Elfin Forest and Double Peak Ride Report
Saturday, 27 October 2012
by Rob Verfurth
Things were running a little late, as usual for me, for the Sat group ride. I was late meeting the PQ boys so Guido and Chad rolled to Spring Meadow. I got there just after 7:30 am and Hodges was late. We left for the group start about 7:40 am. About 2 miles from the intersection of Pomerado and RB Guido flatted. I stayed to assist while Voris, Chad and Hodges rode to the start. We fixed the flat but did not get to the start until 8:15. There was a huge group of guys waiting. It started to warm a bit and 18 Descenders pedaled north on Pomerado.
We cruised over very day Lake Hodges on the pedestrian Bridge and met up with Cresap near the mall. He was fixing his own flat and was just finishing up, no more time lost. We had 19 riders now as we rode towards Harmony Grove. We cut through the neighborhood of Felicita and back to the corner of Via Rancho Parkway and Del Dios Hwy. The light turned and Cresap decided to play with the bumper of a turning car. It seemed that damage was minimal and we all regrouped and rode to Elfin Forest.
After the turn onto Harmony Grove, Bob Raibert was coaching Neil and I to start from the back of the group when the segment started. It was not going to impact my time but it cut a few seconds off of Bob and Neil, like they needed the extra time. Raibert had ridden the last 10 days straight and was out early in the day going for more KOM segments before the group ride started. He was on fire! The group kept up a fast pace through Elfin Forest as evidenced by all the Strava hardware won today. The full Elfin Forest segment has a new KOM–Neil–great riding. Right behind Neil in the KOM ranking is Matt. There were some great pulls by those guys our front while most of us held on the slip stream. Harmony Grove East segment is full of Descender awards with Bob Raibert in 5th overall and many others following the fast pace set by Bob.
We regrouped in San Elijo to climb Double Peak. The views from the top were epic with 360 degree clear skies. We saw the islands off the coast, the mountains to the north and east and then downtown and beyond to the south. The dry air and high pressure offered spectacular views. We took what should have been a great group photo. Unfortunately I had someone we met at the top take the shots–nothing was on the camera. Next time, I take the shot.
The descent off Double Peak was its normal fast cruise back towards Rancho Sante Fe Road. We headed back towards El Camino Del Norte and climbed to Lago Lindo, regrouping again before the start of Stud Loop. The first half mile of Stud Loop was spirited and then everyone seemed to slow a bit. Voris suggested someone should agitate things a bit. Just before the top of Zumaque I took off and forced others to accelerate to cathc me. The group went faster and faster as we sped along. I almost got dropped and then hung onto a wheel. We neared the end when road construction forced everyone to slow, except me. I pushed fast toward the guy holding the stop sign and thankfully he turned it around as I bore down on him. The other fast guys tired to catch me to the line.
We large group continued on to the Three Witches where I again pushed fast from the light and we easily caught by Neil and others a few hundred yards later. The lead pace was fast and they rode to the top. We caught our breath at the top before heading into Santaluz. Ernst and Raibert took off up Del Sur and we had lost a few guys along the way but there was still more than a dozen riders ride the segment of North Gate to South Gate in Santaluz. The Descenders own most of the top times. The group finally split at Carmel Valley with Matt and his buddies heading back to their cars while Voris, Guido, Hodges and I went back to the bike path.
It was one of our largest group rides and certainly one of our fastest rides. The weather was dry and perfect for riding. I had 58 miles and 4,300 feet of climbing at the finish. My legs felt the effort. Great Descenders ride. Next week, Old Julian. Attached are a few photos with the rest going to be posted to our shutterfly album soon.