Alpine Challenge Ride Report–22 April 2017
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: John M, Rick B, Len, Voris, Denise B, Paul P, Bill & Peggy B and Rob
The past few years of the Alpine Challenge have been a little tough; cold temperatures, freezing/sleeting rain and even snow on top of Mount Laguna. Only the bravest of riders, like Bernie B, made it to the top; most of us wimps went short and finished the 100 km or even the 50 mile loop. Those memories faded fast with warm weather projected for the Alpine Challenge this year. We were only able to convince a handful of Descenders to participate in this years ride. We were fortunate to have Dave Voris back visiting from Nor Cal. Paul P started very early, about 6:15 am, and completed the 100 mile, almost 11K of climbing, ride. Bill and Peggy started just before the group roll-out and also completed the 100 mile ride. Congrats to Paul, Bill and Peggy. Denise started a bit ahead of the group too due to the foster kittens she and Rick recently started to care for at their home. She sped through the 50 mile ride and overcame a flat on her way back to Alpine. Hermann and Jeremy Schafer rode the 100 km ride, with Jeremy adding in a few more miles. I saw both of them at the finish.
The group of Descenders at the 7:30 am planned roll-out consisted of Voris, Rick B, Len, John M and Rob. It was already approaching 60 degrees with bright sunshine planned ahead. We left Summers Past Farms and headed towards Harbison Canyon. Rick B glided along easily on his ElpitiGO, while the rest of us pedaled furiously to keep up the pace. We all descended the canyon together and started the climb up Dehesa. For reasons I do not recall, I took off and pushed the pace up the climb, separating myself from the rest of the guys. Voris and Rick caught me just before the turn at Tavern Road, with Len just behind; John M swept up the group.
We continued along the climb up Japatul Valley Road, passing a number of riders, and took a quick water stop at the second SAG break location. The four of us rode up and under I-8 and made our way past the Descanso pit stop. Voris pushed the pace up to Guatay on Old Highway 80, Len and I fell off the pace while Rick just hung onto his wheel. Dave & Rick descended into Pine Valley ahead of me and Len. I slowed even more and Len closed the gap to Dave & Rick. We had decided to just complete the 100 km ride and make the loop through Pine Valley; Laguna Mountain would have to wait. I was only about 100 meters behind the guys when they turned at the end of Pine Valley. I still managed to take a wrong turn and got a bit lost as I looped back to the climb. Len and I left rest stop ahead of Dave & Rick but they blew by us on the climb, we regrouped and rode hard back by the Descanso stop. I had burned all my matches and needed more water; I stopped. Dave, Rick and Len continued on the Descanso loop. It was the last I saw of Dave & Rick until we all got back to the finish.
I stopped for only a few minutes before taking up the chase. I climbed back to the I-8 underpass and sped down Japatul Valley and Japatul Road. There was a Drew Peterson sighting by me, he was riding up Japatul as I flew downhill; a quick wave and yell was all I got out. It was getting hotter, I rode alone, passed only a few riders and made my way back into Alpine. I spotted Len at the traffic light at Arnold Way. We rode together back to the start. I got in 63 miles and 5,800 feet of climbing in just about 4 hours. The temperatures climbed fast, the last few miles were hot. It was approaching 90 degrees. I am sure the 100 mile crew suffered in the heat; more congrats to them.
Rick, Dave, Len and I ate a nice lunch and drank a beer. John M finished his ride. We spotted Drew back in the finish area. It was good to see him and he spent some time talking to the guys. I had to bug out. The below link shows some photos from the fun day of riding Japatul. Hope you can come next year.