Dave & Rob Bday Ride Report-23 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Local Ride Reports

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


Nothing much more needs to be said really!

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Old Julian Highway Ride Report-26 January 2019

Old Julian Highway Ride–26 January 2019

by Rob Verfurth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Local Ride Reports

De Luz Ride Report-19 January 2019

De Luz Ride-19 January 2019

by Rob Verfurth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Old Julian Highway Ride Report

Old Julian Highway Ride-1 December 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Eric R, Hodges, Sheehan, Tony, John A, Rick W, Shawn D, Bill B, Rob and Peggy for a cameo

San Diego got some much needed rain just after the Thanksgiving holidays. A break in the rains came just in time for our Saturday Descenders group ride. It was cold and there were patches of dark clouds on the horizon when I spun from PQ towards the start. I met John A at the top of Black Mountain Road and we pedaled over to the designated meet location.

A good group of riders showed, ready to ride. Bill & Peggy were not there, one of the clouds must have hung over their house; it was raining there they said via text. We took off to start the HVR climb, already having decided to descend Bandy and climb up the Ramona Grade for a nice change of pace.

Bill joined us before we left Pomerado Road, Peggy was staying away from the rains. The usual acceleration antics took place on the flats before the climb. The hammerheads kept the pace high, a cold wind was in our face and a few sprinkles as well. At the start of the HVR climb we spread out, each in our own suffer mode, but throughly enjoying the beauty of the ride. We regrouped at the corner of Bandy and descended carefully with more moisture sticking to the road. The group split some along the bottom of Bandy but regrouped again at the corner of highway 78.

Now the real climbing was to begin. Eric, Rick, Bill Shawn, John A and Hodges broke away from Sheehan, Tony and me; bigger and bigger gaps opened up on the climb. Sheehan fell farther back while I hid on Tony’s wheel; Ramona Grade is a great climb. The road is in good shape, just wish it was a bit wider. Traffic was not too heavy but those cars/trucks that came by do so rather quickly. Tony pulled me up to the corner of West Haverford, where the rest of the guys were waiting. We all got back together and spun towards downtown Ramona.

The pace was again fast but this time I was able to hide on Hodges wheel to stay with the lead group; Tony & Sheehan fell off the pace. We cruised through the center of town and turned to start the climb towards Old Julian Highway. As the road tilted up, I immediately fell back. The guys spun away and I was now alone, mentally preparing for the seven mile ascent, solo. It was a gorgeous morning, still crisp but with some sunshine breaking through. I turned over the cranks and finally crested past the 7.5 mile marker. Up ahead I could see the guys already coming back towards me. Rather than descend alone too, I spun around and had to hammer to get onto the wheel of Rick W, Hodges and Shawn. Eric R was just ahead and John A was maintaining his conservative descending pace behind us.

We flew fast down heading back towards Ramona. We passed Tony at about the four mile mark and he looked like he was continuing on to the top, but there was no sign of Sheehan. I got spit out just before the end of OJH but kept them in sight as we cruised into town and stopped at the Mobil station. We had a good break, yet there was no sign of Tony or Sheehan. Hodges was his usual impatient to roll and Bill said Peggy was climbing HVR to meet us, we had to leave.

The paceline back along Dye Road was quick but the seven of us remaining riders stayed together to the light at highway 67, where we met up with Peggy. Bill, Hodges, Eric, John A and Peggy kept straight to descend HVR while Rick W, Shawn and I turned onto 67 to make our way to Poway Grade. I told the guys to go, I was done; let me pootle along alone at my own pace to get home. Rick W would hear none of it, he forced me to continue. Rick pulled, Shawn held his wheel and I struggled to keep up. We rode past Mt Woodson and spun along highway 67 to get to Poway Grade. Rick was again on point while we hid on his wheel, turning onto Espola Road, then Twin Peaks Road. Thankfully Rick turned towards home near Midland, I was too pooped to keep up his pace. Fun riding with Rick, especially on the downhills. Shawn now picked up the mantel and pulled me along. I was dying fast and needed a rest. My college roommate lives in Arbolitos, so I said good-bye to Shawn to let him make his way back to Carmel Valley.

I coasted to Tim’s house and caught up for 30 minutes. After a much needed break, I pedaled past Carmel Mountain and got back onto the bike path to make my way home. It was a fun 68 mile ride with almost 5K of climbing, another fun group ride. Tony did make it all the way to the top of OJH before returning home via HVR. Sheehan skipped OJH but did Mussey Grade before he pedaled home via HVR. Below is a link to the photos I took on the ride.


Posted in Local Ride Reports

Coureur Cycling Holiday Ride Report

Coureur Cycling Holiday Ride-23 November 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Dave Ernst and Rob V in Descender kits, Mike Hodges in old BWR garb; also Jason Ryan, Jeff S & Eileen B, Logan F and Marc A; plus about 200 fast riders

Start Location: Canyon Cycles in Carlsbad
Finish Location: Rouleur Brewery in Carlsbad

Thanks to Jeff S for giving us a heads up about this very fun ride. We all converged in the parking lot of the new Canyon Cycle showroom, lots of cool bikes to go see next time you are in the area. After some very brief announcements, all the riders headed north towards Oceanside. The pace was quick, but in control, as the huge group smoothly flowed through Carlsbad and then hit the San Luis Rey path. We maintained a brisk pace along the path as we rolled east, turning off at Douglas Road to find a gravel section; the same gravel section as the BWR in 2013. The pace was fast, Ernst moved up a bit and Hodges passed me, but I hung close to his wheel. I knew we were getting off the gravel at North River Road, just had to hold onto the pace for a bit longer.

Once the group hit North River Road, the A Group planned split was announced. Hodges and I sat up and stayed to form the start of a B group. Logan blew by us and I knew Jason & Marc A were up ahead; the A group rode off fast. Ernst went with the A group too, much to my surprise. As our B group started to form, I found myself riding next to Calvin Smith. Calvin was back in town and riding strong as usual, he had recently moved to Scottsdale, AZ. The Descenders met Calvin on a group ride heading to Oceanside earlier this year. Ernst realized the A group was too fast, so he settled back to join us. Our group pace was quick but manageable, then we hit the dirt climb at Via Puerta del Sol.

I got passed by dozens of riders, including Jeff S and Eileen B. They were taking it easy on the ride and were in our B group. The climb up the dirt road was not too long and I was able to close most of the gap once we hit back onto pavement before we reached the summit of the climb. At the top, we regrouped to make sure everyone was together. A short descent got us to Olive Hill Road. I hit the front and pulled hard, trying to get to the bottom near the front. This dirt section and descent down to cross highway 76 was the exact same route as the Udo Heinz ride the week before, so I knew what to expect. We all got to the light and then sped along Camino del Rey.

Just as in the Udo ride, I hid in the big group as we flew along, under I-15 and then south onto Old 395. The leaders of the B group pulled into the camp grounds to stop at the store. Hodges said he did not want to stop and I was all in favor of getting a lead on the rest of the group. We grabbed Ernst and continued to roll. As we turned onto Gopher Canyon, we saw Jeff & Eileen up head; they must have not wanted to stop either. We all climbed Gopher and turned onto El Paseo, a small side road that connected over to Twin Oaks Valley. It also climbed up and turned at Silverleaf Lane. There was a nice 23 degree pitch we climbed up before getting to TOV, brutal ascent. The group swelled some as we collected riders spit out the back from the A group.

I was on point as we descended TOV, then slowed on the climb. Hodges and about 5 other riders pulled away from us. I peaked first with Ernst, Jeff & Eileen just a bit behind me. I tried to close the gap on Hodges and crew with little success until Jeff pulled both Ernst & Eileen back by me. Now the four of us made great time down the final miles of NTOV with Jeff powering away on the pedals. The Hodges group was just ahead at the intersection onto Deer Springs Road. Jeff & Eileen turned right, they planned for a shorter ride since Eileen was a bit under the weather. We saw Hodges roll through the red light, turning left, just ahead of us and stop on the side of the road. Unfortunately for Hodges, one of California’s finest highway patrol officers also saw him roll through the red light. The cop, on a motorcycle, came up to speak to Mike. We were about 50 yards away, back at the light, so we did not hear the interaction. Hodges got away with just a stern lecture; at least he was not wearing our Descenders kit.

Ernst and I turned onto Deer Springs and tried to close the gap on the Hodges group. Ernst led us out and then backed off. I tried to catch Hodges and could never get close. The climb up and past I-15 was challenging. I got to the freeway just as I saw Hodges turn south towards Jesmond Dene Road, his group was pulling away from me. I hammered down Jesmond Dene and turned north on Broadway, I was getting tired and the Hodges group was out of sight. I looked over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of Ernst as I spun up Broadway. He caught me before we got to Cougar Pass. I was quickly running out of steam. Dave sped away up the dirt climb; I trudged on.

I saw Dave turn at the top, only a minute or so gap ahead of me. I sped down Mountain Meadow but did not see Ernst ahead. Our route had us cross back over I-15 and down Deer Springs. I sped along, alone. Two riders blew by me and I could not catch their wheel. Then a small group of 4 riders went by and I was able to grab a wheel. We flew past Twin Oaks golf course and eventually caught up to both Ernst and Hodges, our group swelled again. We rode south, then over highway 78 into San Marcos. Some of the fast riders I had joined with turned west just before Cal State San Marcos. Our group stayed on the planned route, turning onto Discovery Street. The two fast rider that blew by me earlier were on point, we all followed. The winds were off the ocean so as we headed for the Rouleur Brewery, we hit the stiffening breezes. I stuck my nose out once and quickly hid behind.

We looped around, hit Faraday Ave and made our way to the finish of the ride, just over 60 miles at that point. Once we got to Rouleur, we went inside to find Jeff & Eileen have beers with a group. I also saw Marc A looking refreshed after a hammerfest with the A group. Hodges stayed to party at Rouleur while Ernst and I rode back to the start, then he back to his house. I had just over 65 miles in total with about 4K of climbing in right at 4 hours; a great holiday ride.

Thanks again to Jeff S for inviting us to ride. It was fun to ride with some of the old gang again. Hope to do it more often. Attached are a few photos Hodges took on the ride and at the Rouleur Brewery after the ride. Let’s have a big Descender turn-out for the next Coureur ride.

Posted in Local Ride Reports

Udo Heinz Memorial Ride Report

Udo Heinz Memorial Ride-17 November 2018

by Rob Verfurth

Riders: Dave Ernst, Mike Hodges, Bill Wood and Rob in Descenders Kits; other riders: Bernie B, Neil, R, Geoffrey M and Jason Ryan in Rancho or non-team kits. Also about 90 other riders from many riding teams

The 5th annual Udo Heinz Memorial Ride took place last weekend with Stone Brewery again as the starting point. The group ride last year was much larger as this year Pedal the Cause and other rides conflicted with this memorial event. Udo would have been 49 years old on Friday. His widow again gave an update on the family as we remembered one of our cycling brethren lost due to a lousy driver. We have had a surge in car/cyclist interactions. We cyclists never win. The latest is Jim Wilkinson who was hit by a car this past week on his commute home form work. Jim is still recovering in the hospital. Be careful out there.

The Udo ride is special because it remembers him and brings together a large group of riders from many local cycling clubs. The route also includes some dirt every year since Udo was a big CX rider. The group of almost 100 riders split into two with the A riders being led by Kit Knox and a few other stud Rancho riders. I saw that Neil, Geoffrey and Jason all leave with the A group. Bernie was one of the leaders of the B group where the four of us in Descenders kits started and showed our team support. Bill W planned to ride his own route and catch the group at various points along the route. The rest of us planned to ride the B paced ride.

We headed out along Harmony Grove in a fast paceline and turned onto Questhaven. Bernie led some of the riders to Elfin Forest Road to stay on the pavement with a regroup on the climb before Double Peak. Ernst and Hodges were near the front of our approximately 50 person group as we hit Questhaven. After the first gate, there was a steep and rocky face that had a few riders off their bikes. Hodges, Ernst and I managed to avoid the congestion and we spun through the dirt road to the second gate. We climbed our way back to Twin Oaks Valley where the leaders regrouped. We started to climb up past Double Peak and kept going over the top. Somehow I managed to be near the front and sped down fast, past Cal State San Marcos and continued heading north. There was one fast rider out in front of me, so I kept pedaling. The rest of the B group got caught at some of the lights. The strong rider pulled off at a 7-11, so I kept going and did not see anyone behind. I think Ernst and Hodges backed off a bit and let me hang out in front, burning away what few matches I had.

After turning onto N. Twin Oaks Valley Road and starting the climbs up and over to Gopher Canyon, I started to worry. I knew the general route to Old Gopher Canyon and knew where the rest stop was at Olive Hill, but did not know the exact route to get there. I chugged along onto Gopher Canyon and did not have to worry about the route as the Group B leaders blew by me with Hodges and Ernst in the group of about 15 riders. I grabbed a wheel and hung on through Old Gopher Canyon and out to find our next gravel section. We first had to navigate a small gravel climb and then wait for a group of motorcyclists blocking the road on a descent; this kept us at a slow pace that was probably a good thing. We ultimately rode more dirt sections and made our way to Olive Hill, about a mile north of the rest stop. Ernst was now on point with Hodges only a few spots from the lead.

Just as we got to the big intersection of the gas station, McDonald’s and the rest stop, the A group riders were there at the light. They had just finished a nice break at the rest stop. A few of us B group guys decided to ride with the big boys; most others took a quick break, including Hodges. I hung onto the back of the A group as we made our way along Camino del Ray. Ernst was a few riders in front of me and I had seen Geoffrey Mayne and Jason Ryan in the group ahead. I figured I would hide in the back until I blew up. We rode quickly along, under I-15 and turned south onto Old 395. I was barely holding on as we made our way to the turn onto Old Castle Road.

Ernst headed south towards home, his day was done. I managed to hold with the A group until the climbing started. Neil R and those studs up front put down the hammer and I was off the back. The A group started to splinter as the climb continued up and around the bend. I saw a Descenders kit ahead and knew it was Bill Woods, he must have looped a different direction. Bill looked great as he pedaled along, enjoying a day in the saddle at his own pace. I passed a few stragglers and then turned right onto Wilkes Road as directed by a couple of Ranchos that stopped to provide directions. I was alone now and heading into new territory, another gravel section lay ahead. I caught up to a rider and we asked a local woman about an intersection on which way to turn. She gave us good info to head along Sierra Rojo Road. I was a bit skeptical as it climbed up what looked like a dead end, but we came upon some dirt and saw the tracks from the A group. The rider ahead was stronger but kept me motivated to try to keep him in sight. We finally turned onto Lilac Road and headed towards Valley Center.

We rode into Valley Center and turned onto Woods Valley, heading towards Lake Wohlford. This is the opposite direction from our usual Descenders club cycling route, but I knew where I was going. Traffic kept us in check riding down Wohlford. We turned and made our way to El Norte Parkway, catching up to a couple of other riders I recognized from the Old Castle climb. They too must have found a short-cut for the ride. One turned off in Escondido while the other guys led me back along Centre City Parkway and then onto the bike path that dumped back onto Harmony Grove. I looped around back to Stone Brewery and finished the 64 miles with 4,900 feet of climbing in right at 4 hours. Hodges showed up just as I finished, he took a shorter route as his knee was hurting. The A group guys were either already gone or had decided to grab a beer at the brewery. As I was changing I saw Bernie roll back into the parking lot with more of the B group guys. As I left the parking to towards home, I spotted Bill Woods finishing up his ride day as well. The Descenders put in a good showing, either in kit or incognito.

It was a good cycling event, a nice memorial for Udo and a great day to be out riding in the north county. Below is a link to the photos I took on the ride.


Posted in Local Ride Reports