Descenders Group Ride-Oceanside Harbor Loop
19 January 2013
By Rob Verfurth
We had a good group of riders today ready for a nice pleasant spin up the coast to Oceanside. A total of 15 riders came in and out of the ride. Some of the usual suspects were there–Voris, Rick, Hodges, Guido, Geoff, Yi-Shiou and Rob. We welcomed back Dave Ernst, who if fully recovered from his minor surgery. Garet came for part of the ride as did one of our many world travelers, Bob Proulx. Bob landed from Europe just last night. Jeffrey was there as was Larry and Neil. We also got a cameo appearance by Jeff Cresap. Once we got to the coast we met up with Zach, a young strong rider who plans to join us as often as possible between college classes. It was bright sunshine but still cool temperatures when we took off from the corner of Black Mountain Road and the 56 bike path.
The pace was never slow and quite spirited on the way to the coast and up into Del Mar. There were lots of riders and runners out all along PCH as we cruised by the beautiful surf. At Swami's Cresap headed straight while the rest of the group rode up towards Beacons and then back to PCH. Jeff was turning around and heading back home. At La Costa, Bob P and Garet turned inland while the remaining dozen riders continued north. The pace never slowed except at a few much needed red lights. I have photographic evidence of Neil on point just before Carlsbad but by the time we got to Oceanside, we had lost him; still a mystery at this hour as to where Neil ventured for the rest of the ride.
We headed to the harbor with car traffic starting to slow up the group. I made a mad dash for it at the early yield sign and got a substantial gap on the group with the harbor turnaround seemingly in my grasp. I was feeling the effects of the solo break attempt; I almost thought they were not coming after me. Big mistake on my part. Ernst, Hodges, Guido and Voris pushed hard, with Ernst on point, to very rapidly close my lead gap. I was only 30 yards from the end when Voris took the lead and upped his standing in the Strava segment due to the fast riding by the group. I set a PR for the Harbor Dash 0.9 mile segment but it was not near enough to hold off the charge; another defeat with victory so close at hand.
After our obligatory stop for water and the bathroom, we rolled back south, still 11 strong and all wondering what happened to Neil. The pace continued to be fast going back through Carlsbad. Rick took point and pulled the whole train for a number of miles to the turn at La Costa. He again led the group over to El Camino Real. We all hung together until the climb up Camino Del Notre where Rick, Larry, Voris and Ernst pulled away and we split apart before regrouping at Lago Lindo. The pace on Stud Loop backwards was tame for the first half of the segment. Voris, Ernst, Geoff and Mike Hodges led out a small group. Rick then closed the gap by pulling the rest of us back together. I managed to stay in the lead group until the last half mile and then tried once again to pull away. Voris and Ernst were either caught off guard or kind enough to block the others but no one was able to close the gap before I hit Via De LaValle; finally a victory!
We all cruised over to climb the Three Witches. Zach headed back west while the group climbed up to Santaluz. Jeffrey and Ernst headed north on Camino del Sur so we were down to 7 guys that rode into Santaluz as we lost Yi-Shiou on 3 Witches. The cruise through Santaluz is fun and fast. Voris and Larry led us down toward the south gate and back out heading south toward home. The group hit the bike path and I peeled off for home with a little over 68 miles of riding at over 18 mph average and about 3,000 feet of climbing. It was another great Descenders ride. Attached are a couple of photos. I will upload the rest on the shutterfly album soon.