Saturday, June 23, 2007

Two Notches: Bucks Old La Honda

Another Saturday, another 40 Miles to Freedom. This time, however, I decided to amp it up a couple notches.

First, I took Manzanita to Mountain Home Road and went right. At the intersection of Mountain Home Road and Woodside, I found Buck's Cafe. I had previously been there (by car) and never realized how close I was on my weekly bike rides. Buck's is a Silicon Valley legend. Maybe next week I'll stop in for lunch. I wonder if they get a lot of cyclists in there? This change of route added a few more miles to the ride as well as a bit of a climb along Woodside. This made up for my initial wrong turn on my first 40 Miles to Freedom ride so I'm happy to keep the name accurate now.

The second notch up was a first attempt at Old La Honda Road. Old La Honda is a classic among local cyclists. It has a 9% grade and goes up to Skyline Boulevard. I was luck to bump into another cyclist preparing for his ascent. I told him I was a first timer and ask if he had any tips. The guy look like he had done it several times and had a few good suggestions. First, take it slow and steady. He advised trying to keep a speed of around 6 mph. He also said is was 3.2 or 3.3 miles to the top with the last half mile or so relatively flat. I chowed down on some cashews I had stashed for on-bike fuel and guzzled what little water I had left.

My plan was to take 1/4 of the climb for my first outing. This would give me an idea of how difficult the climb was and also set the stage to come back next time for another shot.

It was really steep. I was in the super-granny gear and barely making 5mph. Still, I felt great being out there and giving it a solid effort. I decided to pull into a driveway about 3/4 of a mile into the climb. That was less than 1/4 of the climb but it was a good stopping point on my first try.

Next time, I'll shoot for 1/2 way up or a total climb of 1.6 miles.

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