Alpine and El Capitan Reservoir Ride Report–10 December 2016
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Guido, John M, Bob P, Hodges, Rick W, Bernie, Claus, Marisa, Andrey, Nick, Quoc, Len (TE) and Rob
It was cloudy and cool at the start, but the weather report stated sun and mid-60’s in Alpine. It never seemed to get very warm, but it was still a nice day to be riding in San Diego. Bob P, Guido and I met at the Black Mountain Road corner and pedaled over to Spring Meadow. We picked up Quoc and John M on the way to Hodges house. With Mike in tow, we made our way to the group meeting spot at the 7-11 store. Len was waiting for us; others soon followed, including Rick W. He was back riding with us for the first time in a long time, still recovering from his broken clavicle from a MTB ride fall. I could certainly feel his pain! Andrey & Marisa brought along friend, Nick, who rode on his TT bike. Oleg was supposed to come, but he had a broken rear derailleur. Sheehan sent me a text saying he and Tony were riding near Lake Hodges instead. I noted the new "sleeping driver" road surface on the sides of highway 67 while Hodges did a quick overview of the first part of the ride; he suggested we regroup at the bottom of the 67 descent. We had 13 riders, ready to tackle Alpine.
The group set out and climbed up to SPP. Rick W and Bernie took off on point followed by me and Bob P; the rest of the group spread out close behind. At the top of SPP Bob P turned left as he planned to head back home. Rick W, Bernie and I flew down 67. It was cold, the morning fog drifted across the road and we had to deal with the new bumpy road surface just to the right of the white line; fortunately traffic was light. We all stopped at the bottom and waited for the rest of the gang to regroup. We pedaled over to Willow Road and looped around next to El Capitan High School before turning towards Lake Jennings. Rick W and Bernie kept up a brisk pace while everyone else spread out on the climbs. We regrouped at the start of Olde Highway 80 before the long slight incline that had us ride past Summers Past Farms, the starting location for the Alpine Challenge each year. After the turn just past the I-8 underpass, we regrouped again. Rick W had gone out far enough; he was initially thinking of only going down 67, then to Lakeside and well, he went almost to the start of Harbison. It was now time for him to return to home.
The rest of us went towards Harbison Canyon. Guido, who had been feeling the effects of a bit too much late night partying all ride, decided to meet us at the store. John M was already descending Harbison as he did not wait for the last regroup; we still had 9 riders heading down. I went to the front to stay out of the pack. About halfway down, Nick, on his TT bike, blew by me. I could not keep up. We took the turn at Dehesa and saw John up the road. I pedaled quickly to catch John and then kept climbing. The clouds had finally broken and it was nice and sunny, perfect weather for the climb. There were lots of riders descending but as I looked back a few times, no one was catching me. I stopped looking and pedaled up, the corner of Tavern Road was just ahead. That was when Bernie finally caught me and gave me notice to push on to the corner. We climbed Tavern together and pedaled over to the store for a break. It took over 30 minutes for everyone to regroup and for all to get their needed refreshments and food, but we finally were back on our way.
Claus, Hodges, Guido and I were out front. We flew back down Olde Highway 80 and stopped at the corner of El Monte; well Guido kept going straight, as did Len, Quoc and John. The rest of us, now down to 7 riders, set out for El Capitan Reservoir. Bernie was on point lots, with others sticking their nose into the wind every so often. We cruised past the park and at the start of the last climb, I went to the front. Bernie quickly joined me and we rode together the last mile or so to the parking lot. The road surface was much worse than the last time we rode there, bone jarring to say the least. After a quick stop by one of the picnic tables, we reversed course. I was on point for the descent and then Bernie took over for most of the way back. Nick got a bit chippy and decided to spin way out front on his TT machine; he regretted that by the time we got back to Lake Jennings Park Road. We rode together back to the start of the 67 climb and said this was a our last regroup. The climb up had the same, newly made, bumpy sections to help with sleepy drivers. A nice safety feature for the cars, a bit of a hassle for us bikers. I rode right along the white line since farther to the right was either the bumpy sections or lots of gravel and road debris. Bernie, Claus, Hodges and I got to the top at SPP basically together. We flew down SPP and then Hodge & I stopped for water at Subway while Claus & Bernie headed for Pomerado and home. Claus topped 100 miles for the day, Bernie had about 90 miles.
After our break we continued west on SPP. Nick caught up to us near Community Road and then he also turned onto Pomerado. Hodges and I took SPP to Mercy and all the way to Black Mountain Road. We climbed up to PQ and I headed for home while Mike continued north; he was doing a bigger loop to get in his 100 miles. I was content to get home, hit 90 miles and had 6,600 of elevation gain. Big ride for me and lots of fun. Below is a link with some photos.