Descenders Ride Report for Alpine and El Capitan-Sat, 12 May

Hi All,

It was a beautiful day to be out on the roads yesterday.  We had another large group turn out for the Descenders ride to Alpine and El Capitan.  The group start photo included a new rider–Frankie.  He has ridden a couple of times with the group and is an excellent rider.  Bernie B was there as well but just missed the photo, we had a dozen riders start the ride.  We knew it was going to be sunny and warm once we hit 67.  The climb up SPP was at a good pace but not too fast, we only lost Hodges who was feeling to effects of all his European travels.  As usual, Mike got stronger as the ride progressed.  We all flew down Hwy 67 toward Lakeside with speeds right at 50 mph. Along Moreno we regrouped and cruised over towards Lakeside.  The sun shined brightly and warmed us as we sped along Old Hwy 80 towards Harbison Canyon.  I knew I needed to save my legs so I opted to cut off the canyon climb and headed up South Grade with Geoff B in tow.  South Grade climbs into Alpine and then we descended from the top off of Tavern and part way down the Dehesa Climb.

I relaxed in the sun and watched Rick come flying up the Dehesa Grade.  He finished a Strava segment of 2.8 miles that was about 1,400 feet of climbing in 2nd place overall with a time of 10:37.  The guy in first place is Neil Shirley, 27 seconds faster than Rick.  Great riding by Rick.  Who is this guy Neil S?  A few minutes later Chad and Bob R stormed past on the climb, closely followed by Voris.  I got on my bike and started to climb back up to Tavern.  Frankie, Guido and Jeff S were close behind with the rest of the guys just a bit farther back.  We all regrouped at the store in Alpine for water.  Hodges was desperate for his drink mix and he scooped up fallen portions of it off the cement in front of the water machine.  He was riding strong despite the travel and it was getting warmer.  We still had a long ride back home.

The group flew down Old Hwy 80 toward Lake Jennings and then over to El Monte Road and the ride out to El Capitan Reservoir.  At the turn Jeff C, Geoff and Voris kept riding to return up 67 towards home.  The remaining nine riders turned towards El Capitan.  I would regret that decision.  Hodges predicted the pace would quicken with Rick and Bob R in the pace line.  I held onto the back for about five miles and then blew up, stopping at El Monte park two miles short of the reservoir.  I rested for a minute and then began the lonely ride back.  The winds were blowing from the north and west so I faced a headwind most of the way.  I expected the group to catch me before the climb up Hwy 67 so I motored along alone.  The climb up 67 was brutal.  My pace slowed to a crawl while I baked in the almost noontime sunshine.  I glanced over my shoulder waiting for a group to come flying by but only saw heat waves as I looked back down the road.  I safely made it to the top and pulled over to wait on the corner of SPP.  Just then two riders took the turn having come south on 67.  I decided to grarb a wheel and keep heading towards home.  

The three of us flew down SPP and rode over to Mercy Road.  I left them behind as I climbed with one last effort to get back home.  I was out of water, GU and energy but only had two miles left to ride.  I finished my bike ride with just over 77 miles and over 5,000 feet of climbing.  Unfortunately my Garmin download process did not work so I manually entered in my ride, missing out on what I assume were several KOM trophies from some of my acceleration efforts throughout the ride-not!.  It was a great day out riding and there were some great segment efforts by many of the guys; check out Strava.  It was also good training for the ToC ride planned up Mt Baldy next weekend.  See you there!

Ride on-


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