Alpine Loop Ride Report19 July 2014
by Rob Verfurth
A small group of us rode over from Spring Meadow to meet the rest of the guys at the start. On the way we spotted Claus driving westbound on Pomerado, likely to another family swim meet or other event. He did not ride on Sat but managed to get on another century ride on Sunday morning! Claus is a machine!
At the 7-11 store we had a total of 15 riders: Larry, Rick W, Guido, Geoff, Tony, Bob P, Len, John, Rob, Sheehan, Voris, Ernst, Cresap, Bill Wood and a new rider, Norm. Bill was back in country from Australia working on his Escondido home. Norm rides some with Cyclo-Vets and heard of us through our web site. Cresap was just getting back into riding after a few physical set-backs so he planned to head up towards Mount Woodson after the SPP climb.
Voris changed the route from Oceanside Coastal to Alpine since the planned weather was to be cooler for the morning. Looked like a good day to be out riding. We all climbed SPP and descended down 67 to the turn toward Lakeside for our first regroup. We rode together until the climb toward Lake Jennings where the group split a bit. We picked up Neil R in Lakeside and he quickly hit the front of the group.
The ride along Old Hwy 80 was fast with most of the group hanging together or within view of the front. We stopped briefly after crossing under I-8 again before heading over to Harbison Canyon. We had another cameo appearance before getting to Harbison, spotting Jeff L riding on his way back towards town. He must have done a very early ride and was heading home already. Ernst and Voris planned to return home from the top of Harbison due to family obligations. Sheehan and Norm were just a bit back of us and Dave S returned back towards Poway with Ernst and Voris while Norm continued down Harbison. Bill Wood and John were also behind the group so we thought they would take Arnold Road and meet us back at the top of Dehesa.
The group down Harbison had most of the guys from the lead group except for Neil who drifted back behind me on the start of the fast descent and Bob P, who just does not have enough body mass to keep up the fast downhill pace. At the bottom the small group of 7 remaining riders started the climb up Dehesa. Tony was out in front for the early part of the climb getting in a few photos for his Strava picture. Neil quickly closed the time he lost on the descent and the group continued climbing. Guido, Geoff, Len and I backed off a bit and climbed together while the other 4 guys, (Neil, Larry, Rick W & Tony) sped ahead. We regrouped at the turn to Tavern Road. John was there but no sign of Bill W. We assumed Bob P and Norm were climbing behind us and we would all regroup at the CVS store in Alpine.
The break at the store was much appreciated but it actually started to get cold as we waited in the cool breeze with our sweaty kits. Bob P eventually rode up saying he got a flat near the bottom of Dehesa. Bob told us that Norm had ridden by him going up Dehesa and then returned going back the other direction. Not sure where Norm went but assume he got home safely. He is a strong rider and we look forward to him riding again soon. We now had 10 riders left to begin the journey back home. The fast descent down Arnold did not shake off the cold chills but we kept up a brisk pace along Old Hwy 80 to get the blood flowing again. Neil peeled off for home after Lake Jennings and Bob P slowed off the back before we came to the turn of El Monte.
Not one wheel turned to the right towards El Capitan Reservoir, all continued straight toward to dreaded Hwy 67 climb. I guess most of the guys were feeling the effects of the ride and no one wanted to add the 15 miles of El Monte to the day, didn’t have to twist my arm. We all quickly spread out on the climb up 67. Larry, Rick W, Guido and Tony were out front while the rest of us slowly climbed up. Near the top of the first long section, Len passed me with the encouraging words, "It gets easier", as he sped off. Geoff caught me and then we rode together to the top and turned onto SPP. The lead guys were long gone and the other guys far back in the distance so Geoff and I headed down SPP.
Geoff did all the work as we made our way back to Mercy Road and the mile long climb up Black Mountain. We were both tired and glad to be near the finish of another fun Descenders ride. My route was about 73 miles and 5,800 feet of climbing without the El Monte loop. Probably a good decision to skip that section. I saw other rides up to 80-98 miles from the group, depending on where they started. Here is another photo. I will post more to the Shutterfly account soon.