Kitchen Creek Ride Report-14 October 2017
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Neil R, Bernie, Neil B and Karl G (Ranchos), Shawn DeKalb, Len, Tony, Hodges, Ran, Bill & Peggy B, John, Andrey & Marisa, Ian and Rob
We had a nice sized group, 16 riders, meet just off I-8 for the start of the ride. It was cool and sunny at the start. The weather forecast predicted very warm temperatures and increasing winds; an early start was needed. It was clear we would be splitting up into various riding groups. The plan was to not wait, regroup some at the Laguna Mountain Store and then decide which route to take. There were lots of route options we covered before starting the ride.
There were two Ranchos riding–Neil B and Karl G. They claimed they wanted to ride with us due to the planned Ranchos route was not to their liking. I suspect it was to scope out more fast Descenders they could recruit to their rides! Good to have them join us, always welcome. We also had Andrey & Marisa back on a group ride. They were joined by their friend Ian.
Hodges decided to show his strong form and take point after our brief descent towards Guatay along Highway 79. This did not last long as he fell back when we hit the Old Highway 80 climb. The "A+" team pedaled away from the rest of the group–Neil R, Bernie, Shawn and the two Ranchos were out in front. Len and I kept up a good pace and split from everyone else but did not try to waste precious energy going after the A+ guys. We sped down into Pine Valley, the temperatures were cooler and it was a beauty start to the ride. We kept up a brisk pace the first 16 miles, until turning onto Kitchen Creek Road. At the start of the climb Len flatted but said he was ok and I kept going.
Kitchen Creek solo was a blast. My pace suffered due to my weak legs and also because my chain kept falling into my spokes; lots of stops to get the chain back on the rear cassette. I eventually stopped trying to use my largest rear gear. I tried to see the A+ guys as they made the turn past the first gate, no joy. As I made my way to the gate, I found 3 riders relaxing on the other side. They had seen the A+ guys strung out on their climb of Kitchen Creek. I kept climbing, enjoying the views and silence, until a firetruck came up behind me. The road on this section of Kitchen Creek is narrow, not very smooth, has numerous cracks in the pavement and places with dirt/sand. I slowed and let the truck pass me; back to a pleasant climb. As I neared the second gate, I saw the firetruck still there. Just as I rounded the last corner the truck pulled away; gate locked. No worries, a quick lift of the bike over the gate, a few photos and I was off for the final climbing section. I made it up and turned onto Sunrise Highway for the final push to the store.
As I rolled to the front porch I saw a young women who looked like a hiker. She said the A+ guys left a few minutes before and left us some extra water. We sat on the porch and shared in the beauty of the morning. She was finishing up her 3 month adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico. When the rest of the guys rolled up in waves some time later, she left the porch heading out to tackle the last 30 miles. We all relaxed on the porch and decided we would likely want to head south once we got back to Lake Cuyamaca. John came up and he decided to reverse course back down S1 and climb out of Pine Valley to get back to the car. He said he would wait for Andrey, Marisa and Ian; they eventually joined him on the shortest route back to the car.
The rest of us sped off along the top ridges of Laguna Mountain on S1. We still had Len, Hodges, Tony, Ran, Bill & Peggy. The road was broken up and super bumpy in spots. I got a rear flat and spun over to the lookout on the side of the road to fix my tire. I yelled to the group that I was fine; Hodges came back to help me. We spent about 10 minutes doing a Laurel and Hardy routine changing my rear tube. I had a hard time getting my tire off. Hodges said my levers were too soft. He used a metal tool to finally get part of the tire over the rim of the wheel. Hodges took out the old tube while I get my new tube ready for install. He was getting impatient with my process and took over the install by getting the tire back on the rim. It had been a number of years since I flatted out on the ride, I could not remember how my CO2 adapter actually worked. As I fumbled with my screw on adapter I found out my way was wrong. I wasted the entire CO2 canister so had to get one from Mike. He did not know how his adapter worked but we finally figured it out. I got the CO2 going and blew up the tire. It blew out of the side of the tire as Mike had not put the tube and tire in correctly. We now had used up all our CO2 canisters and my spare tube, fortunately Mike had a tube. I took out the blown tube and put in the new tube, carefully checking that the tire was on the wheel and that no tube was pinching. We used Mike’s hand pump to get enough air into my rear tire, the misfits tire changing show was finally over. We headed out in pursuit of the rest of our group.
They were waiting for us at the corner of Highway 79. The winds had picked up and there were some strong gusts. We all decided to head south and skip Julian. We kept up a good pace around the lake and headed for the descents. I went fairly slow since I was worried that my rear tire was not full enough to hit the corners fast, Ran waited for me a one point. We rode back to the cars where the rest of our group was just getting off their bikes. Our route was 62 miles and 6K feet of climbing. The A+ guys had gone up to Julian and down Engineers Road, the studs rode more than 90 miles.
It was another great Kitchen Creek ride, enjoy the photos.