Lake Wohlford, Couser Canyon, West Lilac and Camino del Rey Loop
23 March 2013
by Rob Verfurth
The Descenders group ride started at the mall by Lake Hodges. I rode over from my house to join a very large group of riders. There were almost two dozen Descenders ready to ride. Dave Sheehan could not ride but he stopped by, coffee in hand, to say hi to the group. Voris had multiple flats before we rolled out a few minutes after 8 am. The large group was difficult to control, especially when the slow guys, like me, knew the exact ride route. We rode up Mary Lane toward Summit Drive and the group split with the fast front guys taking a wrong turn. James, Matt, Jordan, Oleg and Tony all went right when we usually head across route 78 towards Citrus. The remainder of the group cruised along towards the Lake Wohlford climb knowing the fast guys would eventually turn around once they realized their mistake. The climb up was its usual spirited pace with everyone regrouping at the top. Garet had to abandon to get back to family so he headed back down Lake Wohlford Road.
Hodges was ready to start riding again and I knew we would get sucked up by the faster guys before we got to Woods Valley. A few of us headed out. Tony was in the bathroom and a number of guys waited until he was back ready to ride. The fast guys flew by me before Woods Valley. Bernie was in front of me and we closed back to the lead group. The pace was blistering as Bernie pulled me along at 29 mph but we could not hold the wheel of the torrid pace set by James, Oleg, Matt, Voris, Jordan, Geoff B, Farkas, Matt D, Eric and a few others. Jeff S was the hero for the last group of Tony, Kevin and Jeff Langley. Jeff S pulled them from the top of Wohlford to Woods Valley and over to Cole Grade.
We lost a number of guys at Cole Grade as they headed back to town. Oleg, James and Matt Davis went back south while the remaining group pedaled over to Lilac Road. We headed north and lost Len (TE) at Old Castle as he headed back to town. The group made another wrong turn at West Lilac but we all regrouped to find the bottom of Couser Canyon. The climb up was relatively tame and we all enjoyed the smooth, curvy descent back down to route 76. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the mountains were lush and green.
Farkas led us through the neighborhood cut through off of route 76 and we all climbed to the Lilac bridge. The descent was fast as I hung onto the wheel of Jeff S; he gave a monster pull to the bottom. We all stayed in a nice pace line along Camino del Rey until Eric R and Bernie surged to the front. The pace pushed me but fortunately the campground stop was just ahead. Jeff Langley fell back and did not see us turn into the rest stop. I glanced up to see him continue to head south on Old 395. I usually try to start in front of the rest of the guys so planned to head out and try to catch Jeff. Voris had another flat so most of the guys stayed to help fix the tire.
Jeff S, Kevin and I took off to reel in Jeff L. Jeff S continued to work hard and he pulled Kevin and I all the way to Jesmond Dene. We did not see Jeff. We cruised fast down Jesmond Dene and cut through Encondido, skipping the route back along El Notre Parkway and Citrus. We cut straight to Bear Valley and back to the mall. Jeff Langley rolled up a few minutes after us. He had gone to Citrus so we just missed him.
I headed out to ride around Lake Hodges and hit Del Dios before looping back through RSF and home. Hodges was forcing me to get in more mileage to prepare for the brutal BWR on the horizon. I was felling the effects of the climbing and more than 75 miles already under my belt. Hodges said I had to ride 100 miles. I slowly made by way along Del Dios with a steady headwind that slowed my pace even more. Fortunately Hodges finally caught up to me near Cielo so he took point the rest of the way into RSF. We cruised by stud loop and along Apajo towards Three Witches. I hung on Mike’s wheel for the climb and then we pedaled down Camino del Sur towards the bike path. I was only at 95 miles and did not have the legs to add additional loops. Mike went home past Mt Carmel HS and hit over 100 miles for the day; he will be ready for BWR.
I was another great Descenders group ride. Here are a few photos.