Hope you are all well. As for us...Palomar Mountain Ride..check! Current energy levels..zilch!
Palomar Mountain Ride:
Warning...for the non cyclist Dedan followers who are reading this post, apologises in advance for all the boring details of the ride....but it was an exceptional performance on Dedan's part and so worthy of the record.
Chris leading Dedan up Palomar Mountain - check out the view as they climb:
So..we are home after the ride and it is late Sunday afternoon on a hot Southern Cal day and we are all beat! Chris, Dedan, Kevin Koch and I were up before the birds..well that's not totally true as a mocking bird has adopted our garden and has decided to serenade us every evening starting at 1.30am! Anyway, we were up at 4.45am getting tea, toast, bananas and sardines down us...Mmmmm..NOT!...but essential for what we were about to do! We loaded the trucks and headed out to Escondido to start the ride from there as the weather forecast had predicted a 'warming trend' and so we were expecting temperatures to be in the high 80's, hence our decision to go early. We had planned to meet our friend and client, Michael Shelly (who was going to be filming the ride as part of a documentary on Dedan) and a couple of other riders, who had voiced interest in joining us for the ride at 6.00am, at the school before the Lake Wolford turn off.
When we got to the school we found that they were doing major road works and so we couldn't park there and had to settle for the next turn off. We're not too sure if the other riders did turn up and couldn't find us, or decided not to ride but either way it turned out just to be the four of us. Our friend Michelle Neisler was the designated driver of the 'film wagon..aka our gas guzzling GMC or as Dedan calls it ..the Obama Car', Michael Shelly was chief film person..filming from the back of the truck and so after a swap of keys we were off.
Our route for the ride was to go up past Lake Wolford (nothing like a brisk climb to start your ride!), down to the T-junction at Valley Center, right turn at the T-junction to drop into the Rincon Valley - past all the Indian reservations and casinos, right onto State Route 76/Pala Road - stopwatch starts at the shop at the corner and gentlemen and one lady start your engines! We planned to ascend up the South Grade Road of Palomar Mountain and descend down the East Grade..clock stopping at the summit. If you look at the map below you can see all the zigzag hairpin turns and if you look at the terrain version of the area you can definitely see them hills!!!
View Larger Map
View Larger Map
Once off the mountain it was a mandatory snickers bar and coke stop at Lake Henshaw RV park, then on towards Santa Ysabel, through Ramona and back down Highway 78 - (fantastic downhill - I clocked a top speed of 44.4 miles/71km), past the wild animal park and back up to Bear Valley Parkway in Escondido. Full ride 82 miles/131 km with a narly mountain in the middle of it!
So we headed off and were bang straight into a head wind....GggggRrrrrEeeeeAaaaaTttt!
The light wasn't ideal for photos at the start of the ride (everybody else was still in bed!) and so it is a little bit blurry but you can see in the first one that we all have arm warmers on as it was still on the cold side. We were riding in single file so as to avoid the blast of wind. Ahh... yes..Chris was wearing it!! Anyway, we settled into a good pace and wouldn't you know it...around the corner of the first real steep part of the climb (about two seconds after Michael took the photo of the four of us) my chain gets thrown off into the wheel. Damn...I had to stop, put it back on and fiddle with my rear deraulier and consequently got dropped from the Chris Maund wind blocking train. Yes...how many ways can you say...bummer...damn...(think lots of bad curse words)...as I knew from then on that I would be riding alone....yes into the head wind and no they would not be stopping for me! I was sure that Chris didn't even know that I had had mechanical issues as his head was down and he was pulling/blocking us from the wind. My bike was transported to the start of the ride in the back of Kevin's truck and so must have got knocked on the way. My mistake not to have checked it..a lesson learnt!
Janet going it alone!
Michelle and Michael noticed that I wasn't on the train and so stopped to see if I was OK, (which I was) and so they relayed a message up to Chris and the guys. They were going for it and so I pressed on and did my own ride which was eventful with 2 more chain throws and two flat tires, one during the first half of the climb and one just before Lake Henshaw...a nice staple used to hold wire on fence posts sticking out of my tire! Lovely!
Dropping down to the T-junction at Valley Center:
Remember...the climb to the top of Palomar Mountain Road is 12.68 miles, including 21 or so switchbacks, with an ascent of 4325 feet. The first section on State Route 76 is 5.82 miles with an ascent of 1810 feet and the second section on Palomar Mountain Road (which is also known as South Grade Road) is 6.86 miles with an ascent of 2530 feet.
Climbing up the first section:
While Chris, Dedan and Kevin were climbing the second section I was fixing flat tires and having a 'little hissy fit' on the start of the second section.I decided that I would totally blow my lights out if I did the second part of the climb AND then have to battle the wind all the way home by myself so I flagged the summit and rode the low road to Lake Henshaw where I knew I would meet up with the guys. No sooner had I arrived at the store and bought extra water (and a snickers bar..come on..calories out, need calories in..right?), anyway, no sooner had I scoffed my treats than the guys arrived, Dedan understandably tired but excited as Chris and Dedan had hit the top in a time of 1 hour and 27 minutes...a fantastic time all with one leg. Dang Dedan YOU ROCK! Congratulations Dedan...job well done...you are totally amazing and truely inspirational!...and yes you deserved your snickers bar!!
The area around Lake Henshaw and Palomar Mountain is a great place to ride a motor cycle and so on any given weekend you can see packs of Harley riders enjoying the roads. While we were having our ten minute coke and food stop under the only small tree that was our shade bearer/umbrella from the temperatures that were now well into the low 90's Fahrenheit/low 30's celsius.. we noticed the 'Biker Friendly' sign hanging from the wall and so thought it most appropriate to have a group photo under it. Not exactly leather clad bikers we band of four but we had a lot of attitude and two wheels!! Does that count?
Once water bottles were refilled, we were off again and back into a raging head wind. Chris led us along the flat past Lake Henshaw and we rode in single file making sure to avoid as much wind as possible. Our luck changed when State Route 76 met State Route 79 and the wind became a cross wind so we rode in a zigzag formation until it changed again when the 79 met the 78 and we had a GLORIOUS, MUCH LOVED TAILWIND. Yeah baby..we were certainly lovin' that!!! Yeehaa tail wind all the way to Ramona along State Route 78 and back to Escondido.
The wind train past Lake Henshaw:
Temperatures were cool to start but during the ride they reached the low hundreds in the valley and on our last climb up the 78 Highway to Bear Valley Parkway at mid-day, we figured it must have been around 105 Fahrenheit/41 Celsius. The back of our legs, heads and shoulders were burning up even though we were smeared in sunblock and the heat was unbelievable. The last hill was a grind as it was coming up close to five and half hours in the saddle but getting out of the heat was our main objective and so we had to just go for it.
Billy goat Maund was pushing a blistering pace - hate that! He sees a hill and seems to develop another level, personally I think he has a secret invisible motor attached to his legs..dang he can climb! Meanwhile Kevin was starting to get blurred vision..(hmmm...low blood sugar?).. he's a monster on the flats and not a hill climber (yet!) but still managed to hang onto Chris's wheel. That's a stubborn German for you. As for me, I was behind them but could still see them up ahead and maintained my pace as I didn't want to blow up (like last time) and Dedan?... well he was at the back and paying big time for an earlier and rather hasty move when he took off the front like a mad man going into Ramona. That burst of frisky riding drained the tank so to speak and so he appeared to be going backwards up the last climb. He didn't need any help and still had a grin on his face so he was OK. We only had 5km to the car and so everybody was going it alone, which was a bummer as the right turn into Bear Valley Parkway took us straight into a head wind. Brutal!!
As you can see in the photo..we made it, still smiles at the finish..somewhat jaded but still happy campers! (Kim Koch and Michelle you both have to do it next time...ahh..no is not acceptable . love you too)
A big thank you to Michael Shelly who we have decided to adopt as our official photographer for all future adventures that we partake in. Forget your aspirations of becoming a Professional golfer..I know you can shoot 68 with your eyes closed but dude you can also take a mean photo. Check your diary...Kenya 2010, available? London Paralymics 2012, available? Seriously, Mucho Gracias, Asante Sana, Thank you..the photos are HOT!
Once home we all hit the ocean at Swamis and it was SO refreshing to be immersed in cold water and to wash off the sweat and grime! Michael you should have been at the beach with us...Kevin pointed out that the Brazilian bikini bottom didn't quite go with my cycling pant tan lines!! Cooking dinner was not on the plan for Sunday evening so we took Dedan down to the Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego and had dinner at a cool restaurant. Wine? ah no..but loads of pineapple juice, orange juice and a boat load of Agua...rehydration time!
A great day was had by all....next time you should join us!