Club – There were 19 descenders (at least by my count) who came out for this ride. 21 if you count Eileen and Jeff that were riding many of the same roads (Del Dios, Elfin Forest, Double Peak) on their Pfeizer ride but never connected with us, we missed each other twice, due to Via Ambiente route modification.
Larry and I rode from the coast, we caught Len the Elder as he was climbing Black Mountain Road. It was overcast and almost a bit chilly – a perfect summer riding weather.
At the meeting spot the group got big quickly, including almost all the regulars plus some of the rarely seen faces, such as Bob Raibert – he would have to cut the ride short by going back Del Dios. Yi-Shiou, Sheehan, Farkas and Garet also made a brief appearance, riding only up to Rancho Santa Fe or so.
We separated into smaller sub-groups as we climbed towards Double Peak. The view was less than spectacular due to thick fog, but I liked it nonetheless. Fog is very mysterious. After the Double Peak Ernst turned North towards San Marcos. Ernst was 1 day away from his 50th birthday, and was riding a mountain bike "Dave’s birthday" 50 miler the following day (which is really a century in MTB-to-road conversion). Happy Birthday, Dave! This really should be named Ernst 50th Ride, especially since it was Ernst who introduced us to the Double Peak (so when you are suffering up Double Peak – remember, it’s all Ernst fault!).
On the way down from Double Peak Rick missed the left turn to Elfin. This is the second turn he missed that day (uh-oh, someone needs to read the brochure!) – and we broke up into two groups, which worked out perfectly. Luckily everyone made the turn to Via Ambiente. Rick popped half a dozen wheelies, Sagan-style and then suspended his sandbagging for a few moments and quickly rode off to "stretch his legs" on an 18% section.
We regroupped on the top/descent towards Del Dios, Rob, Proulx and a few others went right towards RSF, while the rest of us (only about 9 or 10 left at this point) kept on the "official" route, towards Escondido.
Rick Wiseman set a mean pace up Del Dios which stretched the group out. Then at the turn to Lake Drive, Rick Bienias went to the front of "surviving" 6 or so and made us all hurt by pacing us at 28 mph. Nothing like getting the hurt from "Rick-Rick" double-header pulls.
By the time we got to the short steep climb section towards Via Ranchos, most of us were out of breath and pedaling squares, legs heavy with lactic acid. Except Matt, who motored up the climb to take 2nd overall on this strava segment, behind none other than Adam Bickett.
We rolled towards I-15 and across Lake Hodges at fairly rapid pace, and continued along Pomerado, lead by strong pulls from Rick W. and others.
Larry, Rick and I continued on Pomerado as everyone turned off eventually, Rick went home at the top of Pomerado as we kept going – 86 miles with almost 7,000ft of climbing for Larry and myself, just about what I needed for the silly Rapha Rising challenge on strava (as it turns out, I was still 200 feet shy of 23,760 ft elevation gain I needed to clear in 1 week). A few photos below.
A fantastic ride in perfect conditions. You should have come!