A belated report for Soledad Ride from May 10th.
We had a total of about 14 riders I believe.
I parked my "support car" filled with coffee, pastries and fruit at the top of Soledad and rode North, to met with the group on 56 bike path. I was hoping to take it easy since I was in lull training-wise, after BWR. No such luck.
We took it relatively easy on Torrey Pines, riding together as a group (new banner photo for descender website!). We decided to add Blacks Beach – new to many people, including Hodges – cannot believe he never rode it before. Even Voris enjoyed the descend (ride up to the top probably not so much).
Once we got to Soledad, I decided to do the "little Giro" climb up Al Bahr /Crespo up to Mecca (new road to most Descenders), which included two cork-screw style climbs/descents. It was appropriate to do it especially that day since Giro was starting the following day in – where else – rainy Ireland.
So two un-authorized climbs (not on "freaking brochure"!) before the first climb up of Soledad – not bad.
We had a new rider who set a pretty fast pace up Hillside, forcing me and Larry to go hard and chase – especially since he didn’t know the way up to the top via beaten up "Tour of Flanders" path.
On the second climb up Country Club I found myself chasing Larry, Voris and Claus – we lost a few riders as they didn’t stop at the overlook spot, or fell behind (Hodges, John). A very pretty and super-fit young lady volunteered to take our group photo at the overlook spot, and then volunteered to be in the photo herself. See photo below. Hodges, you missed out, big time. Descenders have groupies!
The newly formed/whittled-down group of 8 riders stayed together for the third climb – we decided to bypass the stop at the car and do the 4th climb Pacifica, and then stop at the car. The Ghost of Hodges, or perhaps it was just a mirage, appeared as we got to the top, but we all got stuck at the next two lights and never saw him.
On Pacifica, I was with Voris (who I don’t think ever done Pacifica before) and Paul, finally chasing down Larry at the top. The four of us worked together to the cross in the wind, Guido riding strong solo behind us. We caught up with some of the MIA riders on the fifth climb up Via Valverde. Most of us took it easy I think. As I was driving down via Capri I saw a bunch of Descenders stopping – someone got a flat. On the way back Guido and Voris set a crazy fast tempo up 56 bike path, getting themselves into a top 10 of densely populated and competitive leaderboard. According to Voris, even though Guido did most of the pulls, Voris got timed 1 second faster. Oh the irony of strava!
One miracle of the ride is that this is the first Soledad ride that Voris completed from beginning to end, and incidentally, it was also the first one he really enjoyed. La Jolla traffic, urban surroundings, super-slow, lung-burning climbing and often dodgy descents – it was all worth it in the end. So if Voris can change his mind and learn to overcome his prejudices and enjoy Soledad ride, so can you!
You should have come!
Google also has a new feature "Stories" which provides some more dynamic story-line type formatting of photos (semi-automatically created), check it out: