Julian Fall Ride-3 November 2018
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: John A, Mike Hodges, Peggy & Bill Braamse, Jim Wilkerson, Tony O, Dave Ernst, Bernie B and Rob
Tony scheduled a picture perfect fall day to hold our annual Julian Fall ride. I really enjoy this annual club event, it saved my life due to my Banner Grade fall back in 2009: Oleg’s first club ride too. We had 9 riders meet in the parking lot behind Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel to start the ride. It was sunny and just a bit cool to start us off. We spread out on the climb up to Wynola Road and regrouped before looping to Banner Grade. Bernie and Jim W accelerated off and the group split up again.
I got to the corner about the same time Ernst and John A arrived. John decided to wait for the rest of the group while Ernst led us down a beautiful smooth descent of Banner, past the store and to Banner Queen Ranch. We stopped there and turned back for the long climb to Julian. We finally caught up with the rest of the group who turned around earlier–John A, Hodges, Tony, Bill and Peg; Bernie and Jim went all the way down to Scissors Crossing. John A is a strong rider, but he is still working on fully embracing the team name–Descenders; John takes it a bit slow on the downhill sections. Ernst pulled us towards the top of Banner. Hodges and Tony tried to sneak back up to us, so Dave put down the hammer and we sped away into Julian.
We all regrouped at the pie shop, some ate pie while others just relaxed in the warming sunshine. We left Jim W, John A and Bernie finishing up their pie so we all could get a head start on Engineers Road. Ernst kept descending down back toward Santa Ysabel as he had a busy day still ahead, the rest of us turned onto Pine Hills Road. Great to see Dave out riding with the Descenders again. We rode a nice pace on the back roads that get us to the start of Engineers Road. Hodges was playing coy and he fell back a bit while Tony, Bill, Peggy and I started the climb. The lower section of the road was covered in loose gravel as they were finishing some new road surfaces. Hodges quickly made up the gap and flew by me in the first mile. I tried to hold his pace but fell off badly. Mike spun away into the distance and I grew more tired over the next 4 miles of climbing until the last descent into the fire station house above Lake Cuyamaca.
We all relaxed in the shade at the picnic table and regrouped. Peggy started heading back first and I followed her soon after. It is mostly a fun descent after the initial climb from the turnaround. The views were spectacular and fall leaves were changing, San Diego style. I finally caught up to Peggy as she was stopped on a corner watching a large group of mule deer. One huge male and lots of other deer….I tried to get a couple of shots before spooking them. We rode together back towards highway 79. Bill, Jim and Bernie blew by us. We all regrouped at the corner and decided it was time to head back to the cars.
Jim W led us out fast and we all flew down to the 79/78 intersection; PR’s for most of us. John A spun slowly down the descent and we all got back to our cars. The loop was 51 miles and about 5,700 feet of climbing, a beautiful day of riding in East County. The link below has a few photos.