It was an extremely hilly and hot adventure. At times there were doubts that we'd all make it in time for the train, but everything worked out in the end. It was a truly epic ride!
Ron put together a very challenging and rolling hilly ride last weekend. We drove out to the Metrolink station in Corona and rode from there down to Oceanside through the backcountry in San Diego County. Lake Elsinore, Murrietta, Fallbrook, etc.
We did so, so many hills. And it was mid-90's temps. We had plenty of water stops along the way though. We pedaled from Corona at 7:30 with the goal of catching the 4:30 pm metrolink in Oceanside back to Corona. 85-ish miles, about 5500-feet of climbing.
There were 9 of us at the beginning. Of course Matt Dexter pedaled in from home. As if 85 rolling hilly miles in 90+ temps isn't enough of a challenge. Brendan sponsored an out of town guest, John Park, who put the hurt on us from the get go.
At about mile 20(?) Marcelo got a flat. We helped him fix that and got him back on the road. About 10-minutes later at a red light Yuji let us know that Marcelo had disappeared, returning back to Corona.
We had our first water stop in Lake Elsinore, which was very welcome, as it was heating up pretty well. After that we climbed on Clinton Keith Road into Murrieta and into some pretty and pretty remote backcountry roads in San Diego County. We even had a scary, thrilling descent on a road that was advertised as having a 26% grade. Thank goodness for disc brakes!
Our next stop for water was at an "abandoned" elementary school in the middle of nowhere about 10-miles from Fallbrook. For some reason the water spigot is still working. Welcome shade here as well. It was here that the ride splintered up. We were at the school, waiting for Yuji to arrive. After about 10-minutes, I told Ron that I would slowly pedal back to find Yuji. Ron had tried to call Yuji a few minutes before, but no cell coverage. Yuji was only a mile away when I found him sitting on the side of the road, in the sun, suffering from leg cramps. We hobbled back to the school, expecting to find the group waiting for us and also hoping to mooch an electrolyte tablet or 10.
Nope, they had all left without us. Yuji was borderline dehydrated, as he was not sweating and he mentioned that his urine was pretty dark. So, he drank three bottles of water, rested the legs a bit and then we continued on.
We had "only " 10-miles to Fallbrook and our lunch break. He really was a trooper, slowly pedaling up and down the constant rolling hills. We were fortunate to have a breeze and intermittent shade from the oak trees. He stopped a couple more times to rest the legs and empty his bladder from all the water he drank at the school. I had given him all of my electrolyte drink, so that helped alleviate some of the leg cramps, allowing him to soft pedal up the hills.
About 2-miles from Fallbrook, we met up with Jorge, walking up the hill. Jorge also had leg cramps from the heat and constant up and down of these rolling hills. He said he was ok walking and that we should not wait.
So Yuji and I continued our snail paced ascent. Somewhere along this section we got cell phone coverage, because I got a phone call from Sharon asking where I was.
I let Sharon know that I had found Yuji and that we were nearing Fallbrook. She and the group were well on their way to Oceanside. I glet her know that Yuji and I would most likely get an Uber from Fallbrook to drive us the 20-miles from Fallbrook to Oceanside to allow us time to catch the 4:30 metrolink.
It was hoped that Jorge would do the same when he got into Fallbrook.
We found a convenience store in Fallbrook, got some more electrolytes (Gatorade) and called Uber. We were so lucky that the Uber driver showed up with a mini-van! Both bikes and ourselves fit nicely with space to spare. Mohamed is a single father of two elementary school kids, from Iraq. He is the nicest guy, and he and I chatted all the way to Oceanside, while Yuji napped in the back seat.
We got to the metrolink station 3:30 and I bought tickets for Sharon and I, raided the vending machine for cold drinks and waited for the rest of the group to roll in.
About 15-minutes after Yuji and I arrived, Jorge arrived. What a relief! Jorge's story is much more exciting than Yuji and mine. He hitchhiked on that remote back country road where we had passed him. Some random latino dude picked him up and delivered him all the way to the train station. I guess some good people are still in the world. :-)
About 15-minutes after that, the group rolled into the train station. Brendan had a flat somewhere in the last couple miles, and Professor Mark had stopped to help him fix it, so they rolled in a little bit later.
Sharon arrived in great shape, I was greatly relieved to see her. We all were covered in dried crusty salt from our sweat. Jeff Black had also hitchhiked not once, but twice! At one point, his driver passed the group and he waved to them!
I learned after the fact from Matt that my message to Ron back at the school that I was going back to look for Yuji was not heard. To make matters worse, Matt overheard me telling Ron, but he misunderstood, thinking that I said that I was pedaling slowly forward on our route towards Fallbrook. So, I guess the group took off for Fallbrrok shortly after I left to go looking for Yuji.
It was quite the accomplishment to get all our bikes onto the train, but we did it. Got back to the Corona station, then (wait for it), headed out for All You Can Eat Korean BBQ. :-) Yummy!
Sharon and I rolled out of there around 7:00 pm I guess.
Another epic adventure on the road bikes.
I will definitely do this route again, as the scenery and the lightly trafficked roads are magnificent. But only in the Winter months!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.