RSF, Del Dios & HVR Ride Report

RSF, Del Dios & HVR Ride Report-17 June 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Rick W, Bill W, John M, Guido, Larry, Peter P, Bernie, Hodges, Claus, Neil, Eric R, Sheehan, Bob P and Rob

Last weekend to train for the Monster Climbs trip. We had a good group out for our Saturday sufferfest, most met up at the Blk Mtn corner to start. We picked up Eric R and Sheehan at CDS, then Bob P met us closer to his Santaluz house. The weather was nice and warming quickly. We stayed as a group down Three Witches and over toward Stud Loop. Rick W picked up the pace since he was bailing early. He said his good-byes at the start of the loop.

Eric R hit out fast on Stud Loop, I followed his wheel. We were quickly swallowed up by Larry, Neil and Bernie. Everyone regrouped before riding Del Dios. The group spread out along the climb. We spotted Tony and Patrick O. flying down Del Dios doing a local ride. Most riders turned onto Lake Drive with some staying on S6 to connect over to Via Rancho Parkway. We all cruised to the gas station by the mall for a water break.

Things split wildly from there. Hodges got in his dirt fix by riding Mule Hill to HVR. The rest rode over the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge. We saw Monica Taylor just finishing her MTB ride and gave her a hardy greeting. After the lake, John M and Peter P headed back toward PQ on W. Bernardo Dr. We rode over the freeway and turned onto HVR. Guido continued going straight along Pomerado and back to PQ.

We still had 10 riders climbing HVR. The group spread out on the climb with Larry and Neil setting the pace. We regrouped at Archie Moore. Bill W and Sheehan were still climbing when most of the guys headed out on a "civil" pace to the top of HVR. Sheehan and Bill W descended back down HVR to get home after they finished the climb. Eric, Bob P and I took Archie Moore Road to get back to highway 67. We cruised along 67, descended Poway Grade and took Twin Peaks back toward 4S.

I split from them at Bernardo Center Drive and climbed up behind Black Mountain to get back home. Short loop, only 56 miles, nice pace for me, about 17 mph, with some good climbing. Looks like the group is ready to tackle the routes Geoff and Dave Voris have planned for us this upcoming week. The link below shows some photos of the ride.

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DeLuz Loop Ride Report

DeLuz Loop Ride Report-27 May 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Marisa & Andrey, Rick & Denise, Jason, John M, Hodges, Tony, Bill Wood and Rob

I drove over to Spring Meadow to pick up Mike Hodges before heading north on I-15. We spotted a Descenders kit near the driving range by Jesmond Dene Road on our way to Gopher Canyon; it was Bill Wood. He had landed from Australia the day before and was riding to meet us. All the riders met at the small parking area off the freeway; Bill soon rolled up to join us. We had one new guest riding with us, Jason. He is cut from a similar cloth as Garet, Jim W, Todd, Oleg and Andrew–our 40ish year-old strong rider contingent with a young family. Jason is a local boy, a graduate of RB high school and also lives in RB. He is a strong rider and will soon join the club, coming to as many rides as his family responsibilities allow. Some of you other young bucks need to come out and push the pace with him. He was out front or near the front all day.

We rode north and started the Circle R climb. This DeLuz route is another of the brainchild’s created by Tony. He, Guido and I first scouted out this loop last fall, we have ridden it once on a group ride and most recently on a Skive Ride. It was still new terrain to some of the riders on Saturday. We regrouped at the turn to West Lilac and spun along, past the Daisy Deli and started up Couser Canyon. Denise, who has been riding very well, led us up the climb. We sped down the fun descent and regrouped at highway 76. After a quick turn we hit Rice Canyon. Hodges had pootled up Couser so he could now pace me and Jason up Rice. We kept up a brisk pace and regrouped just past the top. Quickly behind us were Rick and Denise, the rest soon followed.

Lots of new roads ahead for some. We rode north and dropped into Temecula where we got our first water stop at the gas station. Tony led us on some side roads to get to the west side of I-15 via the Santiago Road bridge. This is where Bill Wood turned off as he was heading to meet his wife for brunch, nice call. The rest of us rode to Rancho California Road. Denise pulled me and the group for the first mile. I went finally around and climbed, with Jason just behind me, up the final switchbacks and over across the top. We descended down to DeLuz Road to regroup. The next 10+miles were the quiet roads of DeLuz, through the vineyard areas and orchards. Lots of descending and a few biting ascents. The roads were covered with wide oaks, sometimes creating a nice tunnel of road, some beautiful scenery. The views were spectacular and everyone raved about the cool route. After a sharp descent we did the final 1.5 mile climb up into Bonsall. Hodges went to the liquor store and bought a huge 2-liter bottle of coke, we all shared it and regrouped before heading down Mission Road.

Tony led us onto Olive Hill Road, which looped around and then descended down toward highway 76, more fun roads to ride. We needed another water break at the gas station on the corner. The group split from here, with Tony, Hodges, Jason and Rob heading to the West Lilac Road climb and the rest of the group going straight to Camino Del Rey and back to the start. We climbed up to the bridge and sped along back to retracing our ride down Circle R. Tony and Hodges split, staying on Lilac towards Valley Center while Jason and I rode back to the cars. The early group was gone, they had ridden about 65 miles. We got in 70 miles and 6,400 feet of climbing. Tony got home with about 85 miles and Hodges pulled a Century, nice riding boys. Below is a link to some photos from the ride.

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Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride Report

Oceanside & Sleeping Indian Ride Report-20 May 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Hodges, Guido, Tony, Andrew, Rick W, Andrey, Marisa, Larry, Bernie and Rob

As I made my way up the bike path to meet the group, I had my first John M sighting of the day; he was heading westbound on the path. As we passed, he said he was getting a head start; at least a 10 minute head start based on when we usually roll. The group met at the corner and headed for the coast. The pace was under control until we hit PCH, then the accelerations began. The group was split at various times but mostly regrouped at the lights. Guido was saving his knee and turned at La Costa. Andrew looked strong during some of the accelerations but he was building up his base mileage gradually; he turned at La Costa too.

Andrey pushed to catch the wheel on a number of occasions of the fast flying lead group; many were spit out the back and fell a bit behind as we made our way towards Carlsbad. Rick W, Larry and Bernie pushed hard after the light by the water treatment plant; I managed to hide in the back. They pulled me into the crowded roads of downtown Carlsbad; lots of cars and walkers. The four of us made a light before the Army-Navy School and cruised into Oceanside. Rick pulled away at the beach and I was left to get him. He pulled me past the pier before I lost his wheel. I managed to get back to him near the bike path as there was a beach soccer tournament so car traffic was heavy; it was just the two of us on our way to the harbor finish. Rick led out, we dodged a few cars. One almost turned to street park right into Rick. I made my move to the left and went around the car while Rick had to stop. I pushed hard on the last two turns, I was going to make it to the turnaround first! I quickly tired and then felt a presence from behind, Rick must be catching me….that was when Larry blew my me. He had to close a huge gap to catch us, impressive. I slowed so much that Rick W finally did pass me just before the end of the harbor road.

We all regrouped at the bathroom to decide who was riding back down the coast and who was heading inland. Hodges had to go get his packet for BWR, he convinced Andrey and Marisa to join him. Rick and Larry headed back down the coast while Tony, Bernie and I headed for Sleeping Indian. Bernie pulled us on the San Luis Rey Trail and River Road to start the climb. As we started up Sleeping Indian, I had my second John M sighting. He was coming down, waved, blew by us and kept going. Bernie climbed strong while Tony and I swept. It was quite a bit warmer inland and we stopped for water after the Morro Hill descent. We cruised along Little Gopher Canyon to make our way up Twin Oaks Valley; that was a tough biting riser. We regrouped multiple times with Bernie patiently waiting for us. He pulled us south toward Cal State San Marcos and along Barnum Road to Escondido.

Tony split for home while Bernie and I headed down Centre city Parkway to the mall, then over the Lake Hodges freeway bridge. Bernie headed to Pomerado while I pootled along Bernardo Center and then behind Black Mountain to home. I finally got there with 86 miles of riding and about 3,700 feet of climbing; pales in comparison to the 100 mile ride Bernie completed or the 130+ mile rides the BWR guys did the next day–way to go Hodges and Claus. I know Quoc did part of the ride while Ernest did the Wafer ride; all great efforts.

The link below is to photos of the ride.

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Tour of California, Mt Baldy Ride Report

Tour of California, Mt Baldy Ride Report-18 May 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Oleg, Hodges, Bill & Peggy Braamse, Neil B (Rancho rider), Bernie, Todd, Len and Rob

The Tour of California was again tackling Mt Baldy. I did a quick check of the previous years ToC rides we have done based on my photo library. Descender group rides have previously gone to Mt Baldy to watch the pro race in 2011, 2012 and 2015. 2017 marks the fourth time we have climbed Baldy to watch the pros. We have also watched this race from other vantage points–Mt Palomar, Mountain High, Dawson Saddle and a start in San Diego. This was the Queen stage of the week long race and expected to be another great adventure ride for the Descenders. We met early at the North County Mall and loaded up in three cars to drive to Glendora. Traffic was heavy and with a quick stop for a bite to eat, we did not make it to the George Manooshin Park until after 8:30 am. It was a bright, sunny and cool day at the start.

We pedaled along East Sierra Madre Ave for less than a mile before we hit the start of the climb up Glendora Mountain Road. The group eventually strung out on the climb with Oleg, Bernie, Todd and Rob riding to the first stop at Glendora Ridge Road, 10 miles up the mountain. Neil rode ahead of us but looped back. We descended down GMR; Oleg, Bernie and Neil went all the way to the bottom while Todd and I turned around after a beautiful smooth, curvy descent of 3 miles. We climbed back up with Hodges and Bill joining us as they turned around from their shorter descent. Back at the corner of GRR, we started the 12 mile climb to our lunch viewing spot. GRR is an awesome climb as well, not nearly as steep as GMR. There were lots of other riders on the road, it was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

The regroup spot was close to one of the KOM signs, just up from Baldy Village. There were a few concessions providing food and drink. The crowds were thick, bikes up against the side of the road. We went down from the KOM signage about 100 yards to get a viewing spot above Mt Baldy Road. The pro race started down in Ontario at noon with a pretty direct climb up through San Antonio Heights. Eventually the breakaway group of riders could be seen climbing up the road, they made the turn onto GRR and climbed towards us. Two racers were flying to capture points at the KOM with a group of about a dozen leaders leading the race. The rest of the peloton rode by, along with all the support cars and motos. After the race headed down GRR, we all tried to get the legs going again for the brutal climb to the ski lift finish.
It is not that long of a climb, only about 4 miles from the village, but it is a very challenging road with lots of elevation gain, steep gradient and lots of switchbacks. The crowd of riders made their way toward the top. There were lots of folks parked along the sides of the road, a good deal of partying was underway. I suffered mightily on my slow slog to the top. It was sunny and nice at the top. We parked our bikes about 100 yards from the race finish and walked along to visit the many booths on the finishing stretch. The huge television screen was broadcasting the race so we got to watch the last 25 kilometers of racing up the same roads we had just climbed earlier in the day, very cool. Our viewing spot was overlooking the final three switchbacks of the race. We watched from the big screen the attacks at the start of the final 2 mile climb, it was down to four riders in the last kilometer: Andrew Talansky, Rafal Majka, George Bennett and Ian Boswell. It was still anyones race.

Talansky had a better line and position on Majka on the final turn right in front of us; he won the stage by a bike length over Majka, followed by eventual GC winner, George Bennett in third place for the stage. Great race and finish. The podium action commenced almost immediately while other riders finally made it to the finish. Riders grabbed a drink and/or jacket for the steep descent back down to the team buses in the Baldy Village. Len and I had kept our bikes on the far side of the finish ramp so we had to wait for all the riders to finish before we could get back to our bikes. Other Descenders had taken their bikes to our viewing spot so they worked their way back down when the roads opened. Bernie and Todd waited for me and Len.

The four of us cruised down the steep sections and climbed back up to the KOM spot where we had our lunch break hours before. It was a sharp rise, making the speed of their riding up it earlier even more impressive. The 22 mile ride back along GRR and GMR was awesome, it was mostly down and provided great views as we flew down the curvy roads. Bernie did the lion share of the work on point. I dropped a water bottle when I hit a hole, Bernie waited to help pull me back to the group. I hit the front for a bit on some of the last sections of descent but it was too fast for me. Todd and Bernie flew by me while I backed off the pace; some of the tight radius turns were a bit much for this wimp. My Garmin also died with about 5 miles of descending to go so I lost another incentive to push the pace; I cruised to the bottom. Bernie was waiting for us at the corner. Len was still a bit behind so Bernie waited while I pedaled back to the park. I had the car keys for my guys who were waiting.

We loaded up, had a cold drink from the cooler and said our good-byes; every car was on its own to drive back to San Diego. Our car stopped for a much needed food break at the In-Out Burger in Corona and got back to the mall about 8:15 pm, long day but well worth it. Our ride was just over 60 miles with almost 9K of climbing. The guys who went all the way down to the San Gabriel River got in 5 more miles and an other 1K of climbing. The link below has photos of the ride and racing.

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Lake Wohlford & Couser Canyon Ride Report

Lake Wohlford & Couser Canyon Ride Report-13 May 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Bernie, Rick B, Jim W, Rick W, Neil, Eric R, Dave Sheehan and Rob

What is wrong with the first picture? You are looking at only "A" team riders at the start; A team plus me. I was in big trouble. I pedaled over to the mall from PQ. Hodges told me he was coming so I was hopeful that someone would ride my pace; he did not show. Sheehan was not at the start, I got some temporary good news later in the ride. As I rode up to the group, Larry Murray was also there, resplendent in his new Ranchos kit. Larry said he was over saying hi to his "homies"….then he went back to start the Ranchos ride. I know the Ranchos ride hard, kind of surprised Larry did not think about riding with the Descenders on this Saturday, the A team looked pretty good.

We rolled out a few minutes after the Ranchos left, I was still hoping Hodges would show. I started burning matches on the climb up Mary Lane. I held onto Eric’s wheel as best I could while the rest of the guys went well away from us. The pace over to the start of Wohlford was civil, but still work for me. We hit the start of the climb and I was quickly dropped. I kept Eric in my sights and caught up to him at the 2-mile mark. We all regrouped at Lake Wohlford, where my good news awaited. Sheehan had some early mechanical issues so he got dropped off and rode up in front of us. I now had someone I could ride with, or so I thought. Lake Wohlford looked good, lots of water and it was still very green.

Rick W hammered out from the lake, everyone was strung out on the way to Woods Valley. Sheehan was up near the front; I struggled to hold on at all. We did a quick regroup at the turn and then hit it hard. I somehow was on point when Sheehan said let’s go. I pulled for a bit and then quickly retreated to the back. The pace was furious,32-33 mph along Woods Valley. I thought about getting my camera out to capture the beauty of the 7-man paceline in front of me, but I would have lost pace before getting the photo. Near the end of Woods Valley, Sheehan stuck his nose out and then Eric & Rick B hammered for the corner. I was pretty far back so not sure who got their first, looked like a tie to me. We spun along into Valley Center and then to Lilac, past Daisy Deli and to the start of Couser. I was riding now with Sheehan at a much more civil pace. We climbed Couser, chatting about various family updates; at the top Dave said he was turning around to get to Old Castle Road. I was bummed since I was losing Sheehan and now had to push to get back with the A team riders. I flew down Couser, but not too fast; very scary for me. The guys were patiently waiting for me on the corner of highway 76 at the end of Couser.

Bernie led Eric and me along highway 76, the other guys were a bit slow to restart the ride and were just behind. I cut through the neighborhood ahead of the guys as they waited for some traffic to clear before turning. I thought about staging for a good group photo up the Old 395 Highway climb so pedaled fast to get ahead. I saw no one behind me so just kept up my pace. I looked back about halfway up the climb and saw a few riders well back, at least they were finally coming. I could see the final curve ahead. I was almost to West Lilac Road at the top when Neil and Rick B caught me, at least I made them work for it. Jim W caught up as we hit the overpass bridge. They were flying towards the planned campground rest stop. At one point, Rick, Jim and Neil all were giving their best "Chris Froome" impersonation, lying on the top tube, head at the handlebars. Another great opportunity for a photo, but I was working to stay just behind them. We got the RV Park and had a nice water break.

I knew I was the weakest of the riders so I rode out early while the guys enjoyed a bit longer of a break. The section from the campground, past the Lawrence Welk Resort to the corner of Mountain Meadow is always tough for me; long, straight and slightly uphill most of the time. I left early enough to barely hold off Neil and Rick B. They were breathing hard when they got to the corner. We regrouped and spun straight to downtown Escondido at a fast pace. The accelerations on Centre City Parkway were brutal. Eric was trying to tell me the story about his son’s upcoming prom date, it was too fast to even chat. The pace did not slow until we got back towards the mall. Bernie turned to ride over the freeway. It looked like he finally caught up to Sheehan on Pomerado when I saw the Strava fly-bys. Dave was ahead of us by 5 minutes or so the entire way down Old 395, we were at our water break when he came out of Old Castle Road. I pedaled back to where the cars were parked and bid adieu. Rick W & Jim rode out and I followed toward the pedestrian bridge. Lake Hodges looked even more full and very green. Rick turned left after the bridge while Jim and I rode toward PQ. I planned to stop at the gas station at RB Road, I was tired and needed to slow down; Jim was continuing to push the pace. He climbed up RB Road while I decided to head over West Bernardo Road. We both rode behind Black Mountain to home. I got in 77 miles and 5,400 feet of climbing. It was a great training ride for Monster Climbs, less than 5 weeks left to get in shape. Below is a link for the photos I was able to take during the ride.

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Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report

Five Faces of Soledad Ride Report–6 May 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Claus, Tony, Guido, Andrew, Hodges, John M, Jim W, Oleg, Len, Ernst and Rob

The start of the group ride coincided with the 5 km fun run for the PQ Festival. As I rode up the bike path toward the Black Mountain Road corner, hundreds of runners came down the hill towards me. I slowly made my way through the throng and got to the top. We started with a group photo under the banner. There were still some late-starting runners in front of us as we rode west. We picked up Oleg and Jim W on the bike path and continued on a steady pace towards the coast. It was a cloudy, cool day with rain in the forecast. We made it to Torrey Pines, I took an #obligatorrey photo of the group and caught Oleg taking his own #obligatorrey picture. The group climbed outside TP and regrouped at the top.

After a banana break, we pedaled along heading for La Jolla. Andrew, who was still on the recovery train, bailed to head down Genesee Ave back toward home. We spun past UCSD and down by the Scripps Oceanography Pier to La Jolla Shores. Guido bailed at Calle Del Oro and headed back to PQ. The fun of Soledad was still ahead. We did the usual Oleg routes up Hillside Drive to the top where we met Ernst and Len, the group was getting bigger. Sy was there and he took the group photo at the memorial cross. After a fast descent down Nautilus Street, we climbed back up Country Club, stopping for a photo overlooking the shores. John M left the group after two climbs while the rest of us went down for the third climb back up.

Oleg was preparing for a beer party at his house so he left us after the third climb. We faced Pacifica Drive next, the fourth face. The group got strung out a bit, I was near the back pedaling up with Len. He left at the top of Soledad Mountain Road to get back to his job site, the man does not know what retirement is; working machine. There were about 6 of us left to climb Via Valverde, things were really starting to hurt. We caught back up to Tony near the top, he skipped the fifth climb. Hodges was heading toward downtown, so Ernst led us down Via Capri, back up Calle Del Oro, through UCSD campus and down Torrey Pines. He pedaled off towards Carmel Valley while Tony, Claus, Jim and I pootled along the bike path. Jim and I were almost done. Claus and Tony had to get back to Poway and beyond, dark clouds loomed on the horizon.

Jim hammered the section between Carmel Valley Road and CDS, I hid on his wheel. Claus and Tony caught up to us at the light. I peeled off and got home with 60 miles and 5,300 feet of climbing. Jim finished with about the same. Claus got in another century while Tony had a flat in RB and called to get home; at least he missed the rain. It was a fun and painful Five Faces of Soledad, a few photos are in the link below.

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Alpine Loop Ride Report

Alpine Loop Ride Report-1 April 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Jim W, Rick W, Tony, Hodges, Len, Neil and Rob

It was a cool morning and the turn-out for the ride looked to be only 5 riders at the Garden Road start. I was my usual late self getting going, so I sped along Poway Road to get to the 7-11store in time. Hodges was even later and he had to go through his medical update again so we knew what to do if he fell and explain that he was riding downtown on the way back from Alpine. We immediately picked up one more rider, Len, as he was parking along Garden. I felt bad for Jim, Rick W was going to have to leave early, there was no one that could keep pace with Jim for what is normally a tough ride. We rode to SPP, Rick W and Jim took off on the climb and then we all regrouped at Highway 67. Hodges helped shepherd Tony much of the day. With Rick leaving at the bottom of 67, it was down to Jim on point with Len and I hiding as best we could. Hodges and Tony swept.

Good news for Jim came when we made the turn past El Capitan High School, we picked up Neil. Jim had someone to play with now! Those two kept up a fast pace over to Old Highway 80. I could not keep up and also watched Len spin away as well. Hodges and Tony swept. We regrouped at the I-8 underpass, a bit before the Harbison Canyon descent. Len had to go to a job site, so he reversed course. We were back down to 5 riders. I escaped off the front at the start of Harbison and got a good lead on the group; I thought for sure I would make it to the start of the Dehesa climb out in front. Not to be, Jim and Neil flew by me just ahead of the stop sign at the bottom. They motored up the climb, disappearing out of sight. I soloed Dehesa. Hodges and Tony swept.

We regrouped at the pharmacy store in Alpine. The three of us waited about 30 minutes for Hodges and Tony. They finally showed, a mechanical had slowed them down. The five of us headed back with Tony falling a bit behind along Old Highway 80. When we got back to Lakeside, Neil and Hodges headed straight while Jim and I turned to ride towards 67; Tony was not in sight. By the time we got to the bottom of 67, Tony was in front of us. He had taken the more direct route while we rode Willow Road and Moreno Ave to the climb. Jim had been pulling me along for quite some time, I told him to head off and I would pootle up 67 with Tony.

Jim sped off quickly. Tony and I climbed together for a bit before I went ahead. I stopped for a nice view of the very full San Vicente Reservoir and pedaled to SPP. Tony caught me just before the light. I had planned to stop at the Subway store along SPP for a water break so Tony joined me. We were both in need of a rest. We finally got enough motivation to pedal home. Tony turned north on Community Road while I headed to Black Mountain Road for a final climb back to the bike path. I made it home, 73 miles and 5,400 feet of climbing; a good ride. Below is a link with some photos.

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