Monday, August 20, 2012

In slow we trust

It's the end of summer. Some schools started up last week, the rest start next week.

I'm adrift and lazy. Needing structure but not the formal, didactic structure of school. Feeling stifled in yoga class? Maybe not the time for a degree program at Stanford. Not even sure what I'm good at now.

So what about today? An Underachievers Anonymous meeting?

A dinner invite. Ride out to the coast and be in San Mateo at 6:30. Yeah.

Motivation may be a problem, but at least SuperTour gave me fitness. Old La Honda is painless in the middle ring. Not fast, but no problem. Only 3.3 miles, after all. Near the top a rider on his way down smiles at me and says 'almost there'.

Of course it's, like, my 378th climb up Old La Honda and I could pinpoint where I am on the hill with the precision of a satellite. I just smile back.

At some point on the descent, only hills and sky and not a single man-made thing in sight, troubling thoughts start losing track of me. I'll just keep turning the pedals until everything gets clean.

The plan was ambitious but after a late start we are heading straight toward a thick marine layer. There's still heat inland, pulling a layer of moisture and coolness right to the coast. At San Gregorio it's blowing and almost cold. It's 3:12pm. Half Moon Bay is not looking likely.

The Bike Hut on Tunitas is a good place to make the call. The folks at Potrero Nuevo Farm built a small shed for cyclists, with water and coffee and snacks. It opened 3 years ago just in time for the Tour of California to roll through. The hut is becoming a sort of an informal shrine.
Bike love at the Bike Hut

Tunitas, 2 hours including descent. Plus at least 45 minutes from Robert's Store in Woodside to Mike's house. It's sunny but the cloud line is right here at Tunitas Creek. Doing the math....and heading back up the hill.

Someone calls this part of the world Slowcoast. It's true that time feels different here. At least for me; who knows about the frantic drivers on Highway 1 with the luggage and bikes strapped to their cars. Today the past feels unreal, like a dream. Riding these roads so many times, familiar terrain gets worn away and becomes unfamiliar again.

Edge of clouds, Tunitas Creek Road.
Tunitas is an opportunity to do more mental cleaning and ponder what new experiences might be in store. The afternoon light is diffuse and yet strong too, permeating everywhere, even the forest. Only this time of year and this time of day can the light reach deep inside the redwoods lining the creek.

The steep section is 2 miles long, like it always is. Being fit and at peace I don't even wonder where the top might be until the last 100 yards. The oak tree marking the end of the big effort is unmistakeable, limbs split in a wide Y.  

The Y tree at the top.
For now, it does just fine as a goal.


  1. Middle ring! Holy crow! :)
    I know what you mean with the "almost there". Why is it people only do that on the climbs you're familiar with?
    I like the sunflower picture.

    1. Aren't the flowers beautiful? Small, sincere, red sunflowers... it's good to be different.