I’m afraid Team Fun’s leadership has been fairly decimated by a nasty respiratory bug that’s besieging the town of late and Michell AKA me (ahem!) was the only one available to lead a ride this weekend. Worse yet, I even got to make the route! How can things get any scarier than that?
You’d think that our riders would scatter and make themselves unavailable to come to the Saturday ride, especially considering that we started inland and planned on heading further east, but fun gals are brave gals, and seven decided to bite the bullet and showed up at the Einstein Bros Bagels in Santee Towne Center start location.
After another week of way-above-average temperature and gusty wind, Saturday morning was pleasantly mild and cool as we rolled through light traffic by the Santee YMCA complex to catch Mast Blvd east toward Lakeside. Amongst the many things the ride description promised was sighting of exotic animals, which, of course, meant that our first stop was Hilliker’s Eggs Ranch off El Nopal’s dogleg bend. An ostrich and an emu were out in the front yard and found us quite a source of entertainment!
We eventually finished goggling and snapping photos of the giant birds and got on the road again, rolling away from main artery traffic into Old Town Lakeside for another picturesque and restroom-equipped break at Lindo Lake, Lakeside’s namesake and the only natural fresh water lake in the county (all the other lakes are man-made).
From Lindo Lake we took Julian Ave east as it turns into El Monte Rd after crossing Lake Jennings Park Rd, and follow the San Diego River all the way to El Capitan Reservoir, where it dead ends by the reservoir’s concession stand parking lot. There is no paved turn off from El Monte Rd’s 10 miles run to El Capitan, so the group was released from the ‘mellow pace’ mandate and the faster among us got to use the big ring a bit. Michell hung in the back under the pretense of ‘sweeping’ the group while trying to spot another deer and other more exotic wildlife that hang out in the area.
Of course, a ‘mostly flat’ ride is mostly but not all flat, and to see the delightful view of scenic El Capitan Reservoir requires a 1/2 mile of moderately mellow climbing… and then a mile and a bit of very bumpy pavement along the curvy lake before the whole group was again reunited. Luckily for me, as low as the water level in the reservoir is, the place still looks spectacular enough to justify a bit of climbing to see!
After another ‘go at your own speed’ stretch heading back to Lakeside on El Monte Rd we grouped up again through Old Lakeside and, before anyone could say no, onto the car-free packed dirt San Diego River Trail for a very easy ride into Santee. A new section of the trail had just opened the week before, and we made it all the way to Magnolia Ave before returning to sharing pavement with cars. Everyone opted to end their ride at the start point for a very mellow 31 miler rather than extending to Mission Trails Park and back. It was probably one of the slowest Team Fun combined group ride in a long while… but then there was a lot of view to take in!
We missed many of our regulars who had been sidelined by various illnesses. Speedy recovery to everyone and hope you’ll be back riding again soon!
Next Saturday (May 9th) Jill and Heather K will be leading one of our most popular rides from Oceanside Harbor to San Onofre/Dana Point. It’s another mostly flat one with plenty of ocean breeze and view. Come out and join us (and don’t forget to bring your photo ID, too. It’s required to pass through Camp Pendleton)!