Well, today's ride was another adventure in two parts: the Ladies Auxillary decided to opt for a shorter route and later start time, while the male crew stuck to the scheduled Poway-Rincon-Poway route and 8AM start time. Kind of... since the 8AM group was just me I decided to Go Rogue and add some miles. I'll give my report but Mary Ann or Elizabeth will have to add their own description separately.
The first section kept to the plan: north over Lake Hodges and then up the hill to Valley Center, but at that point I figured a stop at Java Journey was in order. Visited with Soledad at JJ and enjoyed the sunshine with a dark roast and a blueberry muffin. Then, instead of Rincon, it was on to Lilac where the tailwind headed me towards Couser Canyon. On the way there I decided to stop and investigate the Farm Stand at Morning Star Ranch...
That place turned out to be the tip of a huge iceberg: turns out the ranch is part of a religious community that grows organic produce and has some sort of millenarian philosophy. One of the folks there called himself Raya and offered samples of the drinks they serve: the Green Drink, Grape-Hibiscus, and Yerba Maté. It's great spot for cyclists to stop, unless you decide to join up and divest yourself of all worldly possesions. As I rode on towards to Couser the colors of the landscape seemed to become more vibrant (maybe that Green Drink was kicking in) and I decided to give the ride a Theme Song.
The Couser Canyon section was perfect, no traffic and a swift descent through the oaks down to Hwy 76. After that there was nothing else to do but continue north on Rice Canyon Road, which was also beautiful, lots of hawks, lilacs in bloom, farm animals, more oaken canopies to ride under, and gentle rollers.
After passing through Rainbow it was time to head south on Old 395. Oddly, the southwind that had pushed me north now began to switch directions, after briefly pushing into a headwind I found that I had a tailwind for the southbound trip. Now that doesn't happen often enough I think.
Along the way I stopped again, this time at the Pala Taco Shop. Wow, they make a very good carnitas taco. I asked about a menu item called birria and got the lowdown on the recipe (a spicy Mexican meat stew - in this case made with beef) and was offered a sample. Verdict: Excellent! Next time VVV rides Old 395, we're going to stop at Pala Taco Shop (and they won't try to get all your worldly possesions.)
The rest of the ride back went quickly and I made one last stop to sit on a bench along the shore of Lake Hodges to munch a power bar and watch the Western Grebes' mating dance.
Next week will be the first March ride, which means Group Choice for the route...
Date: Tuesday March 1, 2011
The 'Anything Can Happen Day' Ride... group choice for route and mileage. (This one is usually easy... Stephen sez so)
I'll get the rest of the March ride schedule done soon... look for a kinder and gentler selection next month.
It was nice to get today's ride in the books, given the dire predictions of nasty weather on the way. But the change was in the air, and our small band of riders (Liz, Mary Ann, and me) couldn't help but notice the bit of chill, the freshening winds, and advancing clouds.
The ride out of Poway took us down Pomerado Road and then along Stowe to Scripps Poway Parkway. There was quite a bit of climbing before getting to SPP, plenty there, and still more after as we topped Mount Woodson. Hmmmm... think Cold Sweat!
Unfortunately, the descent into Ramona produced too much of a chill, so we had to make a stop in town for hot drinks at KD Doughnuts. Oh well, if you gotta stop riding, it might as well be somewhere with Buddhas, pastries, and lotto tickets. You can go for a trifecta at KD: get religion, get fed, and get lucky!
After our KD visit, and a quick application of a tire boot to Liz's rear wheel (yikes, a sliced sidewall), we decided to forego the San Pasqual Drop-Off and make it an out-n-back day. Yea, Mount Woodson x 2! And I get to roll over the Drop-Off route to the March schedule.
Next week we'll get to do more hill work...
Date: Tuesday February 22, 2011
Out to Rincon and back with big climbs into Valley Center both from the south and the north.
A bit of a late report this week... Sorry! Had too little time yesterday for reporting, but the important thing is we had a great turnout for the ride. Our field consisted of Liz, Mary Ann, Rick, Maurice, Les, Jerry and me - and I'm pretty sure that ties the VVV rider record.
We all were prepared for some chilly weather but the early part of the ride featured a lot of sunshine. Those welcomed rays, combined with a few climbs on the way out to Fairbanks Ranch, had us stowing jackets and arm warmers. Our route by-passed the 56 bike path, since it still has sections closed for maintenance, and made up some distance later by adding on to the Escondido section.
But before that we had to tackle the Del Dios climb and the entire team managed it quite well. That was actually where Jerry caught up to us, having made a 30 minute late start from Poway. Was it just me, or have you been adding hidden climbing motors to your bike Jerry?
In Escondido we parted company with Liz and Rick who had to head home early. The remaining Coffee Crew went across town to Porter's Cafe on Kalmia Street for our caffeine fix. I think the java jolt had the desired effect and powered the VVV train along Bear Valley Parkway.
We were looking for a reported pair of Bald Eagles at Lake Hodges but had no luck in spotting them. We did see a Coopers Hawk earlier in the ride though, so that was the Birding Consolation Prize I guess.
Next week we ride the thrilling San Pasqual Drop-Off route...
San Pasqual Drop-Off
Date: Tuesday February 15, 2011
Loop out to Ramona from Valle Verde Park in Poway. Climb Scripps Poway Parkway and Mount Woodson to Ramona. Leaving Ramona there is a 1,000' elevation loss on Hwy 78 into San Pasqual Valley followed by the Bandy Canyon Road climb.
We had a nice turnout for today's ride as five riders decided to take a chance on the ACHD route grab-bag: Liz, Mary Ann, Jerry, Rick, and me. The weather was a bit chilly at the start but overall was great - cool, sunny, and no wind. That might not be so tomorrow as the forecast is for strong winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Sounds like we dodged the weather bullet today.
Our route was about as easy as we could make it today, just over 1000' of elevation for a 40 mile course. We went north over Lake Hodges and then around the east side of Escondido up to El Norte Parkway. Riding west on ENP we eventually made our way to San Marcos before heading back. Mixed in a bit of bike path along the way and generally kept it simple today. Sadly, we missed out on the traditional coffee/food stop in Escondido. Yo quiero Nayeli Tacos!
Next week provides a bit more challenge...
Del Dios Loop
Date: Tuesday February 8, 2011
Out to Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe and then climbing up the Del Dios Hwy to Lake Hodges. Finish with a flat section along the Escondido bike path before heading south for the return to Valle Verde Park.