Kitchen Creek Ride
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Bill B, Peggy B, John A, Len, Shawn D, Bernie, Cresap, Tony, Monica, Hodges, Don, Cliff and Rob
We drive out of our usual North County ride locations every so often to enjoy the great roads and mountains just outside San Diego. Kitchen Creek is a favorite and provides lots of ride options. It was cool and foggy on the drive out I-8 westbound until just beyond Alpine, then the sun broke through. It was a cool and bright start to the ride. We had a rookie Kitchen Creek rider in Monica and a guest rider in Cliff; he just joined the club and promises to be on future rides. Bob P met Cliff on a local commute and invited him to join our cycling club. Tony O was late getting to the ride so after a short wait and group photo, we rode off along Highway 79 towards Pine Valley not knowing if he was coming.
The group stayed together along Old Highway 80, descending down into Pine Valley and then climbing out to cross south over I-8 and ride parallel to the freeway out to the start of the Kitchen Creek climb. The group basically started the ascent together, but we quickly spread out as the faster riders flew up the road. I was testing out my new knee, minus the ACL for three weeks, and being off the bike for most of the most of April. My climb was slow but I had some good company. Cresap, Peggy and Cliff rode near me and Bill B stopped a few times to let us catch-up. We all climbed over the gate at the 5 mile mark about the same time and continued the ride up. We spread out a bit and pedaled our way to Sunrise Highway and over to our planned rest stop at the Laguna Mountain Store.
Everyone relaxed on the porch while the last of the riders regrouped, Tony O one of them. He had a number of driving challenges to get to the start of the ride so was more than 10 minutes behind us. He caught the last of the group and we now were a gang of 13 riders. There were plenty of PCT hikers relaxing on the porch as well. We all chatted before Hodges got antsy and it was time to go. I planned on heading back down Sunrise Highway since both my knee and my endurance were already done for the day. I took Cresap, John A and Cliff with me.
Some riders were doing the 60 mile loop and others adding more mileage by stopping at Julian Pie before riding to Engineers Road and then descending highway 79 back to the start. I saw photos of Hodges, Len, Bernie and Tony eating pie so that was your 80 mile crew. Bill, Peggy, Monica, Don and Shawn did the 60 mile loop. The 60 mile loop headed out from the store going north on Sunrise Highway and looping back south after Lake Cuyamaca. The ironman for the day was Hodges who rode over 114 miles and 9K of climbing, going back through Alpine and up highway 67 to get back home. He was tapering for the BWR the following week!
Our small crew of four riders headed south on Sunrise Highway and descended fast back down into Pine Valley where we basically retraced our ride along Old Highway 80 back past Descanso to the cars. We finished with 51 miles and about 5.3K of elevation gain. Kitchen Creek was a beautiful climb and it was another fun Descenders group ride. Photos from the ride are in the link below.