SoCal Training......Sunshine, mountains, happiness....
I get anxious in the winter months as most know. As much as I enjoy training, the monotony of the trainer, indoor runs, swims before the sun comes up and home from work at dark does tend to chip at my soul. About every 3 months or so I get the urge to travel someplace new, someplace warm, someplace with mountains, views, and endless bike riding roads. My good friend Emma whom I met in Arizona last year have gotten on a kick of adventure planning. As soon as we part, we are scheming our next destination for travel. Last year after Arizona it was St. George, this year San Diego. Our bucket-list grows each trip....Lanzarote, Mallorca, New Mexico.....
This year, with time off of work and logistics we agreed on San Diego. Not only does SoCal offer spectacular weather, but amazing cycling and a short drive to endless roads; take your pick.
We arrived on a Wednesday evening and a short trip up to Carlsbad, we met her friend Eric, who's parents' beach home we stayed. Eric and Sarah (another of emma's friends) had just spent a week cycling in Vegas and were extending their trip to cycle with us. Sarah is a Cat2 cyclist, who was on the Nature Valley team (she's no joke)!
|Carlsbad beach house|
Thursday we hit the coast for the Torrey Pines loop, followed by the Swami Loop with some great scenery and a few climbs. Every adventure is not without some mishap.....Emma stripped her seat post while building her Trek, had to order a quick part but luckily the Trek Shop in Solano Beach lent us the part in the meantime!
Friday Emma and I were solo....Sarah (uber smart Biochemist and professor at Northwestern) was giving a talk in LA, and Eric was taking the day off. We started out at the Encinitas YMCA for a Masters Swim. Met a couple of great people including coach Chris!
We plotted out the Great Western loop with options of 42 and 73miles. Hmmm, let me have you guess which one we chose.....We headed out to El Cajon....about a 45min drive South, pulled out our cue sheets and hit the road. We met a couple of nice guys in the parking lot , one of whom wanted to do a quick out and back (riding the first 10miles with us). I welcomed him along. Emma looked a bit puzzled when she returned from the restroom and found our new cycling friend (basketball shorts, no water bottle cages, sneakers with no clips). I just winked at her and knew 10miles with a stranger who seemed rather nice even despite not looking like your typical cyclist.....well, just go with it!
Poor guy, was in his biggest gear, drenched in sweat hammering the first flat 5miles. He surely checked on us a few times asking if his speed was ok. We just smiled. Hit a small incline and POOF, he fell off the back. Emma and I chatted on the downhill and decided to wait at the bottom. After 5 minutes he was nowhere in sight! We felt slightly bad for the poor guy, he was nice and he sure did try but Emma and I turned, knowing we had a pretty solid ride ahead of us and hit the road! To our cyclist buddy: SORRY!!! thanks for the pull!
The next 8-10miles were UP, and I mean UP, smallest gear but man it was pretty out there. Barely a car in sight!
Once we hit the 22 mile mark it was either continue on to do the 73 or around to make the 42m. Emma insisted, ah well, I didn't resist either..... UP and UP we went.
|Cue sheet tatoo on my leg, oops!|
Over 7600ft of climbing and over 5hour ride WHOA! Great day!
Saturday was Mt. Palomar climb. If you didn't know (we did our research)- Mt. Palomar was featured in the Tour of California. It's a 14mile climb at average 6.8% grade. You go UP then once at the top you can go down and UP UP to the observatory...Another 5 miles. Hair pins and amazing views; this really gets steep. Elevation gain is over 7500ft. This reminded me of Mt. Lemmon with more narrow roads and steeper but shorter.....never the less...it was hard! I LOVE TO CLIMB! This ride did not disappoint. You can choose to descend the same way down, or go over the other side towards Lake Henshaw which is not quite as steep. I would recommend THIS way because of the awesome view of the lake!
Sunday we agreed we HAD to soak up one more day of riding albeit my arse was killing me from that climb but I couldn't pass up another day in the sun riding my bike! We made our own loop through Carlsbad, Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. Our way back included the San Luis Rey Bike path (1st pic). Carlsbad had some serious pitchy roads that even my smallest gear didn't like or maybe my legs were just toast.... You could pretty much train in your neighborhood with hill repeats if you wanted to.
Our last bit was a trail run in San Elijo Lagoon. Awesome sandy, of course hilly, run. Lunch outside at Solano beach and that was a wrap!
Bikes packed and headed home monday sunburned and satisfied!!!
Next up.....some shift in the plan for this year, stay tuned....