descenders Descenders Group Ride-Sat, 12 December–Mussey & Pamo

Pamo and Mussey Ride Report-12 December 2015

by Mike Hodges

Rick W, top notch rider with the Brooks saddle (“Brooks”, Mike F, John M and Mike H met at the 7-eleven. It was a bit nippy at the start and we were all looking forward, somewhat gallows humor, to the Pamo climb to warm up.

The climb up SPP was pedestrian, just enough to keep warm and listen to Mike F chatting all the way up. Mike has switched to a new MTB team (the one with Simon Planken rides for JW Floors Racing) and his new friends are beating him up on the rides – seems like there is an amazing route up to the observatory from the Eastern side (past Henshaw towards Warner Springs then hang a left) that should be done on MTB that can be done on a road bike – note for the BWR boys and girls (got to put the later in as Eileen B is signing up for BWR). Anyway, this off road route goes to the top of Palomar and the JW boys put a bit of time in to poor old Mike F.

Back to the ride today – smooth ascent of the col de 67 and the normal scream down to Dye road. . Mike F peeled off left at Archie More Rd leaving the 4 riders to continue down to Dye Rd. Not much off through and off as Rick W and Brooks shared the load with Mike H hanging on just and John hanging on a little bit less than just. No sprint points today at the end of Dye Rd. A casual paced transition across Ramona and on towards Pamo. Brooks saddle had a front tyre (sic) puncture (aka “a flat”) – last flat the group had was on Oleg’s Coronado caper and the change took sub 4 mins. Today was a leaf our of Mr. Ernst’s book “how to change a flat really slowly”. First – inspect the tire closely as though looking for forensic evidence at a crime scene. Second – Have a reluctance to get the levers to lever. Third – once tire off gently remove tube like an obstetrician doing a C section. By this time Mike H was getting a bit antsy (hard to believe) and grabbed the pump, ripping off the top and losing a critical rubber washer. Now the whole group was on the floor doing a good impression of archeologists inspecting a newly found cave at Qumran – it was at this time the slightly behind John whizzed past and was heard shouting “see you losers” (something like that). Eventually we got the pump to work and pumped the offending rubber ever so slowly to exactly 115 psi. The pump was now pulled from the valve – at least that was the aim except the valve came off with the pump. No valve no air – psssstttttt. Mike H was now having flash backs to Dave E’s epic flat change of a few years back – flashbacks are never pleasant. Mike H (who was now losing it a bit now) grabbed the valve and took over proceedings – he is in “management” you know. Pressed the valve back into place and starting turning without any advancement of said valve – a small voice was heard saying “ you’re putting the valve in back to front”. Easily corrected valve flip flop into the correct position and screwing motion now producing desired result. This time a different pump was used and tire quickly inflated to about 80 psi. We are back on the road.

Now, John at the time was dreaming of getting podium placements on the Pamo section – apparently a boyhood dream for him – he had figured that the three mechanics were pretty hopeless and would take about 10 minutes to change tire (we took nearer 20) which would be enough to get to the bottom of Pamo turn smartly and ascend at pace (~3 mph) and get the top spot on the podium. He pressed on with motivation of a Flanderian rider who has crested the Muur de Geradsbergen on the first Saturday in April in first place – the win almost assured, the crowds going crazy (there were a couple of walkers). Unfortunately, Lady Luck was not with John today – he too succumbed to the road debris and flatted at the top of the descent (sounds odd that). We were mightily surprised to see him but our group was complet encore.

The descent was slow due to patches of wet tarmac. Rick W decided mid descent to stop and wave his magic wand around, claiming it was just a bio break. Others pressed on and didn’t inspect. At the turn around another rider also decided to have a pee in a discreet place i.e. in the middle of road. Rick W now approaching the mid-road flasher turned in disgust.

Jon had taken a flyer up the climb and it took Mr Brooks saddle about 2 and half seconds to catch and pass John. Rick W somewhat tired legs today slowly cruised past John. Whilst Mike H only just about near the top hung on to John’s draft and came in together. So, again, all 4 riders stay together and cruised into Ramona. Stopped at the gas station ever so briefly – just enough for John to get his chocolate milk (I’m not kidding) – then headed off to Dye. Once more Dye was taken in the draft or Rick W and Brooks – nice and smooth with all 4 riders staying together.

John headed up the Col de 67 alone – to be fair, it actually looked as though our John was trying to turn down Mussey but the cars were not helping maters – so he headed on up alone. Rick W, Brooks and Mike H road fast down the descent at speeds 22 and 27 mph into a slight head wind – it felt fast. No stop at the bottom and immediate turn around. Mike H did quite well hanging until the last nasty bit – his form over the last three weeks has gone from “quite hopeless”, to “hopeless with signs of improvement” and this week reaching the dizzy heights of “still hopeless with definite signs of improvement”.

Turning left up the Col de 67 (this time there would be no chance of catching John) the pace was a step up from the Pedestrian pace of the SPP climb, perhaps reaching the level of “steady” or “tempo”, which did for Mike H, who was in a “hopeless” phase of his ride and had used up all periods of “improvement”. The Col de 67 was as it always is – once foot away from disaster on the left with the cars.

Hopefully everyone got back OK.

We normally say “you should have been there” – I think it applies to today’s ride, well we had fun that’s certain.

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