The Power of Will…and a Fried Egg


I donned my cycling gear for the second time in three days…and 9 months.  This is the longest time I’ve spent away from my road bike and the reunion was bittersweet indeed.  I have missed being on the saddle, clipping into my pedals, the wind kissing my face.  Mentally I was ready for the long-overdue bike ride but would my legs be up for the challenge?  I rode the beginner route that my husband mapped out for me as a new cyclist a dozen years ago; a scenic, mostly-flat 30-mile bike ride that would hopefully give me back my cycling legs.  It was like starting over again but I made it and it felt wonderful to get that “first” ride out of the way.

Two days later, though still a bit sore in some places, I was ready for another ride.  My husband and I thought it best for me to avoid the hills for a while and planned to do the flats again but I can never help myself.  The flats bore me; it was only concern for my legs that made me  consider the same ride again and I knew that after a 9-month absence from riding a flat ride would be best.  I fried an egg and made an open-faced sandwich; it’s all I would need to get me through the second 30 miles of the weekend.

There was a time when 30-40 mile hill rides 5 days a week was the norm.  On the weekends we would up the mileage and ride one 50-60 mile ride, a fun (and tiring) activity that would take the better part of the day when we opted for the round trip ride to the coast.  We would stop for lunch in Pescadero, a small rural town south of Half Moon Bay.  We would stop several more times just to savor the clean country air and enjoy the views of the ocean.

This statement is not meant to be boastful…more wistful really.  We live in a big cycling community and most cyclists clock in as many miles–if not more–each week.  When I was in better shape this was normal.  I am a long way from even contemplating that coast ride but surely Old La Honda, my little hill in the neighborhood, would be okay?  Old La Honda is the gateway to a lot of even bigger hill climbs in the area.  It’s the baby of the bunch.  I’ve had my power breakfast after all–maybe I will manage?

At the last minute, I changed my plans.  A hill ride it would be.  It would be short and hopefully sweet.  I wanted to take my heart rate up and feel the burn in my legs.  But would I reach my limit before even making it halfway up the hill?  There is always that possibility and the easy solution would be to turn around and coast downhill if it gets too hard.

But I know myself better than this.  I hate to turn around halfway up the hill, any hill.  Especially this baby hill.  



A few miles later I reach the base of Old La Honda.  I stopped at the bridge partly to remove extra layers of clothing but mostly to mentally prepare myself for the climb.  The bridge is the starting point of this hill.  It is the benchmark climb for many local cyclists (also explained here).  We all know our best time on Old La Honda.  Word around the local cycling circuit is that someone has made it up in 14:30 minutes.  My husband’s best time is 24 minutes.  Mine?  26.  An average ride? 3o minutes.  That is my benchmark.

This brings to mind another concern.  Everyone will pass me.  I don’t like it when people pass me.  Never mind that the cyclist may be half my age or that I haven’t ridden in so long.  I don’t like to be left behind.  This is unreasonable thinking, I know, but it is also a source of motivation for me and most other cyclists.  We are all competitive to a degree.  As soon as someone passes you, usually coming with a warning “On your left”, the adrenalin starts pumping and you’re compelled to give it all you’ve got to stay with that cyclist as long as you can.  Beating them up the hill is always better.  We are all the same and we understand this about each other.

I am a third of the way up the hill.  My husband is several switchbacks away, having disappeared long ago.  A few cyclists pass me, chatting with one another as if they were riding the flats.  I’m in my own world.  My pace is slow as I try to keep my heart rate steady.  This is not a race…right?  I feel a slight burn in my legs but surprisingly, I’m okay.  I’ve made it this far though the worst is to come.

At the 40% mark there will be a switchback with a steep grade and the next few turns will be just as challenging.  I take a few sips of water and take a deep breath to slow my heart rate just a bit.  This is not the time to go anaerobic.  I focus my attention on the chirping birds perched on the oak trees lining the road and watch out for the occasional squirrel crossing.  One revolution of the pedals at a time.  That’s all it takes.  You count your successes where you can.

But wait, is my left leg pulling its weight?  My right leg always seems to work harder than the other.  Must focus.

As the oak trees fall away behind me making way for the redwoods, I know I am nearing the top.  I pass by a couple of street signs:  Upenuf Road and Summit Road.  They are not entirely accurate since I have a way to go before I reach the actual peak, marking a 1400 foot climb.  A few more cyclists pass me but I have conceded my inferiority to them…at least on this ride.

My heart is pumping hard now and my legs are burning a bit more.  It hurts.  It feels good.  


At the top of Mt. Tamalpais with a friend.


Before long I see the rock–my three-minute rock, marking the time remaining before I reach Skyline Blvd, the top of the hill.  Only this time it would be more like 5-8 minutes before I cross my imaginary finish line.  I passed the 30-minute mark just moments ago.

A few more switchbacks…I hear the traffic on Skyline.  It’s cooler up here near the fog line.  I hear cyclists approaching behind me but enough people have passed me for the day.  Must pedal faster.  

Then I see my other rock–my husband.  He is resting on his bike watching all the cyclists arriving at the top.  I know he is waiting for me.  As soon as he sees me he flashes a big smile as if to say, “you made it.”

I did make it.  My legs didn’t fail me though I doubted they would be able to take me up the hill at all.  It was a sweet finish to the top seeing my husband’s face so happy that I’ve started to ride my bike with him again.  Why did I stop in the first place?  However, it will be sweeter still when I am again strong enough to reach the top with him.  Nothing that (hopefully) a second fried egg won’t help me accomplish.


Everyone has their favorite way of preparing eggs.  I tend to like mine fried over easy or over medium, served with rice (with kimchi fried rice here) or on toast.  I don’t like my eggs fried in butter and I’ve found that I don’t need a nonstick pan to get a perfectly fried egg every time.  I learned this old saying years ago, “Hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick” and it’s true.  I heat up a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat.  Once the  skillet is hot, I spray a bit of cooking spray on it and add the egg.  I turn the heat down to medium.  In just a minute the bottom of the egg will set and you’ll be able to swirl egg around in the skillet.  A slight flick of the wrist flips the egg to set the top just the way I like it (Alternatively, you can add a splash of water to the skillet, cover it and let the steam cook the top of the egg).  At this point I turn off the heat.  In a matter of seconds you will have a perfectly over-easy egg. Just a few seconds more for over-medium.  Works every time. 






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  1. Great biking pics, Jean! You are lucky to have such beautiful scenery for your rides.

  2. I am not a biker, but I do live in a big cycling area. I am a runner, but even that term I use sparingly. Since moving to CO, and dealing with the altitude, I haven’t been adding distance. I am hoping that I can run a 1/2 marathon next year. I have done 2 before, but want to get back here. Glad you are back doing what you love!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      I’ve been running a bit more over the past year, part of the reason for the break from cycling. I remember trying to jog in Telluride last year–what a pitiful attempt! I had not acclimated to the altitude yet and I could barely run a city block without running out of breath! I can’t even imagine being able to do a half-marathon–good for you that you have that accomplishment under your belt. That is awesome!

  3. I biked last year at the Dolomites, from Italy to Austria for about 45 km. (28 miles) after not biking for almost 30 years. LOL! My husband was worried that I won’t make it. I did. And I had so much fun with him biking alongside me, pulling the cab with the kids in it.

    I loved your post and the way you cooked the egg. I think I will try your way next time. Thanks for the tips!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Rowena, that’s wonderful! That’s a lot of miles after not riding for so long. What beautiful vistas you must have seen riding through that area. Congrats on making the ride! 🙂

  4. Jean – I am SOOOO impressed with your bike ride! You look super cute and I bet you had a blast. I have to say your fried egg looks just perfect.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Aw, thanks, Lisa! It was nice to get that first hill ride out of the way. Looking forward to the others. 🙂

  5. Yay, you made it, the cool thing about our bodies is the muscle memory we have. I’m sure you’ll be back to your old riding habits quicker than you think, sounds like you did pretty well. You look adorable in your biking gear too. I envy the beauty of your area. I used to ride years ago but a mountain bike, I do love biking. Your fried egg look perfect, that is one think I do know how to do well since that is one of my Dad’s favorite ways to eat eggs so I learned growing up to make a decent egg.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Suzanne, I think you’re right. I’ve ridden a couple more times since this post and my legs are feeling so much better. I don’t have the speed back yet but my legs aren’t burning as bad. Thanks so much! 🙂

  6. I love fried eggs! Perfect food before an effort.

    Congrats! You have a strong will.



  7. I am Filipino, so fried eggs are a staple! yours is just perfectly fried! i like it crispy on the edges like that! I am green with envy at your beautiful bike scenery! Ontario is pretty flat, so we don’t get those sweeping panoramas of valleys and seas!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Where we live is considered the cycling mecca so I’m pretty lucky. Lots of cyclists have to drive here to start their rides but for me it’s right outside my front door. It’s great! 🙂

  8. Nice story and good job making it up the hill. You’ll get better, just keep at it. Ever try poaching eggs? I think it makes the best presentation…

  9. We started mountain biking last year and I am addicted. It still takes me a minute to talk myself into getting up and going but once we are out there – it’s on! We have yet to do any long stretches but I can relate to being sore 2 days later. 😀

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi, Kita. I’ve been there, too. Winter mornings are the toughest. Cycling early in the morning is always best but it’s so hard to get out of bed when it’s cold outside! I’m planning to increase my mountain bike miles this year. It’s so much more technical than riding my road bike. Kudos to you! 🙂

  10. I love kim chi rice and with a fried egg on top, that would make a full meal.

  11. Hi Jean, Wonderful job on the bike ride! I’m not a biker, so i’m even more impressed by your two recent rides! Love the simplicity of the egg on kimchi rice. My parents used to make us a Japanese egg omelette with ketchup rice, which I never make, but I’m reminded now of how I enjoyed it as a child and that I should give it a try soon. Cheers!

  12. Way to go!!!! What an accomplishment!!! Your egg looks perfect…I need to adopt the hot pan/cold oil method 🙂 Thanks for the advice.

  13. alana mayorga says:

    those fried eggs look good auntie jean

  14. What a nice story Jean! It must be great feeling when you reached the top. My husband wants to start biking (but in his case, it’s more casual one with the kids tagging along behind him) but both kids have training wheels on. Once they don’t need the training wheels we probably start biking around here. I live on the hill where bikers enjoy climbing. Lots of inspiration everyday from them! Eggs with rice always tastes better!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi Nami! Yes, there are a lot of cyclists in your area, too. The roads are littered with bikes on the weekend, right? 🙂 Some of the hills in your neck of the woods are tough–I have to climb a hill to get home myself and sometimes imagining climbing it after a long ride is enough to keep me from going at all, LOL! 🙂

  15. I love that you took a challenge again and went up the hill. That is awesome! I am not a biker but rather a walker and jogger, but can take cycling once in a while. Love your photos!
    Now those eggs are fantastic, I also love sunny side up eggs, simple yet perfect! Great presentation!

  16. Really enjoyed the story. It’s been very inspiring to hear that anything is possible as long as we put our mind to it. My sister and I love biking, we used to go on these trips up the hills alone, it was challenging but great fun. Haven’t doen that in so long ever since I moved overseas for uni, this has brought back some great memories.

    Love the fried egg notes too. Seemingly simple, but soemthing so incredibly satisfying and delicious. I like mine sunny side up, which, thankfully is a lot easier than over-easy because there’s no worry about cooking the top heh.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Thanks so much, Shuhan! I felt the same way after this ride. I had forgotten how fun it is to be out on a bike. Hope you’re able to get out and ride soon!

  17. I love your story, such an inspiration! I’ve been wanting to exercise by riding bikes or jogging, but just never have any motivation to do it. You just gave me that motivation 🙂

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Jenny, if I’ve motivated you to start cycling I’m so glad! It really is fun! Thanks so much for dropping by. 🙂

  18. That is some impressive cycling, wow! I have not been biking in years, but I do enjoy it…not at your level however 🙂 And that is one great looking egg as well 🙂

  19. What a great feeling must be when reaching the top! I haven’t been riding a bike in more than 10 years and I’m afraid to ride again. I jog in the morning and stroll (LOL) in the afternoon when we go to the park.
    You look great in your outfit and the trail is so beautiful

  20. Jean, what a wonderful story. Congratulations on making it. You can do anything you put your mind to. My Dad is a cycling nut. When he was visiting us on holiday recently he was itching to get home and get back on his bike. While he’s only started cycling in the last few years he thinks nothing of a 50 mile bike ride. I think I’d be dead at the end of that 😀

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Jennifer, you’d be surprised what you can do, trust me! When I started I couldn’t even go a few miles w/out being afraid I might pass out, LOL! it’s fun, too. 🙂

  21. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Look at you! So beautiful:)And that view…I would be inspired to go every day. So wonderful that you are biking with your husband. You inspire me to get out there running more often. A simple and gorgeous egg. Your presentation is perfect. 🙂

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Aw, thanks, Laura! It really has been fun cycling again. Trying to run on the days that I work (cycling on days off). There’s a great waterfront trail near the office that makes it easy to get motivated to run. Hope your weekend’s been great! 🙂

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