Coastal & BWR Rides–4-5 May 2019

Coastal Ride Report

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bill B and his friend, Shawn, Bob P, Tony, Peter P, Hodges, Rick W, Don W, John M and Rob. BWR ride day: Bob P, Eric R and Rob; along with 8 other Descenders

Tony HAD to change the planned Lake Wohlford route since Mike Hodges said eight Descenders were riding the BWR–Wafer or Waffle–and they all needed to ride the coast to get their race packets. Tony swapped the ride and we were now riding the 56 bike path to CDS and heading towards Oceanside on PCH to meet the needs of the BWR group.

Unfortunately the Rancho Penasquitos Family 5km fun run started right where our usual group start meets for coastal rides AND no other Descender, except Hodges, riding the BWR showed up to get their race packet. Not to mention that the packet pick-up moved inland to a brewery in San Marcos, very close to our original planned Lake Wohlford route. Oh well, the Coastal ride was still fun.

I opted not to fight the 5km fun run traffic by going up the bike path towards Black Mountain Road. Instead I went slowly towards CDS as the families of runners took up most of the bike path. We all converged at the corner of Three Witches and had ten riders heading down the hill. A number of riders were sportin’ the new Descenders kits that had just arrived. Bill and Peter looked great in their new blue kits. It started fast with Rick W hitting the front quickly. I hid on his wheel for the descent but quickly fell off the back as the group sped off towards the coast. John M and I swept and did not catch the group until we got the racetrack where they had stopped.

The pace did not slow along PCH as we again spread out along the road. The group flew up through Encinitas before I got lost off the back; John M farther behind me. Rick W waited and pulled me along to regroup with the guys as everyone stopped at Palomar Airport Road. Hodges, Bob P, Bill and his friend Shawn were going inland; I joined them as my knee and legs were spent. The rest of the group continued up to Oceanside and either rode back down the coast or inland towards Escondido to complete their rides.

Our group sped along Palomar Airport Road with the goal of going to the BWR expo. Hodges had to get his race packet. Shawn was doing the event as well, so he and Bill B went there too. Bob and I turned off at Melrose Dr with a planned route back to RSF via Olivenhain. I was already hurting from the early pace so I decided to stop by a friends house near San Elijo to catch by breath. Unfortunately he was not home but I got to snack and drink a bit before pootling my way back towards RSF. I looped back towards the 56 bike path and got home with about 48 miles of riding, knee in tact.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/sjzAynriPvDssQYQ8

BWR Ride

The next morning Bob and I did an easy ride back down Three Witches and around Del Dios Highway with the hope of seeing some of the Wafer Riders. We were on the Del Dios climb up towards Lake Hodges when the Wafer race leaders were coming out of the trails along Lake Hodges. They blew by me and eventually Bob who was way up the road from me. The racers continued north on Del Dios towards Double Peak while we rode down Lake Drive. We saw lots of fast riders on the gravel roads by the lake and the dirt trails. As I did a Strava fly-by later Paul Pruschki, Keith Sherwood and Skip Virgilio were all riding on the trails as Bob and I were on the road above them. We rode up to Via Rancho Parkway and back east toward our usual gas station rest stop. We just continued on to the start of the bike path where we saw other Wafer riders coming out from the Mule Hill segment of the race. Bob and I pedaled off on the bike path when Eric R came up behind us. Eric was wearing his new blue kit and I was in the new white kit. He had ridden up HVR and to see some of the early racers. We stopped at the pedestrian bridge to watch a few of the last Wafer riders come through. The Waffle guys were way out on the Black Canyon loop still riding to complete their adventure. Bob, Eric and I rode back through 4S along Camino del Norte, dropping Bob off at Santaluz. Eric and I rode up to Carmel Valley Road where we split off to get home, finishing a nice 33 mile spin. The real heroes for the day were all the Descender BWR riders–Paul P, Quoc, Ernst, Hodges, Sheehan, Boyle and John A. Apologies for any riders I missed, congrats to all. Bill & Peggy took some photos of the riders going through the creek by Lake Hodges. They are in the link below.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qMBmXn96Mk6takJ9A

Posted in Local Ride Reports | Leave a comment

Kitchen Creek Ride Report-27 April 2019

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.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KvegjPHHjUpYoGs28

Posted in Local Ride Reports | Leave a comment

Belgium Waffle Ride Report, Article and Photos-5 May 2019

Descenders:

This past month I’ve done the Tour of Flanders "Group" Ride (107 miles / 7.4k vert) plus a self-guided ride of Paris-Roubaix (11 of the 29 cobble sectors, 65 miles total / 0 vert (it’s dead flat), and yesterday the BWR Waffle (133 miles / 10+k vert). A contrast of the these three (3) rides is below, if interested. All done in past 30-days.

This was my 4th Waffle (I think), and did a Wafer 2 years ago, and helped Rick B last year man the aid station in Escondido, which was a blast BTW, and nice to "give back."

Yesterday, I suffered.

My prior Waffles have been a success from a physical standpoint, with a lead in of just 1 100-mile ride and some much shorter rides. It worked. Yesterday, was, the opposite. I peaked 1 week early, when I did a 45-mile dirt bike ride in Mission Viejo, and getting a PR on the following Sunday up the Three Witches, after no less than 80 rides of that beast. I had power both those days, as week before BWR. I guess after 2 months of riding hard, especially the past month, my body said enough! Heck I did a 8-mile spin on the flat on Saturday and could feel my legs were heavy, and dead. Still maybe Sunday would be better, but, by the end of the HVR climb yesterday, I knew I was in trouble. By the time I completed the first climb on Black Canyon Road, and starting the second climb on Black Canyon, my climbing climbing legs simply vanished. It wasn’t a bonk; it was different. I’ve heard riders, even pros, say there are "empty." That was me. I over trained, I guess. I quickly accessed this plight, knowing I have about 85-miles to go, and resolved to finish, which was sobering considering I still had both 85-miles to go, the length of a Wafer ride, but also another 5k of climbing. I focused on conserving enough energy to make it the Wall at the end of Questhaven. If I could make it up the Wall, at least I could get to Double Peak, and do my best to get up that beast. That was the focus the next several hours on the bike, those 2 climbs, both tough and at the end. Finishing was everything – I don’t want a DNF next to may name.

So I rode along and enjoyed the scenery, of which the second half the Black Canyon Road ride was breathtaking with beautiful Oak Trees, birds chirping, and water still flowing down the outrageous rocky canyon far below. The entire rolling hill section to the far eastern portion of the route was simply beautiful. To make it home, I developed a game of making speed on the dirt descents, on the dirt flats, and hooking up with faster moving groups on the open road, which really helped my plight. Heck I even dropped a group of riders on the nasty sandy dirt descent next to Lake Sutherland, way inland, and they didn’t pass me until miles later all the way in San Marcos. I played the tortoise and hare game to the hilt.

BWR & Tour of Flanders & Paris Roubaix
I’ve always loved Paris Roubaix. In fact, because I’m gullible to clever marketing, when I heard the BWR called the Hell of the North (county), I had to do it! So just a couple of weeks ago I packed my bike up to ride part of the Paris Roubaix route, and of course the Arenberg Forest cobble section. I then realized I could ride the Tour of Flanders "group ride" (We Ride Flanders) on the same trip (1 week apart, and literally only 40 or so miles apart). Well, after riding 107 miles and 7.4k vert at Flanders, which included all of the famous climbs and cobble sections the pros have been riding for 103 times now, I have a whole new appreciation of this ride. Flanders is simply fantastic, and for me a total blast. Even though there’s clearly a ton of climbing, I don’t think a single climb was more than a mile, and many shorter. Sure they’re steep, and often cobbled, but no long climbs. Also each is followed by typically a narrow, twisting, descending farm road that are a total blast to fly down. My heaven on a bike. Then there’s the many quaint residential streets, or idyllic village towns, included in the route. The most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and yes I was physically crushed when done. Roubaix, by contrast, is a tempo of beat-down on the "cobbles," followed by a few short miles riding through farm land or also idyllic village towns and residential streets. At Roubaix, however, the "cobbles" are really boulders placed (years ago) and are simply evil to ride on. Impossible to describe. Most are long sections, from 1 to 2 miles, which take forever on the bike. No doubt riding the entire route, and all 29 sectors, is a complete beat-down, but it’s a pretty repetitive route. I feel for the pros riding it all the better now!

BWR, by contrast, is much tougher than either Flanders or Roubaix. To start many of the dirt sections are nasty, with crossing ruts that beat you up, or nasty rock out cropping, or lose gravel, or the worst, sand! Thanks the to BWR I’ve become almost comfortable riding on sand on a road bike, though it’s impossible (for me) to be totally at ease. A crash is just a moment away. So other than the nice smooth dirt road on the northern section of Black Canyon, it takes total concentration on on 40+ miles of dirt, never mind the physical beating, which is brutal by itself. Conversely, there is no worry to crashing on the cobbles at Flanders, which are certainly uncomfortable to ride on but easy, or even Roubaix, and I did the Arenberg wet, and wasn’t that worried about crashing. At the BWR the climbs are certainly longer, and many times just as steep. Even Peter Stetina said of his win at the BWR yesterday, which I still can’t believe a current World Tour Pro did the BWR, (see pic in link sent by Bill) “I’ve done a lot of classics, and I don’t think I ever suffered that bad in a decade of being a pro.”

So I’m glad I finished BWR, again, even in a physical funk. For me Flanders is more fun. BWR is a unique test, and tougher (I weighed 6 lbs. less this morning, even after a large dinner last night), which I enjoy on it’s own merits. A very tough and rewarding ride. We’re all lucky to live in such a wonderful county that allows for such a unique bike route, and kudos to the BWR team for putting on such a great event.

Way to go Hodges. You looked good passing me at mile 101, and finished strong. Got me good this year!

Congrats to the rest of the Descender participants.

Dave E

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qMBmXn96Mk6takJ9A

2019 Belgian Waffle Ride
https://www.velonews.com/2019/05/news/gallery-2019-belgian-waffle-ride_493332

Posted in Local Ride Reports | Leave a comment

Dave & Rob Bday Ride Report-23 March 2019

Dave & Rob Bday Ride-23 March 2019
by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Sheehan, Rob, Ernst, Don W, Shawn D, Hodges, John A, Andrew, Rick W, Larry, Tony, Garet, Bill B, Peggy B and Bob P

We called an audible on Friday to plan for a more local ride. DeLuz was the original planned ride, it is rescheduled for later when the roads will be dryer and hopefully cleaner. The new local ride was a planned spin down Three Witches, then Del Dios Highway to hit a loop over to Bandy Canyon. We met on the 56 bike path to start the ride towards RSF. The group was good sized at the start with a number of riders we had not seen in awhile. It was great to see Dave Ernst ride inland from the coast and to have Larry Murray back on a group ride. There were plenty of the usual suspects and the group filled out to 15 riders once we got to the top of Three Witches where we picked up more riders.

The pace down the hill was steady and we kept in a nice paceline along Apajo. I was one of the first to fall off the pace on the climb to Stud Loop. The faster riders were to take the extra miles from Stud Loop while us mere mortals were heading straight to Del Dios. Sheehan, Peggy, Andrew and I skipped Stud Loop. Sheehan led us along Del Dios, I fell back. We all climbed past Lake Hodges dam and made our way towards Lake Drive. I caught up to Peggy while Sheehan and Andrew were way out front. It was a sunny and cool morning with lots of folks hiking and MTB riding along the trails of the lake, a great day to be out on a Descenders group ride.

Our regroup location was the corner of Lake Drive and Via Rancho Parkway. The Stud Loop riders finally caught up to us short cut riders. We all stopped for a group photo, except Hodges. He slowly spun up the final hill on Lake and slowly made the turn towards the mall without stopping. We took a group shot with 14 riders before Ernst was the first to head off. He had to head back towards the coast; so glad Dave could join us for a group ride. We rolled out and made our way to the planned rest stop at the gas station, just past I-15. At the intersection of I-15, Shawn hit a razor blade and flatted his front tire. He was able to roll into the gas station.

Bill & Peggy B rode past the rest stop. They were on their way to Kit Carson Park to watch their grandson play baseball; he had recently graduated from T-ball and was now in the machine pitching league. A potential future major leaguer? While various guys tried to help Shawn fix his flat, the rest of us chatted and relaxed. Garet spun out towards home. I announced that I planned to head back over the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge and skip the climb up Bandy or HVR. Bob P was heading out on a business trip on Sunday so he volunteered to ride back to PQ with me.

I missed the rest of the ride but heard there were lots of spirited pushes of the pace, up Mary Lane, down Summit and along Old Milky Way to Highway 78. Larry pulled the whole crew along 78 to get to the start of Bandy Canyon. At the top of Bandy, guys went up HVR while some descended to head back home. Hodges convinced John A to follow him all the way up into Ramona and eventually back to home after 100+ miles; BWR training in full bloom.

Bob P and I had a nice paced ride back towards PQ. We picked up Steve and Marla Bosowski who were out on a casual spin to Peet’s coffee. The four of us sped along Camino Del Norte and dropped off Bob at Santaluz. The new You Tube ride sensation, Steve, and his strong riding wife pulled me along back towards the 56 bike path. They turned to the coffee shop while I spun that last mile home. Check out Steve in the below link that shows his acceleration at the start of the Torrey Pines climb; he is in the blue helmet. I finished with a short 38 mile loop, but a fun Descenders group ride. Look forward to lots more fun group rides. Also below is a link for some photos.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QJtGiiYQ2p17xK7G7

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1hZG0dGhkpA

Posted in Local Ride Reports

descenders Ride Report – Tour de Palm Springs – Sat Feb 9, 2019

https://youtu.be/bEK64i1Bkzk

Nothing much more needs to be said really!

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Old Julian Highway Ride Report-26 January 2019

Old Julian Highway Ride–26 January 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bob P, Paul P, Shawn D, John A, Geoffrey M and his friend, Rick, Scott, Rick W, Garet, Tony O, Bill & Peggy, Rob and his friend from Spokane, Neil

The planned ride was one we have done many times, OJH. It seems that my ride schedule is matching up to this ride more than most. Tony suggested we ride up highway 78 again, but I noted we had some guests coming so let’s stick to the full HVR climb. I had a buddy from Spokane in town for a medical conference. We rode from PQ and picked up John A right as we rode into the Crestmont neighborhood. A quick spin to the top of Black Mountain had us meet up with Bob P. Paul P got the wrong location and he was at Black Mountain and the 56 bike path. Paul quickly figured out his error and met up with the group at the start on Pomerado. Tony had emailed me early in the am to say that he, Bill & Peggy were getting a head start and would meet us at the top of HVR at Archie Moore Road. We had eleven riders at Pomerado ready to go by 8 am. Garet was the last to show, wearing his neck gator that he quickly removed. It was warmer than expected and a nice am for riding. The winds were blowing and that was the big cycling challenge ahead. Geoffrey had a buddy, Rick, join us. Rick had driven in from Borrego Springs that morning. He said the winds were blowing hard in the desert.

The eleven riders spun off from Pomerado towards the start of HVR. A quick paceline formed and I fell off before the start of the climb. My meds are either not working or are working too well. I labored up HVR and watched everyone roll out of sight. Bob P planned to stop at the Bandy Canyon corner. I stopped to chat with Bob for a minute before continuing the slow slog up HVR. Bob descended Bandy Canyon and came back via highway 78 and them Summit & Mary Lane to get home with 40 miles under his belt.

The winds were blowing but many sections of HVR were fairly well protected. It was a nice day and I was making slow progress. The gang was waiting for me at the corner of Archie Moore, including Tony, Bill & Peggy. I need to do the head start with them next time. Paul P was heading back down HVR where he proceeded to do a big loop toward the coast and ride almost 75 miles for the day. Garet, after a fast climb up HVR, was doing a quick return home to the family heading back to highway 67 and down Poway Grade. We were back to 11 riders.

The final section of upper HVR is always a paceline mash. I split off the back and rode with Neil and Rick while the rest of the group sped towards the highway 67 intersection. They made the light and we got stuck with a red light and a highway cleaning crew that blocked ALL traffic for a few minutes…wish they kept the bike lanes as clean as the intersection that two vehicles swept before allowing any cars to move. We made it through the light and most riders went over to the fire station for some water.

The group got going again and sped along Dye Road. I dropped off again with Rick and we got caught at the San Vicente Road light, the rest of the group headed for OJH. Geoffrey M waited for us by Ramona high school and now the three of us turned onto Hanson Lane toward the OJH climb. My wheels looked round but they felt like squares. I was not pushing many watts and dropped back as soon as the climb started. I pedaled alone and slowly up OJH, brisk wind gusts slammed into my bike. The winds were coming from the east so it was mostly a headwind all the way up the climb. Only on a few turns did the winds subside; fast blowing sand exfoliated exposed skin. The mile markers slowly clicked off. I expected to see the guys coming back down before I got to the 5 mile marker; it came and went. I climbed just past the 6.5 mile marker before I saw Rick W coming back down towards me. I was spent so I did a u-turn to start my descent. Bill B and then Shawn D quickly blew by me. Tony O came next, followed by Scott. I held close to their wheels. The winds were blowing fiercely from behind and we all hit 35 mph easily on the way back towards Ramona. A few tight corners with a fast blowing cross wind caused me to slow down and think about my buddy, Neil. He had never been on this road and I wanted to make sure everyone was save.

I stopped halfway down and watched the other riders blow past. Eventually Rick came and he said Neil was just behind him. I snapped a few photos of the views and then spun off after Neil. We zoomed down into Ramona and made our way to the Mobil station for our designated water break. I was tired and needed a rest. After some snacks and drinks, including an ice cream bar for John A, we headed out again towards the Dye Road return. The pace quickened and the group split in two. As we hit the highway 67 intersection, most riders made it through the light. Tony, Bill, Peggy and Shawn D kept going straight, back down HVR. Rick W, Scott, Geoffrey, Rick, Neil and Rob rolled along highway 67 towards Poway Grade.

We spread out along this section of highway 67, with Rick W and Scott disappearing in the distance. Neil and John A were just ahead of me and Rick was just behind me. Geoffrey stayed close to his buddy Rick a bit in front of us. We sped quickly along the scary sections of highway 67, aided by the tailwind and descended Poway Grade. I was on point and barely pedaled, garnering a second best time for the descent, only 6 seconds slower than my 2013 PR; should have pedaled more. I hit the brakes to wait for traffic on the turn at Espola and waited for the rest of the guys to come by. I wanted to make sure Neil did not miss the turn either. Rick W and Scott were long gone for the day.

We descended to Twin Peaks Road and met up with a few other riders out enjoying the day. We all rode towards Ted Williams Parkway and back towards PQ. Geoffrey waited a bit for his buddy, Rick, so it was just me, Neil and John A that rode the 56 bike path down past Black Mountain towards home. I finished with 67 miles and 4,800 feet of climbing. Neil and John were closer to 70 miles with 5K of elevation since I turned on OJH before the top. It was a fun ride and I was pleased to be able to show Neil a classic Descenders ride. Next time I will need a head start with Tony, Bill & Peggy; might need an e-bike to keep up the rest of the ride. Below are a few photos I took during the ride.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

De Luz Ride Report-19 January 2019

De Luz Ride-19 January 2019

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bill B, Shawn D, Tony O, Quoc V, John A, Rob V and Shawn (friend of Bill)

The rains were gone and the skies were clear. It was a cold, crisp morning near Gopher Canyon, where we met up to start the ride. Tony & I had discussed the previous day some ride options that avoided the low road sections of De Luz that were still likely to be wet and potentially slick with gravel and sand. Tony mapped out a route that I suggested, climb Pala-Temecula Road and loop back through Fallbrook. He shared it the night before the ride with options to discuss at the start.

We had a small group of riders, and everyone was ready to tackle De Luz. Hodges sent Tony a last minute cancellation text, he was not feeling up to a long ride and went to play tennis instead. It was in the 40’s at the start of the ride, so I was bundled up and hoping the expected 70 degree day arrived quickly. We had Quoc on the ride; decked out in his Eliel Factory Team gear. He was sportin’ the kits to show any Descenders that had not worn Eliel gear while we were close to opening up the team store. Quoc is a walking advertisement for Eliel and gave rave reviews. Bill B brought his own ringer to the ride. His buddy, Shawn, had ridden with us previously but this was my first time meeting him. He was a nice, unassuming guy until he started to pound the pedals. Shawn came to the USA from Canada in the late 80’s when he rode with the Canadian National Team. Yes, the 80’s were a long time ago but Shawn clearly is a strong rider. He mentioned that he completed seven double century’s last year!

We rolled out to start the climb up Circle R. John A was still fiddling with his jackets and phone by his car so he had to push a bit to get back with us on the early climb. We turned onto West Lilac and looped on the beautifully curvy roads before climbing Lilac Road, down past the Daisy Deli and onto the climb of Couser Canyon. Shawn, Bill and Shawn D spun quickly up the climb. We did a quick regroup and took some scenic photos before heading for the descent. Everyone took it pretty easy on the downhill as spots were still wet and the road was not clean. A safe descent was had by all and we gathered at the corner before heading to Rice Canyon. The climb up Rice was its usual fun challenge with little car traffic. The road surface seems to be getting worse, but still a fun ascent.

After a quick regroup at the top we spun along Rainbow Valley Road, descended into Temecula and sped toward the light. Bill and Shawn were flying, I fell off their wheel when they pushed for the final bit to the light. Everyone got through the next light and we rolled over to the gas station for our planned water break. Drink and snacks helped refuel a bit. It was still cool, but the sun was out and warming. Bill led us along his route that got us over the highway bridge and loop around to start the climb up Rancho California Road.

I was last through the light at the intersection and kept falling farther behind. I stopped as I neared the first bend in the climb to take some photos of the snow capped San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains; the views were breathtaking. I slowly spun up around the bend when I saw Shawn coming back down towards me. He did a quick U-turn and I got on his wheel. He pulled me up around the next curve and up over the top of the climb, coaching me to breath and pace myself while he pedaled faster and I died staying on his wheel. We roped in a number of the other riders and flew down towards the designated stopping point at the start of De Luz Road. Shawn helped get me there quickly, but I burned a few matches.

The next ten miles to the De Luz Elementary School was where we expected to find all the wet roads with possible sand, dirt and gravel. The group started out together but I fell off the pace and took a very conservative route through a number of the low lying ramps, many of which were wet; some were like a small creek. The roads were wet and littered with debris as well; better to be safe than sorry. I lost touch with the group but safely made my way to the school. It was now nice and warm, the sun was out and the skies were very blue; I kept on most of my warm gear. Easier to wear it than try to stow it in my packets.

The next ten miles were going to be tough. The climbs along De Luz Road and the big climb up to Fallbrook. Shawn, Bill, Shawn D and John were the strongest of the group. We all started together but spread out along the route. There was little car traffic, the roads were pretty clean and it was a nice day to be out on a bike. Tony and I stayed close together with Quoc just a bit behind us. We are rolled into Fallbrook and then went as a group down S. Mission Road, turning onto Olive Hill Road. The same duo of Bill and Shawn were on point. I eventually closed to their wheel and we flew down Olive Hill all the way to Highway 76 for a last designated stop at the gas station. I spent the last of my matches on that final stretch and was not motivated to tackle West Lilac back up and around to finish the ride.

Fortunately others in the group smelled the finish and we all opted for the more tame Camino Del Rey section back towards Gopher Canyon. Shawn was on point the entire 5 miles, many of us got new PR’s simply by hiding in the paceline. We flew fast to Old 395, then turned south. Shawn and Bill turned back to sweep up the stragglers while the rest of us rode back to the cars.. I looped up a bit and eventually rode back to the campground, my secret parking lot. The bikes were a bit dirty and the legs a bit tired, but it was a great ride. We rode about 65 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing. Thanks to Shawn and Bill for pulling us along. I took a few photos and they are in the link below.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/soYe32LJDYJfWSm46

Posted in Local Ride Reports