We had 10 Descenders on our ride to Old Julian today. Plus 2 Cameos.
Old Julian has now become a traditional pre-Monster Climbs ride. Larry and I rode from the coast, we were early (fast) to Springmeadow – nobody was there. We picked up John Moran, Len and Rob, and headed off to meeting spot. There we were joined by Eric Gruff (looking splendid in his descenders uniform, even a hat!), Big Rick, Jeff L. and Tony. Sheehan was already out riding ahead of us.
We rode to HVR, spotting Bob Raibert riding on Pomerado, surely hunting for whatever KOMs left. On the climb I really wanted to take it easy, but Rick and Larry pushed the pace, and I joined them. I have no self-contol. We momentarily gapped Rick a bit, and caught Sheehan right at the top of the first 1-mile climb. Rick caught me half way up the second climb and the three of us (Larry, Rick and I) rode together for a while – the pace was way too high for me so I came to my senses and dropped back, while Larry and Rick rode together pushing the pace up the 3rd segment of HVR.
We regroupped at Archie Moore, but on the way to Ramona Rick and Larry set a high pace that shedded much of the group, one by one. Sheehan and I survived for most of it but we didn’t do any pulls. We may be crazy, but we are not stupid!
Jeff L. went back home through 67 – we rode nicely together but then Sheehan went to the front and set a fast pace on Dye Road. Rick did a super-pull, and Larry and I were the beneficiaries, just riding steady. I believe we did set top 10 times on Dye Sprint on strava (I am now 4th), without even sprinting for it!
Len was the next rider chasing the three of us down – only 4 of us made through the light together. Len was also super-strong on all the climbs – I asked him about any "secret hot sauce" he puts in his cheerios (if that even makes sense – hot sauce in cheerios?!) and apparently he just came back from an epic ride across America – he rode from San Diego to Rochester, NY in just 26 days – almost 3,000 mies, with some detours in Arizona. Amazing stuff. And so humble too – next time I ride 3,000 miles across US, I will be telling anyone who would listen – mailman, my neighbors, anyone!
I hope he provides a writeup about his epic adventures.
So apparently riding 100+ miles a day for 4 weeks is the secret to success. Hodges, your 400-mile week may pale in comparison to Len’s 700-800 mile weeks, too bad he is too old-school to join strava.
Tony stopped due to unidentified mechanical at the Dye light but we kept on going – the benefit of out-and-back course. Larry was the first to the top of Old Julian, and I was just barely able to catch Rick at the top after letting him go at the bottom.
We navigated the return without much incidents – last year on this ride Rob had a crash from overlapping wheels with Larry. Rob was wearing the same jersey – "Old Julian" jersey as he calls it – apparently he names his jerseys after the location of the crash in which the jersey got torn. Some of them have hyphenated names.
Some food and drinks at the gas station at Ramona, plus fixing Eric’s flat. Also, I learned my brakepads were gone. Public Service Announcement: Check your brake pads. And your chain too.
Tony went back via HVR. On the way back on 67 we tried to keep the group together but lost John and then eventually (towards the end, on a climb) Eric. Eric wasn’t far behind, chasing hard – I hoped he could get back to us when we stopped at the light at Poway Rd., as we always do, but we timed the light well this time. Rick went down Poway Rd., Len waited for John, while Larry, Rob and I went down SPP. We saw a stranger cyclist wearing Descender jersey going in the opposite direction. It was Arlyn! On SPP, we were caught by Eric. It was quite impressive, to get back to us after getting gapped like that, as the three of us were riding steady tempo the entire time, rotating through. Eric lost 50 lbs, from 265 to 215 lbs in less than a year, and he is riding strong already. When he gets down to 190 lbs you all better watch out! (you have been warned).
We finally separated on Pomerado, as Larry and I rode through beautiful Kearny Mesa and then scenic East Clairemont, back home. 95 miles or so total – I need it for next week’s MC, too much slacking off.
Photos are below, but if that doesn’t fill your secret obsession with looking at grown men in spandex, here’s more:
You should have come!
See some of you at Monster Climbs next Friday!