So, just a short year ago on this day, I was doing the the Death Ride, which was my first ever really hard ride. I'm missing the carnival atmosphere of 3000 bikes a bit, but not the lines for everything at the rest stops and the dangers inherent in that many bikes on the road.
Today a small number of the Sun Waves to Wine Ride team, Pom, Steve, Mary Jo, Jenny and yours truly, did our own little Death Ride by climbing up Old La Honda Road to Skyline. OLH is not as tough as Page Mill or Kings Mountain but it's a very consistent and steady climb. Someone apparently calculated that Lance Armstrong would take 13 minutes to climb it, but most riders are happy with a time in the 20s. The Western Wheelers bike club use the time as a way to categorize riders for club rides.
After warming up on the route we took two weeks ago, Arastradero, Alpine and Portola Valley, we were ready for the left turn up the hill. I knew we took somewhere around 40 minutes last year on the tandem, which was then our very first real climb. We were a bit further along in our tandem training at that point, but my climbing legs are in better shape after the hilly double centuries in June. We made it to the top in 41 minutes this time, without stopping. When I checked the bike computer log, I was pleased to see that we had improved our time by 5 minutes. Pom, however, showed us the way with a stunning time of 18 minutes, which puts him in the "into thin air" category of the Western Wheelers.
Nice descent down Woodside Road with absolutely no cars on our tail and cruise into Woodside for a deserved treat at the bakery. Then back via Portola Valley to the park and ride at Page Mill, saying goodbye to Steve and Mary Jo, and then one final hill before the cruise back to the flat lands of Palo Alto. Total of 33 miles and 2700' climbing. Time for a nap!