Mussey Grade, Pamo, Ramona Grade & Bandy Ride Report-28 Feb 2015
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Dave Sheehan, Bill Wood, Nate Miller, Rob Verfurth & a cameo appearance by Dave Ernst
The weather reports spooked many with calls for torrential rains all weekend. I expected a small group as I pedaled alone along the wet streets of Poway Road toward the 7-11 store meeting spot. It was not raining but it was not sunny either. I had ridden on Friday with Bob P and was feeling a head cold coming, but thought a good ride would do me some good.
At the start were Sheehan, Nate and Bill Wood, four-man group ride….the Skive Rides were getting better attendance! We did not let the low turnout or cloudy skies dampen our enthusiasm. We rolled out toward SPP.
We climbed up SPP and spotted a Descenders kit descending as Nate and I neared the top; it was Ernst. He looped back to meet us at the light. Ernst got a late start so he rode up Poway Grade to meet the group. We waited at 67 for Sheehan and Bill to join. Bill was having some front derailleur shifting issues, not a good thing on a climbing day of Mussey & Pamo.
As we rode north on 67 the rains started to come down pretty heavy at times. By the time we got to Mina de Oro Ernst had had enough. He bailed left to descend High Valley and head back home. The rest of us climbed around Mt Woodson and screamed towards Mussey. Sheehan, Nate and I pulled hard with Bill playing catch-up. I finally blew up and watched Nate and Dave head to the start of Mussey. The descent was more punishment, Sheehan and Nate flew down while I took a much more cautious approach, backing off after the first mile and enjoyed a leisurely descent. The clouds were thick over San Vicente Reservoir but the rains had stopped. We could even see some sun breaking through the clouds. We took a few photos and ate some snacks before starting the climb back. We were planning to regroup with Bill at the top.
On the climb up I suggested that Dave and Nate go up Mahogany Ranch to burn up a few more matches, they were hurting me. Nate took the turn ahead of us and Sheehan convinced me to join. We climbed up and enjoyed the great views with the sun shining between large clouds. It was a pretty day. We descended fast and continued up Mussey. More of Nate and Dave pushing and me falling behind. At the top Bill said he had to get back so he reversed course down 67 while we headed for Ramona. I took off first and had a large lead on Dave & Nate going into Dye Road. They continued to close the gap and caught me at the turn onto San Vicente Road. We rode on some back roads into town and stopped for water at the Chevron.
The roads were now dry again, there was some sun and a bit of a breeze as we rolled to Pamo. We had decided that we would loop back via the Ramona Grade after Pamo and climb up Bandy to get home. We told Nate about the off camber curves since this was his first time to Pamo Road. The descent was fast, maybe wind aided. At the bottom I told the guys to keep going. I was turning around for the climb and told them to catch me. I slowly lumbered up, stopping to take a few photos of the beautifully green valley. I expected them to turn at the dirt but Nate wanted to ride the dirt for a bit, BWR training. They were well behind me at this point.
I rode up and headed for the Ramona Grade. The rains started again as I descended. Traffic was not too bad. I kept looking over my shoulder expecting the boys to be there soon. I kept pedaling, rode through the grounds of San Pasqual Academy to Bandy Canyon. There was no one in sight as I climbed Bandy and then stopped at the corner of HVR for some food & drink. It was now after 12 noon and I was just about to take off when Sheehan rounded the corner on Bandy. He lost Nate when he dropped his chain on the Pamo climb. Nate rode back through Ramona and rode down 67, reversing his course to the start and his car. We learned this from Strava after the ride. At the time we just assumed he went back via Ramona. Sheehan and I descended the last mile of HVR as another squall came and went. I was really feeling tired and had trouble holding Dave’s wheel as we rode to Pomerado. He went left to his house and I pootled home via 4S Ranch and behind Black Mountain.
It had been a fun ride, only a bit of rain and lots of great climbing. I covered 72 miles with 5,600 feet of climbing. Unfortunately that head cold appeared and I have been trying to kick it all week. The link below shows the photos from our ride.