Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride Report

Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride-24 February 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Sheehan, Bob P, Rick W, Garet, Len, John M, Marisa & Andrey, Ethan, Tony, Bill & Peggy, Hodges, Bill W & Rob

It was a cold start to the the ride. I pedaled to meet the group at CDS, where Proulx also joined us. We had not seen Marisa & Andrey for a number of rides; they came with their friend, Ethan. Bill Wood was out again to ride with his US buddies. It was sunny, but cold; everyone was bundled up well. It was super cold in my wimpy view; I could have used a jacket to cut the wind. We cruised on the bike path and headed for the coast, picking up Len along Carmel Valley.

We all rode mostly together up through Del Mar to meet Bill & Peggy on the corner as we rolled into Solana Beach, the group was now more than a dozen strong. We did well until we passed Las Olas & Ki’s, when Ethan hit a sunken manhole cover and flatted. I pushed hard to get the group to stop while Andrey stopped to help fix the tire. We stopped just past the goofy surfer statue. Many decided to continue to roll north. Rick W, Bob P, Sheehan, Bill B and I stopped and chatted. Garet decided to turn back and take Manchester back to his home. The tire was finally fixed and we spun north on the 101. Rick W kept the paced spirited, everyone did some pulls. Bob and Sheehan turned at La Costa, where we met up with Tony. Our small group sped up into Carlsbad where we saw Marisa and Bill W stopping for coffee; Andrey & Ethan joined them.

The rest of us cruised into Oceanside and regrouped at the bathrooms on the harbor. It was sunny and a pretty day, bright blue skies and lots of boats. We took a few group shots and everyone said they were riding inland. Everyone except Rick W.; we convinced him to join us. We had riders 8 heading to Sleeping Indian. Rick was on point and did the lions share of the effort along the San Luis Rey path. He kept going straight toward home when we took the turn to Old River Road, the climbing was about to begin. We all spread out on the climb up Sleeping Indian and regrouped near the top. I took then point but missed the turn onto Morro Hills, we all just kept pedaling to the very end of Sleeping Indian. It added a few miles as we crossed Burma Road and rode the full length of Olive Hill to the gas station down by highway 76. After a short water break, we rolled out again to Little Gopher Canyon Road, then hit Gopher and turned right onto Twin Oaks Valley; more climbing. The views on the climbs and from the tops were awesome, definitely a highlight of the ride.

We all made our way down to Deer Springs and then Tony led us towards Cal State San Marcos where we turned onto Barham Dr. and rode towards Escondido. Tony had us take the bike/walking path that eventually connected into town and hit Centre City Parkway. Tony turned a few streets before us to get home. I took the turn first and headed fast towards the mall. Apparently Hodges flatted at the corner and I never saw the group again. The winds increased, the temperatures seemed to drop and it was a brisk ride back past Lake Hodges and 4S, behind Black Mountain and finally to my house. I did a fly-by and noticed I rode past Bill & Peggy’s street about 12 minutes before they finally got there. I know Hodges followed my route and went all the way down Black Mountain, John M should have gone that way too. Len had to ride back towards the coast to get his car. Long rides for everyone. My Garmin said about 85 miles and 4,300 feet of climbing, legs felt that for a few days. Some nice photos are in the link, come out and ride sometime!


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report

Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report-10 February 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Tony, John M, Shawn, Garet, Monica, Guido, Don, Rob, Len, Neil & John

Most of the riders met along the 56 bike path. We started with a handful of Descenders and also had Don, an ex-Rancho who has ridden with us before, join us. It was Garet’s 40th birthday, so Happy Birthday to Garet! We had a slight tailwind, so Guido and John M pushed the pace and flew along the bike path. Neil met us as we got closer to the coast, he had parked on top of Soledad and rode towards us.

We all climbed inside Torrey Pines and met up with Len before pedaling off for La Jolla Shores. Garet looped back home first by going straight on Genessee Road to celebrate the rest of his birthday with his family. There were lots of riders out on the road. It was a nice day for climbing. Guido left us as we started our first ascent of Soledad. Neil took off and sped up the hill and we all eventually regrouped at the top. Neil’s brother, John, now joined the ride as well.

Hodges just cannot get enough of the Descenders. He was not on his bike, but had his family and out of town guests at the top "sightseeing" as we all regrouped following the climb. Riders started to head out as Shawn and Don descended Via Carpi while the rest of us rode down to to begin the climb of Country Club Road. Once again, Neil flew off the point and disappeared while the rest of us powered up the climb. John and Monica were both very strong on the climbs. We stopped for bananas and water before heading back down for the third ascent.

Once we all got back to Soledad Mountain Road, we headed down to tackle Pacifica. John M was grinding out the climbs on his new Fuji but it only had a 25 rear cassette, he was cooked after the 4th climb. Back at the top of Soledad, it was only the two Rintoul brothers, Len, Tony, Monica and Rob left to head to Via Valverde for the fifth face of Soledad. Legs were hurting but we all made it back to the top before heading towards home.

Len went towards Soledad Mountain Road, Neil and John kept riding while I descended down Via Capri. I thought Tony & Monica would be with me, but they were gone. I slowly climbed Calle Del Oro and turned towards UCSD campus. I thought about riding through campus when Tony & Monica caught up to me. We pedaled back towards Torrey Pines, descended to the beach and rolled along Carmel Valley Road. I was pooped and hid behind Tony as he did most of the work.

We got back to the bike path and made our way towards PQ. I bailed to get back home while Monica and Tony had to ride back to Poway and beyond to get home. My ride was only about 60 miles, but the 5,800 feet of climbing was a good workout; another great day for a Descenders ride. The link below are the photos from the ride.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

HVR, Mussey & Pamo Ride Report

HVR, Mussey & Pamo Ride Report-3 February 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Sheehan, John M, Bob R, Rick W, Jim W, Garet, Justin, Tony, Bill & Peggy and Rob

Tony set up the ride to have the group climb up HVR to avoid Highway 67. I pedaled over alone from PQ because I was late to meet Jim W. It was a cold start to my ride but the sunny day warmed up nicely by the time we started our HVR climb. The group met on the corner of Pomerado and we pedaled off with a small group. John M was out on his new Fuji Transonic 1.1 carbon bike, he is suggesting that Fuji be the new required club bike; I am good with that. Rick W flatted within the first two miles due to a large staple in his tire. While he fixed his tire, Garet and Justin joined us. The whole group now headed for the bottom of HVR, that road continues to deteriorate with more holes and cracks, gotta love our local infrastructure. Justin almost lost his front wheel in one large hole, the group motored on.

The climb started and we spread out as we headed up to Ramona. I tried to convince Bob R to ride up Camino Del Aguila since we had ridden up HVR just last Saturday. He wisely declined, so we all pedaled our way up to Archie Moore Road. We met up with Bill & Peggy at the top of HVR by the school. They said they started earlier than us to meet at the regroup spot, but I suspect that they were out doing some early HVR repeats in preparation for the Monster Climbs trip and Italy cycling adventure. They are both riding strong.

We all regrouped and then spun toward the end of HVR. Rick W took point and split the group in the final few miles to the light at Highway 67. Everyone turned right at the light to make our way to Mussey Grade. Garet and Justin kept going on 67 while the rest of the group turned left onto Mussey. It started benign enough, but the pace quickly lit up before we got to Dos Picos Park Road. Jim W, Rick W, Bob R and Dave S, with me hanging onto the last wheel; sped down the five mile Mussey descent. Everyone rotated to take a fast pull, except me; I hid the whole way to the bottom. The pace was over 28 mph average, lots of matches were burned. I took a couple of photos while screaming down and another photo of the four studs overlooking San Vicente Reservoir. The rest of the gang joined us for the climb back up.

I pootled along with Sheehan, who was still shaking off a cold. We had a momentary interaction with a local driver who kept honking at us along the quiet country road, Sheehan went to discuss the rules of the road with him while I waited for him at the corner of Dos Picos. We met back up with the group at the top of Mussey. Bob R had already headed home, Sheehan went back down HVR to get some business work done. Besides, he had already burned lots of matches on Mussey. The rest of us grabbed a quick water refresh at the gas station before cruising along Dye & San Vicente Roads. We cut through Ramona and made our way towards Pamo. Bill & Peggy had not ridden down ever before so we gave everyone a quick recap of the dangerous, off-camber corners. Everyone had a safe descent and we regrouped at the bottom. Everyone except John, he turned back early to climb up Pamo early. He made his way to the Ramona gas station and started back down 67 before Rick W and Jim W finally caught back up to him; his new wheels are fast!

I pootled up the climb with Tony & Peggy. I snapped a photo of Tony at the rock wall he knew all too well. He is riding great and not looking back. The day was warming up and we had gorgeous views of the valley. We regrouped with the rest of the gang and spun off towards Ramona. I decided to descend Ramona Grade and made my way home via Bandy Canyon, HVR and around 4S. It was a long 5 hours in the saddle, some awesome riding and over 77 miles with 5,600 feet of elevation. Another great Descenders group ride. The link below has the photos from the ride, enjoy and come ride with us soon.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

descenders HVR & OJH Ride Report

Highland Valley Road & Old Julian Highway Ride–27 January 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Rick W, Tony, Garet, Bob R, Hermann, Shawn, Geoffrey M and Rob V

It was a bit brisk leaving PQ early enough to ride over to the RB start. We had a nice group ready to tackle HVR. We all rode together to the start of the climb and spread out, with Rick W and Garet charging up the climb first.

We all regrouped at the top. Garet, Bob Raibert and Geoffrey had other obligations so they rolled out along Archie Moore towards Highway 67. The rest of us finished the top section of HVR with Rick W pulling us along. At the main intersection light, Hermann turned right to ride Mussey Grade before going back home; we were down to four riders.

Rick pulled us along Dye Road and over to the start of the HVR climb. Shawn kept on Rick’s wheel while Tony and I backed off the pace. We all regrouped at the top of OJH. Tony was on his way to Santa Ysabel to tackle Mesa Grande, then Palomar and finally Cole Grade. He met up with Len, Jodie and Ruben in Santa Ysabel. He just finished, almost 110 miles and 10K of elevation, phew! Big ride Tony, well done.

We had some gusts of wind in our faces as we climbed OJH, so the descent back into Ramona was a quick one. Rick sped out while Shawn and I chased as best we could. We did a quick regroup at the gas station before retracing our ride along Dye Road to Highway 67. Shawn went straight back down HVR while Rick and I braved the open roads of Highway 67. Rick pulled me along and I hid on his wheel as best I could. We flew down Poway Grade and over to Twin Peaks before Rick turned for home. I pootled from there back to my house, just over 70 miles and 5K of climbing. I only captured a couple of photos…too cold. They are in the link below


Posted in Local Ride Reports

RSF, Del Dios & HVR Ride Report

RSF, Del Dios & HVR Ride Report-20 January 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bill & Peggy, Bob P, Shawn D, Guido, John M and Rob

It was a nice, cold and sunny start to the ride. I met John, Guido and Shawn at Black MountainRoad. We picked up Bob P at Santaluz and then Bill & Peggy joined us at the top of Three Witches.

We spun quickly along Apajo and climbed to Stud Loop. Bob P pushed the pace as we spread out a bit before regrouping back at Del Dios. Guido, Bob and I pushed the pace until we started the climb, then Guido backed off. I caught back up to Bob before the Lake Drive turn, he kept going straight while I cruised down along the lake. I caught up to Bill & Peggy, who skipped Stud Loop, before all got back together at the corner of Via Rancho Parkway.

The section to the mall was a spirited pace, but we all hung close together. There was not much enthusiasm to climb HVR by some of the group. Bob, Guido, John and Shawn rode towards Pomerado while Bill, Peggy & I climbed the first mile of HVR. We descended Bandy Canyon, cut through Ysabel Creek Road and endured Milky Way, that road is one of the worst with lots of holes and ruts, along with no shoulder. The climb up Summit was nice, then a fast descent down Mary Lane and back past the mall.

We rode over the Lake Hodges bridge again and spun to the houses just south of Lake Hodges, where Bill and Peggy live. I tried to attack a segment, but the legs were not playing along. I was now alone for the final miles through 4S to get back home. Only 51 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing, but a fun ride. The link below shows the photos I took.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride Report

Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride-30 December 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Hodges, Len, Guido, John M, Bob P, Shawn, Rob; Cal Coast Cycling Crew-Rob, Todd and Dave; special appearance by Keith Sherwood

It was our last group ride of the year, a coastal cruise to Oceanside with an option for Sleeping Indian. We hammered it up PCH, split some as we rode fast into Carlsbad before one of the Cal Coast guys got a flat.

I ran into Keith Sherwood while we waited for the mechanical fix. Keith rides for Intuit but has joined the Descenders on a few rides in the past. He was also on his way to Oceanside. I snuck away before the pier and passed John M, who was out in his parallel universe, well before the turnaround, another V in the books. We regrouped at the bathroom and then the group split. Some guys went back down the coast, while the Cal Coast boys, along with Hodges, Len, Keith S and me, decided to tackle Sleeping Indian. Keith had never done the route before, he was in for a real treat.

The Cal Coast boys kept a brisk pace along the San Luis Rey bike path. We made our way up the Sleeping Indian climb before descending back down Morro Hills and Olive Hills. Remnants from the Cedar Fire could be seen; lots of charred woods on Olive Hill. We took a quick break at the gas station before Highway 76, then cruised along Old Gopher Canyon, up Twin Oaks Valley and finally climbed Deer Springs Road to get back to I-15.

We regrouped often enough to keep most of the guys together. Hodges was complaining of a sciatica issue, so he and Len pootled a bit behind. The final push down N. Centre City Parkway to the mall was fast. A stop at the gas station was needed. The Cal Coast boys sped off just as Len and Hodges showed. The final four of us–including Keith and me, spun over the Lake Hodges bridge and then cruised around 4S to get back to our homes. It was a meaty 87 miles with 4,700 feet of climbing. Great finish to the year. I only took a couple of photos, they are in the link below.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

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