La Honda [partially] defeated

I was surprised to find the weather today wasn’t half bad; it’s been crappy and raining for a few days – which reminded me very nostalgically of Melbourne, with how quickly we went from summer to winter, and furthermore the daily pattern of rain in the mornings and sunny afternoons. Still not a huge amount of wind, most days, which is an ongoing and unfathomable blessing.

But today turned out alright. Not particularly warm, but well warm enough for riding. So, after procrastinating for a while with the dubiously productive combination of Civilization IV and WWDC videos, I kicked my lazy arse out and went riding.

I’ve been meaning to check out La Honda for a while, and though I wasn’t really intending to do so today – I hadn’t properly prepared, i.e. drank five bajillion litres of water – when I got to the fork in the ride, something possessed me to try it.

Long story short I’m not dead, although walking did feel rather awkward for a while after I got back. I’m beginning to regret moving into a house with stairs. ;)

So, I rode to Skyhonda, or whatever it’s called – the junction with 35 (Skyline), or perhaps best dubbed “Alice’s”, after the apparently famous little restaurant/cafe there. I had to pause three or four times on the way up, for a few minutes each; I had no real measure of progress while I was going, and I knew it was several miles to the top, so pacing seemed wise. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever actually ridden in the lowest gear.

I wasn’t sure how far up Alice’s was, but I decided it made a good waypoint, so I returned from there with the rationale that it’d be good to gauge the round-trip impact to that point, given it’s suitability for breaks. As it turns out, courtesy of’s groovy and all-newly-colour-coded elevation charts, that actually is more or less the highest point on La Honda (which seemed odd, because Skyline went upwards in both directions).

Evidently I can make it to the top of La Honda without killing myself. And back, which may well have been the more dangerous – the roads were still damp from the morning’s rain, solidly wet in places, and the fact that the entire way back to Portola only one car overtook me probably gives a good indication of my speed. And it only overtook me ’cause I let it, although as it happened the point where I slowed down to let it passed was right before a big fallen tree branch, which just seemed guaranteed to cause an incident as comedically perfect as it would be painful, but luckily for me the driver of said car was not a jackarse and allowed for my branch dodging.

One driver on the way up wasn’t nearly so courtesy; some typical American truck, which slowed down as it approached, then floored it as it went past so as to produce a improbably huge cloud of thick, black sooty smoke. They also missed clipping me by half a foot at best. It could have been accidental, but it seems unlikely given it’s exactly the kind of sociopathic behaviour that’s so typical of people that drive such cars. I largely just found it amusing, though, from the novelty of it if nothing else.

I was very surprised generally by just how many big fugly trucks were traversing La Honda. It seemed like at least 50% of all the traffic there. Which really doesn’t seem like an intelligent choice of route nor residence, if they are indeed residents of the area… even in my car the fuel economy round-tripping the road every day would be brutal.

Anyway, I’m less certain now of the whole to-coast-and-back idea, for the moment… I think I could do it, physically, but I’d be making myself bedridden for a good while afterwards. By the time I reached Alice’s my leg muscles were almost grotesquely swollen, as if I’d had a lower-body swap with Hulk Hogan.

Nonetheless, I intend to at least repeat today’s efforts next weekend. Onwards and upwards!

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