Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Road: Matt Damon Got me to do this Ninety Four Mile Ride

He does not know it; nonetheless, it’s true.

See, last week on my solo ride, I cut the ride short after W. Alpine, OLH, Pescadero, and Stage, because I “was feeling a bit lonely and missed company.” Somebody up there must have heard me and sent me this message in the form of a forwarded email to a gym mailing list I’m on:

From: Jim xxxxxxx
Subject: Celebrity Cruise: South Bay

Matt, “(he thinks he’s good looking and all that),” Damon and his brother will be joining us on a South Bay ride on Sunday: closer to LA. They’ll be riding their Scattante carbon fiber tandem bling with their matching Performance jerseys and fabulous Forte footwear: can you say “HOT-T-T?” Matt promised no bad Jason Bourne kung-fu or kungfucious, and not to bring along his wretched wooden friend, Ben Afflack: – so this should be a good time. Matt also promised to buy us all artichoke, garlic-bread, Fritos, (if we agree to eat them off the oily pavement), and espresso in Pescadero: especially if we keep a tight paceline and don’t drop him.

Climb we shall young childrens: Start at Hwy 92 and Canada, – or the School in Woodside, – go up over the hill on Old La Honda and descend down 84 and back along the Pesky-dero race course to the land of Peskies. Then up to San Gregorio, and Tunitas Creek, and then descend down 92 to the cars.

Not too early, not too late, 9:30 AM sounds really great.

Don’t be shy, invite all of your friends, – Matt loves to chat….. RSVP to me as Matt is busy.. start times, start locations, negotiable……..

Well, a quick Google search shows pictures like this one:


Maybe he saw Cadel Evans’ tweet that “the ride to Peca[s]dero might make [his] list of all time best rides” and decided to give it a go himself?

The ride described is always a favorite of mine. But it was the artichoke garlic bread that sealed the deal. I’m in! My weekend would have been spent this way: Henry Coe Trail Work on Saturday and hanging out with Erik on Sunday, but now I had to change my plan to: hanging out with Erik on Saturday, and riding with Matt Damon on Sunday. (Sorry, Henry Coe!) I had to spend some time with Erik because otherwise he would have spent both days working, which would not be good for his health. I managed to drag him to the climbing gym for a couple of hours and later we went out for dinner.

After RSVP’ed with Jim, I learned that we were meeting at Woodside Elementary School at 10am. I left home at 9:12am on my bike. It was chilly, but the long gradual climb up Hwy 84 kept me warm before it took me over the hill and dumped me at the school just on time. People were rolling in, but there was no sign of Matt Damon. When the group was about to roll around 10:20am, still, no sign. I couldn’t help but notice that there were six guys wearing Dolce Vita Cycling kit and only another guy and I did not belong to the club. “What’s going on? Are we not waiting for Matt”

It’s a joke!!!

Jim sent the email only to the club mailing list and he obviously did not know how it was forwarded to somebody like me. On the other hand, as welcoming as he is, he never asked me “Who are you?”  I guess his teammates, knowing him well, got the joke. Not sure about that other outsider, but he, a strong climber on Old La Honda, split with the group at its top and was not seen again.

So, it’s a joke, eh?

I started pedaling still trying to digest this new knowledge. Disappointed? Yes, but I tried to remind myself that I was out here riding my favorite route on a beautiful day. Pretty soon, the disappointment wore off. The guys were all very strong. I hung with them well on the climbs. On the descent down Hwy 84 before turning left on Pescadero, they dropped me. I got smart though — After the Hastings Grade climb, I gave myself a head start and started descending without waiting for the entire group. That strategy worked well because the paceline caught me on the flats. As inexperienced a rider as I am, I still knew that if I got dropped by the group on the flats, I would not see them again until Pescadero and it would be a lot of hard work for me to ride by myself. So, I tagged on. I accelerated whenever they did. The five guys kept changing the formation of the paceline and sometimes even broke into two small groups. I just made sure I was on someone’s wheel. Not used to riding with a group (read: never), I really had to work at it, but I managed. The guys were extremely courteous to me too. I could tell that they kept looking back to make sure I was not dropped.  But sheesh, did’t these guys know that they were supposed to relax on flats? (Note: When I later told Erik about this, he said it was good for me to ride with guys like these because I needed to be pushed on flats. Guys, sometimes, I just don’t understand them!)

We had lunch in Pescadero. Jim did get two loaves of artichoke garlic break for the group, which were super delicious. Sipping my coffee and eating my Cinnamon roll, I was in heaven. But as soon as we got on Stage Rd, my legs felt heavy and post-heaven Blues set in. In that mood, I couldn’t help but feel sad that despite secretly considering myself a smart woman, I was fooled by such a joke. Where was my critical thinking? Why didn’t I raise any question? Sad, I was sad! As a Chinese saying goes, “Turn your grief into strength!” So, at St. Gregorio, when the guys decided to cut the ride short by turning right on to Hwy 84 to go straight back (only 8 miles of flat riding for me), I told them I would split there and ride up Tunitas — I had strength in me!

Each everyone of them is a stud!

It was the best weather condition for riding up Tunitas (I took the Lobitos Creek detour for extra scenery). When I reached the top, the sensible thing for me to do was turn right on Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd) and just cruise down Hwy 84 home because I had run out of water (only had two bottles and did not refill) and my legs were sore. But, I had so much grief, no, strength, in me that I descended Kings Mountain Rd, and took Whiskey Hill, Sand Hill, Portola Valley Rd, Alpine Rd, and Arastradero, which led me to the base of Page Mill, a big climb by the local standards. By that time though, my grief had long worn out, along with it gone was my strength. But I was in a very cheerful mood even though my face might not have shown it. When it was not very steep, I enjoyed the easy pedaling. When I labored at the steep parts, I kept glancing down at my GPS every second happily observing the total elevation gain jumping up at a fast speed. At the bottom of Page Mill, it read 7800′, so I thought it had a good chance to break 10000′. I watched it grow. Kid you not, it broke 10000′ right at the summit of W. Alpine Rd before I started my final descent. I was filled with the sense of “Mission Accomplished.” Unfortunately, that sense did not help keep my body warm. Despite having every piece of clothing and fabric on my, I had a bone chilling descent. It took me 30 minutes of drinking hot drinks and eating hot food nonstop to make the shivers stop. Just then Erik walked in (from work). Hearing that I  did 94+ miles/11K’ of riding (48 miles solo), he thought I was a stud.

No, a stud is someone like Matt Damon. Thank you Matt for getting me out to do this ride without you even knowing about it! And, I have Jim to thank too!

(link to the page)

(link to the page)

Next time you are in Pescadero, seek out this bread at the market. It’s oh so delicious!

4 Responses

  1. Krishnaon 14 Mar 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Hah! That email was forwarded to me as well, and I also thought it might be legitimate. :blush:

    Nice work on keeping up with the group. It’s fun to hear that you’re learning about drafting.

  2. mudwormon 15 Mar 2010 at 9:04 am

    See, I knew it was not just me! Can’t say I enjoyed drafting though — it’s so stressful. Plus, I feel I’m in debt to everybody else because I can’t provide any effective pull to the group.

  3. jonon 15 Mar 2010 at 11:35 am

    hi mei, great meeting you and riding with you yesterday! i can’t believe that you ended up going 94 miles! badass!

  4. mudwormon 15 Mar 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Jon, I am still amazed how effortlessly you flew up OLH. You said you saw me on Kings Mtn Rd a few months ago. Guess there is a good chance we’ll run into each other again. Until then… Ride On!