After having been turned away from our previous attempt to raid San Clemente’s famous Bagel Shack when Camp Pendleton closed its gates to cycling traffic during the Semper Tri Triathlon earlier in the month, the coast was finally clear for us to head north this Saturday. Twenty one fun cycling gals joined us on our assault. Evidently, words have gotten around of how much fun our rides are (or maybe it was the promise of freshly baked bagel sandwiches at the San Clemente end of the ride) that enticed so many to this particular ride!
This is an out-and-back ride, and we started off splitting into A, B and C groups; A & B both going as far north as the Bagel Shack for a 52 miler while C group turns around at the south-most restroom on San Onofre Campground for a 30 miler. We were flexible, though, and both A and B group further split into sub-groups that allowed everyone to enjoy the ride without getting too much (or too little) a work out. Judy was tasked with leading the A group:
“Amazing turnout! The A group rode so strong! Kudos to Denise, Jill, Jessica and Lauren, who rode crazy fast. For much of the ride, we didn’t even see you. Kudos to Julie, Joann, Christa, Christine, and Amanda for a very solid paced 54 mile ride! I think our average was about 17.3 overall.” (Judy).
B group was 9 strong at the start with a good mix of experienced riders and some fairly new ones. We started out at a fairly brisk pace of around 17 mph and got quite stretched out in Oceanside, though we regrouped fairly often on our way north. Kim Z’ two-gal C group had taken off ahead of us and we caught up just as they were descending into the bypass tunnel under Pacific Hwy, so we rode as a big combined group for a while through the base where the little hump on Stuart Mesa Rd made a liar out of ‘no, there is no real climbing on this route‘ me. :oP After Camp Pendleton one dropped back to C group while the rest pushed on north into San Clemente in a tighter and slower formation so as to not lose anyone before we can claim our well earned toasted bagels.
Despite of the Bagel Shack doing roaring business we somehow found a couple of patio tables for the group and decided to split into two groups on the way back with Natalie, Julie, Suzanne and Janice speeding off in the first group while group leader me (Michell) hung back with Laura, Elaine and Michelle at a more relaxed pace to act as ‘sweepers’. Alas, I forgot to brief the lead group on how to get back to Oceanside Harbor from Camp Pendleton without going through freeway merge traffic, but they managed okay and even changed a flat themselves.
The slower B group was further slowed when yours truly came down with a bit of food poisoning (not from anything from the Bagel Shack, mind you, but rather from the sandwiches I packed from home) and had to make restroom stop every so often… and then also catching a front flat on a windy stretch of Stuart Mesa, which I conned Elaine and Michelle into changing for me since they hadn’t done one yet and could use the experience. Or so I said. Michelle has only been cycling since June, and this was her longest ride yet. The headwind didn’t make the final miles easy, but she soldiered on like a champ with a lot of good encouragement from Elaine, too.
We took the alternative exit from Camp Pendleton that Turbo Jill had scouted out for us, which very nicely took us into Oceanside Harbor without having to deal with the I-5 off-ramp merges. Everyone got back okay and Michelle logged in her first 50 miler just a couple of months after taking up riding. It was another good day on the bike in gorgeous summer weather and in excellent company. Can’t wait until the next ride already! Jill has picked out a really cool and scenic route of rolling hills around Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe. Come out and join us!