Tour de Poway Ride Report
30 September 2012
by Rob Verfurth
The Tour de Poway was a great success for the Descenders. We had 14 riders out for the Nick Venuto Century while Dave Voris rode the 100 km ride with his family. The Descenders included: Hodges, Geoff, Claus, Chad, Len (TE), Guido, Ernst, Boyle, Bryan, Matt, Bob R, Frankie (needs a kit), Yi-Shiou and me. This was an excellent turn-out, especially since a few guys are traveling for business and could not make the ride. It was good to see Dave Boyle out riding again with the group. He was wearing the original Descenders kit jersey and black shorts, like 2003 all over again. I asked him to at least pretend the ride was hurting as I was sure all his clandestine training had him fully prepared for a hard ride. The local councilman welcomed all the riders to the race/ride/tour. It is not really a race, but it really is to all the front riders. It was a cool earl morning but we all knew the temperatures were going to rise fast.
We pedaled off down Midland and onto Poway Road. I took a few photos before the start of the climb. The “A” team riders–Matt, Bob R, Chad and Ernst–took off up the Poway Grade with the rest of the lead pack. I was in a group of riders that included Hodges, Geoff, Claus and Len. The other Descenders were only a minute or so behind. We kept a steady pace to the top of the Strava segment and cruised through the stop light at 67 as it was manned by the police. Our group was about 15 riders strong and we pedaled behind Mt Woodson and over to Dye Road. Claus and Geoff were at or near the front. I tried to stay near the back as much as possible. We cruised quickly through Ramona but had to stop at the light on Main Street. One Broadcom rider tried to play chicken with a crossing car but in the end we all safely got to the west side of the street. As we neared West Haverford Road, Hodges told me to get towards the front for the descent down Hwy 78 to be safer. I took his advice and hit the front before we turned to descent. Hodges got on point for the early part of the descent with Claus and Geoff in with the lead riders as well. When we hit the steep curves the group broke up a bit and Claus pulled us back into the front. Everyone regrouped on the flats and we pedaled by the Safari Park. Claus and Geoff continued be at or near the front. Hodges and Len were just ahead of me while I did my best to hide and hang.
The climb up the 78 hill past the Safari Park separated our group a bit but we all regrouped again along Citrus. The pace was not too fast as we made our way through Escondido. At mile 38, just before the turn onto El Norte Parkway, Geoff B got a flat. We left him on the side of the road, one Descender gone. Our group stayed together to the aid station on Woodland Parkway. We all stopped for food and drink. Just as we were about to roll, the next group got to the station. This group of riders included Guido, Frankie, Boyle, Yi-Shiou and Bryan. The Descenders contingent was growing as we all formed into one large group after they caught us on Mission Road after Palomar College. We were now at about 50 miles and had averaged about 19.7 mph, a bit slower than years past but still a good pace. The group hit a turn onto El Camino Real that was new. I thought it was wrong and stopped to look for orange arrows. The signage was weak and we usually went straight along Palomar Airport Road. I was now behind and alone. I had to push to catch the group and was fortunately saved by the light at Cannon Road. This was about mile 55 and Claus was over fixing his own flat, another Descender left to his own demise. The group rode to PCH and the next aid station.
I needed water again so I stopped as did Boyle, Bryan and a few others. Most of the large group headed south on PCH. We were behind again and had to push along PCH to La Costa. Bryan did not join us as he was working out some leg issues. Our group was down to only 4 guys, I was hurting and fell back. Fortunately I was again saved by the light at Olivenhain as we all turned east toward RSF. The group stayed together until the climb up El Camino del Norte blew things up. It was not a long climb since we turned early into RSF but enough to put me at the back. Our group was down to Hodges, Boyle, me and a few other riders. I led the way through RSF and we caught up with Guido in downtown RSF. Len was still out front with the group. We rode along Apajo and Guido took a left up Three Witches while the rest of us turned right onto San Dieguito Road.
Our group was again down to 4-5 guys with Hodges and Boyle riding on point while I struggled to maintain pace. My hamstring was tightening up a bit but I managed to hang on the back. We all struggled up the climb back to Del Mar Heights where we reconnected with Bryan, He had taken a slightly shorter route back from PCH. We all eagerly awaited the next aid station at mile 82. Everyone stopped for food and water. We picked up Frankie and a new ride, Robb Maxwell, along with Bryan, Hodges, Boyle and me. The pace back to Santaluz was not super fast but it still hurt. The climb up to Del Sur hurt even more. Frankie was feeling good and picked up the pace. We picked up a few riders out for a local ride and rode out ahead. The local guys peeled away in 4S and it was just Frankie, Robb and me heading for the finish. Frankie pulled hard down Pomerado. I then lead us along Metate and back up Community to the finish. My Garmin said 101.7 miles with just over 5,100 feet of climbing in 5:29 with 13 minutes of water breaks and stop lights. Hodges and Bryan finished a few minutes later. Boyle had to stretch out a cramp on Metate so he was another few minutes back. Yi-Shiou came in a few minutes farther back.
Ernst was resting in the shade by the time I finished. He had pulled the hogwash ride of the day earning KOM awards on the Ramona Grade descent at the lead of the race and then going on a 26 mile breakaway before getting caught by the race leaders in RSF. Great riding Ernst. Len was a super stud all day. He rode with the second group while most of us fell back and finished very strong. Claus made up time after his flat with a super effort to finish just a bit behind Hodges. Claus saw Geoff B on the route as well so all recovered from the flats. There were other Descenders with flat tires. Matt got a flat along La Costa and still finished in the top 5 riders. Bob R got a double flat at mile 92 and Chad stopped to help him. They quickly fixed the tires and finished in 3rd and 4th place for the ride. Strong riding from the “A” team guys. Voris and family rode a strong 100 km event averaging about 17 mph and getting passed by no one the entire ride. All the Descenders finished the ride they planned, great team effort and good showing.
Ernst had a fun party following the ride with plenty of food, drink and a much needed shower. Thanks Beth and Dave for organizing the post-ride party. Everyone is already looking forward to the Tour de Poway next year. I will send this ride report without photos and include them in the post to the web site.