Coureur Cycling Holiday Ride-23 November 2018
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Dave Ernst and Rob V in Descender kits, Mike Hodges in old BWR garb; also Jason Ryan, Jeff S & Eileen B, Logan F and Marc A; plus about 200 fast riders
Start Location: Canyon Cycles in Carlsbad
Finish Location: Rouleur Brewery in Carlsbad
Thanks to Jeff S for giving us a heads up about this very fun ride. We all converged in the parking lot of the new Canyon Cycle showroom, lots of cool bikes to go see next time you are in the area. After some very brief announcements, all the riders headed north towards Oceanside. The pace was quick, but in control, as the huge group smoothly flowed through Carlsbad and then hit the San Luis Rey path. We maintained a brisk pace along the path as we rolled east, turning off at Douglas Road to find a gravel section; the same gravel section as the BWR in 2013. The pace was fast, Ernst moved up a bit and Hodges passed me, but I hung close to his wheel. I knew we were getting off the gravel at North River Road, just had to hold onto the pace for a bit longer.
Once the group hit North River Road, the A Group planned split was announced. Hodges and I sat up and stayed to form the start of a B group. Logan blew by us and I knew Jason & Marc A were up ahead; the A group rode off fast. Ernst went with the A group too, much to my surprise. As our B group started to form, I found myself riding next to Calvin Smith. Calvin was back in town and riding strong as usual, he had recently moved to Scottsdale, AZ. The Descenders met Calvin on a group ride heading to Oceanside earlier this year. Ernst realized the A group was too fast, so he settled back to join us. Our group pace was quick but manageable, then we hit the dirt climb at Via Puerta del Sol.
I got passed by dozens of riders, including Jeff S and Eileen B. They were taking it easy on the ride and were in our B group. The climb up the dirt road was not too long and I was able to close most of the gap once we hit back onto pavement before we reached the summit of the climb. At the top, we regrouped to make sure everyone was together. A short descent got us to Olive Hill Road. I hit the front and pulled hard, trying to get to the bottom near the front. This dirt section and descent down to cross highway 76 was the exact same route as the Udo Heinz ride the week before, so I knew what to expect. We all got to the light and then sped along Camino del Rey.
Just as in the Udo ride, I hid in the big group as we flew along, under I-15 and then south onto Old 395. The leaders of the B group pulled into the camp grounds to stop at the store. Hodges said he did not want to stop and I was all in favor of getting a lead on the rest of the group. We grabbed Ernst and continued to roll. As we turned onto Gopher Canyon, we saw Jeff & Eileen up head; they must have not wanted to stop either. We all climbed Gopher and turned onto El Paseo, a small side road that connected over to Twin Oaks Valley. It also climbed up and turned at Silverleaf Lane. There was a nice 23 degree pitch we climbed up before getting to TOV, brutal ascent. The group swelled some as we collected riders spit out the back from the A group.
I was on point as we descended TOV, then slowed on the climb. Hodges and about 5 other riders pulled away from us. I peaked first with Ernst, Jeff & Eileen just a bit behind me. I tried to close the gap on Hodges and crew with little success until Jeff pulled both Ernst & Eileen back by me. Now the four of us made great time down the final miles of NTOV with Jeff powering away on the pedals. The Hodges group was just ahead at the intersection onto Deer Springs Road. Jeff & Eileen turned right, they planned for a shorter ride since Eileen was a bit under the weather. We saw Hodges roll through the red light, turning left, just ahead of us and stop on the side of the road. Unfortunately for Hodges, one of California’s finest highway patrol officers also saw him roll through the red light. The cop, on a motorcycle, came up to speak to Mike. We were about 50 yards away, back at the light, so we did not hear the interaction. Hodges got away with just a stern lecture; at least he was not wearing our Descenders kit.
Ernst and I turned onto Deer Springs and tried to close the gap on the Hodges group. Ernst led us out and then backed off. I tried to catch Hodges and could never get close. The climb up and past I-15 was challenging. I got to the freeway just as I saw Hodges turn south towards Jesmond Dene Road, his group was pulling away from me. I hammered down Jesmond Dene and turned north on Broadway, I was getting tired and the Hodges group was out of sight. I looked over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of Ernst as I spun up Broadway. He caught me before we got to Cougar Pass. I was quickly running out of steam. Dave sped away up the dirt climb; I trudged on.
I saw Dave turn at the top, only a minute or so gap ahead of me. I sped down Mountain Meadow but did not see Ernst ahead. Our route had us cross back over I-15 and down Deer Springs. I sped along, alone. Two riders blew by me and I could not catch their wheel. Then a small group of 4 riders went by and I was able to grab a wheel. We flew past Twin Oaks golf course and eventually caught up to both Ernst and Hodges, our group swelled again. We rode south, then over highway 78 into San Marcos. Some of the fast riders I had joined with turned west just before Cal State San Marcos. Our group stayed on the planned route, turning onto Discovery Street. The two fast rider that blew by me earlier were on point, we all followed. The winds were off the ocean so as we headed for the Rouleur Brewery, we hit the stiffening breezes. I stuck my nose out once and quickly hid behind.
We looped around, hit Faraday Ave and made our way to the finish of the ride, just over 60 miles at that point. Once we got to Rouleur, we went inside to find Jeff & Eileen have beers with a group. I also saw Marc A looking refreshed after a hammerfest with the A group. Hodges stayed to party at Rouleur while Ernst and I rode back to the start, then he back to his house. I had just over 65 miles in total with about 4K of climbing in right at 4 hours; a great holiday ride.
Thanks again to Jeff S for inviting us to ride. It was fun to ride with some of the old gang again. Hope to do it more often. Attached are a few photos Hodges took on the ride and at the Rouleur Brewery after the ride. Let’s have a big Descender turn-out for the next Coureur ride.