This past weekend the ride was supposed to be an easy, "recovery" ride that avoids as much climbing as possible, to assist those still recovering from post-traumatic hypoxia-thermal stress induced by the horrors experienced during Monster Climbs 2013. Of course lately coastal rides are among the hardest rides we do, despite of (or perhaps because of) its flat profile. We had a 16 rider turnout, not bad for a "recovery" day.
14 of us rode from along the bike path, a group that included both Lens, Len’s 10-year old son Alex, Chad, Rick, Sheehan, Bernie, Ernst, Farkas, Cresap, Rob V., Jeff L. both Ricks and Oleg. Alex started racing this year and one could tell he is already strong rider. At some point Rick B. let a bit of a gap open up in front of him and little Alex sprinted out of the saddle past Rick to close the gap, as he passed him, Alex gave Rick a stern "look", that to me would seem to roughly translate as "come on old man, ride hard or stay home!" – which would have been adorable if it wasn’t a little terrifying at the same time.
Along the coast the pace picked up, with Rick W and a few others pushing the pace.
Farkas (who was racing the next day) and Cresap (who was cheating on us with mountain bike friends) turned back at La Costa, and family of Chad, Len the Younger and Alex turned back somewhere on the way to Carlsbad, and we lost Jeff L. during one of the animated pulls by Rick W., we later learned Jeff got stuck behind the light and tried to find us but couldn’t (we went all the way to the Harbor while he rode around Oceanside looking for us).
We called "neutral" zone when we got to Oceanside and sort of coasted from there. As we neared Harbor Drive Sheehan and Rob escaped as a two-man breakaway, and we never caught them. I think Sheehan took the sprint, helped in small part by his new aero Giro Attack helmet. Great, that’s what we need – Sheehan getting even more aero! It’s like Rick B. getting lighter wheels – adding insult to injury. We sprinted from peloton for 3rd place, I opened it up but Rick Bienias easily outsprinted me into the stiff headwind, with Ernst overtaking me as well at the line. Those two guys don’t seem to have any ill effects of Monster Climbs.
At the Harbor Drive we were joined by Jeff S. and his friend Charles. We all rode to Oceanside Pier where RAAM riders were about to take off at noon. There were a lot of photographers who took dozens of photos of us, despite our repeated explanations that were in fact were NOT racing across america – at least not this year. Nonetheless, I would expect some newspaper or TV station coverage to carry our photo with headline "Team San Diego Descenders about to leave for 3,000 mile race to Baltimore".
As we left RAAM area, Rick W. got a flat. It took a really long time to fix, so after about 30 minutes of waiting (and second-hand inhaling enough illegal substances from the beach breeze to be banned for life by UCI) some of us had to leave to get home in time – Jeff S. and Sheehan really pushed it on the way back. Sheehan and Rob went back to RSF at La Costa while I chose to keep Charles and Jeff company along the coast, since now I had no time for RSF exploration as I needed to get home before 12:30 (I failed at that too).
Jeff stopped at Bike Revolution in Solana beach while we continued along the coast. I had a little energy left for a strong push to get over Torrey Pines to accomplish by sub-6:00 strava goal – I got home with 78 miles, 4,000 ft climbed. Perfect day in the saddle, even though far from the intended "recovery" ride. To quote Sheehan from Saturday: "Never go on a recovery ride with riders who are not recovering from anything".
Photos are below. This Saturday we do Pamo-Mussey classic (I am in Chicago this weekend, so Rob please take some photos or the ride does not count).
You should have come,