Udo Heinz Memorial Ride Report

Udo Heinz Memorial Ride Report-18 November 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Neil R, Larry M, Rick B, Bernie, Paul P, Len, Hodges, John M, Shawn DeKalb, Hermann & Jeremy, Jeff & Eileen, Dave Ernst and Rob plus almost 200 other riders

The Ranchos were sponsoring a ride to remember Udo Heinz, a former Rancho rider who was killed while riding back in 2013. They organized a great event and it was well attended. The widow of Udo was there and she made some remarks prior to the start of the ride. It was a bright and slightly crisp fall morning, a beautiful day for a ride and a chance to remember Udo. There were close to 200 riders and we were able to meet some new friends as well as ride with some old friends

We all met in the parking lot of Stone Brewery in Escondido. Neil & Larry looked resplendent in their Ranchos kits. Rick B was sportin’ his Kudos jersey from BWR last year. Jeff & Eileen looked great in their Wolfpack garb, while Hermann & Jeremy were decked out in BMC and SDSU kits. Shawn DeKalb, who is new to the Descenders, was looking spiffy in his bright Astana kit. The rest of us were in our Descender blue kits except John, he went retro in the older white Descenders jersey.

After some opening comments, The A pace group of about 75 riders turned left out of the parking lot. Neil, Rick, Bernie and Shawn went with that group. Larry was one of the designated leaders of the A team. We relaxed for a few minutes before rolling out as the B group. There were about 75 riders in our large group as well. We all stayed together as we rode through San Marcos and the Escondido Country Club neighborhood before the first split at Jesmond Dene. Those that wanted to avoid the dirt hit Jesmond, most of us rode on to do the climb up Cougar Pass. Jeremy and Ernst hit the dirt fast and hard. I tried to stay close to Dave. The big group spread out along the climb, At the top we had more road climbing to do before flying down Mountain Meadow Road and regrouping at the fruit stand, just before I-15.

I saw Bernie there and asked him where the A group was. He said he flatted on Cougar and would ride with us now. I heard he was leading the A group up the climb when he flatted. Bernie led most of the way for the rest of the ride for the B group; A team loss was our gain. After a 5 minute or so break we spun over the freeway and descended fast down Deer Springs Road. Paul P led us on point for much of it before Jeremy and Dave E went out front. A long line of riders followed our lead. We turned on N. Twin Oaks Valley Road and headed north. We have ridden this road many times, but usually from off of Gopher Canyon, this time we rode it toward Gopher. The curvy descents were cool to watch all the riders in a line. Ernst and Jeremy again attacked as did Bernie. I rode with Jeff and Eileen, surrounded by the other Descenders–Hodges, Paul, Len, Hermann and John. We regrouped at Gopher Canyon. Ernst had to head back, so he turned right, while the rest of us went left to Little Gopher Canyon Road. This road has a few bumpy spots, but it is fun to cruise in a group. We made our way to Old River Road and looped over more dirt & bumpy roads to climb another section of dirt road. Hodges was out ahead but I caught up to him along the climb. The group eventually made our way to Olive Hill for the descent to Highway 76. The rest point was in the parking lot.

We were now at mile 30. The A team was long gone from the rest point, if they indeed had stopped at all. We got drinks and snacks. Jeff & Eileen headed out as they were on a tight schedule. Hermann, Jeremy & Paul decided to ride back toward the start. I planned to do the West Lilac, Circle R and Camino Del Rey loop to get back to the same stop by mile 48. I decided to roll before the legs got cold and rode with a few other riders before we started the climb. I was now alone and rode the 5 miles up to the I-15 bridge by myself. I saw no one ahead or behind. I crossed the bridge and then looked back to see Bernie near the front of a group coming up on me pretty fast. I increased my pace and tried to hold them off, they quickly passed me. I grabbed the wheel of the 6-7th rider for about a minute but could not hold their pace. They motored on while I continued to ride alone to Circle R, down to Old 395 and then over to Camino Del Rey. Just as I got back to the bridge before Highway 76 a few other riders joined me. We went to the checkpoint for more drinks. Bernie was there chatting with some of his fast, young riders.

I decided to head out as I was certain Bernie would catch me again. I rode back over the bridge just as Mike Hodges was coming towards me. He skipped the checkpoint and got on my wheel. We rode along Old River Road until it turned into East Vista where we met up with a rider named Shawn from the North County Cycling Club. The three of us pedaled together, turning onto Warmlands Ave and making our way back south to the finish. We had a few climbs and some rollers before turning onto Foothill Drive. I picked up the pace and rode alone for a mile or so. Just as the road turned into Buena Creek Road, I looked back to again see Bernie pulling a group of riders towards me. I pushed hard up the final climb and flew down towards Twin Oaks Valley Road. They swept me up but I was able to hold their wheel. We rode south towards Cal State San Marcos, turned onto Barham and rode to Nordahl Road.

We were only a few blocks from the hospital and Stone Brewery. We rode in with about 68 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. The A team guys were long done, having averaged 3 mph faster than our 16.5 mph effort. Many were in Stone Brewery drinking a well deserved beer. It was a great day to ride, a great memorial ride for Udo, full of fun riders and good times. Photo credits to Hodges and Paul. The link below shows the photos from the ride. Thanks to the Ranchos for putting together this event.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Julian Fall Ride Report

Julian Fall Ride Report-11 November 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Len, Hodges, John M, Bernie, Tony, Hermann, Jeremy, Stephane, Jodie, Bill, Peggy, Jim W, Andrew, John, Neil R and Rob

It was supposed to be cold early for the ride, but by the time we arrived for the start, it was sunny and well into the 50’s with bright sunshine. Hodges came ill prepared and had to borrow my gilet, which he hardly ever wore. I had full finger gloves, which were really never needed; it was a gorgeous day. We had a large group of 16 riders ready to explore the roads around Julian. There was a core group of long time Descenders and a number of folks that had never ridden Wynola, Banner or Engineers; they were in for a real treat. I explained the first part of the ride to the group and said we would all get back together at the Julian Pie Shop up in Julian.

Hodges led us out on the early climb up toward Julian. He had been complaining of sciatica issues on the drive to the start and quickly fell off the pace. We had a natural separation of the "A" team and the rest of the group before we got to Wynola Road. Jim W, Neil, Bernie, Jeremy, Andrew and his buddy, John, comprised the fast guys. They were off the front before the rest of us got to the Wynola turn. The remaining riders quickly regrouped at the corner and rode the 4 miles along the beautiful tree lined road around to near the top of Banner grade. Hodges led a large group down Banner while I waited for the last riders before we headed down. I enjoy the Banner descent. I nod in remembrance as I fly by the corner where I crashed hard on the Julian Fall Ride back in 2009, best fall of my life! I caught up to the end of the group and cruised down to the Banner Store where most of the riders turned. It was fun watching all the speeding riders taking all the corners; you can see pretty far ahead on some parts of the descent. Hodges and I kept going another mile or so before stopping to take a photo and begin the climb back up. I pulled Hodges for a bit before he fell off.

The day had already warmed nicely and the skies were super blue. The climb up Banner went by quickly and I finally caught up to a few folks as we entered Julian. The pie shop was busy and folks enjoyed coffee and eats while we waited for the A team guys who had ridden all the way down to Scissors Crossing. Jim W and Neil added even a few more miles by talking Wynola back round and coming into Julian from the north side of town. I got the non-A group to head out so we could stay together on the many turns on Pine Hill Road, Eagle Peak Road and Boulder Creek to get us to Engineers, Jeremy joined us as well. The A team stayed at the pie shop to finish their eats and relax bit before heading out to catch us.

Jeremy and I waited at each turn to make sure we had the group together until we got to the climb up Engineers Road. I took off and expected Jeremy to quickly close the gap. He stayed behind and kept up a relaxed pace while I tried to get to the fire station ahead of the A team. They must have eaten a whole pie because the A team guys came after most of the rest of the group got to the fire station. Lake Cuyamaca looked good, with Stonewall Peak in the background. We relaxed in the sun for a few minutes, filled the water bottles and prepared for the return ride back to the start. Some riders headed up the hill early, I took off and passed a few folks before Jim W and Neil blew by me. I stayed on Neil’s wheel until we hit the steep descent when I hit a sharp rock in the shadows and flatted my front tire. The air released quickly but I was able to slow and get to the side of the road. The rest of the riders flew by me and I waved that I was fine, just a flat. Bernie came back to help assist me, he was a much more patient and helpful tire changing partner than my most recent tire escapade on Laguna Mountain. We quickly replaced the tube and I correctly used my CO2 canister to get the front tire ready to ride. Bernie led me back down to the bottom of Engineers where we caught up with Len and Hodges. The four of us rolled together back to highway 79 where a small group of Tony, Bill & Peggy and Jodie were waiting for us. We all headed left to get back to the start; the pace was quick over the last few miles. I tried to sneak away but Bill B quickly closed the gap and pulled back the group; we all finished together.

Some of the guys were at the cars. John M had led Andrew and John back up to Julian from the Pine Hills Road turn to take the Wynola loop back around, a bit of gratuitous mileage and climbing, but that is the planned route. The rest of us were ready to call it a day. Riders got in between 50-60 miles and 5,500 to 6,500 feet for the most part. The weather was perfect and everyone said they really enjoyed the news roads; a successful group ride. The link below shows some photos from the ride.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Danube River Cycling Trip

Danube River Cycling Trip-13-20 September 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Serena and I flew into Prague a couple of days early so we could go visit Cesky Krumlov, an old medieval town in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, and relax in Prague, one of our favorite cities. The trip was a cycling event with Backroads and AmaWaterways combining resources. There were about 140 cyclists of all ages, mostly 50 years and up couples, on a full cruise ship run by AmaWaterways. The group met in Prague and took buses down into southern Germany where we started our riding in Tittling, Germany. The lengthy bus ride provided time for the Backroads guides to cover all the safety and procedure details of the week ahead.

After a huge Oktoberfest type German lunch, we all got ready to ride. The 140 riders were divided up into 7 groups of 20 riders, each with their own color code; we were the blue group. Most of our group, who were friends before the trip, were medical professionals from the Spokane, WA area, led by my Oral Surgeon buddy, Mark Paxton. The other blue group riders were a family of adult couples who graduated from either Notre Dame or St. Mary’s; they were a bit older than me but we had some fun chats at dinners. With such a large group of diverse ability riders, things spread out quickly as we departed in waves and rode at a fun pace. There were e-bikes and tandems, along with a few Specialized Roubaix carbon bikes that were ordered special for riders who wanted to pay even more, but most us rode the standard Titanium bike with Ultegra components provided by Backroads.

The bikes never got onto the boat. We picked them up in our group color corral and dropped them in a similar location at the end of each day of riding. The shore crew from Backroads moved the bikes down along the river in vans while we sailed along each night. Our riding was mostly along the Danube River bike trail with side routes through small towns along the way. Our first day of riding got us to Vilshofen, Germany where we saw our cruise ship for the first time. The ship was low in the water to get under the bridges and through the locks as we sailed mostly east on the Danube River. Serena and I had a very nice cabin where we could unpack once for the week and not have the constant bag drags full of wet riding clothes. The food was awesome and constantly there. I had to ride lots just to keep the weight off. AmaWaterways put out a high quality product, first class accommodations, food and service.

During the week I rode just under 275 miles, selecting the longest and hardest ride option each day. There were usually three routes planned each day with options to go less or not ride at all if you wanted. Backroads gave us maps and Garmin GPS devices with routes loaded in turn by turn; it would have been hard to get lost. The young ride guides from Backroads were awesome, they all rode bikes well, were very friendly and lots of fun. Think about it, get paid to ride your bike for a week and party with a bunch of middle-aged guests, not a bad gig. They were from all over the world and most spoke multiple languages. The guides made the week even more enjoyable. I found a handful of other riders that wanted to ride a Descenders pace each day. I usually met up with Serena for our lunches in castles or in town squares. We rode together many days, regrouping as I took the longer loops or riding hard in the morning and then riding with Serena after lunch. There were some hills during the week, but a week of riding along a river valley did not provide tons of elevation options. My seven days of riding shows about 12,000 feet of elevation gain; an easy weekend for a Monster Climb trip. It was still enjoyable and beautiful riding.

We rode through the towns of Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava, Esztergom, Vac and finally finished in Budapest. This got us from Germany to Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. When not riding we toured all the towns and sights; lots of history and culture. The weather was not San Diego sunny, but we expected lots of rain and dressed accordingly. It was wet or rainy on 5 of the 7 ride days, but that did not dissuade Serena and I from riding every day. We made the most of our cycling adventure. The old and new friends were awesome, a memorable week for sure. I highly recommend cycling weeks in Europe, a cruise down the Danube is just one of the many great options to consider. The link shows the week in cycling and all the sights and towns from the week.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Lake Wohlford Ride Report

Lake Wohlford Ride Report-28 October 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Rick W, Tony, Len, Bob P, Q, Bill B, Bill Wood and Rob

The riders from PQ planned to meet at the top of Black Mountain Road to ride over to the mall start. It turned out to be only me and Bob P. It was cool and sunny at my house when I pedaled off about 7 am. The fog hit as I rode to meet Bob P. I did not bring my arm warmers, a mistake on my part. It was a bit cold and the fog mist formed a nice wet sheen on my hirsute arms, looked neat but did not make me any warmer. I hid behind Proulx as much as possible as the fog finally cleared as we rode across the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge. We rolled into the mall parking lot to only see Len (TE) waiting for us; thought it might be a better turn-out.

Even the Ranchos group looked slim–only 2 riders. Apparently the Ranchos were starting up by the Lawrence Welk resort, with a number of Descenders on hand for their ride. One guy called to find out and we got a visitor, Quentin, who was in town from Santa Maria, CA. Q, as he requested to be called, was a strong rider with a nice tricked out Trek Emonda. We invited him to tag along with us. Fortunately Rick W, Bill B and Tony all showed up just after 8 am, in time to roll out to Lake Wohlford.

The group stayed mostly together up Mary Lane and over to the construction areas near the start of the climb. I got away through some of the lights and decided to hammer up Wohlford until I got caught by others. I passed a few riders not in our group early in the climb and kept up a steady pace to the top; I think the rest of the guys were just taking it easy. Rick W arrived soon after and then I saw Q roll by. Rick said Q was on a tight time constraint and he had to keep riding. Q is welcome to join us on any other visit he makes to San Diego. We all regrouped at the bathroom and convinced Bob P to keep riding over to Woods Valley instead of heading back down Wohlford.

After leaving the lake, we came up on Bill Wood, back in town from Australia. Our group of 7 riders plowed along to Woods Valley and we did a short regroup before heading to Valley Center. Rick W went out fast and no one responded. We let Bob P pull the rest of us along for the first mile. Finally Bill B went to the front and I grabbed his wheel, before sticking my nose out into the wind. Bill and I separated a bit from the other guys. I tired quickly so Bill took back over lead pull duties. We all finally got back into our paceline near the golf course, with Rick W just a bit ahead; the gap closing fast. Bill B made a final push for the light. We all dug deep to close the Rick W gap, he actually just let off the gas.

At the Valley Center Road light, Bob P, Bill B and I turned left, while Rick W, Bill W, Tony & Len headed towards Couser Canyon. Those studs did Couser and Rice Canyon before looping back towards the start. We planned a shorter ride, spinning back down into Escondido and retracing our steps back by the mall. We rode back over the pedestrian bridge and headed along West Bernardo Drive. Todd Calloway had recently nabbed my KOM on a segment called Aguamiel to Alorada. It goes right by Bill’s house so he usually stops mid-segment. Bill hit the turn hard and sped off fast, Bob and I watched him hammer up the pot hole marked road and turn onto Alorada. Bill just missed Todd’s time by a few seconds but he took over my 2nd place position, good finish to the ride for Bill. He promised to get the KOM sometime soon.

Bob and I kept spinning along through the neighborhoods, back by 4S and around on Camino del Sur until we got to his north gate light for Santaluz. Bob turned towards home while I made by way back to the bike path and home-55 miles and 4K of climbing, and that was the short route of the day. Another fun Descenders ride, a few photos are in the link below.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Kitchen Creek Ride Report

Kitchen Creek Ride Report-14 October 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Neil R, Bernie, Neil B and Karl G (Ranchos), Shawn DeKalb, Len, Tony, Hodges, Ran, Bill & Peggy B, John, Andrey & Marisa, Ian and Rob


We had a nice sized group, 16 riders, meet just off I-8 for the start of the ride. It was cool and sunny at the start. The weather forecast predicted very warm temperatures and increasing winds; an early start was needed. It was clear we would be splitting up into various riding groups. The plan was to not wait, regroup some at the Laguna Mountain Store and then decide which route to take. There were lots of route options we covered before starting the ride.

There were two Ranchos riding–Neil B and Karl G. They claimed they wanted to ride with us due to the planned Ranchos route was not to their liking. I suspect it was to scope out more fast Descenders they could recruit to their rides! Good to have them join us, always welcome. We also had Andrey & Marisa back on a group ride. They were joined by their friend Ian.

Hodges decided to show his strong form and take point after our brief descent towards Guatay along Highway 79. This did not last long as he fell back when we hit the Old Highway 80 climb. The "A+" team pedaled away from the rest of the group–Neil R, Bernie, Shawn and the two Ranchos were out in front. Len and I kept up a good pace and split from everyone else but did not try to waste precious energy going after the A+ guys. We sped down into Pine Valley, the temperatures were cooler and it was a beauty start to the ride. We kept up a brisk pace the first 16 miles, until turning onto Kitchen Creek Road. At the start of the climb Len flatted but said he was ok and I kept going.

Kitchen Creek solo was a blast. My pace suffered due to my weak legs and also because my chain kept falling into my spokes; lots of stops to get the chain back on the rear cassette. I eventually stopped trying to use my largest rear gear. I tried to see the A+ guys as they made the turn past the first gate, no joy. As I made my way to the gate, I found 3 riders relaxing on the other side. They had seen the A+ guys strung out on their climb of Kitchen Creek. I kept climbing, enjoying the views and silence, until a firetruck came up behind me. The road on this section of Kitchen Creek is narrow, not very smooth, has numerous cracks in the pavement and places with dirt/sand. I slowed and let the truck pass me; back to a pleasant climb. As I neared the second gate, I saw the firetruck still there. Just as I rounded the last corner the truck pulled away; gate locked. No worries, a quick lift of the bike over the gate, a few photos and I was off for the final climbing section. I made it up and turned onto Sunrise Highway for the final push to the store.

As I rolled to the front porch I saw a young women who looked like a hiker. She said the A+ guys left a few minutes before and left us some extra water. We sat on the porch and shared in the beauty of the morning. She was finishing up her 3 month adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico. When the rest of the guys rolled up in waves some time later, she left the porch heading out to tackle the last 30 miles. We all relaxed on the porch and decided we would likely want to head south once we got back to Lake Cuyamaca. John came up and he decided to reverse course back down S1 and climb out of Pine Valley to get back to the car. He said he would wait for Andrey, Marisa and Ian; they eventually joined him on the shortest route back to the car.

The rest of us sped off along the top ridges of Laguna Mountain on S1. We still had Len, Hodges, Tony, Ran, Bill & Peggy. The road was broken up and super bumpy in spots. I got a rear flat and spun over to the lookout on the side of the road to fix my tire. I yelled to the group that I was fine; Hodges came back to help me. We spent about 10 minutes doing a Laurel and Hardy routine changing my rear tube. I had a hard time getting my tire off. Hodges said my levers were too soft. He used a metal tool to finally get part of the tire over the rim of the wheel. Hodges took out the old tube while I get my new tube ready for install. He was getting impatient with my process and took over the install by getting the tire back on the rim. It had been a number of years since I flatted out on the ride, I could not remember how my CO2 adapter actually worked. As I fumbled with my screw on adapter I found out my way was wrong. I wasted the entire CO2 canister so had to get one from Mike. He did not know how his adapter worked but we finally figured it out. I got the CO2 going and blew up the tire. It blew out of the side of the tire as Mike had not put the tube and tire in correctly. We now had used up all our CO2 canisters and my spare tube, fortunately Mike had a tube. I took out the blown tube and put in the new tube, carefully checking that the tire was on the wheel and that no tube was pinching. We used Mike’s hand pump to get enough air into my rear tire, the misfits tire changing show was finally over. We headed out in pursuit of the rest of our group.

They were waiting for us at the corner of Highway 79. The winds had picked up and there were some strong gusts. We all decided to head south and skip Julian. We kept up a good pace around the lake and headed for the descents. I went fairly slow since I was worried that my rear tire was not full enough to hit the corners fast, Ran waited for me a one point. We rode back to the cars where the rest of our group was just getting off their bikes. Our route was 62 miles and 6K feet of climbing. The A+ guys had gone up to Julian and down Engineers Road, the studs rode more than 90 miles.

It was another great Kitchen Creek ride, enjoy the photos.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Old Julian Highway Ride Report

Old Julian Highway Ride Report-7 October 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Rick W, Jim W, Garet, Bernie, Monica T, Neil (Ranchos), Shawn DeKalb and Rob

I suspected that I had about 50 miles of decreasing ability in my legs. Unfortunately, I signed up for a 70 mile ride; something had to give. I sped out on a brisk pace a bit after 7 am to try to meet any PQ riders at the top of Black Mountain Road. I was still trying to recover from my recent head cold acquired while returning from my European adventures. I had also been off the bike for almost two weeks; it was going to be a long day for me.

Jim W saw me on my way there and we rode together to the start. Jim helped me burn a few matches as we rode rather briskly; I managed to get in the top 10 of a 1.2 mile segment in a neighborhood in RB that I did not know was there. Jim rode it for the first time and is currently sitting in 3rd place, 7 seconds behind KOM holder, Garet. I have a feeling Jim will be riding that segment on Lomica Drive again soon, watch out Garet.

We got to the start to meet up with the other riders. It was good to see Monica out, Bryan had parent responsibility for the morning, he rode a nice 70 mile Oceanside loop later on Saturday. We also had Neil, from the Ranchos, show. I think he was looking for more Descenders to recruit but he said he wanted to avoid the DeLuz ride planned by the group that day. There was also a new rider, Shawn DeKalb, who joined us. He lives in 4S and is a strong rider. Rick W informed us that Saturday was his 50th birthday. Happy Birthday again to Rick. He was coming off a treadmill stress test, so his calves were aching. The group rounded out with Bernie, Garet and me.

We rode to HVR and started climbing. Jim, Neil, Garet and Bernie pushed off the front. I burned many more matches staying ahead of Rick, Monica and Shawn. After regrouping at the school corner, Garet pedaled off on Archie Moore Road to head back home while the rest of us went to the top of HVR, crossed 67, and spun in a nice paceline on Dye Road. It was not a true paceline since I never went to the front, did my best to hold onto the last wheel. We turned off San Vicente Road near Ramona High School and rode to the start of the Old Julian Highway climb. I held the wheel of Jim, Neil and Bernie for about the first mile before blowing up. Monica passed me and then Shawn went by. Rick’s calves held him back at bit. It was starting to warm up, but the clear skies and fun climb made for a pleasant ride. My legs were about shot when I finally crested the top. We gathered near the end of OJH before starting our descent. I fell off the back early on the way down but kept the group in sight. We passed Rick & Denise B, along with Amy, on their way up OJH. They had ridden up SPP and over to OJH for a more relaxed ride. Rick B was on his EliptiGO sweeping up the ladies. Bernie came back for me in the last mile of OJH, he pulled me back to the group for the final descent into town.

I definitely needed a break by the time we got to the gas station. I thought I mentioned to Shawn to just tell the group to go as I faded fast on our way back to Dye Road. Bernie again waited for me near Highway 67. We got back to the group and I made it clear, go on ahead. I slowly spun along as the group rode out of sight. Despite the current road hazards of Highway 67, the group decided to head to Poway Grade. I made it to the corner of Archie Moore and turned toward the Mt Woodson Golf Club. A nice 20 minute visit sitting on the porch overlooking the golf tees was a nice respite, but it did not improve the waning power from my legs. I was at mile 55 and knew there were 15 more miles to go. The winds were coming off the shore as I battled my legs, speeding cars, the rumble strips and wind gusts. I made it safely to Poway Grade and coasted to Espola. The slowing pace along Twin Peaks only made the grind last longer. I got home with just over 70 miles and almost 5K of elevation, nice baptism by fire back into the Descenders. Good fun. The attached link has a few photos from our ride.

Kitchen Creek in on the schedule for next Saturday, more details to come soon.



Posted in Local Ride Reports

descenders Ride Report from Down Under

A Descender Down Under – Brisbane’s Mount Nebo Ride Report

by Bob Proulx

Riders: Bob P., Jason White

Once again work brought me to Australia for two weeks, but this time with the weekend in Brisbane. I had managed to find a couple of Brisbane bike shops on line that rented performance bikes and had arranged for a rental from Bike Obsession (http://bikeobsession.com.au). Since I would be arriving in Brisbane after shop hours, they had offered to deliver the bike to my hotel and would provide a helmet, water bottle, and repair kit. Unfortunately, they did not have shoes available in my size but I was able to confirm they could provide peddles to match my cleats.

I had also done some homework before heading to Oz to find local Brisbane rides and had identified Mount Nebo as being a Descender worthy ride. Not being too sure about the best route, traffic, and particularly riding on the left side of the road, I had connected with the Brisbane Cycling Club (https://www.brisbanecyclingclub.com.au). I posted a notice on the Club’s Chat room to see if I could find someone willing show a Yank around Brisbane and got a reply from Jason White, volunteering to meet me on Sunday morning and take me on the Mount Nebo ride.

The rental shop provided a Bianchi intenso equipped with a compact crank and an 11:25 cassette – not the best for climbing – but I was pretty sure from the climb profile that it would be manageable. With an adjustment of the seat height and reversing the stem to adjust the handlebar height the bike was ready – with only one worry remaining. The waiver form from the bike shop had warned me that all their bikes were set up to Australian standard – meaning front and rear brakes are reverse. Right hand is FRONT brake and left hand is rear!

Jason showed up at my hotel at 6am ready to roll. Fortunately, we didn’t have much city riding to do and the road leading to Mount Nebo passed close to my hotel. In 1-2 miles we were on the edge of the city and by mile five were into the climb. Jason had explained that the climb was many ups and downs, not a steady gradient. A fair number of 10%+ for 100 to 400 yards and some sections of 5-7% for longer, but mostly not bad. We had clear skies and a great temperature for riding. The road to Mount Nebo goes through a beautifully forested area of the D’Aguilar National Park so we didn’t see too many cars on an early Sunday morning but there was one section with Bellbirds. One of the most amazing bird calls I have ever heard. A very loud single ping, just like the ringing of a loud bell.

We reached the normal turn around point at the local post office. Continuing further would have made a bigger loop around to Mount Glorious (perhaps another time). We stopped at Jollys Lookout on the way back for a quick view of the valley below (see pics) and then continued the “descent”. While it was, indeed, mostly downhill on the way back, there were enough mini climbs retracing our steps to make it a bit of work.

We stopped for coffee close to my hotel and enjoyed a brief chat as the local church bells rang. I didn’t feel the need to heed their calling since I had just renewed my spirit with a ride in the great outdoors. Jason had a few kilometers to get home and I posted a 37mile ride with 4500ft of climbing. A great day in the saddle down under.

Posted in Local Ride Reports