Mussey Grade and Pamo
4 May 2013
by Rob V
A ride that includes Mussey and Pamo always bring out a good crowd of Descenders. We had 15 guys meet in Poway to start the ride. Riders included Guido, Geoff B, Voris, Bob P, Rick B, Jeff C, Eric, Claus, Bernie, Rick W, Jeff S, Neil R, Ernst, Steve K and me. We rode as a group up Sycamore to SPP. The pace seemed faster than usual but we mostly stayed together to Route 67 where the first split hit hard.
The group climbed towards the Poway Grade while Cresap and I fell farther behind. Jeff did most of the work as we tried to close the gap climbing towards Mt Woodson. A number of guys waited for us at the top of the curve so we had a large line of riders cruising to Mussey. About halfway there some inconsiderate driver purposefully pulled over into the bike lane to cause some disruption and other potential carnage. I was in back and watched it all unfold. Ernst and Guido avoided the car and we all sped to the Mussey turn. All except Ernst. He chased after the driver who was heading into Ramona.
We regrouped for the fast descent down Mussey. It was chaotic at best but we sped along at a pretty good clip. Near the bottom Geoff, Guido, Voris and Eric pulled away to lead us to a well deserved break. Bob P, Cresap, Steve K and I snuck away early to get some space in front of the real climbers back up Mussey. Near the final curve Neil blew by us and sped to the end with Rick W not far behind. The group was back together, including Ernst, as we rode along Dye through Ramona and towards Pamo. Ernst was not able to find the idiot driver but I am sure he felt better making the effort.
I tried to sneak to the front for the Pamo descent but Voris snuck just ahead as we hit the hill. I followed his wheel and we flew down to the bottom and into Pamo Valley with Rick W right behind me. My water bottle lid popped off near the bridge so Rick W saved it for me. I had to wait while the rest of the guys cruised past heading to the end of the road. Guido stopped with me and after I collected my items from Rick, we decided it was a good time to get in front of the group for the nasty climb back up Pamo. Guido and I leisurely paced ourselves up the road. I stopped near the final curve to take photos of the pained faces returning back up Pamo. Ernst came into view first with Neil quickly closing the gap. Rick B was also flying up the road. I have good pictures of many of the guys climbing; they will be posted in your shared album site. Neil took KOM honors for his efforts!
After Pamo we regrouped and rode back towards Ramona. Ernst started the break-up when he unexpectantly decided to cruise on down Ramona Grade instead of back into town. The remaining 14 riders stopped for water at the gas station and then rolled along San Vicente Road. Just before we got to the turn on Dye Road, three riders went by us and decided to try to stay on point. We let them lead out through the first two turns but on the long straight away I could see the big guns pull around and start to increase the pace. Eric, Voris, Bernie, Rick W and Rick B were pulling away. The rest of us quickly passed the three guys and we tried to get on the back wheel of these ever increasing speed demons. The group blew apart but we all made it back to the light at 67. There more route changes took place. Eric, Voris, Bernie, Claus, Geoff B and I decided to go down HVR while the remaining guys went left down Hwy 67 toward home. The three riders finally got to the red light and came with us on HVR.
Eric, Voris and Bernie pulled us along with the three guys getting a free ride at the back of the group. On the final climb after the Archie Moore turn, just past the school, the accelerations started again and we split into 3 groups. Eric, Voris and Bernie in front with Geoff, Claus and me following, the other three riders disappeared behind. The descent was its usual blistering pace. Near the top Claus stopped to pick up his dropped light. That left Geoff and me chasing the guys in front. Geoff did much of the work untiil the final pitch where I went to the front and eventually caught the guys at the bottom of HVR. We cruised to Pomerado and split again with Voris and Bernie heading left while Eric pulled be along, over I-15 and back toward 4S. I stopped for water when Eric climbed up into 4S before pootling my way home behind Black Mountain. I finished with 75 miles and about 4,700 feet of climbing. Another great ride, beautiful weather and good time with the Descenders.