Wow! Another year has passed by in a flash. As the pace of the peloton ebbs and flows over their race route, the Descenders’ year has been similar in nature with many emotional highs and a most unfortunate low…. the tragic loss of Nick Venuto. While this was a an terrible event, our group’s response, compassion and support extended to the Venuto family illustrates what it means to be a Descender. Dave Voris deserves recognition for his role in organizing Descender support activities and for initiating the Nick Venuto Memorial. The memorial was a heartfelt occasion that exceeded all expectations, with over 500 participants in the ride/walk. The event was an appropriate way for family, friends, colleagues, and bicycling community to come together to commemorate and celebrate Nick’s life. Also, a special thanks to all Descenders and family members who attended funeral services, provided support to the family, and volunteered for Memorial activities. We truly lost Nick too early and he will be greatly missed… we will continue to ride on in his memory.
We have certainly come a long way from the initial small group of individuals that formed the club. This year, we welcomed 14 new registered riders, bringing us to 36 active members. Amazing growth….any predictions as to when we will hit 50 active members???
The Route Committee (Rob, Oleg and Dave V.) deserves special acknowledgement this year for their efforts. Improvements include enhancing our weekly ride calendar though inclusion of interactive “MapMyRide” links and adding new routes that not only exhibit San Diego country’s picturesque beauty, but also keep our rides interesting and challenging. New routes include the Alpine/El Capitan loop, the Borrego/Montezuma route, and the addition of the dreaded Double Peaks climb to the Elfin Forest circuit. Tracking our weekly Saturday rides, as in individual rider, you would have logged 2,760 miles and climbed 144,000 feet. After combining club trips (Tour of California and Monster Climbs) and other organized events, the figures jump to a very impressive 3,310 miles and 190,000 feet. What is even more remarkable is these figures do not include any of your individual “stealth” training miles ridden during the week.
Descenders continue to receive great recognition through results achieved in organized rides or sanctioned competitions. We kicked off the year by fielding a record 5 teams in the annual Stage Coach Team Time Trial. This was followed by multiple members completing in the Palomar Mountain Challenge and Fiesta Island Time Trial, along with other USA Cycling sanctioned events such as California Criterium series, and stage races such as Callville in Las Vegas, Sea Otter in Monterey, Mt. Hood in Oregon, and the Everest Challenge. Descenders posted top finishes or achieved personal best results in all events. We also continue participating in many of our favorite organized rides including Tour of Palm Springs, Alpine Challenge, Scripps Old Pros Classic and Tour de Poway. Internationally, the Descender kits have been seen in Japan, Spain, Italy, Australia, UK, Denmark and France, home of the world renowned Etape du Tour.
Another area that’s captured the interest of many Descenders is STRAVA. I’m sure everyone will agree, since the introduction of this new cycling technology, our weekend rides have definitely been more lively. Not sure exactly what STRAVA stands for, but guessing it may be something like…. Segment Timed Racing And Very Addictive, with emphasis on the last part (although their website says that the name originates from the Swedish word “sträva” which means “to strive.”) Many Descenders either are consistently classified within the top 10, or outright own, KOM segments in the greater San Diego area. Rick Bienias just won the “San Diego’s Ultimate Climbing Competition”, a competition that consists of 17 different climbs that must be completed between September and December! Other notable competitors include Oleg and Bob Raibert, who finished in 4th and 6th place. Climbing Competition Results are available on STRAVA. Congratulations to all on your personal achievements!
The annual Tour of California and Monster Climbs trips continue to be hugely successful events. This year’s ToC delivered us to the Angeles National Forest where we pre-rode the race route along Glendora Ridge Road, Cattle Canyon and Mt. Baldy. The riding was amazing and just as exhilarating as the racing action. What an awe-inspiring experience watching Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer decimate the field in the final 4k climb to the top of Mt. Baldy. Witnessing them crest the climb together and simultaneously cross the finish line with hands raised together in victory was thrilling. 2011’s Monsters Climbs trip included another 3 days of incredible climbs and extremely invigorating descents. Climbs included Mt. Baldy, Horseshoe Meadows, Whitney Portal and Kennedy Meadows, for a total elevation gain of over 19,500 feet. In 2012, another adventurous MC trip will take us to new and exciting territory. Additional information will be distributed shortly.
As we all know, Oleg, Rob and Dave V. do a wonderful job capturing the Descenders in action on our weekly club rides, annual trips and special events through their many photos, video streams and ride reports. A photo from the 2010 Monsters climb and footage from of this year’s Alpine Challenge was even featured in Gary Hawkins’ Ride Fit TM website and Indoor Cycle Training Video Series. Take a look at Ride Fit.
This year Oleg/Dave/Rob have teamed up to produce two magnificent pieces – The Monster Climbs Video Recap and the Descenders “Year in Review”. After having previewed the video and read this year’s review, I’m sure you will all agree that they have brilliantly documented this year’s activities… these pieces truly capture the spirit and personality of the Descenders Club, which is what makes our cycling club so unique in the region! The Monster Climbs Video Recap can be viewed at the following link: MC Video. The Descenders Year in Review will be released within the next couple of weeks.
Thanks again to Rick for coordinating kit purchases and keeping us riding in style. The socks and light weight vest were great additions.
As we are all aware, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) is an organization supported by our Club. The coalition performs an important role within our community as their activities are aimed at promoting bicycling as a form of transportation and recreation, and for seeking safer conditions for cycling countywide. Thank you to Bernie Bogard for representing the Descenders and giving us a voice within the Coalition in pursuit of these most important causes.
As we begin 2012, we are kicking off our 2012 registration process. To register, download and complete the 2012 registration Form. The form is also attached to this email. New members joining since Nov. 1 2011, will have their registration fee applied to 2012 season. If renewing, all you need to do is enter your First and Last Name, check the Renewal box, indicate the Registration Date, and sign/date the Release Form. No additional information is required, unless you wish to update your address, email accounts or emergency contacts. Registrations Fee/Trust Donation mailing and payment instructions are included on the form.
Finally, in support of the Nicholas Venuto trust, we have included an option when registering to provide a voluntary donation, if you desire. Note, donations are currently considered non-tax deductible, but this is expected to change in 2012, as the trust is being converted to a non-profit account.
Please remember, to reserve a spot for the Monsters Climb you must be a registered 2012 Descenders member.
We look forward to seeing you on a ride soon.
Descenders Steering Committee