Descenders, Yesterday was a Labor Day, many of us riding all over county. None of those rides were as full of fun and adventures as the one we did, I guarantee it.
Seven brave descenders met at my house in BayHo for an Urban (we put “U” in Urban), Adventure-filled fun ride to Coronado. The ride was based on an idea Ernst and I have been kicking around for some time – ride to Coronado through the strand, return via ferry. I have previously ridden to Coronado and back but never taken the ferry, so some elements were new to me. Plus we chose a different route to bypass downtown.
Ernst called it a “Quasi-Descenders ride” in his description, because unlike a standard descenders ride, we were riding very easy (no, really!), didn’t chase down strava KOMs, on occasion waited for each other, and even (gasp!) stopped for coffee and pastries. There was almost no hammering off the front. Almost.
In addition to Ernst and I, at the start there was Bernie, Hodges, plus Len and John. Hodges has been doing hard rides every day for the past 4 days now – mega-Black Canyon cyclocross on Friday, All five Soledad repeats Saturday, Double Peak ride Sunday and now this Coronado ride. He is whipping himself into great shape.
It was quite foggy as the six of us rolled down the street as we saw a rider in what looked like Descenders jersey climb the 10% steep gradient of a nearby Jutland street, far in the distance. Nobody wanted to chase him, plus it looked like Larry and chasing Larry is a bit like my dog trying to chase her tail – you can get close but you will never catch up. I went back and climbed a bit of the street I expected Larry to come from but didn’t see anyone.
We carried on easy, assisted with tailwind, but in a mile or so we looked back and Larry was riding quietly in the group – he chased and caught us, easily. Turns out he had some mechanical and was running late – he was riding his cyclocross bike with 28mm tires. I was on my Ritchey CX too, but with 25mms.
We rolled with the tailwind along Morena, climbed Presidio, one of the very few hills we had to do on our route, rode through Hilcrest/Mission Hills, which was a ride down memory lane for Ernst who used to live and work there. We briefly met up with Dave’s buddy who was hanging out on his front lawn (our route happened to go by his house), almost stopped for espresso at several coffee shops, but decided to keep going, descended by Balboa park, and soon found ourselves by the naval base, next to the ocean.
We continued on the bike path, picking up a solo rider – we rode by marinas, bridges and salt mines, and soon we were on the Strand, riding into the wind. Len and John knew the way better than me, even though I did this route last fall. This was definitely a change of scenery from your typical descenders inland routes.
Our smallish group of 7 was just the right size for navigating bike paths and quickly changing plans and directions – it would be too dicey doing it with 20 descenders in tow. We exchanged strong pulls into the wind, on occasion breaking the group up a bit and regroupping, but arrived into Coronado very quickly.
We goofed around a bit, riding along with the tourists on quad-ricycles that frequent Coronado, Larry rode his cyclocross bike on the strip of grass next to golf course. The sun has come out and it was a great day – we arrived at the Ferry just a few minutes before it was departing. We got on and enjoyed about 15 minutes of boat experience. In downtown tourists asked to take photos with us, we did it (free of charge!). We rode through traffic to Little Italy, to Caffe Italia, a coffee place frequented by Hodges and Ernst. We had a perfect italian experience with cappuccinos and a cannolis. Ernst and I figured out the least-trafficky way to get us back through Hilcrest and Presidio. We were riding into a heavy headwind (again), but were were almost home. One last climb on Ariane Drive, and we were back to my house. A bit under 50 miles and only a little over 1,000ft of climbing.
Lots of fun and lots of adventure: cannoli’s, capuccino’s, beach, boats – all components of a *true*, classic Descenders ride, not “quasi-Descenders ride”
You should have come!
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