Descenders Oceanside Coastal Ride
Saturday, 14 December
by Rob Verfurth
Voris made the excellent strategic suggestion early in the morning to do a late start to allow for all the roads to dry a bit more before we rolled to Oceanside. We all met on the 56 bike path at 10 am, it was breezy and cool but sunny and fairly dry. There were 8 riders at the start–Chad, Bernie, Guido, Voris, Yi-Shiou, John, Len (TE) and Rob. John was riding back into form after his time off due to surgery; he made a quick recovery. The winds were coming from the west/northwest so it was a strong headwind as we rode along the bike path. Voris put in an early push and split the group even before we got to Carmel Country Road. We rode up and around Carmel Country to avoid the mud on the bike path, cruised along the edge of the Torrey Preserve and out to PCH. The winds were right in our face as we rode north. Guys took long turns at the front with strong pulls from Chad, Bernie and Voris. Guido took point for a bit and I snuck my nose to the front a few times but mostly kept to my NOP (never on point) game plan. The pace was fast even with the wind.
We rode towards Carlsbad where Bernie had to turn for home. The next time I looked around we had lost Chad, John and Yi-Shiou. Voris kept up the grinding pace with Guido, Len and I as we rolled into Oceanside. We had picked up a solo rider as Voris led us to the harbor. Solo guy tried to take the victory to the turn but Guido would have none of it, he surged from the back and took him out before the turn around. The four of us stopped for water and waited for the other guys but no one showed. We decided to head home.
Near the south end of town we caught up with Chad, John and Yi-Shiou. Chad had flatted near the smokestack heading north and the guys helped him fix the tire. As they rode north into Oceanside, a pedestrian walked out from in front of a parked car and Chad had to slam on his brakes to avoid taking her out. John rode into Chad and fell with Yi-Shiou just getting out of the way. John broke his left front lever and got a little road rash but the damage seemed to be minor. The pedestrian was unscathed and left the scene without as much as an apology. John had a damaged bike and was going to take it easy on the way south.
Voris mentioned to Chad that he planned to pick up the pace a bit along the coast. I knew I was in trouble, my legs were feeling the effects of the 35 miles of headwinds. We roared through Carlsbad Village and hit the open road-Voris, Chad, me and Guido rolling at 30 mph. I knew I could not hold the pace. At the smokestack, I let Guido get in front of me and I saw the three of them roll away, never to be seen by me again. I was in no man's land, alone and tired but with a good tailwind. I decided to just keep riding south and skip the RSF return. I went inland at Via De Valle and headed along the polo fields and back towards the bike path to home. 65 miles, 2,800 feet and tired legs. Great Descenders ride.
Sunday Social Ride
Sunday, 15 December
A small group met at the corner of Camino del Sur and Carmel Valley Road. Bryan had ridden out early and met us at 9 am. Eric, Bob P and Rob meet at the corner too. Others were out and we tried to meet along the route. The four of us rode north and down 3 Witches with Eric on point. Great TT practice for Eric and he pulled us all the way down, a new PR descent for me. Thanks Eric. We skipped Stud Loop and rode as a group on Del Dios. Right before the Via Rancho Parkway light Bob P dropped his chain. Bryan had to head for home while Eric, Bob and I were going to ride to Elfin Forest. We stopped a bit farther up the road and tried to fix Bob's chain and gear problem. He had gotten a kink in his chain and could not go to Elfin. Eric rode on while Bob and I cruised back the same route as Bryan, who was now well ahead of us. We rode over the pedestrian bridge on Lake Hodges and cruised through 4S and home. It was only 34 miles with about 2,500 feet of climbing but just what was needed after the flogging the day before.