09/17/06- WHY WE RIDE, EPISODE #312
Because you CAN do it! You may think a ride up to Skyline is beyond your abilities, but odds are, you're wrong. You can do it. It may not be easy that first time, and it may not even be fun as you reach for a lower gear, only to find there are none left.

But there's that feeling you get when the top is finally in sight. Like the part of King's Mtn when you first see the yellow caution sign, telling you there's a stop up ahead. That can only mean one thing- the top! And that's the moment caught here, as Kevin dares to look up with hope that his hour+ trip up King's Mtn is over.

Don't be fooled into believing that you can't climb because you're not in shape. A bit of patience can help you accomplish almost anything.
Another rider report from Mt. Hamilton on New Year's Day, 2006
Hi Mike,

My name is Steve R - and I'm one of the guys that rode up to the top of Mt Hamilton on New Year's Day - I was riding with Jeff most of the way up (I'm not sure of his last name, but he rode a Raleigh and said he was a Raleigh dealer, if this is the same Jeff you referred to on your Dear Diary page).

I was the guy on the white Trek 5200 (1999) that headed down the hill about 10 or 15 minutes after Jeff. I remember seeing a couple of groups heading up to the summit after I started descending - one was about 1.2 miles from the top and the other group was about 2.5 miles from the top. You were probably in one of those groups.

Jeff was a little stronger than me that day - I was just back from a week at Squaw Valley (but only got one good day of skiing!) and didn't have my regular climbing legs yet - he ended up riding up ahead just a mile before I got to the fallen tree. Since he wasn't there, I assumed he had climbed over it to continue to head to the summit.

So, I did the same thing, but took this one picture with my cell phone camera - I thought you might want to have it (feel free to post it on your website, if you want).

This was my first time doing the New Year's Day ride - I meant to do it 2 years ago, but the ride got canceled due to the rain and wind (sounds familiar!). Last year, I simply wasn't in very good shape and didn't even try. But I've been doing a lot more riding this last year (I work just 3 miles from Saratoga, so I get to go up and down Hwy 9 to Saratoga Gap a few times each week).

So this year, I was determined to do the ride, no matter what the weather was like - your diary entry pretty much summed up what went down that day - once Jeff and I took off from Grant Ranch, we kept discussing how stupid it was to be riding up the hill under such ridiculous conditions - but he knew that a couple of other guys had gone ahead and wanted to see how far they decided to go. One mile lead to another and at some point, you just figured you might as well go all the way - it never seemed that it would get worse than the last curve you had just negotiated (which, of course, was incorrect!).

I have to say, even though it was one of the more dangerous rides I've ever done, it was quite thrilling at the time, in a very strange sort of way. I really started to look more carefully at those trees after climbing over the fallen one at about mile 15.

Then this morning, I read about a 39-year old cyclist that was killed that same morning in Los Altos Hills by a falling tree - weird! And very sad. I realized if we had started that ride just a little earlier, one of us could have been struck down by that tree we climbed over. Makes you stop and wonder...

In any case, I hope to ride with you and your group some day - I've really enjoyed your ride descriptions and have done most of the rides you talk about - including the Bohlman-On Orbit-Bohlman ride! I've also done the Haleakala climb twice (once 3 years ago and once 2 years ago - last year we went to dead-flat Florida for our family vacation!). We're going back to Maui again this August, so I get to do Haleakala again - it's such a great ride!

Also, based on the times that you mentioned for most of your rides, it looks like I ride at about the same pace as your group. Hope to see you on a ride one day - I'll try to get over for one of your Tue/Thu rides. It's a little out of my way, but I have flexible hours with my job (software engineer), so I'll see if I can sneak over to Woodside one of these days...

- Steve R

Remember your first time up Old LaHonda?

October 9th we decided to throw something pretty tough at Kevin- Old LaHonda Road. Probably the prettiest and least-traveled (by cars) route to the top of the Skyline (above Woodside), a twisty, tree-covered 3.75-mile climb of around 1100ft or so.

It wasn't a speed run; far from it. Three stops on the way up, about an hour from bottom to top. And, at 12 years old, he was the youngest of quite a few people at the top. Oldest was probably late-60s, so this is a climb for just about anybody!

If you haven't yet climbed Old LaHonda, it's something you just gotta do. Start out in Woodside, at Robert's Market (intersection of Canada & Woodside Roads). Head south on Mtn Home, the scenic rustic road directly across from Canada. You'll dead-end in a couple miles at Sand Hill/Portola Road, where you head right (west) towards the hills. About half a mile later the road curves to the left, and a little road goes off to the right. That's it- Old LaHonda Road. On a map the road looks like a train wreck, and you'd wonder how you ever stay on course, but in reality it's no problem at all- always head up! Take a bit of time to talk with people at the top before heading north on Skyline to Sky L'Onda, where food awaits at either Alice's Restaurant or the Deli across the street. Great food either way! Then head down 84 (Woodside Road) east, all the way back to the starting point. (Added 8/11/09- It's taken a while, but Kevin's come a long way from what you see here. He just rode his first 100+ mile ride, and can climb Old LaHonda in less than 24 minutes, even though he's still built more like a sprinter than a climber. Limits are clearly self-imposed!)

Old LaHonda KATRINA FUND RAISER A SUCCESS! I'm not sure how many cyclists came by and supported some local kids Katrina Hurricane Relief efforts by buying baked goods, but they sure seemed busy both times I cruised past on my ride Sunday (September 19th) morning.

We'd helped them publicize their fund raiser on this website, through our e-list and also a note on one of the local newsgroups, and it seems to have worked. And why not? Who wouldn't want to help out both Katrina victims and kids who think it's worthwhile to do something for cyclists?

We'll have details shortly regarding how much money was raised (which Chain Reaction will be matching, providing Larry Ellison didn't drop by!), as well as a web page with photos of quite a few riders coming up the hill. --Mike--


WE COULD SHOW YOU MORE PHOTOS OF LANCE ARMSTRONG FROM THE TOUR DE FRANCE, but this one, with Australia's Stuart O'Grady being tended to by the medical car during a stage in this year's Tour de France, hits home. Because Chain Reaction, along with many other better shops, are part of a support team that wants to make sure you have every chance possible to really enjoy cycling.

We're here to help you select the most appropriate bike for the riding opportunities in our area, get it fit exactly right so you're comfortable and efficient, and take care of whatever little things might be not-quite-right down the road. The real goal is to make your bike something that you just can't stand to see hanging up in the garage; you want to get out and ride it, every time you look at it.

Whether you're in the Tour de France, with 2000 kilometers behind you and 1200 more before you get to Paris, or just riding the loop in Portola Valley, cycling with people standing behind you is a lot easier than going alone.

My trip to France is over, and we're slowly getting more photos up on our website. So far we've got a fun look at Sunglasses worn by the racers at the Tour de France, and a bunch of photos & stories on the diary page. And we've just added a page that will be of great help to first-timers in Paris, who are likely to be victimized by the currency-exchange businesses. More will be going up shortly.  --Mike--



Lots of photos from the Tour de Max benefit ride on August 14th. This was the 1st Annual running of this event, intended as a tribute to the way Max Yonker lived her life while battling cancer. It was never intended to be a "memorial" ride, as Max had been actively involved in the planning and we really expected she'd be around for much, much longer.

Unfortunately she lost that battle a few months before the ride, but, as her husband Tom said, she was very much at the ride.

We look forward to next year's event, and congratulate Tom on the LAF funds raised to continue the fight against cancer.
Once again a successful event that got many thousands of people out on their bikes on August 7th, a beautiful day.

The ride started at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, proceeded north to Belmont and up over Ralston (the first nasty hill) to the very popular Sawyer Camp Trail. Sawyer Camp Trail is a great place to ride, as you can see in the photo on the left. You end up high in the hills above the San Francisco Airport, and then wind your way back through rolling terrain to the start.

33 miles, 5 rest stops, 3000+ riders, and somehow it all goes off wonderfully. We saw 8 year olds and 80; skinny and not-so-skinny, bikes that sounded like they were on their last legs and the most-modern exotic racing bikes, all having a great time. And of course, we took lots of photos!


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