Elfin Forest & Double Peak Ride-17 December 2016
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Bob P, Tony, Sheehan, Guido, Claus, Rick W, Bernie, Garet, Hodges, Bill B (friend of Bernie) and Rob
Winter had finally shown up in San Diego, at least for last weekend! It was cold and crisp for the planned Descenders group ride. I bundled up and pedaled over to meet Guido and Bob P at the top of Black Mountain Road. We rode over through 4S to the group start at Pomerado Road. We started with only 9 riders; picking up Bill just before Lake Hodges and then Mike H joined us in the neighborhoods north of the lake. We rode over the pedestrian bridge and along Via Rancho Parkway, before turning up Bernardo Lane. Tony showed us a cut-through due to road work and we were now at 11 riders. Somehow Hodges and I ended up at the front just as we hit Harmony Grove, I let Mike take point. He did a nice pull and then I stuck my nose into the wind; the rest of the group in single file behind. I stayed out front long enough to tire out and fall to the back; maybe half a mile! Tony and I guarded the rear while the strong riders pulled us through Elfin Forest. We saw two huge groups of riders coming eastbound on Harmony Grove. At Questhaven Road, Sheehan turned right to find some dirt and Hodges followed him. The rest of us continued straight along Elfin Forest Road. Bill and Bernie took the lead, Rick W was next and I hid own his wheel until just about the fire station. Rick backed off a bit so I pushed on to grab Bernie’s wheel. The three of us rolled along into San Elijo Hills center of town and stopped on the corner.
The sun was out and the temperatures were warming, a bit. Garet had family duties, so he rode up and over San Elijo Road to head back towards home. Guido and Bob decided to head towards the coast. The rest of us waited for all the Descender riders and then started our climb to Double Peak. I got out early and chased a number of other riders out on the road. Bernie passed me halfway up the climb. I took the turn at Double Peak Road while Bernie spun back to get Bill. There were riders going up DP ahead and I was getting chased by Bernie and Bill, so I pushed my pace a bit. As Bernie noted, I managed to escape to the top. We all regrouped and stopped to enjoy the panoramic 360 degree views. You could clearly see snow on top of Mount Palomar, San Jacinto, the San Bernardino Mountains and you could see a glimpse of Mt Baldy with snow. The views to the ocean and south towards downtown were equally beautiful.
Sheehan had to get home so he planned to ride down Twin Oaks Valley Road. We were down to 7 riders as we flew down back into the town center of San Elijo Hills. We picked up a number of other riders at the light at Rancho Sante Fe Road. Things got hectic on the speedy descent towards the turn we normally take to head back to RFS. Guys were flying and passing each other. They all seemed like good riders, but I backed off with Claus. It was a bit scary for me. Some of the fast guys headed straight, others turned left while we waited for Tony to catch up a bit. Rick W stayed out front for awhile but fell back to join us before we got to El Camino Del Norte. The climb up to Lago Lindo was speedy. Rick and Bernie were out in front with Bill and me chasing them up the climb. We stopped at the water spigot on Mimulus and waited to regroup.
The call was to do stud loop, seemed like Hodges and Claus were trying to get more mileage. We spun along stud loop and increased our pace from what started out as a pootle. We flew fast back to Via De La Valle–Bill, Rick & Hodges were pushing the pace. Rick again did a fast push as we headed to El Apajo; the 7 of us were all together as we started the Three Witches climb. Bernie and Bill headed off fast while I hid for a bit behind Rick W. I accelerated to grab Bernie’s wheel and hung on up the first two climbs. Bernie told me it was my turn to push the last climb so I stepped it up for a few cranks before Bill accelerated and flew by me. We got to the top and waited. Rick, Bill and Bernie headed north on CDS. Claus turned south and Hodges waited for Tony. I went after Claus and we rode together to Carmel Valley, turning toward the coast, and then turned back east onto the bike path. I pealed away to limp home while Claus keeping going. He lit it up with 105 miles before getting back to his house. Many of the guys rode 70 miles, I got in only 59 miles with 4,700 of climbing. Chasing or being chased by Bernie, Rick W and Bill all day had tired me out.
Below is a link to a few photos from our Elfin Forest ride. I think the group ride is in weather jeopardy tomorrow. If I do not see you, Merry Christmas.