De Luz Loop Ride Report-6 February 2016
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Eric R, his friend, Tyson, Neil R, Andrew W, Tony O, Guido, Marisa, Bill Wood, John M, Bernie, Rob and Len
This was a new ride route for Decsender Group rides that Tony O created. Tony, Guido and I did the explore route the week before and moved the start to Gopher Canyon from Deer Springs. This shortened the loop a bit and removed a couple roads with high traffic. The group of 12 riders met in the parking area at the corner of Gopher Canyon and Old 395. A number of us were riding in our new Descenders kits. It was a sunny but cool start to the ride so the new arm warmers and light jacket added to the look of the new kits. We rolled north and quickly turned up Circle R Drive to climb towards Lilac. We did not make it a mile before Tyson flatted. Eric and Tyson fixed the tire. I stopped to give Eric some of the road markers to get them to Couser Canyon, knowing they would catch up soon. At the top of the climb, Bernie and Neil stopped to wait for Eric and Tyson. The rest of the group turned onto West Lilac and made our way past the Daisy Deli and started to climb Couser. The descent was nice and smooth. Near the bottom I spotted Neil coming up fast behind me. He flew down Couser, setting a PR in the process. The group reconvened at Highway 67.
We all made the turn to Rice Canyon and climbed up to the stop sign–a nice 5 mile climb. At the top, Neil decided to return back down Rice Canyon as he was on a tight schedule to meet his sons after a track meet. The rest of us rolled through Rainbow and descended down into Temecula. At Pechanga Parkway we made our first stop at the gas station to refill water bottles. Tony created a route that avoided the busy roads of Temecula and rode us through some side roads to get to the bottom of the Rancho California Road climb. Eric and Tyson were running short of time so they hammered up the 2 mile climb and kept riding. Andrew W, who was riding strong all day, he held the wheel of Eric and Tyson while the rest of us spread out along the climb. It was a clear day. Looking east you got a great view of the San Bernadino Mountains covered in snow (photo in link). The town of Temecula lay in the valley to the east as well. A friend of Andrew named Mike joined us on the climb. He lived in Temecula and was out for a ride. We all headed to the top and regrouped at the corner of Sandia Creek Drive. This is the descent Eric and Tyson took to get back towards Fallbrook. I hear there are some nice climbs on this road too. It is a shorter route to get back to the bottom of De Luz Road, we would get there a bit later in the ride.
There were 10 riders left, counting the addition of Mike. We all rode north along Rancho California Road. Up ahead in the distance were the San Gabriel Mountains covered in even more snow. Mount Baldy stood out on the right side. No photos but some great views of the mountains. We picked up De Luz Road and descended for most of the next 12 miles. The road surface is not always the best, but it is some great riding. Lots of large Oak trees overhanging the road in many places, producing a full canopy of coverage. The road went up and down in a few places. Due to the rains the previous week, there was some dirt spots across road sections and a few places with running water. I was very careful here and came to complete stops before going through the water, no falls for me. We spread out along De Luz Road, I was sweeping much of the time.
I finally passed Marisa, John, Mike and Bill before the final descent on De Luz. I pulled into the Santa Margarita Preserve at the corner of Sandia Creek to use the porta-potty. Mike pulled off too as he had to climb back up Sandia Creek Dr towards Temecula. We relaxed in the sunshine and watched the other riders begin the final climb into Fallbrook. I pedaled off while Mike made his way to Sandia. We all met up with Len at the corner in town. The route was to take us to a gas station for water before heading down Stage Coach Lane, past the high school to Olive Hill. The five of us were tired so Len proposed we head down Mission Road, straight to Bonsall and get back to Highway 76 a bit quicker. We called Tony and Bernie to try to relay our plans, left messages with both. I was out of water and took some needed refreshment from Len. At the bottom of Mission Road, I stopped in the grocery store to buy more drink. I saw Len, John, Marisa and Bill head over to Camino Del Rey while I drank the rest of my Gatorade and ate some food. I was feeling better and thought about climbing up West Lilac and looping back down Circle R, one of the route options. Since I had not gotten ahold of anyone, I pressed onto Camino Del Rey, the flatter and shorter return route. Guido was my ride home so I did not want to be out somewhere making him wait. My legs felt good as I sped along. My speed was slow so it must have just been a mind game, my body was tired. I got back to the parking lot about the time the others were getting off their bikes. We had ridden 62 miles and 5,400 feet of climbing. Laurie Wood was there to meet Bill. Everyone packed up and rolled away while I comtemplated when Guido might show if he did the extra 10 miles. I relaxed in the shade for only about 10 minutes before I saw Guido coming my way. He too had taken the shorter route. It was a good thing as his legs were feeling the effects of the ride. Tony, Bernie and Andrew were out riding the full 71 mile, 6,900 feet of climbing route. They would not get back for another hour according the the Fly-bys from Strava.
It was a fun De Luz route Tony created. We need to get out there again soon. Below is the link to the photos.