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.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Bn50j6lFiiUgrOjt2

Rob

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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.

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Coastal Cruise Ride

Coastal Cruise Ride Report-09 September 2017

by Bernie Bogard

Riders: Bob R, Bernie, Rick B, Rick W, Andrew, Jim W and Rob

The coast beckoned as Rob V, Rick W, Rick B, Bob Raibert, Jim Wilkinson, Andrew W, and Bernie met at 56 bike path. Rick B put a tube in his tubeless tire and we were off. Rob V and Bob just put in cameo appearances and were gone before Rick W began to edge up the pace on 101. Jim W stepped it up when Rick needed a break. Rick B was hanging by a thread with the frantic pace, abandoned at La Costa (just kidding). Down to Jim, Rick W, Andrew and Bernie, the sprint at Oceanside had Jim holding off all even after leading us out to the sprint. Rick W was not to be cajoled to doing Sleeping Indian and he and Andrew headed down the coast while Jim and Bernie went inland paced by Jim, meeting up with Bill and Peggy Braamse, back from summering in Michigan where Peggy won a big race and their 5 year old grandson stayed for an extra week without his parents around. We found our way to 395 and headed south. Nice temps and company…U shoulda been there!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bQe1Dx0yWSWauXsn1

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Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report

Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report-26 August 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Claus, John M, Tony, Peter, Bob P, Guido, Garet, Jim W, Bob Raibert, Hodges, Rob, Len and Jeff, a Ranchos rider who has ridden with us in the past

I was late to the 8 am start so the group was already descending from Black Mountain Road and the bike path. The group was larger than 10 riders and we got a cameo visit from Bob Raibert. It was good to see Bob R, hopefully he will be able to ride more frequently. We cruised briskly along the 56 bike path to the coast. It was still nice and fairly cool with a think layer of clouds. Garet and Jim W hammered up the outside of Torrey Pines, we picked up Len on the climb. Everyone regrouped at the top except Garet, he had to get home so he sped back towards Poway. Bob Raibert turned around after a quick break at the TP golf course. The rest of us rode towards La Jolla.

After a screaming descent into La Jolla Shores, we lost Bob P, Peter and Guido as they turned up Calle del Oro. We were still a good sized group when we hit the first climb up Hillside to the cross. Jim W and I put in a good push on the first climb, then everyone regrouped at top. The views were limited due to lots of clouds and fog, but at least it was not too hot. We headed down and then climbed up Country Club Drive, skipping our usual photo spot due to the fog. Jeff flatted at the top of the second climb and could not get his tire back in operational order. He abandoned and called his wife for a car rescue.

The third climb was enough for Tony as he was feeling the effects of some recent treatments. He is riding strong and ready for his trip to cycle in Europe. Len is ready for his trip too. We briefly saw Marci near the top before we headed down Soledad Mountain Road for the forth climb. My left calf started to tighten on the third climb and I blew up trying to get up Pacifica. I decided to call it quits when I got back to the top. The remaining 5 riders went down to tackle Via Valverde while I pootled my way up through UCSD and then climbed Sorrento Valley to Black Mountain and home. 57 miles and 5,500 of climbing, I was done.

Claus notched up another century ride and the guys that did the Five Faces–Claus, Jim W, Hodges, John and Len–all got in great mileage and elevation. Tony had ridden from home so he still rode almost 75 miles in the heat. Have fun in Europe Tony and Len, I am coming soon. Below are a few photos from the ride, before we really started climbing.

https://goo.gl/photos/feFVSrJdhh9bSTCE8

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HVR & OJH Ride Report

HVR & OJH Ride Report-12 August 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Farkas, Tony, John, Eric R, Jim W, Garet, Rick W, Bob P, Sheehan, Rob, Bill B, Jeff Callahan, Neil R and his friend, Ben

I rode over from PQ and met Jim W at the top of Black Mountain Road. Proulx, Hodges and Jeff Callahan all said they would join us there as well. We waited a few minutes and then pedaled toward 4S. We picked up Eric R on his way to the start. We had ten riders head out just after 8 am, Hodges was apparently very late and he never found us. Jeff Callahan was also late but he caught up to the group along the bottom section of HVR. We all hit the climb and spread out along the road. Farkas and Jim W hammered up HVR. It was a brisk pace and I burned a few matches getting to Archie Moore. Bill B was back in town from his Michigan travels and we found him out on the climb ahead of us. At the corner of Archie Moore we found Neil R and his friend, Ben, out for a fast paced ride. They rode off while we waited for the rest of the group to join us.

Bob P and Jeff C stopped at Bandy and turned back around to descend HVR and loop back to PQ. Sheehan stopped to chat with them so he was well behind. Farkas and Garet had to get home so they rode towards 67 via Archie Moore and headed back home. John M eventually rode by and he said he was last. We thought Sheehan must have turned at Bandy too. He made it to the top well after we left. Dave decided to ride Mussey and get a PR on the ascent solo. The pace along the top section of HVR was too much for me, I got split off the back with Tony. We rode through the light at 67 and stopped for some water at the fire station where the others were as well. The pace quicken more along Dye Road with Jim W, Eric and Rick W out front and Bill, Tony and me farther behind; John was off the back.

It got worse as we started the climb up Old Julian Highway. The three faster riders sped ahead while Tony, Bill and I had a nice relaxing climb; John was off the back. We got to the top section when the guys were heading back towards us. We all did a u-turn and started our descent. John turned as we blew by him. Bill and I could not hold the pace of the descent but we kept up a good rotation back into Ramona. We all regrouped at the gas station.

Eric R had to get home, so he left us early. The remaining 6 riders spun out of Ramona and we retraced our route along Dye Road. Tony and Bill continued straight to descend HVR. Jim and Rick turned left onto highway 67, I followed; John was off the back. I immediately fell off the pace of the two much better riders. I pootled along slowly until I got to Archie Moore Road. I decided to take a rest at the Mount Woodson Golf Course. I took a nice relaxing break on the porch of the clubhouse while watching golfer hack a few shots from the tee. Cycling is much less frustrating than golf.

When I finally got up enough energy to head back to my bike, I was still feeling the pains from an early push up HVR and limited time on the bike. I pootled home via Poway Grade and Twin Peaks. I did not see any of the other riders. I assume everyone got home, I finished with 70 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing; too much for me. It was a fun ride and I took a few photos as well, including one from the golf course.

https://goo.gl/photos/XK2NHJvqA3jQ77V36

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Monster Climbs Trip Report

Monster Climbs Trip-22-25 June 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bill Wood, Tony, John M, Bob P, Sheehan, Ernst, Voris, Geoff, Hodges, Denise & Rick B, Oleg, Neil, Larry, Bernie, Len, Claus, Paul P and Rob

The annual Monster Climbs trip was a bit more complicated this year. This was the Descenders 11th annual cycling trip designed to tackle some of the toughest climbs we can find, a real fun riding club weekend. Most of the previous trips were based on the eastern slopes of the Sierras. This year we set off for the first time to Nor Cal to ride the beautiful roads near Los Gatos. Fortunately we have two Descenders living in the local area, Dave Voris and Geoff Barrall. These two guys did the lion share of the work to get us prepared for the MC trip. Dave and Geoff scouted lots of the local roads and designed the three days of riding. They mapped out each ride, giving us turn by turn details and the strava file for our bike GPS. Geoff led the search for hotels and then appropriate dinner locations. Dave took up the reins to draft all the details into our famous brochure. This was going to be an epic adventure.

We needed some San Diego rider support for the trip. Claus and I took up the logistics work of renting a U-haul trailer and driving up to Los Gatos with the bikes and spare gear. There were 19 riders that participated in the road trip to the Nor Cal adventure. Len took Bernie up early in his car, they rode near Santa Barbara and Monterrey on their way to Los Gatos. The rest of the guys dropped off their bikes and gear a few days before their flights to San Jose. On Wednesday, Claus and I got the trailer early in the morning, zip-tied each bike securely into the trailer and packed around the bikes all the other gear. We loaded up Claus’s SUV with the coolers and lots of food for our road trip north. Man can that guy eat, I gained a few pounds on the drive north just because there are so much food available. We made great time and got to the Los Gatos Lodge by 6:30 pm. We had time for a relaxing stroll around downtown Los Gatos and a late dinner before hitting the sack.

Thursday morning was spent relaxing and then exploring some of the local roads to loosen up the legs. We rode north to the Saratoga Gap and climbed up 7 miles to Skyline Blvd, before continuing north. At the Palo Alto sign we turned around to retrace our ride. A nice 31 mile loop with about 3,400 feet of climbing; some great roads, trees and views, definitely a preamble to the weekend ahead. It was pretty hot still but the weather forecast predicted a nice cooling trend ahead. We hit the pool and relaxed before the first of the guys started to show. The hotel gave us the room assignments so we were able to unload the bikes and gear from the trailer to each hotel room. The gang finally all arrived and we walked to downtown for dinner at local restaurants, we were on our own for the first night. After dinner we all got back to the pool area where Voris and Geoff went over final details from the brochure to make sure everyone was ready to ride the next morning.

After an underwhelming breakfast provided by the hotel, we all met near the front of the property to begin our first day of riding. Geoff led us through Los Gatos to a flat gravel trail with one climb that got us to Lexington Reservoir Dam before we spun around the south side of the reservoir and started climbing Old Santa Cruz Highway. Lots of thick forest surrounded this road as we climbed to Summit Road then headed south towards Soquel-San Jose Road. We are almost on top of a ridge line as we cruised together. At the turn, Claus rolled over an object that destroyed his tire. He had to walk back to a general store about half a mile and hitch a ride back to the hotel to get his spare bike. Claus rejoined the group back at the store later. We all flew down Soquel-San Jose about 5 miles before the road stopped due to a recent wash out from the winter rains, light traffic made the descent even better. We started back up the climb and spread out along the way. Tony hit a pothole and fell in the back of the group, a number of folks stopped to help bandage Tony up. Most of us did not know Tony fell and the really fast guys were already on their way to climb Mt Bache Road to Loma Prieta Peak. It was warming rapidly, the climb was tough and the road surface not good. I rode with Bob P and Paul P. We saw Rick B blow by us, he had kept a very conservative pace in the early part of the ride; this was his one push for the day.

The fast guys came back towards us while we were still climbing. We finally got to the top, great views all around. Now for the dangerous descent and stop at the store. Everyone regrouped at the nice patio in front of the general store. Much needed water and food were consumed. Claus rode up on his other bike, ready to keep riding. Eventually everyone headed back north on Summit Road and descended back down Old Santa Cruz Highway toward the reservoir. Geoff served up some more pain with a 5+ mile climb up Soda Springs Road. It was now very hot and the 8% average grade sapped out the last bit of energy. Some guys skipped this climb or only rode up part way. I rode slowly and kept an eye out for possible water stops, I was about empty. I finally got close to the top when the fast guys came back towards me. At the top I rested a minute before Len pulled up too. We descended together for the first 1.5 miles, I turned into a driveway and found a hose to get some needed water. Paul P was also descending when I got back on the road. The descent was fast. We found Sheehan climbing up, he was going to make it to the top, hogwash. We also found Tony making his way up, tough guy. Paul and I got back to the reservoir and swept up Bill W who was on his way back to the hotel. We all survived Day 1 of the MC trip–only 60 miles but almost 7,900 feet of climbing. The pool never felt so good, a few beers took off the edge and we all still managed to rendezvous at Grill 57 for dinner. The restaurant was just across the street and the family style food was delicious; they provided plenty of dishes for us to consume. Dave Ernst was late to the trip but he made dinner and was planning to ride the Mt Hamilton climb set for Saturday. After dinner we met back at the pool to go over the planned ride and hand out car assignments for the drive to San Jose. It was time for bed!

Day 2 brought forth the aches and pains of Day 1, another lousy breakfast at the hotel and Mt Hamilton. We drove over in assigned vehicles, based on how long we planned to ride, to Penitencia Creek Park, a community park in San Jose. Voris led the group to Alum Rock Park before we got to the start of the 18 mile climb up Mt Hamilton. The climb is up and down, so really three long climbs to get to the observatory. We spread out on the road, it got warmer. You could see the observatory on top from a long distance away as you switched back through the trees to reach the final pitch. It was a hard climb. Geoff and Voris had discovered a nice table and "park" setting behind the main building on their recon ride. We regrouped there, caught our breath and drank lots of water. The big studs left to ride the east side of the mountain where the temperatures were even hotter. The brochure gave great details on where to turn around and how far down the main descent would be to the turn. A number of riders declined to look over the east side edge. My car mates were all planning to ride the full route. Paul P had to leave early on Sunday so this was his last day to ride; same story for Ernst. I finally worked up the courage to head down. I only made it 2.5 miles and could see the curvy roads winding farther down. It was hot now and I knew every second I sped down was a lot more time to get back to the top. The descent back had two climbs, so that weighed on my mind as well. I stopped, took a few more photos and made the decision that it was time to go back. The short climb back to the top was tough. I assumed the guys that were not planning to go to the east side were out ahead of me, I start the descent back down the west side. Just as I hit the first corner, I saw Bill Wood on his final turn to the observatory. I waved and kept rolling. The smooth roads were magical to descend, traffic was light and I quickly went down the first 7 miles. The climb was short and painful with more fun descending. This was repeated a few times until I got back to Alum Rock Park where I decided to spin an extra loop. I finally made it back to the parking lot where the cars were. I rode only 55 miles and 6,500 feet of elevation. John M and I were the first to arrive. The groups of riders came back over the next hour, some made it all the way to the bottom of the east side–over 60 miles and 8,000 of climbing, others were happy to have made it to the top. We left as the cars filled up to get food and drive back to the Los Gatos Lodge.

The pool was inviting and Oleg brought out a few of his beers. For some reason we do not drink lots of beer after our MC rides…..think we are all too exhausted. Everyone recovered enough to stroll back into downtown for a group dinner at Gardino’s Ristorante Italiano. Geoff had picked a great restaurant. Unfortunately, they "lost" our reservation and did not know we were coming. Geoff used his magic and the restaurant moved tables around so our large group could fit. They came through big time with lots of great family style eats, from calamari to pastas to great meats. We made sure Claus did see not our plates with food still available, we all got to eat plenty. The stroll back to the hotel helped settled the awesome dinner to make room for the ice cream social. We all relaxed in the pool area and enjoyed the treats organized by Bernie and Dave Ernst, thanks guys.

The activity level picked up quite a bit on Sunday morning. Everyone had to pack up and check out before the ride. Bags were left in the bike trailer and we all spun out for the Day 3 ride. Geoff and Voris had us back in the redwood trees for the ride. We cruised around the Lexington Reservoir again and climbed Old Santa Cruz Highway before splitting off on Mt Charlie Road. Voris planned to lead the "long" ride group while Geoff marshaled the shorter route group. The long group had the expected suspects–Larry, Neil, Bernie, Oleg, Claus and Voris. Somehow Bob P, Len and I managed to stay with this group as we rode into Felton. Voris explained that the rest stop location was the store on the corner. Len was wise enough to head for the store and wait for the other group. Bob P and I called an audible and we changed our initial riding plans; we stayed with the Voris group. We had to persuade Bob to come. He and I were beginning to regret our decision while climbing Jamison Creek; it was a tough climb. We actually asked Voris if we should turned around and just go back to meet up with the shorter group. Voris helped keep our determination strong.

We finally made it to the top and cruised over towards Felton Empire. This 3-4 mile descent made all the pains of the earlier climbs worth it. We all flew down a smooth, curvy road that splits a redwood forest. The trees were so thick that is was actually pretty dark; scary, spooky, cool. It was awesome! We regrouped at the New Leaf Community Market, all organic food inside! The other group had come and gone about 20 minutes ahead of us. We relaxed on the patio tables and caught our breath before the last climb of the day. Geoff warned us that Zayante would be a tough climb. It was warm when Neil and I got out from the store first. He spun ahead and I tried to give him turn instructions from the top. He was way out front, made a few wrong turns but still got home to the hotel safely. The rest of the guys caught me and we rode up together. Bob P fell back a bit so I told everyone to head back, I would wait for Bob. I waited and waited. Bob finally came around the last corner slowly pedaling his square wheels; at the top he got off his bike and onto his back. After a few minutes rest, Bob and I headed back along Summit. Voris did not want to leave anyone behind so he and the rest of the guys had been waiting for us a mile or so up the road. We were now all back together, except Neil who was finding a new route to the hotel. We rode back to the hotel, tired yet exhilarated from the ride. It was 65 miles and almost 8,000 feet of climbing, a fitting end to a great cycling weekend.

Some of the guys were already gone, on their way to the airport. Claus and I changed into our swim suits and set about lashing all the bikes & equipment back into the U-haul trailer. It was hot, sweaty work. We closed the trailer and jumped in the pool before a quick change into driving clothes. We got on the road by 3:30 pm. Traffic was fairly light and we made it through Los Angeles ok. It was a long trip but we still made it home before midnight. We both crashed into bed. I got up early to unload the bikes from the trailer. Claus came over and we returned the trailer to U-Haul….mission complete.

A couple of folks commented on the trip. Denise said, "This being my first Monster Climbs trip and hearing about it for a decade, it was all that I expected and more. Everyone was so inviting and encouraging and really brought out the team camaraderie each day. The climbs did earn the "Monster" name for me, and the family style dinners were a highlight after a long hard day on the bike. The club is truly a group of friends and I am glad to be part of it."

Hodges also noted that he thought the Mt Hamilton climb was epic and he wants to do it again. He thought the Soda Springs climb was brutal, misses the epic nature of the Sierras and believes that Claus was the "man of the trip", great riding Claus. Mike also enjoyed the Italian food and thought it was great that we all came from so far to see Dave V and Geoff! Below is a photo Mike took by Lexington Reservoir. The link is to the photos I took on the trip. Look forward to MC XII in 2018.

https://goo.gl/photos/NdtJ4MuB5NwoduCT8

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Alpine Beatdown Ride Report

Alpine Beatdown Ride Report-22 July 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bob P, Farkas, Len, Bernie and Rob

We expected warm weather on the Alpine ride. I met Bob at the corner of Black Mountain Road and the 56 bike path, we pedaled together over to the 7-11 store to meet the rest of the gang. Alpine in July, how many riders would show? Len came just before 8 am; I proposed we consider a different route if no one else showed. We were surprised to see Mike Farkas roll up, he hates Highway 67; too much fast traffic. Mike had a MTB race on Sunday, this was just a planned SPP spin. Bernie rolled up and we were even more surprised since he was supposed to be riding Nine Mile Meadow and Sherman Pass. He explained that a fire in the area delayed the race until another date. Looks like we had a small crew ready to tackle Alpine.

Mike led us up SPP, I fell off the pace. My legs were heavy after my hiking in the Sequoia National Park, so I just spun to the top. Bob was already sweating heavily and said he was not feeling well. Farkas spun back down SPP, Bob went over and then down Poway Grade and we were left with just 3 riders–me, Bernie and Len. We went down 67 and experienced why Farkas hates the road so much. The road crews have cut in the side bumps all along the descent and in some cases, cut off any shoulder we had to ride in, now it was even more dangerous to ride the road. We made it safely to the bottom and rode over to Lakeside. There was no Neil to join us, so the three of us rode to Olde Highway 80. I proposed skipping Dehesa but adding Quail Canyon loop. Len said he wanted to get in the miles up Dehesa and Bernie was open to anything. Bernie and Len dusted me on the way past Flinn Springs Park, they waited for me at the I-8 underpass. It was getting warmer and the humidity was high. My legs were not feeling the fun.

As we came to Harbison Canyon, I explained that I was skipping Dehesa and riding up South Grade Road and over to the regular store stop for water. I assured them they would catch me on 67 after I added the Quail Canyon loop. Bernie and Len rode away while I pootled up South Grade. I made it over to the CVS store for some much needed water and a coke. I finally got motivated to head back, turned onto Hawley Road and climbed up to Broad Oaks. These large houses with great views are on the ridge above El Monte, the road we ride to El Capitan Reservoir. I spun west to hit Quail Canyon and looped around the east side of Lake Jennings, then back to our usual route that hits the dreaded climb back up highway 67.

It was not very hot and I slowly spun up the road. After a quick stop to take a photo of San Vicente Reservoir, I made my way toward the corner of SPP. Bernie came up from behind and we rode together to the light. Len closed the gap and made the light too. We descended together down SPP, my plan was to stop at the Subway for more water. Bernie was buying coffee at the store on Community. He and Len turned to Stowe Road while I spun to Subway. After a nice, long water break I rode to the bottom of Black Mountain Road and climbed to the 56 bike path, making it home with about 68 miles of riding and 5,900 feet of climbing. Bernie got home with about 71 miles. It was a hot one but lots of fun, really. Below are a few photos.

Posted in Local Ride Reports