Maurizio asked me why I had titled this ride “A Quick One”. Was it because we were going to be riding quickly? Because it was going to be over quick, ie. a short ride?, although that would be a stretch since it is 42 miles long. Was it because I liked ‘quickies”? Actually it was because I usually post a ride with plenty of advance notice—at least two weeks and more like a month—but this time I posted it less than a week before it was scheduled to take place. Part of it was impatience: no one else had posted a ride and I wanted to do a ride this weekend. Nature abhors a vacuum and all that. In the end it indeed turned out to be a fairly quick ride—we averaged over 14 mph for the route, which was peppered with a number of short but steepish sections.
I thought it was going to be another Roger-and-Tony Different Spokes ride, ie. just the two of us, because the listing went up so late. But I should know you Spokers better—you all wait to see if something better hits the social calendar and if not, then you relent and sign up for a club ride! I know, it’s important to keep your dance card filled, all you belles and beaux of the ball. Suddenly there were seven people signed up. Besides Maurizio Will, Carl, Roger Sayre, and Elia also showed up. Sorry you guys, but I was really looking forward to seeing Elia—not that you’re all, um, “unattractive”—because you’re not, but because Elia goes way back to the ‘80s with the club. So she’s also an Old Fart like I am—she had just let her membership lapse for a much, much longer period of time! Elia was a fast Spoker then and a red hot racer, ie. she’s got real cred not the poseur cred you see at every stoplight in Marin. Back then she was always training, so we’d run into her while she was training and the rest of us were, um, just doing a club ride.
This ride is just a mash up of two ever-popular Midpeninsula rides, the Portola loop and Cañada Road, with a foray into the hills of Los Altos for some added spice. We were mainly doing the “standard” routes but I had a few diversions to make it more interesting and to prevent narcolepsy. Unfortunately for me more than half the group didn’t have a Garmin for navigation. In fact, they didn’t even have cyclometers. Wow, and I thought I was old school. Even in the very early days of the club all the Kool Kids had the hottest stuff, which was—yeah, yeah, the new Look pedals but I’m talking about the Cateye Solar Cyclometer! It was a basic cyclometer as tall as a Costco muffin with a solar panel to recharge its battery. So we always knew how slow we were riding and how many tenths of mile it was to the top of Pig Farm or Mt. Tam. But hey, no cyclometers, no problem: it just means people get lost or people obediantly follow the ride leader. Well, we had a little of both.
After a pit stop at the Pulgas Water Temple to flush away our troubles we rolled south on Cañada and half the group took off. Sure enough, missed that first turn at Olive. Much yelling and gesticulating ensued. That got me anxious and thinking I should lead from the front to make sure nobody had an unexpected adventure. That mostly worked but I had hoped to enjoy the back seat on this ride rather than piling into the wind and all that.
I was chatting with Elia and telling her that she could follow Roger Sayre since he had a Garmin and wouldn’t get lost. So off they went and promptly missed a right turn in Los Altos. More screaming and gesticulating. At that point I think the group got timid and there wasn’t a whole lot of jetting off into the distance anymore.
The perky little hills we did in Los Altos actually didn’t seem that steep this time. I distinctly remember Roger and I gasping (well, actually it was just me gasping) when we rode here last July after San Mateo County opened up. Maybe I’m in better shape this year? Back on the flats we took a break at Peet’s in Los Altos. Somebody made a comment—I think it was Will—at how uncrowded it was compared to SF. “You don’t have to ask the cashier for the key to get into the bathroom!” Yes, life in the suburbs is different. I also don’t recall seeing any tent cities or homeless encampments anywhere. Yep, Los Altos is a regular “Elysium”.
By the time we got to Sand Hill Road on the return the group was in a much chattier mode and everybody took their time getting up that last slog. Then it was just a parade up Cañada to the cars.
Final note: if you want to see what racing does to you, watch Elia. She rides a perfectly straight line, her pedaling is smooth—like buttah!—and her cadence is metronomically precise. I was also in awe that she still packs a corn cob cluster. But hey, that’s what all the Kool Kids do.