CARLSBAD, Calif. -- About 250 mountain bikers pedaled across a course linking some of San Diego County's most popular riding areas Saturday in the annual Archipelago Ride.
The 50-mile course began in La Costa and wound through Elfin Forest, around Lake Hodges, up Lusardi Canyon, over Black Mountain, down McGonigle Canyon, up Del Mar Mesa, across Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and ended at the Green Flash Brewery in Mira Mesa.
The event, which is put on by the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, began eight years ago as a challenging ride to link islands of open space with dirt trails and fire roads. Several trails cross private property, so SDMBA must get permission every year from the land owners to make the annual ride possible.
Dozens of volunteers spent weeks laying out and marking the course. On ride day, they set up three aid stations along the route stocked with water, electrolytes, energy bars and fruit. Each station also had bike tools so riders could make emergency repairs.
Riders began leaving Cadencia Park in La Costa at about 7 a.m. By the time they reached Green Flash Brewery, they had climbed about 6,000 feet. The first rider to complete the course in a little over five hours. The slowest rider finished in just over nine hours. Since it wasn't a race, everyone who made it across the finish line was a winner.