 in the past three days. D'oh! The first two were on Monday after running through a goat head farm. (Note to self, Los Altos Hills pathways are never worth it. They might at times be shorter, but I'm not one that likes downhill descents on dirt straight in to gates.) Yesterday it was shrapnel. A two inch staple, followed by a little shard of metal. Uggh.

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