Winter Solstice Coastal Ride

Winter Solstice Coastal Ride-21 December 2019

Riders: Tony, Shawn, Sheehan, Dennis, Bob P, John A and Rob

Last Descenders group ride for the year for me, off to Boulder next week. Cold start, fun ride. We rode down Three Witches and out to PCH. Fast pace heading north through Encinitas. Bob, Dave and Rob turned inland at Palomar Airport Road while the rest of the guys went to Oceanside. It looks like all the guys headed back south through RSF except Tony. He went to Sleeping Indian Road to get in more elevation and miles. Awesome way to spend the start of winter.

Happy holidays to all.

A few photos from the ride are in the link below.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Lake Wohlford & Couser Canyon Ride Report

Lake Wohlford & Couser Canyon Ride-14 Dec 2019

Riders: Bernie, Cresap, Shawn D, Bob P, Len, Hodges, Denise, Tony, Rob, Garet and Bill B

Liquid sunshine ride…cold and misty for most of the ride; sun broke through near the end. Bill B came to start of the ride with a broken bike and went home. Garet caught us on the Wohlford climb and left after Woods Valley. Denise headed back via Circle R. Tony and Mike looped around to Twin Oaks Valley Road while the rest of us went south on Old 395 back to the mall. Fun ride.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Coastal & RSF Ride Report

Coastal & RSF Ride-7 December 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bob P, Oleg, John S, Cresap, Hodges, Voris & Rob

We are very fortunate to live in San Diego, a location with near perfect weather most of the year. The rains of late November provided some needed water to our arid climate but put a damper on some riding days. The weather window for a group ride was supposed to be open with early afternoon rains in the forecast. I was late getting ready and received a call from Dave Voris just as I was about to leave my house. Dave was in town for a family early Xmas event and he planned to join us when we hit Solana Beach about 9 am. Dave also texted me and Hodges. I left the house and was on my bike at 8:04, according to Strava. Hodges met up at the corner of Black Mountain and the bike path and when no one else showed up, he headed down the bike path for the coast. Unfortunately the published route had us going north on CDS and down Three Witches.

I got to the bike path a minute after Mike had passed my street, according to the Strava flybys. I was sure I was still ahead of the Descenders as they never leave the corner until a few minutes after 8 am. I waited on the bridge for five minutes and then rode to the top of Three Witches where I knew Bob P was waiting. When I got there I saw Bob, Oleg, John S and Cresap but no Hodges. We all assumed he was still behind us so we waited. Oleg & John had already found a pocket of rain on their ride over from the coast. The skies looked ominous, rain was coming for sure.

Just as we were starting to leave Jeff noticed he had a flat. We were now behind schedule to meet Voris but Jeff quickly got his tire changed. We flew down through Fairbanks Ranch and along the polo fields. Oleg & John S hammered us toward El Camino Real. Cresap & I could not hold pace so we fell off the back in the last half mile, regrouping at the light. We continued a fast pace on Via De La Valle toward the fairgrounds. Cresap noticed he had another flat and he fell off to try to get his tires fixed. We sped forward to meet Voris. Cresap limped home.

Just past the fairgrounds we spotted Dave and Mike as they rode toward us. Our group was now six riders as we headed up the coast. It was great to see Voris again. We caught up a bit riding at a pretty good clip towards Encinitas. The pace line pulls were fast and furious. Most of the discussion was how far north were we riding knowing that the rains were coming soon. Oleg, John S and Voris did a u-turn off PCH at Breakwater Road to head back south. Oleg & John hit some big rain before they got home as evidenced by Oleg’s Instagram story. Hodges, Bob and I rode up to Palomar Airport Road before heading inland.

We made our way towards RSF. I told the guys to leave me as we were already starting to get some rain; get home I know where I am. We climbed up El Camino Del Norte and I quickly fell off the back. I was sure they would follow my guidance. At Lago Lindo I stopped for a nature break and some nutrition. The rains were starting to get heavier and I was dreading the climb up Three Witches to get home. As I got back to corner both Hodges and Proulx were waiting for me. That was very nice of them but unnecessary. We would all now get more wet. I hammered down towards El Apajo and again asked them to just head towards home. I fell off the pace up Three Witches and expected to pootle in the puddles.

Bob had gone into SantaLuz but Hodges had waited for me at the top. The rains were now steady as we headed south on CDS toward the bike path. I was now soaked but almost home; Mike still had to get back to Sabre Springs area. Thanks to Mike and Bob for helping get me home. Fun ride and always good to get out with Voris. Oleg & John did lots of hard pulls during the ride, both are in good form. We all got home pretty wet and with very dirty bikes. Hodges even got out the brush to clean off the grit. Photos from the ride are below.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

RSF & Del Dios Ride Report

RSF & Del Dios-Rick W Farewell Ride-30 November 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Rick W, Bob P, Sheehan, Shawn D, Garet and Rob

Thanksgiving was a rainy affair and many folks were traveling during the week. The planned ride might have been a small group of riders. I pedaled up the bike path to the Black Mountain Road meeting spot to find only Rick W waiting for me. It was good to see Rick as I remembered his last ride with the club was about this time. We caught up and discussed his upcoming drive and move to Boise, ID the following week. Sheehan got dropped off by the Stater Bros shopping center less than a mile away and pedaled up just as Rick and I were about to head towards Three Witches to meet the other riders. The three of us headed west.

We sped past Westview HS when Sheehan noticed his rear tire was flat. Rick helped Dave fix his flat while I spun along to make sure the guys at the top of Three Witches knew we were coming. I got there just before 8:30 am to find Bob P and Shawn D waiting. We chatted and hoped more riders would join us while waiting for Sheehan and Rick W to catch up. They cruised up a few minutes later and we sped down towards RSF. The sides of the road were full of all the gravel and junk from the rains during the week. A good sized pebble got kicked up by one of the bikes ahead of me and nearly took off part of my check, we sped to El Apajo and climbed toward the start of Stud Loop.

At the corner Garet flew up the climb to catch us. He was winded as he had rode hard having left his house very late. Garet & Rick led out while Shawn and I hung onto their wheels. Bob P and Sheehan threatened to skip the extra miles and head straight to Del Dios; they swept behind us. I fell off the pace about halfway but closed the gap as we all regrouped at Del Dios. Thinking Bob & Dave were ahead, we sped down to loop around Lake Hodges.

The pace was too much for me on the climb up to Lake Drive and I spun solo under the overhanging oak trees to meet the guys on the corner of Via Rancho Parkway; still no sign of Bob & Dave. We figured they were heading to the gas station so we pedaled off. Garet, Rick W and Shawn dropped me again but I caught them before I-15 as they hit one of the lights. We relaxed at the Shell station and waited. Bob & Dave finally showed; Sheehan had another tire issue and had a side blow out. He was only able to put 50 psi in the tire; his day was done.

The route was supposed to have us climb HVR, but there were no takers. Rick W had to finish preparing for his movers, Garet had his family to get to, Shawn was just coming back from an injury so he wanted to take it easy and Bob & I were ready to head towards home.

We all rode over the Lake Hodges bridge, Sheehan headed for home while the rest of us climbed West Bernardo Road. Shawn left by the Westwood Club for his place. Bob & I said our good-byes and best wishes to Rick W before the light at RB Road. Rick W has been riding with the Descenders for about 6 years. He will be missed and we wish him and his wife, Tina, all the best in their new life in Boise. Rick is coming back to San Diego this week to do some final police duties, then it is back to Boise and full retirement. Good luck Rick.

You can see from the photos that is was a blue sky, dry day on the roads, a much needed break from recent rains. Bob P & I spun along behind Black Mountain where I turned south for PQ while Bob continued west to home. It was a fast, fun final group ride with Rick W. Good times.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

East Grade & Palomar Observatory Ride Report

East Grade & Palomar Observatory Ride-23 Nov 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Geoffrey M, John A, Len, Hodges and Rob

Previous Dudley Dream Rides have been epic cycling adventures. The climb up Mesa Grande is a good warm-up for the East Grade climb ahead. Palomar Mountain is one of the best local climbs around. There are lots of options to take once you get to the top and the inevitable return back up and over Mesa Grade is a last leg thrasher as you try to get back to the car. Lots of great painful cycling memories for sure.

The group ride last Saturday felt a bit like the days when I use to surf at dawn in Del Mar or La Jolla Shores before work over a decade ago. The guys would decide on a meeting spot based on early surf reports. We would meet at the designated spot and watch the waves breaking before getting our wet suits on and surfboards out of our cars. If the waves looked bad, the guys would suggest another spot and we would drive there, hoping for better waves. Sometimes we were equally disappointed and then they would maybe try a third location. I quickly tired of wave chasing so I would bring my running gear and would just run if the group moved onto a second surf location.

Our experience on Saturday was not quite as frustrating, but we did change the ride due to weather conditions. As we drove into Santa Ysabel the trees were bending from the wind gusts and it was even colder than forecasted. We decided NOT to ride along a fairly busy highway 79 north to Mesa Grande. We decided to drive over to Lake Henshaw and start from there. After an hour drive to Santa Ysabel, we drove another 30 minutes to get to the store by Lake Henshaw.

Our group was fairly small, only five riders. We put on layers as it was still a bit breezy and cool. The sun was shining as we spun out toward East Grade. Geoffrey M was riding up East Grade for only the second time with Strava data so he was going for a PR. The rest of us stopped at the early observation deck for some nice views and a group photo. The boys were nice and they kept up an easy pace so I could hang onto their wheels for most of the way up the climb. About mile nine Hodges, John A and Len picked up the pace so I was left sweeping. It got colder as I approached the top of the climb and headed straight for the Observatory. Len had stopped to put on his extra jacket and the rest of the guys were already on their way there. Len passed me on the climb and then Geoffrey came back down a mile to escort me to the top. There was lots of snow on both sides of the road as temperatures fell into the low 40’s. The winds blew in strong gusts but it was a pretty day on top of Palomar. Hodges and John A were up looping the Observatory when I made it there.

We did not stay long and all headed back to Mother’s for coffee, pie and some warmth by the fireplace. There was talk of going to Boucher Hill Lookout Tower, but I said I was heading back down East Grade to get home. I headed out first and the gang eventually all followed. I stopped by the observation deck near the top for more photos before making the rest of the fast descent . The winds whipped, especially in the narrowed funnel sections of the road. The new pavement on all of East Grade is great, but we were all a bit cautious on the way down due to the winds and cold temperatures.

Everyone regrouped at the bottom and we made our way back to the Lake Henshaw Store. Any ideas of then riding to Mesa Grade for more miles was quickly dispelled as we were all ready to call it a day. It was a fun 35 mile ride with over 4K of climbing, but by the time I got home it was a seven hour adventure. I recommend we look to plan the next Dudley’s Dream Ride away from winter weather and decide on a local option the day before if conditions look bad. I did manage to take a few photos, even with the gusty winds; tough to ride with no hands for sure. The photos are in the link below.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Udo Heinz Memorial Ride Report

Udo Heinz Memorial Ride-16 November 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Hodges, Denise, Bernie, Tony, Monica, Bryan J, Ernst, John S, Cliff and Rob. Also Larry M and Scott were there at the start

The Ranchos have done a nice job organizing a memorial ride for one of their fallen riders. Udo Heinz was hit and killed by a bus while riding near Camp Pendleton about five years ago. His widow, Antje, is a cyclist as well and she gives a short and moving speech before each memorial ride. Udo left behind two young children and his wife, Antje. The Descenders have participated in the ride previously, as have a number of other cycling clubs from the local area.

The ride and route for this year was exactly as it had been last year. There were about 150 total riders in the event. We had a bit smaller turn-out this year, but the Descenders were still represented. Most were in their blue kits and some were in their dual-role Ranchos kits. Bernie was in his Ranchos kit and he helped lead the B group all day. We all gathered in the parking lot across the street from Stone Brewery in Escondido ahead of the 8 am planned roll-out. Kit Knox visited for a bit where we discussed the recent Peter Sagan Gran Fondo event. Bryan Jones was off the dirt and back on his road bike for the memorial ride. There were a couple of sponsors supporting the ride that had tables and bike mechanical stations near where all the riders gathered.

After the Ranchos spokesman went through the basics of the ride and identified the leaders of the A group and B group, Antje spoke to us about Udo and the family. Udo would have been 50 years old on the day of the ride. It is great that the cycling community can come together to show support for Antje and remember Udo. The bigger A group rolled out with the fastest Ranchos leading them off. Larry and Scott went with the A group. The Descenders and the rest of the B group rolled out five minutes later with Bernie supporting us on the ride.

We quickly rode to Harmony Grove and sped along towards Elfin Forest. Most of the group turned right onto Questhaven to ride the dirt and steep hills up towards Twin Oaks Valley. John S quickly gained some time on the pavement after the dirt section. Bryan J, Hodges, Ernst and I all stayed in view of one another. I noticed from the flybys that Bernie, Denise, Tony and Monica all stayed on the road into San Elijo Hills and then climbed up towards Twin Oaks Valley. Cliff must have been a bit farther behind as we did not see him on the ride.

When we got back to the main road the B group leaders were stopping for a regroup. I briefly stopped and then spun up the hill as I saw Denise and Monica up ahead. Ernst was on my wheel for a short time before he went to the front to pull all the way over the top of TOV. We sped down past Cal State San Marcos and regrouped at a number of lights, crossed over highway 78 and continued on North TOV. The B group seemed to split into two groups with most of the Descenders in the first pack. I was trying to not get dropped from this group. We turned at the Deer Springs Feed & Supply to continue on NTOV Road. This climbs up and then down to a back road full of pot holes before last climb up and over to hit Gopher Canyon. We regrouped there before turning left and riding to Little Gopher Road.

A quick pace pulled us along to Old River Road, where the group turned left, eventually looping around and over an old bridge, more dirt and a dirt road climb to get to Olive Hill Road. Folks spread out a bit on the rough roads and dirt, but we all basically met back up about mile 30 of the ride and the designated rest stop, the McDonalds and gas station on the corner with Highway 76. It looks like from the flybys that John S had just left the gas station a minute before we arrived. He was riding strong and was well out front.

Our B group relaxed and refreshed on the snacks and drinks for about 15 minutes before we got organized to head out again. We sped along Camino Del Rey with the larger group getting split up into smaller bunches along the fast paced 5 mile section. After going under I-15 we turned right onto Old 395 and then left on Old Castle Road a mile later. This is where Dave Ernst bid farewell as he continued straight down Old 395 to make his way back to Escondido. Bernie was at the corner directing riders to make the turn. I was at the back and was quickly dropped from the group. Bernie passed me and pulled me back up to the pace line before he pushed on ahead for more B group leader work. The climb up Old Castle is long and I fell off the pace again, basically did most of it alone until I turned onto Wilkes Road. I remember this turn from last year and also remember making some wrong turns as we made our way to Sierra Rojo Road last year. There were no signs or helpers at the corner, but I managed to find the route. I noticed from flybys that John S stayed on Old Castle all the way to Lilac Road so he missed some of the dirt sections from the planned route. He was probably riding alone and eventually caught back onto the route.

I saw a few other stragglers navigating the climbs and dirt sections to know I was following the correct ride. I got back onto Lilac Road as the group was only 100 yards or so up the road. Bryan Jones was well up the road by this time; maybe he caught up to John S before finishing the ride. The B group rode to the Lilac Market for a much needed water break. Cold water and coke never tasted so good. The group finally sped off with Tony & Monica still trying to finish up their drinks. Hodges pulled us to the corner by the fire station as we turned onto Valley Center Road. The group was mostly together when we hit Woods Valley. The pace was too much for me and Bernie pulled away part of the group that included Hodges and others. I rode with Antje and another Ranchos rider with Denise and others just behind.

We hit Wohlford descent and flew down to the light where the group waited for others to catch up. There was no sign of Tony & Monica but we had a large group and we rode off towards El Norte Parkway. The pace was civilized as we were in the last ten miles of the ride. The group stayed together as we looped around towards the Palomar Medical Center and back to the start by the brewery. A fun 65 mile, 5K of elevation ride.

Lots of the cars were gone by the time us B group riders made it back. Denise got a text from Tony saying he had a derailleur issue and that Diane was picking him up. Monica must have been chasing us to the finish. Below are the photos I took on the Udo ride. It was a fun day of cycling companionship and I was privileged to ride many of those miles with Antje, an amazing person. A big thanks also to the Ranchos and to our B group leader, Bernie.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Julian Fall Ride Report

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.

Posted in Local Ride Reports