Julian Fall Ride Report-11 November 2017
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Len, Hodges, John M, Bernie, Tony, Hermann, Jeremy, Stephane, Jodie, Bill, Peggy, Jim W, Andrew, John, Neil R and Rob
It was supposed to be cold early for the ride, but by the time we arrived for the start, it was sunny and well into the 50’s with bright sunshine. Hodges came ill prepared and had to borrow my gilet, which he hardly ever wore. I had full finger gloves, which were really never needed; it was a gorgeous day. We had a large group of 16 riders ready to explore the roads around Julian. There was a core group of long time Descenders and a number of folks that had never ridden Wynola, Banner or Engineers; they were in for a real treat. I explained the first part of the ride to the group and said we would all get back together at the Julian Pie Shop up in Julian.
Hodges led us out on the early climb up toward Julian. He had been complaining of sciatica issues on the drive to the start and quickly fell off the pace. We had a natural separation of the "A" team and the rest of the group before we got to Wynola Road. Jim W, Neil, Bernie, Jeremy, Andrew and his buddy, John, comprised the fast guys. They were off the front before the rest of us got to the Wynola turn. The remaining riders quickly regrouped at the corner and rode the 4 miles along the beautiful tree lined road around to near the top of Banner grade. Hodges led a large group down Banner while I waited for the last riders before we headed down. I enjoy the Banner descent. I nod in remembrance as I fly by the corner where I crashed hard on the Julian Fall Ride back in 2009, best fall of my life! I caught up to the end of the group and cruised down to the Banner Store where most of the riders turned. It was fun watching all the speeding riders taking all the corners; you can see pretty far ahead on some parts of the descent. Hodges and I kept going another mile or so before stopping to take a photo and begin the climb back up. I pulled Hodges for a bit before he fell off.
The day had already warmed nicely and the skies were super blue. The climb up Banner went by quickly and I finally caught up to a few folks as we entered Julian. The pie shop was busy and folks enjoyed coffee and eats while we waited for the A team guys who had ridden all the way down to Scissors Crossing. Jim W and Neil added even a few more miles by talking Wynola back round and coming into Julian from the north side of town. I got the non-A group to head out so we could stay together on the many turns on Pine Hill Road, Eagle Peak Road and Boulder Creek to get us to Engineers, Jeremy joined us as well. The A team stayed at the pie shop to finish their eats and relax bit before heading out to catch us.
Jeremy and I waited at each turn to make sure we had the group together until we got to the climb up Engineers Road. I took off and expected Jeremy to quickly close the gap. He stayed behind and kept up a relaxed pace while I tried to get to the fire station ahead of the A team. They must have eaten a whole pie because the A team guys came after most of the rest of the group got to the fire station. Lake Cuyamaca looked good, with Stonewall Peak in the background. We relaxed in the sun for a few minutes, filled the water bottles and prepared for the return ride back to the start. Some riders headed up the hill early, I took off and passed a few folks before Jim W and Neil blew by me. I stayed on Neil’s wheel until we hit the steep descent when I hit a sharp rock in the shadows and flatted my front tire. The air released quickly but I was able to slow and get to the side of the road. The rest of the riders flew by me and I waved that I was fine, just a flat. Bernie came back to help assist me, he was a much more patient and helpful tire changing partner than my most recent tire escapade on Laguna Mountain. We quickly replaced the tube and I correctly used my CO2 canister to get the front tire ready to ride. Bernie led me back down to the bottom of Engineers where we caught up with Len and Hodges. The four of us rolled together back to highway 79 where a small group of Tony, Bill & Peggy and Jodie were waiting for us. We all headed left to get back to the start; the pace was quick over the last few miles. I tried to sneak away but Bill B quickly closed the gap and pulled back the group; we all finished together.
Some of the guys were at the cars. John M had led Andrew and John back up to Julian from the Pine Hills Road turn to take the Wynola loop back around, a bit of gratuitous mileage and climbing, but that is the planned route. The rest of us were ready to call it a day. Riders got in between 50-60 miles and 5,500 to 6,500 feet for the most part. The weather was perfect and everyone said they really enjoyed the news roads; a successful group ride. The link below shows some photos from the ride.