The group ride on Saturday followed the epic day riding up near Wrightwood for the Tour of California. There were 10 riders at the start, with four of us that still had some legs left from the mountain climbs the previous day–Hodges, Tony, Bob P and Rob. The rest of the riders included Rick W, Larry, Geoff, Guido, John M and Steve K. We were definitely feeling the effects of the mountain ride and hoped for a casual coastal cruise. The boys with fresh legs would have none of it. They hammered down the 56 bike path toward PCH. Once we got past the sunken neighborhood, Rick W pushed the pace along the bike path, I hid on his wheel. We all cruised to the coast and started north, the pace did not slow.
A few guys we meet on the road tried to hang onto our wheels. Rick W, Larry, Geoff and Guido pushed the pace a most fell off the back. We met one good rider, Leroy, who stayed with us all the way to Oceanside. Early into the ride Bob P and Steve K had to bail at Lomas Sante Fe Road so we were down to 8 guys plus Leroy. The pace rarely slowed and we flew up past Swami’s and back along PCH into Carlsbad; only the lights prevented the fast boys up front from getting away.
At the start of Oceanside Leroy had to turn around but the rest of us kept the hammer down heading toward the harbor. The traffic was heavier than usual and lots of cars prevented the group from attacking the final half mile. I snuck away for a few seconds only to get caught by Rick about hundred yards from the turnaround. It was definitely a PR time for the group to get to the harbor, only about 1:35 minutes. The Strava awards noted all the PR times, we really flew up the coast. A slight breeze from the southwest helped too!
After our usual water break by the harbor we pedaled back south. The traffic was even worse with lots of police officers directing cars at the bridge. There was a sand soccer tournament on the beach. I attempted to pull by own version of Taylor Phinney from stage 4 in the Tour of California. The car traffic tied up the guys so I broke away at the bridge and pushed into Oceanside. I was lucky enough to find a triathlete turn in front of me heading south; I hid on his wheel and held on into Carlsbad. I started to fall off the pace a number of times but on every incline I was able to creep back onto his wheel. He pulled me all the way to La Costa. I took the turn and could not see the guys anywhere. I assumed I would get caught eventually but I kept pushing to see how far my legs would take me.
I climbed up El Camino Del Norte, along Lago Lindo and into RSF. I was almost out water but decided to press on and look for water at the store right before Three Witches. I somehow made in all the way to the store and was filling up my water bottles when I saw Guido, Rick W and Larry rode past toward the light. I did not make it to Santa Barbara like Phinney did but I almost made it to Santa Luz! I was able to get their attention and they waited for me, my breakaway was not a success but it was fun to stay away for 25 miles. We climbed together for the first part of Three Witches before the three of them dusted me. Rick W turned north at the top while Larry and Guido headed back south. They soft pedaled to let me catch up. We rode together to the bike path with Larry heading to the coast and Guido back home. I got home with about the same mileage as the ToC ride (64 miles) but only about 2,700 feet of elevation (6,000 less than the day before, in only 3:30, 1.5 hours less riding time than the mountains.
The legs were done for the weekend. Fun ride.