Elfin Forest and The Crosby
26 January 2013
by Rob Verfurth
The weather did not look good and the excuses were flying, even before the scheduled time to ride. "My bike is in the shop getting its bottom bracket fixed." "I am taking my parents to the golf tournament." "My achilles is inflamed and I need to rest." My expectations were for a low turnout but I was ready to ride. I got up early and checked my bike before heading out–rear flat! Good thing I was ahead of schedule as I now rushed to get over to Spring Meadow. The roads were wet but it was at least warm as the rain started to come down. No bike out at Casa Voris. I saw a bike at Hodges house. I knew the UK guy would be out in the liquid sunshine. We left and saw Daisy out in the front yard of the Voris house, front door open. I called out and spoke to Dave as he came out to announce he was not riding. The tee shirt and gym shorts gave it away too. Voris still went out and rode 40 miles going up SPP and other local roads; Strava never lies.
Mike and I planned on a solo ride as we rolled over to Pomerado. We were a bit surprised Geoff B was not there since he usually did not let the elements keep him off his bike. We were right on time for the 8 am rendezvous and saw a lone Descender at the corner, Steve Kolokowsky. He was wearing his new Descenders kit; good day to get the new gear nice and dirty. The three of us were about to pedal away when Sheehan and Ernst rounded the corner to join in on the fun. Garet joined us near Lake Hodges so we had a good group of 6 riders.
The fog was heavy on the hills as we rode over the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge and over to Via Rancho Parkway. We got our only flat of the day before turning on Felicita–my just replaced rear tire. Mike was the tire change expert and we were quickly back on our way. The road conditions were not too bad and the rain intermittent so it was nice out riding with the group. We all promised to take it easy along Elfin Forest. The rain started coming down heavy while we rode Harmony Grove. Sheehan was off on point with Mike pulling the rest of us; Ernst was taking a nice, safe pace in the rear. We saw a couple groups of hardy riders coming eastbound in Elfin so we were not the only idiot riders out this morning. Garet mentioned he was heading back by going up Via Ambiente. We all stopped looking for a new route to explore.
The Descenders have ridden up toward Olivenhain Dam on Via Ambiente but only Garet and Hodges knew the route well. It was raining hard, super wet and the fog thickened as we climbed up to the gate. We never saw the reservoir or dam due to the weather but the climb was cool. The descent back down to the Cielo entrance off Del Dios Highway was even steeper than the climb and a bit scary given all the water on the road. Sheehan was laughing at the start of the descent as he flew off into the fog bank, he loves downhill speed. Hodges and I stayed real slow at the back, hoping our brakes would not give out. We all regrouped at the bottom with Garet heading north on Del Dios to get home.
Ernst announced he was going to go through The Crosby. I tried that a few months back and got nabbed by security. Ernst planned to use the Toll Brothers card and say he was going to visit the construction site. Five soaking wet bike riders pedaled to the main security gate at The Crosby. After a nice speech and a phone call to his Toll Brothers buddy, we were allowed to roll into The Crosby. It is a beautiful home development with wide, smooth roads; too bad we can not get in there more often. We rolled all the way over to Camino Del Sur where Ernst and Sheehan headed north towards home while Mike, Steve and I pedaled south past Santaluz and back to the bike path.
The bike was a mess. The kit dirty and soaking wet. We covered about 40 miles and 2,500 feet of climbing. It was a great Descenders group ride. Attached are a few photos. I will add more to shutterfly soon.
p.s. I am still drafting the Stagecoach Ride Report. There are photos still coming to me.
p.p.s. I have a few months of photos to add to the Shutterfly account; they will get there soon.