Poway Grade and HVR Ride Report
14 July 2013
by Rob Verfurth
A nice Sunday afternoon ride is normally not the material for a Descenders ride report but our epic ride deserves some press. Dave Sheehan could not make the group ride on Saturday so he called me to see if I was up for a ride over our original Descenders ride loop: up Poway Grade and then descend HVR. I confirmed my desire to ride and suggested he corral Dave Boyle so we could do a group ride like the days ten years ago. Boyle was busy and could not ride. I was a bit late in getting there so we left his house in the early afternoon.
We cruised along Espola and climbed up to the light for the start of the Poway Grade, it was just about 1 pm and hot! Sheehan felt good and rode strong to the top. I kept him in view but never closed to his wheel until we got to the light. I led out toward Mount Woodson and then got passed by Sheehan. We traded pulls toward to top when Sheehan again took off. He waited for me to start the descent toward Archie Moore Road. Our normal cut-over was by the Mt Woodson Golf Club and back to HVR in the early years.
Sheehan wanted to ride to the top of HVR at the 67 light. He started to hammer as we passed the Archie Moore turn. I accelerated as fast as I could to catch his wheel. He was flying at 36 and 37 mph, down in his aero bars. I hung for a mile or so and then got spit out the back, Sheehan motored on towards Mussey Grade. I slowed to about 28 mph when two riders went by me. One was helmetless and bald; it looked like Chris Horner to me. Maybe he was down in S. CA from his usual residence in Bend, OR. The other rider had the Jelly Bean jersey colors on and a Jelly Bean soft hat. I agan accelerated, trying to close the gap on these two, obvious to me, pro riders. I closed some but again could not keep pace. They looked like they were trying to catch Sheehan and around all the curves I lost sight of all the riders.
It appears that Chris Horner and his other pro bike buddy headed straight into Ramona. I found Sheehan under the shade of a tree after the turn on Mussey. He was just smiling because he knew he put out a great effort on the road. He never even saw the other tow riders. It was getting even hotter and we wisely decided not to descend Mussey but instead rode to the top of HVR.
The winds were strong from the coast as we rode across HVR. Sheehan was on point and I struggled to hold his wheel. I flatted near the school and we found some shade to fix my tire. The descent down HVR was beautiful as usual. The headwinds kept our speed well under control. We cruised back to Pomerado and through the neighborhoods to his house. A great 31 mile loop.
The excitement hit as Dave uploaded his ride and saw the KOM for the segment Archie Moore to Mussey Grade. It is a 2.3 mile segment that Dave rode in 4:17, an average of 32.7 mph. Even Chris Horner could not catch him. More importantly than unsubstanciated pro rider sightings is that on 5 Jan 2013 it looks like 10 Descenders rode the same segment with a pace between 31-32 mph. These guys are all in the top 15 ranking of the Strava segment. A Descender paceline could not keep up with Sheehan in his aerobars; amazing KOM, speed and ride.