Faces of Soledad Ride Report

Faces of Soledad Ride Report-16 June 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Hodges, Todd, John, Geoffrey, Rob, Andrey and his friend Ethan

It was the last weekend of training before the Monster Climbs trip. We had Descenders tackle Palomar, some rode with the Ranchos, others got in quick rides before family duties took over and the group planned to ride Soledad. We only had four riders going on the trip there, plus a few other riders. John was back testing out his healing separated shoulder. Andrey was there and he brought along his strong riding friend, Ethan; unfortunately Marissa was out sick. Geoffrey had already been out riding for 1.5 hours so he only joined us for the 56 bike path section on the way to the coast.

Andrey was pulling the crew nicely along the bike path until Hodges waived him off to get me into the wind. If he wanted me out front, fine. I sped up, dropped the group and got onto the wheel of a fast guy who had passed us 5 minutes earlier. He and I flew along to the end of the path where we all regrouped, down to 6 riders with Geoffrey heading home. We headed for PCH and climbed inside of Torrey Pines. Todd and Ethan pushed the pace. As we regrouped at the banana and water stand, Hodges rolled up and rolled out, we caught him near Scripps. The turn south to La Jolla Shores was slowed due to UCSD graduation traffic. Lot of cars trying to get to the gliderport parking with police manning the intersections. We made it through and pedaled south, hit the descent to the shores and cruised past the tennis club before fighting a bit of traffic to start our first face of Soledad.

Todd, Ethan and I got to the top and waited for Andrey and Hodges. John was now gone for the day. As soon as Hodges got to the cross, he wanted to go. He said he was cold. Andrey and Ethan were only doing one climb so they headed home. We were down to three riders–Hodges, Todd and me. We looped down Nautilus and around to the Country Club climb. I rode with Todd while Hodges fell behind. We regrouped at the banana and water stand, then descended down again. Hodges wanted to show us a different route for this loop. He had us go past our usual third climb turn and loop through Bird Rock before heading back up. We rode by Mike McGowen’s house and Hodges turned into the driveway, so Todd and I kept pedaling. We thought he might be stopping to have tea; that was the last we saw of Mike.

Todd and I got back onto the 3rd face route, descended again and climbed up our usual ride. From Flybys, it looks like Hodges went up and did the fourth face while we went to do the original third climb. Todd had to exit to home after the completion of the third climb. I was on my own, but unknowingly behind Hodges. I descended Soledad Mountain Road and climbed Pacifica, going back to the cross for a water break. I then did the 5th climb and did a few extra loops in the neighborhood before coming out again near the cross. I descended fast down Via Capri and made my way along La Jolla Shores before turning right onto Calle Del Oro. This is where my ride ended.

I hit the turn and moved my chain up into the 30 gear rear cassette. I am pretty sure my front derailleur was already in the smaller 34 cog but it all happened fast so can’t remember if I also shifted down to the front 34 cog at the same time. In any event, what happened next was not good. My rear derailleur must have hit one of the wheel spokes because it immediately snapped up and off the hanger. I came to a quick stop and looked down at my rear tire. I could see the chain was fine and the derailleur was on the chain, but not connected to the bike. I was alone and had my camera, but no phone at the bottom of the hill; I was in deep kimchi.

There was a guy and girl walking towards me on their way to the beach, both had phones out. I asked if I could make a local call. I called Serena, but was pretty sure she was not available due to her yoga teacher class; no answer. I gave the phone back and thanked them. I was standing in front of a house so I carried my bike to the front door. A nice young woman answered and let me use her phone to try to reach someone. She asked me where I was riding and since she and her sister were on their way out, offered to drive me home. She asked if my bike would fit in a Prius. I said I have two Prius cars so think my bike will fit. They drove me all the way home, very generous of their time. Those two sisters are my new best friends in La Jolla Shores.

I still got in 48 miles and 5,200 feet of climbing, but now had a serious mechanical issue. I spent a long afternoon at the Performance Bike stores in Carmel Valley and Clairmont trying to find the right hanger and a fix for my derailleur. It is still in the shop so I will be riding my Cervelo for the Monster Climbs trip. The link below shows the photos I took from the ride. Guess we are all ready for the weekend ahead.


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