San Diego Christmas Bike Ride, 2003
Text and captions: Stan Oldak. Click on any picture for a larger view.


47th Annual Hostel International San Diego Christmas Bike Ride
Runs from Dec 26 through Dec 31. Six days, approximately 400 miles with options for more.
For more information:

During the last days of 2003 five members of the NYCC, Stan Oldak, Paul Hohferr, Ellen Jaffe, Henry Joseph, and Maggie Schwarz, headed out west to do this ride. In past years a number of NYCC members have done this ride, in some cases numerous times. Among them: Karin Fantus (10 times), Debra Feiger (several times), Fred Steinberg (2 times), Henry Joseph (4 or 5 times) and others.

The ride starts in San Diego (at the University of San Diego) and makes stops at Pine Valley, Warner Springs, Palm Desert, Hemet, and Fallbrook before returning to San Diego. The group (70 this year, usually about 90) stays in several churches, a school, and a youth rec center. Sleeping arrangements are sleeping bags on the floor where ever you find a good spot. Some people bring tents and sleep outdoors (Fred did). Breakfast and dinner provided and cooked by people from the group (you sign up for different jobs: cook, clean, stack tables, etc).

The ride had lots of mountain climbing and some long, fast descents as well. Elevation gain in six days: approx 18–19,000 ft. Not an easy ride. (no C's, only strong B's and A's can manage this ride) This year proved unseasonably very cold!! The second day featured a 9 mile climb on ice and snow and "black ice." Especially tricky on the descent. There were lots of falls in the group—one serious.


December 26, 2003.
At the start! Stan Oldak, Ellen Jaffe, Paul Hohferr, and Maggie Schwarz.



Paul Hohferr, Stan Oldak.  Yes, it was cold!!  Yes, it was icy!!   Photo: Henry Joseph

Paul Hohferr looks at the charred remains of a whole mountainside. You could still smell the burnt wood. The southern California forest fires of this past fall were quite devastating.   Photo: Stan Oldak



Stan Oldak. A beautiful southern California desert scene.   Photo: Paul Hofherr


The NY guys! On the road, north of Palm Springs. Paul Hohferr, Henry Joseph, Stan Oldak.   Photo: Ellen Jaffe



Paul Hohferr. OK C-siggies, this is how it's done.   Photo: Stan Oldak


Paul Hohferr in our deluxe accommodations.   Photo: Stan Oldak



The peloton, 70 strong. Finally . . . day six, the Pacific Ocean.   Photo: Stan Oldak