Elfin Forest and Double Peak Ride Report

Elfin Forest and Double Peak Ride-8 April 2017

by Bernie Bogard

It was a nice, cool, cloudy morning as the group met at the corner of RB/Pomerado. Included were Andrey, Marissa, Rick W, Garet, his fast friend Justin, Claus, John M and Tony. Across the stunningly beautiful Lake Hodges, still with grown trees in the middle of a lake and lovely reflections. Pleasant pace up Valley Parkway to Bernardo where it was a little spirited up the hill, then skirting construction used an alternate route around a gate and headed to Elfin Forest. Seemingly appearing out of the heavens, Hodges was present before the cruise through the forest where Garet and Rick paced us until Rick melted his tire tube from the speed and flatted. Lots of mountain bikers in an organized race/ride coming our way. Painful ascent to town of Elfin Hills courtesy of Rick W. Hodges and others may have gone up Questhaven. Regroup and on our way to Double Peak with Rick W, Garet and Justin digging deep. Bill Braamse and his wife Peggy were already at the top, group took a break then said goodbye to Justin and Garet and headed to RSF. Onto Stud Loop where HODGES CAME ALIVE (after whining about "hurty knee" "don’t wait for me, hurty knee"). He and Bill were way out front of the group, Rick W and Claus also showing their strength. Just to show it wasn’t a fluke, Hodges trailed only Bill and Rick, heading up 3 Witches. The group left Claus to go get his 115 miles/8k feet at Camino Del Sur and the rest followed Bill north on CDS, to a quieter route through 4S to West Bernardo where more splits occurred as the group headed home. Yet another great day on the bike in San Diego.

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Oceanside, Sleeping Indian and Twin Oaks Valley Road Ride Report

Oceanside, Sleeping Indian and Twin Oaks Valley Road Ride Report-25 March 2017

by Bernie Bogard

The group started from 56/Black Mountain heading west to the coast. Rick W lead the group which included Jim W, Paul P, Flo, Bill, Andrey, Marissa, Hermann and Stephan. Jim led a painful push up the hills into Del Mar then some of the crew shared the load toward Oceanside ie Rick, Jim, Flo and Stephan. Stephan and Hermann dropped off at Starbucks. The remaining group gathered at the harbor, splitting into a group going back down the coast while Jim, Flo, Paul, Bill and I went to the 76 Bike path. After introducing Flo and Paul to Sleeping Indian (an audible gasp was heard from Flo upon his seeing that you’re not done after the "wall" that’s visible from the start of that portion), we followed our intrepid leader Jim down a hill leading us back down to Sleeping Indian. After thanking him for the opportunity to add some climbing to our coast ride we retraced our descent and got back on track, headed to Olive Hill. We said goodbye to Bill as we turned off Gopher Canyon to the rural Twin Oaks Valley road, with it’s own "wall". Pleasant ride through the north county followed until marred by a nasty trucker threatening the group along Twin Oaks Valley country portion. Altered the route a bit to go to Elfin Hills, RSF road to RSF to 3 witches where the remaining group split up at Camino Del Sur to head home. Jim definitely has gotten his legs back after limited miles for a while. Flo and Paul got introduced to a beautiful part of the county to ride bikes as well as having a bit of a work out from the looks of it. Yet another special day of Descenders riding. Congrats to the Dirty Devil participants, Hodges and Oleg that I could see.

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Lake Wohlford, Couser and Rice Canyon Ride Report

Lake Wohlford, Couser, Rice and Rainbow Ride Report-18 March 2017

by Bernie Bogard

A nice, cool morning greeted the group at North County Fair. Present were Rick W, Garret, Claus, Hermann and his friends Stephan and Stephan, Marisa, Andrey and myself. Tony was missing in action, late even though we nearly rode by his house and up Mary Lane. Rick led us up Mary Lane, we then journeyed to Wohlford where Stephan outpaced the group, waiting patiently at the top where we learned that Garret had been hit by the mirror of an aggressive truck, fortunately not injured. After a break, onto Woods Valley for a spirited sprint led out by the strong ones, not me. On through Valley Center to Couser, lost Bill, Marisa and Andrey who turned on West Lilac and made their way back . With Claus’s encouragement the rest of us went to Rice Canyon following a fun Couser descent toward 76, Then to Rainbow and the store by 395 where we fueled up for the ride home. The remaining group got split up and Rick, Claus and I headed through Escondido until Claus headed out Felicita to get to Del Dios and his 120+ miles. Rick and I made our way back to Poway. Fun day with nice people, just another Descenders ride.

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descenders Redlands Strada Rossa Ride 2017

Strada Rossa Ride Report-18 March 2017

by Mike Hodges

Strada Rossa – meaning red road – is a play on the name “Strada Bianche” the famed Italian Spring neo-classic race that traverses the while dirt lanes of Tuscany. Our very own red roads can be found nestling among the foothills of the San Bernardino mountain range around Redlands. The ride – not really a race, certainly not chipped or timed – starts at a the Ritual Brewery in Redlands and does a loop. The first 50 miles gives 60K elevation with about 2/3rds off road. Yep – have a think about that … its very hard, akin to Julian death March. Indeed I tried to bail out at this time but good thing I didn’t as the last 30 miles are a lot easier. See my Strava. I recall there was 8K of climbing at mile 80 so 30 miles with 2K climbing was relatively speaking easy peasy to what had come before. And its 2/3rds off road. The folks who organize the ride are the antithesis of BWR – they deliberately keep the prices down as rallying cry against the borzois highly priced races/rides that are now among us. Not sue they would like it by I group them all together as my Spring Classics i.e. Knowbly Kobly (ride was few weeks ago), Strada Rossa, Dirty Devil and BWR. This year I am doing the last three and next year will do all four.

So to the ride – or my experience thereof. There are three ride distances 90 64 and 30 – I was doing the 90. About 50 started on the 90 and were loosely off at a bit after seven and gently perambulated out the car park and immediately on the first dirt section. I had no idea of the ratio of dirt to road but had chosen to ride my X bike (35 knobblies at back and 27 slick on front – don’t ask … I should have put knowbies on the front also) having seen all the other racers do likewise. No one I could see was on 25 cc road bike and there were a few MTBs as well. This would actually be a great day out for a MTB – but who said cycling should be easy! We stayed on a flat dirt section for a few miles and went through orange orchards. The smell of citrus was amazing and this stimulant would accompany the riders on and off throughout the day for the many times we came upon an orchard. Guess our avocadoes don’t smell as nice as Redlands oranges. The first ten miles of flat dirt where neutral – a pace that had me breathing hard but not lung busting stupid like BWR. I followed a Kangaroo on a bike – actually that was the front marker who had a blow up kanga on his seat. The rider was bouncing along nicely (sorry).

The first climb (the first climb of many and they all became blurred) was steep and about ten minutes in length then everyone (except me) screamed down the back side – I walked and was dropped, though not sure if this counts as an official drop but I never saw the lead group again. I was now lost as the signs were painted red arrows on the ground and I was looking for signs in the trees (which were absent) – I missed the talk at the beginning as I was confident I would keep up which had quickly been shown to be a fallacy. After some backtracking I got back on the route and hooked up with three of the local club riders who were putting on the event and had downloaded GPS map route. Despite this our three locals got lost again – presumably the Kangaroo was leading the fast boys and girls without problem. After some alternate route jerry mongering we were back on the official route and climbing a slidey slipey gravely 11% grade which I think went to 16% (I was walking at that time). Climb went on for about 20 minutes. Then we made a lovely sweeping decent and back on to terra firma/tar mac …. For about ten minutes then back on the dirt. This repeated itself several times. In the BWR I love when we hit the dirt and miss it when we go back on the road. The opposite was taking place here – every road reconnection was a respite. Maybe the SR is truer to the Roubaix/Flanders paradigm?

Soon I was on my own as the three (2 guys and a lady) riders in the orange club kit left me. I was truly on my own now in the middle of nowhere, with no route map and dodgy signs – I was having a blast. The challenge of survival against the odds. Every so often I see my orange compadres in the distance. At one point I descended in to a dry river bed and walked the bike for five minutes – it was really nice to stretch and use different muscles. At the end of the river was my reward a 25% hike a bike climb to the top – latter I found out this was called “the Wall” – presumably the river bed is called” the great sandy dry river creek”. At the top was a multiple acre green Alpine meadow– the contrast between the light grey/red colors of the shale at the bottom of the dry river and the verdant nature of the Pampas was stark. Smooth red undulations were at the bikes disposal – I chuckled thinking of the name Strada Rossa. Had about 30 minutes riding to cross the green top and emerged to a road that had the 3-4 % gradient exposed heat grind – way in the distance I saw some oranges or was it my riders. The heat shimmered off the tarmac – glancing down at my Garmin doing the math …half way though… 4.5 hrs … do I have enough left in the tank to do this again? I got to some trees with shade and sat down to eat rice cakes – I had now eaten six of my allotted seven. It would be too risky to carry on for the full 90 so I decided that I would bail and do the 64. A few miles latter at the crest of the road climb I reached a sag stop (there were seven sags in total and they were all excellently staffed and supplied). My Garmin said 60 miles and nearly 7K of climbing. The Broom Wagon riders were there and informed me that they were doing the 64 which started later than the 90 and that if I came with them then I would de facto be on the 64 mile. Took me a while to work out that by “bailing” to the 64 I would end up doing the 90. At the time I thought it was an excellent idea so off we trouped. Next up we went into a managed park – again green with some trees and lots of lops and cuts backs. Can only be a few miles across but we were diving down and climbing short rizers for at least 30 mins. A nice river crossing as well but the piece de resistance was the view by the tree – take a look at the picture with the tree and my bike. It is an Alpine view with the snowcapped mountains in the background. When we popped out the park we had a ten mile slightly too fast for me descent with some ski sections thrown in – that’s how I braved it when we hit the sand traps I said this is just like skiing light hands hold the bike straight and don’t break.

The final 30 miles from the sag where I met the boom wagon were relatively easy compared to the fist 50-60. For one the pace slowed a bit as we picked up people from the 64 mile group. It was nice to be with riders as well and chatting about the land and what they do in the area – Oranges are a big thing to Redlands, suppose that’s why the club colors are just so. At the final sag stop – now 3 pm and quite hot there was a bit of a delay as one rider had a injury and needed some attention, I gallantly offered to go ahead and get the beers in (yes I was a bit impatient). After being chased by some bees – the ride goes straight through a bee colony – and crossing a river that was kneed deep – I promptly got lost. Only ten miles away and had to rely on Google maps to get me home via a monster climb to get my 8.5K climbing that had been posted as the 90 mile route metrics.

So, what was the ride about? Not sure – but I really want to do it again. It was beautifully different in many ways – the scene the vibe. Next year I will not knobblies on both tires and down load the map, plus will twist the arm of a descender to do the ride with me (Eileen, Rob, Bernie need not apply).

Should have been there.


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Mussey Grade & Pamo Ride Report

Mussey Grade and Pamo Ride Report-4 March 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Larry, Rick W, Hodges, Sheehan, Flo, Bernie, Hermann, Jeremy, Lou & Hyuan (new local riders), Cresap on Mussey Grade and Rob

There was no one at the 56 bike path corner, so I rode over alone to Spring Meadow to get Hodges. It was a brisk morning and Mike was putting on two sets of gloves. We cruised to the 7-11 store to meet the group. On the way there, while riding on Poway Road, Mike Farkas gave us a horn honk and a wave as he was driving westbound for his own biking event. The group was good sized at the start with lots of Descenders out for a group ride; we also had two new riders–Lou and Hyuan. Hodges gave us his medical update so we would be sure to not leave him on the side of the road after a crash with the potential for a bleed-out. After his medical education, we spun off for SPP.

Larry, Bernie, Rick W and Flo kept the pace civil on the climb to Highway 67. We regrouped at the top and were joined by Hermann & Jeremy; we now had 11 riders. The pace was quick along 67 and I fell off the back of the leaders. We all waited at the bend by Mount Woodson before heading fast to Mussey. Larry, Rick W, Flo, Bernie, Jeremy and Hermann sped along in a paceline. I was last man in the group while the others never made contact. They took the corner at Mussey and I continued to lose ground. I descended Mussey alone with Sheehan catching me right near the bottom. The lead guys were already climbing back up. Sheehan and I rode up Mussey together and were joined by Hodges and the new guys who rode up with us. We met Cresap at Mussey and the group got back together at Highway 67. Cresap and Sheehan had to bail so the rest of us kept up the paceline along Dye Road.

Hodges had volunteered to keep the new riders swept up while the rest of the group was off the front and on our way to Pamo. There were a number of riders who had never made the descent of Pamo so we discussed speed safety, especially on the off camber turns. The group sped safely down the descent and stopped where the road ends to enjoy the beautiful views. It was super lush and green in the valley; we almost hated to leave. Unfortunately, the steep ascent beckoned. We spread out on the climb and regrouped at the top.

I took one last photo of the guys who had made it to the top and had to ride on to get home. I decided to go down the Ramona Grade and up Bandy to HVR and loop around 4S, a more scenic route. The rest of the guys went back into Ramona to get water, retraced their ride along Dye Road and 67, before breaking up and going down SPP and other routes home. I got in 72 miles with 4,600 feet of climbing. I know Larry and Bernie were approaching 90+ miles by the time they got home. The early portions of the ride were fun and fast paced. My pootle home was slower, none-the-less a great day on the bike. Photos are in the link below.


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HVR & OJH Ride Report

Highland Valley & Old Julian Highway Ride Report-25 February 2017

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Jim W, Eric R, Bernie, Rick W, Dave (Rick’s friend from Tucson), Oleg, John M, Larry, Bill B, Garet, Justin (Garet’s friend), Len, Tony and Rob

It was a very brisk start to the day, just ask Oleg and Larry who rode to the start separately but were both on bikes before 7 am. Oleg noted a temperature in the low 30’s for his start and below 40 degrees until he got to the 8 am group start; it was cold for us wimpy CA boys. I rode off from PQ just after 7 am hoping to see Guido at the top of Black Mountain Road. I knew Proulx was traveling down under, having just finished his Australia Descenders ride with Bill Wood in Melbourne and posted to Strava already. No photos, but I am hoping for a short ride report! Guido did not show so I had to ride cold and alone to the corner of Pomerado.

There were a number of guys waiting for me when I arrived right at 8 am–Jim W, Eric R, Bernie, Rick W and his friend Dave were bundled up and ready to ride. Dave is a furniture maker who lives in Tucson, a very strong rider as you will see throughout this ride report. Oleg spun in a minute later; he had icicles on his beard; it was cold. John M had left to start the HVR climb just before I arrived, he was maintaining his parallel universe of riding. We left the corner at 8:05 am, according to fly-bys; all you other riders that joined later were simply late. This ride was definitely a Descenders group ride, if you could maintain an A-team pace. We did plenty of regrouping, but the pace was strong and I was off the back most of the day.

We rolled to HVR where Tony and Len were supposed to meet us, fly-bys showed that they were about 5 minutes late. We assumed they were ahead like John M so we started the flat sections of HVR. The pace picked up and I was burning matches to hide in the back. At the start of the climb I immediately lost contact and rode up solo, watching the group get farther ahead. We all passed a number of others climbing up HVR, including John M. I asked him about Tony & Len but he had not seen them. That was the last time I saw John for the day. After passing Bandy Canyon and up by Starvation Mountain, Larry M came up on my wheel. He had ridden from home but did not make the meeting corner in time. He chased us down and now pulled me along as we caught up to Eric R. I hit a pot hole in the road and lost a water bottle. Larry and Eric rolled on while I circled back to find my bottle. I continued up my solo assault of HVR. Near the Eagles Crest Road gate Bill B caught up to my wheel, he also left home late and was chasing us. We rode together to Mt Woodson Elementary and the regroup spot on the corner of Archie Moore Road. Soon after Garet and his friend, Justin, rode up; they also started late. We might have to reconsider our roll times for our 8 am group rides.

The large group rode the 3 mile flat section to 67 in a brisk pace, I was again burning matches to hold the paceline. At 67 we lost Oleg, Garet and Justin. They headed back down Highway 67; Garet and Justin hit Mina de Oró and High Valley while Oleg pedaled back home via SPP, getting in about 70 miles for the day. The remaining riders hit Dye Road in a fast paceline all the way to San Vicente Road and then to Hansen Road as we made our way to Old Julian Highway. Still no sign of Tony or Len.

As soon as we hit the start of the climb on OJH, I dropped off the back. The A team–Larry, Rick W, Dave, Eric R, Bill B, Jim W and Bernie–were off to the races. I rode solo up OJH, made time to take a few photos of the beautiful flowers in bloom, enjoy the bright blue skies and slightly warming temperatures. I finally crested the last bit of the climb and planned to ride to the end of OJH. Bernie and Tony were planning to add Mesa Grande and Palomar to the ride so I thought Bernie would be at the corner waiting for Tony. The A team was coming back towards me, including Bernie. By the time I slowed and turned around they are gone; I tried in vain to close the gap and find a wheel; I rode down OJH solo. Just before getting back to the corner at the bottom, I see Tony and Bernie just starting the climb. Bernie on his second repeat! They rode to Santa Ysabel, over Mesa Grande, up East Grade, down South Grade and over to Cole Grade before getting back home via Escondido. Bernie clocked in 125 miles for the day and Tony completed a century; both are mental, real cycling studs and masochistic. Those are epic rides.

The rest of us mere mortals regrouped just past the corner and rolled to Ramona for a water break. Len was with us but quickly rolled towards the Ramona Grade to get back to Tony’s house, he had a crew working on the backyard. The next Descenders social should be at Tony’s–his new yard is looking good! After a short break and taking a few jabs about my new white shoes, we rode back towards Dye Road. These group pacelines were painful but fun. Jim W offered a brief respite along Dye with a flat that we quickly fixed. I somehow was dumb enough to be second wheel behind Rick W for the last mile of the ride to the light at 67. We flew through the light, Eric R headed straight down HVR and I immediately lost contact with the A team.

They pedaled on and I rode solo along Highway 67. Some of the guys went down SPP to get home while others dropped down Poway Grade. I was so far behind, only Fly-bys gave me their route info. My pace slowed as I pootled on Twin Peaks and back along the 56 bike path to home. I got in 69 miles and 4,400 feet of climbing. It finally warmed a bit as I headed back into PQ. Great group ride, fast paced and good fun. The link below shows a few of the photos I took.


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Elfin Forest and Double Peak Ride Report

Elfin Forest & Double Peak Ride Report–12 Feb 2017by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Neil R, Rick B, Flo, Bernie, Claus, Ernst, Bob P, Sheehan, Bryan Jones, Garet, Ran, Neil (from the Ranchos), John M, Bill & Peggy Braamse and Rob

The group ride was delayed from its usual Saturday time slot to Sunday due to the on-going wet Saturdays we have experienced this winter. The shift to Sunday was a great call as the weather was clear, roads were dry and we were able to bring out a large number of Descenders for the group ride. I rode over from PQ and met Bob P at the top of Black Mountain Road. Bob was getting ready for an upcoming business trip and had not been riding much, so he planned to skip Double Peak. He pulled me to the start where we met the group on Pomerado.

We all spun together, over the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge, and onto Via Rancho Parkway. The lake continues to fill with all the rain; there were lots of egrets in view from the bridge. The group rode up to Bill and Peggy Braamse before getting to the light at Felicito. They were out ahead of us and planned to climb Double Peak as well. Bill planned to take a few short-cuts with Peggy to stay close to the group. Most of us turned onto Bernardo Ave, taking our usual back route towards Harmony Grove. Due to the recent road work, we looped back towards Eucalyptus Ave, descending to Del Dios Highway. We regrouped on the corner of Citracado Parkway and then we all sped off towards Elfin Forest. I snuck out front as we hit Harmony Grove Road but was quickly mopped up by the group. Sheehan flew by, mumbling, "Hogwash"under his breath and took the point. He held pace as long as he could before falling back. The group basically stayed together, past the Questhaven Road turn, until the first climb of Elfin Forest.

I pulled up, not able to hold pace, and spun with Sheehan to the center of San Elijo. Proulx was already there resting in front of the coffee shop. The rest of the fast guys already started the climb to Double Peak. I stopped to chat with Bob and Dave for a minute before starting the climb. They were heading back towards home and to meet others previously arranged. Ran was out in front of me a bit so I closed the gap to catch his wheel before the final climb. I saw Bryan Jones as I was making the turn to Double Peak Road. He broke his rear cable and was off to find a way to fix it. I slowly climbed to the top, enjoying the ever expansive views and bright blue skies. Most of the rest of the group was already at the Double Peak picnic table area. Ernst was out from his new Carlsbad domicile and joined us for part of the ride. Bill and Peggy B were climbing strong and also joined us at the top. The views were spectacular. Snow and many mountain tops off to the north and east. You could see downtown and far off into the Pacific looking west. Bright, clear and crisp winter morning; a great day to be on a bike.

Guys had to bail from the top as we started to head back home. The fast, but controlled descent from Double Peak was a blast, as usual. Garet went down to Twin Oaks Valley. Ran had to head back home. John M rode in his parallel universe. Ernst kept going straight on Olivenhain Road as the group made the turn to RSF Road. We still had 9 riders as we climbed El Camino Del Norte to Lago Lindo. About half the group rode to Stud Loop, while the rest waited on the corner of Via De La Valle for us. We hammered Stud Loop Backwards, almost a top 5 time for my 35 posted Strava results for the segment; not bad after DP climb. We regrouped and sped towards El Apajo and the dreaded Three Witches Climb.

We just made the turn at the light and the pace intensified. Neil, Rick, Flo, Bernie and Neil (Ranchos) separated from us. Claus and I hung on for a bit, while Bill and Peggy followed. I tried in vain to close the gap. We all regrouped at the top of Camino Del Sur. Most everyone was turning north while Rick B and I headed south to the bike path. Claus kept on riding and got in another century ride. Bernie got in 86 miles, while the rest of the group finished with about 55 miles. Rick B and I chatted and spun lightly to the bike path, I peeled off to my house while Rick continued on to Scripps Ranch. Below are a few photos from a fun group ride.


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