Julian Fall Ride-2 November 2019
by Rob Verfurth
Riders: Len, Oleg, Dennis, Jim W, Larry, Neil, Bernie, Hodges, Cresap, Tony, John M, John A and Rob
Our annual Julian Fall Ride was scheduled last weekend, a perfect fall day in the hills around Julian. The ride drew out a good group of riders, totaling thirteen in all. A number of fast riders came out to join in the fun. Hodges made a great suggestion that we do not wait to regroup at the designated spots to allow the "A" riders to keep going without having to wait for us slower riders. The route is full of long out-n-back roads, so it was perfect for a ride to keep everyone spinning. The weather was much warmer than first forecast and the Santa Ana winds were still swirling a bit more than expected. We all set out from the parking lot, after I closed the kit concession stand. Some socks and bibs were sold with more expected sales soon. There are still bibs, arm warmers and socks available.
The climb out of Santa Ysabel was conservative and we mostly all stayed together up the road toward Wynola. At the turn, the pace quickened and I took the last few photos of the "A" group as they spun off in the distance. The fast guys consisted of Larry, Jim, Neil, Bernie, Dennis and Oleg, with John A and Cresap trying to hold their wheels. Hodges, Len and I rode around the Wynola Road loop while Tony & John M swept. I hit the Banner descent and flew down towards the store. I gave a quick head-nod and pause as I turned the corner where I fell back in 2009, always a good memory. It was a bright, crisp morning with very little traffic on Banner Grade. I caught up to Cresap and we flew by the store, where we saw John A had stopped. Cresap and I rode down to the Banner Queen Ranch before turning around for the seven mile climb to Julian. The A team riders were planning on going all the way to Scissors Crossing, about three miles of additional descent into the desert.
I rode back to the store and picked up John A for the climb. Hodges and Len had already headed back up. We spun together on the smooth, curvy road looking up at Vulcan Mountain, off to our right. Cresap rode by us and was on his way to catching the other guys ahead. John A and I eventually passed John M and we rode into Julian for our planned stop at the pie shop. Tony, Hodges and Len were already there. We relaxed in the sun at the outdoor tables. Hodges went inside because it was too cold for him; coffee and apple pie were consumed by some. We waited for the A team and eventually said we need to get riding towards Engineers Road. John A waited at the pie shop because he wanted to push himself when the A team arrived.
After a review of the Strava fly-by tool it looks the the A team had a big mechanical issue on the climb back up Banner Grade. I think it was Oleg and the group stopped for almost 20 minutes while we were already on the next leg of the ride. We headed out of Julian and turned onto Pine Hills Road, making our to Boulder Creek. Hodges, Tony, Cresap, Len and Rob basically rode as a group. The sections of road that had recently been repaved were awesome. We flew down past the girl scout camp and made our way to the climb up Engineers Road. We spread out on the five mile climb with Tony and I sweeping our group; John M was back somewhere.
We regrouped as planned at the fire station just above Lake Cuyamaca to rest and relax. We decided to head back assuming the A group would be coming up soon. The A group finally got the Julian Pie Shop but decided to make a long stop there rather than chase us to Engineers, according to Strava fly-bys. The winds were in our favor for the climb back Engineers and Boulder Creek. We finally spotted the A group coming fast up one of the switchback climbs; they were spread out a bit but all still smiling. Jim W, Neil and Larry were pushing the pace up the climb. Oleg, Dennis, John A and Bernie were just a bit behind.
The B group rode together, swept up John M, and made our way back to the end of Pine Hill Road. Tony, Cresap, Len and John M headed down Highway 79 for the speedy return to the cars. Hodges and I decided to climb back up into Julian and ride the Wynola Road loop back around to add some extra mileage with the hope that the A group would catch us at the cars. Mike and I rode quickly up and around, the winds provided a nice assist as we headed west. We flew down to Santa Ysabel, finishing with 55 miles and about 6K of climbing. The other B group riders were getting ready to leave the parking lot. The A team arrived only a few minutes after I finally packed up my bike, changed into dry clothes and headed back home; according to Strava. It was another fun cycling adventure. Oleg posted a number of beautiful photos from the ride. The link below shows the photos I took from the ride.