Fives Faces of Soledad Ride Report
by Mike Hodges
Yes, well the big story is the great turn out – we had 7 truly hard nuts, two hopefuls and a load of wimpos.
The two hopefuls turned around at the sound of thunder at the base of Soledad to go get a Starbucks – but at least they had courage to come out. Notes to the headmaster were received from Rick and Denise who were out riding, Bob P who is injured and was on his turbo (apparently with a wind fan and water being sprinkled on him to mirror ride conditions), Mike F was achieving his I hr a week Strava cycling goal, John B in Hawaii and Eileen with the kids. As for the rest of you – "ba humbug" (that is the opposite of Hogwash). Please note that tomorrow’s ride is a "B" ride which means we go slow. My legs are burnt out (this was the fastest five faces we have done as a club – Oleg please don’t do the calculus a la Sheldon Cooper to prove that statement incorrect as this was your ride and you didn’t even turn up) so no going fast for all you guys (and gals) who have saved their legs.
We met at BMR and 56bp – no photo from Rob, should have been seen as an omen that he was already preparing to bale and didn’t want a record of the ride. Myself, Tony, Bryan, Yi-Shiou, Paul P, Dave G, Rob V (the latter two would soon go AWOL). There was a little chatter from the locals about the weather and what might happen – the British Isles chaps looked at each other and shrugged.
The pace was brisk to the foot of TP, where we met a resplendent Larry sporting a dashing red kit. Further up TP was Jeff S sporting hips which is worrying as he is already too fast. Up TP where Bryan, Jeff, Larry and Paul chatted whilst spinning nonchalantly. It was the first climb and was disconcerting for us laggards. We zoomed down past the Aquarium – the sea looked Azure, the sky without a cloud in the sky and temperatures around 90 (maybe I am embellishing somewhat). As we rolled along LJ Shores there was a rumble heard above Mt Soledad – this put RV and DG into some kind of apoplexy, quivering and shaking, and heading for the bunkers. Before turning they gently enquired if anyone was coming with them – some one was heard muttering "well I am doing the f&5$ing ride". So what was nine was now seven. We moved forward wiggling a bit around the LJ tennis club then up the approach hill, right turn onto prospect and a U turn to wait calmly at the traffic lights, Left turn down the hill and right turn to the first climb.
We did Hillside, Country, Nautilus, Pacifica and Valverde. All were done in fairly sharp order – enough to ship Yi-Shio off the back, into a parallel universe where he remained fr the rest of ride. We kept meeting him on the mountain as we were leaving the top – poor chap’s Strava will look incomplete but credit to him as he came out took a spanking and kept coming back for more. A true Descenders. The order at the top tended to Bryan, Jeff and Larry (alphabetic order). Honorable mention to Tony who turned himself inside out on the first few climbs to hang just a bit back from the front runners. Paul P was there or there about with Tony. I was clinging on with fingernails to Tony and Paul, One variation to my liking is that nobody wanted to stop at the top – I kept saying we should stop for a rest, take a shower clean the bikes and chill – but there was a sense of urgency and drive coming from somewhere; so we did the first three climbs in one hit, took a 3 min break and did the next two in one hit.
On the way back towards the 56 we lost Yi-Shio (abducted by extra terrestrials no doubt), Larry Peeled off, Jeff had already missed Valverde … so that left Tony O, Bryan and myself. There was a little chatter from us British Isles chaps about the weather – we looked at each other and shrugged. C’est La Vie – as they say in England.