RSF, Del Dios, HVR & Mussey Ride Report-13 February 2016
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Jim W, Larry, Bob P, John M, Ernst, Hodges, Claus, Quoc, Guido, Len, Cresap, Rick B, Tony, Rick W, Bill W, Bernie, Sheehan, Garet, Rob, Eric R
This large Descenders group ride had even more riders on display with the new kit. We all looked great! In total there were 20 riders at the start or spotted along the way. Nice turnout for a nice morning of riding. The weather was a bit warmer than the previous week and skies clear, tough mid-February day in So Cal. Eric R was riding a retro steel bike, along with old shoes and gloves. He is training for a long ride in a few months where it is all retro equipment and gear. We started west on the 56 bike path and then headed to RSF via Three Witches. Sheehan flew down the first part of the hill and I was foolish enough to grab his wheel. Rick W pushed the pace at the start of the second descent and we flew along to El Apajo and over to Stud Loop. The pace was spirited but in control along Stud Loop with everyone regrouping at the corner of S6. Everyone except John M as he rode in his parallel universe, skipping Stud Loop and he was now out in front along Del Dios Highway.
The climb along Del Dios was pushed by Rick W, Bob P, Ernst and Bernie. I fell off the back in the last mile and then rode with Bob P along Lake Drive to regroup at the next corner. We saw Garet flying down Lake, doing a reverse ride. He continued on to go sweep up the rest of the guys. At the corner of Via Rancho Parkway we all regrouped and ate. Bill W had to head back to Escondido. He was about to end his US visit and return to the Land Down Under. Glad he was able to make it our for a few Descenders rides. Ernst was tired of climbing HVR so he also split from the group to head over to Elfin Forest and Double Peak to get extra elevation. The remainder of the group rode over to I-15. We lost Cresap, Bob P and Rick B at the big intersection of the highway as they all had to get home. The group rode to the gas station for a break.
Hodges led Quoc and Claus to Mule Hill for some dirt practice while the rest of us rode the Lake Hodges bike path to HVR. Garet had to get home so he continued down Pomerado. Our group was getting smaller, but there were still almost a dozen riders getting ready to climb HVR. Unfortunately there was a motorcycle accident near the flooded areas of HVR with multiple emergency vehicles blocking the road. We eventually were able to navigate through the mess, it looked look the rider was going to be fine. We started the HVR climb. Hodges and the Mule Hill gang were well out in front of us as they missed the accident hold-up. The group split up along the climb as we tried to pace ourselves. I stayed on Bernie’s wheel while he pushed hard through the first mile of the climb. I passed him and made the bad decision to try to close the gap on the much faster guys heading up past the Bandy Canyon turn. Larry, Rick W, Jim W and Eric were pulling out of sight. I spent too much of my reserves but got to the top only a few minutes behind those guys. I usually peel off on Archie Moore about this time and definitely should have as it turned out. Hodges went Archie Moore and John M was still in his own world riding somewhere.
Larry easily convinced me to head to Mussey. The group headed along the flat top sections of HVR. I took a few photos and fell off the back. The climb up HVR was my Waterloo, I had nothing left for Mussey. I suffered solo all the way to 67. Tony was at the corner getting ready to head back down HVR. I chased the group to Mussey but they were long gone. I descended solo, saw Len L coming back up the climb and regrouped with the guys at the San Vicente Reservoir overlook. My legs were gone so I headed out to get a head start on the climb. Guido joined me. We were quickly passed by Rick W, Larry, Bernie, Jim W and Eric as they pedaled away from us. We had left Sheehan, Claus and Quoc resting in the shade. Guido and I pootled slowly up Mussey, slowly along Highway 67 and down Poway Grade. At Twin Trails, I had to stop at the gas station; my legs hurt and I was out of water. Guido continued on towards home.
After a short break and re-hydrated, I felt better and picked it up a bit to get back to the 56 bike path. Just as I was crossing Black Mountain, I saw Jim W and Eric R–they had done the larger SPP loop and were heading home. I rode with Eric the mile or so down the bike path before turning off. He still had 10 more miles. Jim W climbed up Black Mountain. I got home with about 68 miles and 4,900 feet of climbing. Other guys rode more than 80 miles with Claus hitting his usual 100 mile Century ride. Great group ride. Below is a link to some photos–notice the new kits!