The annual independence day celebration included the Scripps Old Pro ride. It is a 50 mile loop that starts east of Mira Mesa and circles around to Lake Hodges and back. The Descenders had a large contingent of riders out enjoying fine early morning weather and a great ride.
Eric R and I met at the top of Black Mountain and the bike path. Eric showed up a few minutes late due to a flat 500 yards from his house. He went back and swapped out his aero wheel and burned many matches to get to our rendezvous location. We cruised down Blk Mtn Road and climbed up toward Mira Mesa. The plan was to get ahead of the mass start and avoid the crowded peloton screaming down Sorrento Valley Road. We took the turn on Mira Mesa Road a few minutes before the 7 am scheduled start and kept up a good pace across Mira Mesa, along Camino Ruiz and then the fast descent down.
Oleg was waiting for us at the bottom of the descent and we all climbed up toward El Camino Real. Oleg noted we were likely well ahead of the group and he wanted to go back to see who was riding. Eric and I were going to soft pedal for a bit. As we approached Del Mar Heights a few UCSD Triathlon team guys came upon us. They were rolling pretty fast towards Encinitas so I decided to hang onto their wheel for a bit. I figured all the fast pace would help me stay in front of the lead group for a bit longer.
The tri guys pulled me hard along the polo fields and up towards RSF. They took the turn on Stud Loop while I turned alone onto S6. I expected to see the peloton at any time but kept up my pace on toward Cielo. At the bottom on the descent down Del Dios the lead group flew by me. Eric R must have had a few matches left as he was pulling the group. Also in the lead pack was Oleg, Larry M, John Bittinger, Ernst, Cresap and Bernie. There were about 50 or so riders in the lead group. It was good to see so many Descenders kits out front. Needless to say, this group quickly pedaled away from my climbing pace and disappeared around one of the road curves with Lake Hodges off to our right.
I slowed a bit but kept up a steady pace to the turn onto Lake Drive. A few more riders passed me before I reached Via Rancho Parkway. After crossing the freeway and turning onto Pomerado, a group of 5-6 guys came by me. I grabbed a wheel and hung with this group all the way down Pomerado. We started to pass riders from the 28 mile loop ride. The climb up Pomerado hurt lots but I knew the end was getting closer.
I saw Bob Raibert make the turn at the top of the hill just ahead of me. He was pulling his daughter who was wearing her neat pink and purple helmet. I slowed a bit and hung onto their wheel for a few miles. The little girl would look back and just smile at me while Bob pedaled ahead. Bob would ask her to pedal every so often to help speed up. We kept together all the way to the end of the ride where we met up with a number of the other Descenders finishers. Geoff B was out riding too with his son, but I never spotted him.
After a quick water break I made the loop out of Hoyt Park and pedaled softly back toward Mercy Road and then to Black Mountain and home. Almost 60 miles and about 4,000 feet of elevation. It was another great ride with lots of Descenders in the mix. I look forward to the group ride on Sat–Lake Wohlford. Hope to see many of you there.