The much needed rainstorms on Friday and cold, unsettling weather caused us to delay our Montezuma ride. It will be rescheduled for February, weather cooperating. The Saturday group ride was changed to Lake Wohlford and Couser Canyon. The Sunday ride was scheduled as its normal Recovery Ride. I will briefly recap the weekend rides.
Lake Wohlford, Couser Canyon, West Lilac and Jesmond Dene Loop–Sat, 13 December
The rains were heavy on Friday and the roads were wet. The clouds and rains lingered into early Saturday morning. This was going to depress the number of riders that were going to show for the group ride. I had considered riding to the mall for the start but the weather dissuaded me of that silly idea. I drove to the mall expecting the ride to be cancelled. A large storm cloud drenched the car and roads as I drove towards the mall–it was pouring hard. As I got to the mall and the rains lessoned, I was surprising to see both Sheehan and Ernst riding to the start. I know they got wet. Guido, Bernie and a couple other guys were waiting in cars to see who showed. A number of others had already sent e-mails declining to ride.
Despite the weather, we had a hardy crew of 9 Descenders ready to ride. Beside Ernst and Sheehan, Guido and Bernie; we had Hodges, Geoff B, Zach and a young rider Bernie met on the recent Everest Challenge, Scott Coiner. Scott is a senior at Poway HS and a strong young rider. I made the 9th Descender rider. The Ranchos turn-out was even more bleak; they only had 5 riders show. Matt and Jordan Baab, along with three others. They rolled to our group and we decided to rider together for the first part of the ride. Matt was planning a loop past Harrahs Casino and up Cole Grade. He tried to get us to join them but our group seemed locked into Couser.
We all set off together, climbing Mary Lane and over towards Summit. Matt showed us another road that cuts over to Citrus father north of our normal route–a better, less busy section of road. The roads were still very wet, it was cool and the weather a bit unsettled for the first part of the ride. We all hoping for the sun to break through. The group hit the climb of Lake Wohlford and split apart. Geoff B flatted and Sheehan stopped to help him fix the tire. The rains bring out all the junk on the roads, so we were dodging rocks and dirt, along with road trash; more flats were a possibility. Jordan and Matt flew up the climb followed by Zach, Scott, Bernie and the rest of the now 14 man group. We all waited at the top for the flat change and there was more talk about a group Cole Grade ride. Hodges was knackered and he told us not to wait for him on the ride. When Geoff and Sheehan finally arrived we rode towards Woods Valley where the Ranchos riders headed straight and we took the turn. I was on my bike at 10:11 am on 13 December: that is 10:11 12-13-14–a good omen for future riding for sure!
The Descenders group of nine riders hammered it along Woods Valley with a number of guys hitting the front as we flew along to Valley Center. At the turn, Ernst and Sheehan bugged out while the remaining 6 riders turned onto Lilac. Hodges was back somewhere. Geoff was on point, as he was many times during the ride and I was on his wheel. As we hit the first descents, I backed off since the roads were still a bit wet. I was not comfortable hitting the corners too fast. It was nice watching the group cruise along. I caught them after the right turn at Old Castle and we rode towards Couser Canyon. With each descent, I stayed back to go nice and slow–safe riding. At the bottom of the Couser Canyon descent we all regrouped, took a photo and discussed if anyone wanted to tackle Rice Canyon. The group decided a return home. It was getting warmer, the roads were drying well and it was becoming a beautiful day to ride. We were about to roll when Hodges showed up. You can never keep him down. We were back to 7 riders.
The group cut through the neighborhood and hit the climb up to the Lilac Bridge. Zach, Bernie and I rolled together for most of the climb. The others were right behind. We decided to head down to the bottom of West Lilac and take Camino Del Rey back towards the campground. Geoff and Guido rode hard out front with me and Mike barely hanging on to their wheels. The rest of the guys came up behind us. Scott was very strong for much of the early ride. I will throw it out there now and give him the nickname of "Moneyman", with a name like Coiner and his strong riding it seems like a befitting name. He will develop into a super strong rider and dramatically lower the average age of our riding group. We rolled into the campground needing a bit of rest. The sunshine was now out in full and we sat on the porch with our refreshments enjoying the growing warmth.
Geoff led us out along Old 395. We all rolled to the corner and Zach decided to ride with Scott straight back to the mall while the rest of us went via Jesmond Dene. I burned my remaining matches leading the group on most of the descent. We loop around on El Norte Parkway and through the neighborhoods over the Citrus for the return leg to the mall. The last 5 remaining riders got to the mall just a bit after Zach and Scott arrived. Hodges had to still ride home while the rest of us got out of the now very crowded parking lot. We finished with about 63 miles of beautiful riding and about 4,300 of climbing.
HVR, Bandy, Summit, Via Rancho Parkway, Del Dios and Three Witches Loop–Sunday, 14 December Recovery Ride
Voris had volunteered to host and lead us for the recovery ride since he skipped the Saturday ride. I was tired from Saturday ride and considered driving to RB for the start. I decided to brave the elements and pootle over to meet the rest of the riders. It was cold when I finally got going about 7:30 am. The roads were dry and it was expected to be a nice day. I rolled to the top of Black Mountain Road and behind the mountain–no sun was making its way to those roads yet. It got colder as I rode east. I was pleasantly surprised to find a good sized group waiting at the corner of Pomerado and RB Roads. There was our host, Voris, along with Oleg and Larry who had ridden from the coast, John and Len, along with Ernst–back for more after the short ride yesterday. I rounded out the group–7 riders.
It was still very cold by my standards as we huddled near the corner. Voris said he expected Hodges to ride so we waited for a few more minutes and then rolled away slowly. The final quote I heard was, "We will ride slow so Mike can catch us." That lasted until we got to the first light. Recovery ride?–I was already hurting. We flew along the bottom of HVR to the climb. It was a spirited assent with Oleg and Larry in front, then Voris and me holding the wheel of Ernst as we all regrouped at the corner of Bandy when Len and John joined. Bandy was still in the shade and it was a brisk descent out to the 78. That is a busy road and we kept in a line until the turn onto Old Milky Way.
The climb up Summit was warming and then back down Mary Lane towards the mall. The sun was out but the temperature was not climbing fast enough as we rolled along Via Rancho Parkway. The group split on the way to Lake Drive, then regrouped at the top on Del Dios, except John M. He took the direct route and passed in front of us while we waited for Len. The group was all together as we descended down Del Dios and up into RSF. We split a bit as we made our way to the scheduled stop at Cafe Positano–coffee break time.
The coffee was good and the croissants even better. Voris needed his coffee with a splash of soy, a bit high maintenance but he drank most of his highly sweetened concoction. We sat around in the sun and discussed past rides and upcoming Monster Climb details. Oleg said every ride should have a coffee break. Seems like a good idea to me. The break could not last all morning so we eventually continued to pedal with a climb up Three Witches and loop into Santaluz. Ernst and Len rode north on Camino del Sur as we went into Santaluz. I stopped by to see if Bob Proulx was home while the rest of the guys headed back for the bike path and home.
Oleg and Larry get the awards for early 6:30 am cold riding and long rides of the day. Thanks for Voris for hosting our ride. I got home with 51 miles and 3,600 feet of climbing, nice recovery ride. Attached are a few photos–more will be posted to the shared albums on our Shutterfly account.