Udo Heinz Memorial Ride Report-18 November 2017
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Neil R, Larry M, Rick B, Bernie, Paul P, Len, Hodges, John M, Shawn DeKalb, Hermann & Jeremy, Jeff & Eileen, Dave Ernst and Rob plus almost 200 other riders
The Ranchos were sponsoring a ride to remember Udo Heinz, a former Rancho rider who was killed while riding back in 2013. They organized a great event and it was well attended. The widow of Udo was there and she made some remarks prior to the start of the ride. It was a bright and slightly crisp fall morning, a beautiful day for a ride and a chance to remember Udo. There were close to 200 riders and we were able to meet some new friends as well as ride with some old friends
We all met in the parking lot of Stone Brewery in Escondido. Neil & Larry looked resplendent in their Ranchos kits. Rick B was sportin’ his Kudos jersey from BWR last year. Jeff & Eileen looked great in their Wolfpack garb, while Hermann & Jeremy were decked out in BMC and SDSU kits. Shawn DeKalb, who is new to the Descenders, was looking spiffy in his bright Astana kit. The rest of us were in our Descender blue kits except John, he went retro in the older white Descenders jersey.
After some opening comments, The A pace group of about 75 riders turned left out of the parking lot. Neil, Rick, Bernie and Shawn went with that group. Larry was one of the designated leaders of the A team. We relaxed for a few minutes before rolling out as the B group. There were about 75 riders in our large group as well. We all stayed together as we rode through San Marcos and the Escondido Country Club neighborhood before the first split at Jesmond Dene. Those that wanted to avoid the dirt hit Jesmond, most of us rode on to do the climb up Cougar Pass. Jeremy and Ernst hit the dirt fast and hard. I tried to stay close to Dave. The big group spread out along the climb, At the top we had more road climbing to do before flying down Mountain Meadow Road and regrouping at the fruit stand, just before I-15.
I saw Bernie there and asked him where the A group was. He said he flatted on Cougar and would ride with us now. I heard he was leading the A group up the climb when he flatted. Bernie led most of the way for the rest of the ride for the B group; A team loss was our gain. After a 5 minute or so break we spun over the freeway and descended fast down Deer Springs Road. Paul P led us on point for much of it before Jeremy and Dave E went out front. A long line of riders followed our lead. We turned on N. Twin Oaks Valley Road and headed north. We have ridden this road many times, but usually from off of Gopher Canyon, this time we rode it toward Gopher. The curvy descents were cool to watch all the riders in a line. Ernst and Jeremy again attacked as did Bernie. I rode with Jeff and Eileen, surrounded by the other Descenders–Hodges, Paul, Len, Hermann and John. We regrouped at Gopher Canyon. Ernst had to head back, so he turned right, while the rest of us went left to Little Gopher Canyon Road. This road has a few bumpy spots, but it is fun to cruise in a group. We made our way to Old River Road and looped over more dirt & bumpy roads to climb another section of dirt road. Hodges was out ahead but I caught up to him along the climb. The group eventually made our way to Olive Hill for the descent to Highway 76. The rest point was in the parking lot.
We were now at mile 30. The A team was long gone from the rest point, if they indeed had stopped at all. We got drinks and snacks. Jeff & Eileen headed out as they were on a tight schedule. Hermann, Jeremy & Paul decided to ride back toward the start. I planned to do the West Lilac, Circle R and Camino Del Rey loop to get back to the same stop by mile 48. I decided to roll before the legs got cold and rode with a few other riders before we started the climb. I was now alone and rode the 5 miles up to the I-15 bridge by myself. I saw no one ahead or behind. I crossed the bridge and then looked back to see Bernie near the front of a group coming up on me pretty fast. I increased my pace and tried to hold them off, they quickly passed me. I grabbed the wheel of the 6-7th rider for about a minute but could not hold their pace. They motored on while I continued to ride alone to Circle R, down to Old 395 and then over to Camino Del Rey. Just as I got back to the bridge before Highway 76 a few other riders joined me. We went to the checkpoint for more drinks. Bernie was there chatting with some of his fast, young riders.
I decided to head out as I was certain Bernie would catch me again. I rode back over the bridge just as Mike Hodges was coming towards me. He skipped the checkpoint and got on my wheel. We rode along Old River Road until it turned into East Vista where we met up with a rider named Shawn from the North County Cycling Club. The three of us pedaled together, turning onto Warmlands Ave and making our way back south to the finish. We had a few climbs and some rollers before turning onto Foothill Drive. I picked up the pace and rode alone for a mile or so. Just as the road turned into Buena Creek Road, I looked back to again see Bernie pulling a group of riders towards me. I pushed hard up the final climb and flew down towards Twin Oaks Valley Road. They swept me up but I was able to hold their wheel. We rode south towards Cal State San Marcos, turned onto Barham and rode to Nordahl Road.
We were only a few blocks from the hospital and Stone Brewery. We rode in with about 68 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. The A team guys were long done, having averaged 3 mph faster than our 16.5 mph effort. Many were in Stone Brewery drinking a well deserved beer. It was a great day to ride, a great memorial ride for Udo, full of fun riders and good times. Photo credits to Hodges and Paul. The link below shows the photos from the ride. Thanks to the Ranchos for putting together this event.