June 1st Ride Report: MC “Taper” Ride to Old Julian

We had 20 descenders showing up to the ride today, plus two other cameos.

The new descenders kits have arrived and many riders were sporting brand new jerseys and bibs. We even had Larry Tanzo full in Descenders gear, with matching descenders socks and all!

About eight of us met at Springmeadow, took some photos (including several photos featuring UC Davis women’s lacrosse team) and rolled easy to meeting spot, where another 10 or so riders were waiting.

It was supposed to be an easy “taper” ride, since we are only 6 days away from Monster Climb weekend. (Speaking of which – can you read at the 3rd grade level? Can you follow simple instructions? Then please take some time and read the fr$#%#ing brochure! – see Brochure).
Of course when Matt and Larry T. show up, and if Rick has early plans for KOMing you know it will not be an easy taper ride.

We rode together to HVR, where group quickly blew up, as expected. Rick W. attacked predictably, with Matt and Jeff S. to follow – they chased Rick W. and quickly passed him. I extended my photo-surge into actual surge trying to chase them, followed by Larry T. and Larry M. chasing me, not far behind.
We regrouped at the top – on the Bandy Canyon descent I used Sheehan’s wheel to get a little closer to Rick W. who of course went on solo attack before the descent! At the bottom I found myself working in two-man-breakaway with Larry T., and the two of us had a pretty good gap on the rest of the group. Larry did a monster pull while I was also working hard, but only mentally, by thinking of an excuse not to do my share of the pulling. When I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw Matt Babb grinning into the mirror, riding behind me. How they closed the substantial gap I will never find out.

At the bottom of Pasqual/Ramona grade climb we started off slow, and Mike Hodges together with – you guessed it – Rick W. – immediately attacked. They built up some solid margin and soon Larry T. took solo responsibility in chasing them, followed by Matt, myself, Larry M. and Jeff S. We caught and passed Hodges and soon Rick W., but Larry was relentless – Jeff dropped back a bit, then Larry M. Nearing the top, Matt and I also backed off the pace, it is a “taper” ride after all, right?
On short descent we got a bit closer to Larry T. Matt put in a quick acceleration and bridged 100 meter gap to Larry with basically two turns of pedals. As impressive as it was to watch, I didn’t follow Matt’s wheel to surge and continued at my own pace. But now I was stuck in no mans land. I could see Larry Murray and Jeff Southerton working in tandem to catch me, and Larry Tanzo and Matt working to get away from me. Soon Jeff caught me, solo, with Larry not far behind, and I got on Jeff’s wheel and we rode together to the top. We were 20 seconds or so behind Larry T. and Matt. Larry not far behind, followed by Garret and two Ricks, then Hodges, Voris and others.

Minor regrouping at Ramona, several riders turned back already. It was getting hot. At Old Julian Highway Rick went by us full-speed, as he was going for KOM. It was hot and at the top a severe headwind was waiting for Rick but he didn’t know it yet. Larry Tanzo went to chase after Rick. We rode together as a group, picking up Matt’s friend, Eric (?). At the top of Old Julian climb we had to form a quickly rotating, aggressive paceline to fight the wind, I have no idea how Rick was able to handle it alone at about the same speed as 4 or 5 of us did.

On the way back Rick W. went for solo break yet again, and Matt and Larry chased after him. On a flat part before the descent there was a quick touch of wheels and Rob went down the ditch, at about 20mph. Unfortunately he hit his previously injured ribs and was in quite a bit of pain. If anyone can handle the pain it is Rob. He kept on riding to Ramona despite the pain and some difficulty breathing in fully – heal fast, Rob!

When we stopped on Old Julian we briefly saw Drew Peterson, who was in the lead (presumably, since we didn’t see anyone else) of Dirty Devil race – 127 miles, 13K of climbing. It was a bit like Bigfoot sighting – all circumstantial evidence seem to indicate it was indeed Drew, and we even have eyewitness reports of him waiving and saying hello to us, but it went so fast, and we have no photographic evidence – so it is only fair to wonder if it was real at all, or if he is just a legend, and in fact does not even exist in real life. Just a story that cyclists made up and like to tell each other of this superhuman solo rider who climbs in aero bars, can ride 200 miles without stopping even once and can pedal his right and left cranks independently of each other.

The rest of the ride was rather mellow and non-eventful. We went through Dye Rd (with Rick W. taking monster long pulls) – some went back through HVR, but most opted for 67. It was windy and we saw tons of people doing San Diego century. Rick, Voris and I went down SPP as others opted for Poway Grade (setting some top-10 descending records in the process, but not really threatening Raibert’s KOM). Rick and Voris decided to do more repeats up SPP and I went home. By the time I got to the coast, Soledad was in thick fog and it was chilly – with temperatures of about 65. Huge difference from 90+ in Ramona.

Rob’s crash notwithstanding, it was a great day on the bike.
You should have come!

More photos are at: http://goo.gl/N5I1k

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