All, 18 descenders have participated in today’s Dudley’s Ride. This was the first Dudleys of 2013 (usually we do about two Dudley rides a year) – and served as preparation for opening stage of Tour of California on May 12.
At any given time there were Descenders riding all over the Palomar Mountain today!6 Descenders (Rob V., Bob Proulx, Denise and Amy, Jeff and Eileen) have started riding a bit earlier – leaving Dudley’s parking lot at 7:30. We never caught them until Mothers.
8 other Descenders (Rick, Matt Babb, Guido, Geoff, Tony O’Gorman, Mike Farkas, Larry Murray and I) started at 8AM as planned originally.
2 other Descenders (Sheehan and Ernst) parked at the top and rode down East Grade to meet with us.
And 2 yet other Descenders (Steve K. and Jeff Langley) had earlier commitments but rode to/around Palomar at later time. We saw Jeff coming up East Grade as we were descending down to ride back to the cars – this was a nice surprise.
Rob will relate his group’s experiences in a separate writeup – and I will describe mine – there were two cars leaving Springmeadow – Guido drove me and Geoff (thanks, Dave!), while Tony who needed to get back home by 1:30, drove his own car. We met up with Rick, Matt, Larry and Farkas and left promptly after 8AM. Matt lead some strong, animated pulls along the Mesa Grande that split the group a bit at times, but we regrouped after the Mesa Grande descent, at intersection with 76. The lake’s water level was very low.
We met up with always cheerful Sheehan who was waiting for us at the bottom of East Grade, and Ernst descended like a hawk just a few moments later.
We started climbing together as a group (except for Farkas who immediately went for a solo breakaway and disappeared from our sights within minutes). It was perfect weather for climbing – cool, dry and sunny. I think we even had a tailwind. Eventually three Daves (Ernst, Sheehan and Guido) wisely dropped back as Rick went to the front to set the pace. Geoff and then Tony got dropped after a while too. Eventually we caught Farkas. But Rick only kept increasing the pace. Larry and I let the group go and Farkas got dropped too. We caught Farkas and rode as a trio until the steep section at mile 9.5, while Rick and Matt stayed together all the way to the top, with Matt burning almost all of his matches just to keep pace with "injured" Rick.
When we got to the top we saw Bob Proulx, Rob, Denise and Amy. Jeff and Eileen were already descending South Grade.
After refilling the water bottles we descended South grade – Rick quickly disappeared, and Farkas went for another solo breakaway. Matt, Larry and I climb together and saw other Descenders descend on the way. After some friendly lollygagging Matt and I set a faster tempo (while Larry kept a steady pace dictated by his powermeter), eventually catching Farkas with a few miles to go. It was getting hotter. Most of us rode to observatory and back, easy, and then started descent down South Grade. Descent was pretty fast, and the road was rougher than I recall. We regroupped at the bottom and chased after Rick (who didn’t go to observatory but instead set a new KOM on Mesa Grande climb), Guido and others. Geoff struggled with cramps (possibly due to the heat) and Rob kept him company. Matt and I caught Guido right at the top of the Mesa Grande. From there we split off into numerous smaller groups – I rode in the back as a sweeper with Geoff who soldiered on despite cramps, vicious headwind and a few hills left to climb. But we enjoyed beautiful views of pastures and mountains.
My Garmin was showing 96F, but I think realistically it was probably closer to high 80ies. After getting some pies at the bakery, we got home – 79 miles and 9,000 ft.
Selected photos are attached, others are at http://goo.gl/YdHt1
You most definitely should have come!