Descenders, we had 15 riders on our Alpine (*modified) ride yesterday.
Modification included taking out the mostly flattish ride to El Capitan and replacing it with extension of Japatul Road Climb, all the way to Lyons Valley Rd. I don’t know about you, but for me it brought back all the painful memories of multiple Alpine challenges, all rolled into one painful nightmare. Ouch!
I rode to Casa Voris, where I met Voris himself, as well as Jeff S., Eileen, Guido, Geoff and Hodges. Rick rolled in soon as well. We rode to 7-11 where we met Rick W., Bernie (who recovered nicely after last week’s incident), Ernst (who the night before emailed everyone that he will not be riding, but rode anyways, aka “pulling an Ernst”), Claus, and Cresap. Yi-Shiou and Garret caught up and/or met us as we hit Scripps Poway. They needed to get back early and rode with us till Lake Jennings before turning back.
The pace was civilized up SPP, and we stayed together on the first part of the descent down 67, then Rick took a flier up the short uphill. I felt obligated to chase down. We opened up a gap and tried to keep it on the descent. Rick and I tried it many times before, and usually we get caught on the descent, but this time we survived. A few matches burned already. Claus and Rick set a nice tempo at the front with Geoff often coming to the front too.
We all burned a few more matches up Lake Jennings uphill when Voris, Rick and I tried to “stretch our legs”. We stayed as a group from there on, including staying together during fast descent down Harbison Canyon. Several of us stopped at the fire station to refill the water bottles. It was getting hot.
We were now all spread out and staggered on Japatul climb. Rick Bienias was off the front, going for one of many KOMs he got yesterday, followed by a group of 4 or 5 descenders that included Ernst, Guido, Claus and others. Voris and I set a good tempo trying to catch Rick W. – we finally caught him just before the descent. Rick B. was riding circles around, waiting for us, and the large 4-5 strong group was not far ahead. Voris and I descended at full speed, catching the large group – at some point Rick W. went by us on his aero Cervelo, which was really impressive. Then he immediately dropped his chain and had to stop.
Ernst joined me and Voris as we started second part of Japatul climb. I was soon riding along for the second half of the climb, struggling up the famous “wall” when I saw Rick gaining on me quickly in my rearview mirror. I was almost at the top and I sprinted the best I could to get on his wheel – and I did, for about 3 seconds, then I watched Rick ride away from me with ease.
(He then waited for me and we rode to the Lyons Valley together). Soon we saw Voris, followed by Ernst and others. Rick rode the Wall segment at 16mph, by the way, getting a new KOM. He also got KOM on the first part of Japatul climb, and on 67 climb to SPP.
We waited a little and started riding back, separating into two groups – ours contained Voris, Hodges, Geoff, Jeff, Bernie and me, followed by Rick-lead train. Cresap pushed on the descent and had to take ascent easy, and Voris showed his NorCal form by dropping Bernie, then Hodges and Geoff on the Tavern climb, leaving only me on his wheel. Turns out Rick W. was chasing us the whole time and finished only 30 seconds or so behind us, as we pulled to the store.
Following some Gatorade-Pepsi-Snickers-Pretzel party, provided by nearby CVS, we headed back, into fairly substantial headwind. I had to leave the group as we got to Lakeside, and I still had to face 25 miles or so of fighting headwind through rough roads of Santee and Clairemont. Total of 100 miles and 7,800ft of climbing, and a lot of good times in good company.
Selected photos attached and Full gallery is at: http://goo.gl/IqdLg
You should have come!