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Report: West Hwy 84

Thanks to Rob Schott for posting the following report, which has been recklessly reproduced here, without his expressed written permission, or the permission of Alto Velo, for which he rides. Nevertheless, one shouldn't be surprised if scoring errors unexplicably occur in Rob's favor...

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It's time this series came out of the closet. I used to associate the concept of "low-key" with leisurely, non-competitive, perhaps even lazy. Kevin Winterfield has helped me redefine low-key. Kevin and Dan Connelly, a congenital organizer and an obsessive number manipulator, have done a great job putting this whole thing together. I'm sure Kevin could put together a successful figure skating champtionship in hell. But this is "Low-Key" like finding your backyard was formerly a toxic waste dump is low key. Then again, if it really were just a "fun ride" I wouldn't be there.

Today's event was a scenic sprint from the San Gregorio Store to the top of Old West LaHonda. Except today was rather chilly and foggy so there wasn't much scenery, except perhaps the other participants, many of them milling about the stove at the General Store trying to keep warm before stripping down to the bare essentials for the sashay to the top. I looked out the window to see the fellow with the "low-key" disc wheel warming up, right next to the gentleman with the "low-key" time trial helmet on.

I set out at the assigned time with little water and no spare or pump, in keeping with the low-key tradition of absolutely minimizing the weight for the climb. I wandered along, splayed out over the aerobar with a heart rate at a touristy 173 BPM sucking in air like a Harrier Jump Jet. I passed perhaps 10 or 12 riders along the way. When one came into view, I thought to myself "target acquired". I zeroed in but fortunately had no missiles to arm and fire. I kept waiting for faster riders to pounce on me, but they were far enough back so that I wasn't overtaken. One fellow periodically appeared behind me and seemed to be gaining. This inspired me to bound along perhaps a bit faster with the sense that I was being stalked by a stronger predator in keeping with the Darwinian nature of these low-key undertakings. I sprinted across the line and seized up by the side of the road trying to figure out if my time was a good one. This hasn't been done before so nobody really knew.

Mark Rodamaker motored across, drowning in his various secretions and momentarily breathless. Once restored, we chatted for a minute and watched Mark Anderson dash across. He pulled up, looking a bit gray. I asked him how he did and he opened up and out gushed breakfast, by all appearances quite a calorie-fest. I applauded him on his effort up the hill and then realized he was tottering on his bike. I helped haul him off the bike and into the dirt, where he lay in quiet repose, next to his twice scrambled eggs. Mark R. and I then stood nearby admiring the totality of his effort. Shortly afterwords Liz Beneshin came over, and after being steered away from the accident site which she nearly trod through, commented, "How can you guys sit next to that spew!" before wandering off with a "eeewwwww". It's a guy thing, I guess. Mark R. commented that Mark Anderson deserved a yellow jersey, perhaps chunky yellow, or maybe egg yolk yellow.

We waited for the Low Key cycling god, Tracy Colwell to appear to gauge precisely how meager our efforts really were. Amazingly he beat me by only a minute. This is amazing because he had a flat, or rode on a flat and still kicked my butt. I was told he fixed it, did a hundred pushups and then saved several children from a burning orphanage before jumping back on his bike to then speed up the hill, turning in a respectable time.

I drove Mark back home and he seemed to recover nicely. His last comment to me was, "Gee, I'm kinda hungry now".

Can't wait until next week.

Rob Schott (RJSchott@ix.netcom.com)