Weekend Ride Report February 1: A little hill climbing for everyone

I always start with, “It was a cold morning at Carbon Connection…”, or something to that effect.  But honestly, it was downright freezing this morning – too cold for even a group picture.  However spirits were high and the sun was out, and it was great for several of us to finally meet each other after a few weeks starting at separate times.  This week’s ride had the advanced group heading out with the intermediate group on a long, hilly adventure, and the beginner group heading out on a shorter local ride that also had its fair share of hills.

Advanced and Intermediate Ride – Mt. Israel + Twin Oaks

Anybody who even signed up for this ride is a brave soul and to be lauded.  Sometimes I lay out routes and I forget a little bit about how hard some parts are – and I will freely admit that quite a few times on this ride today, I said, “This is a pretty darn hard ride.  I might be mad at me.”  In fact, I’d say this route is up there with about as hard as we do for a group ride – so all ten of you that joined us today, congratulations on tackling a beast!

Our route started off with a warm up for about 12 miles down the coast – and warm up, we certainly had to do.

Team Fun heads south on the Coast Highway.

Team Fun heads south on the Coast Highway.

The challenge began almost immediately when we turned left off Coast Highway onto Lomas Santa Fe, and followed the undulating climb up and out, and up and out, for about twelve more miles to the base of Mt. Israel.  The Advanced group had gotten ahead at this point, and after a quick clothing change, we scooped around and began the slog up Mt. Israel – approximately 7/10 of a mile at an average grade of 12%.  We all agreed this one is a particularly tough climb as it feels unrelenting, with little or no respite on its incline toward the summit.  For me, it always looks like it shouldn’t be “that bad”, but it always is… it always is!

However, I am proud to say that all four of us made it to the top, and I am especially proud of Tammy and Tina, as it was their first time on the hill.  We all made it there in close succession.  Tina declared, “I am never doing that again!”, but also said, “I will admit that I was doing silent fist pumps when I reached the top!”  Never forget to celebrate your achievements.

Tammy and Tina looking out on Lake Hodges from the top of the Mt. Israel climb.

Tammy and Tina looking out on Lake Hodges from the top of the Mt. Israel climb.

We spent a little time cooling down at the top of Mt. Israel, where we ran across a variety of animal life, including three super cute donkeys (Jill: “I want to pet them.”; Heather: “I think they bite”), a friendly neighborhood dog, a rather large coyote, and a squirrel.

Donkey, "Why are you taking our picture? I look fat from this angle."

Donkey, “Why are you taking our picture? I look fat from this angle.”

Heather B and Jill at the top of Mt. Israel.  Jill's second effort on the climb, with huge improvement!

Heather B and Jill at the top of Mt. Israel. Jill’s second effort on the climb, with huge improvement!

After Mt. Israel, our ride continued out and up some more, cresting Del Dios in Escondido, where we worked our way past the delicious smell of beer creation at Stone Brewing.  We meandered through some San Marcos neighborhoods where I previewed some additional heinous climbs such as Coronado Hills to the Mt. Whitney Tower (off La Moree), snuck through the back way of CSUSM, and then ended our climbing feast on Twin Oaks Valley Road (leaving Double Peak for another day).  Coming back on Palomar road, we pretty much all looked at each other at one point and said, “Wow, I’m hungry” in unison.

The intermediate group enjoyed the same route, with much success all around.  Completing any part of those climbs is an accomplishment.  Not to worry – like I said earlier, really, that route is about as hard as it gets!  You are all very brave!

Ellen, Suzanne, Judy and Christa celebrate finishing the ride.

Ellen, Suzanne, Judy and Christa celebrate finishing the ride.

Beginner Route:  Tour de Carlsbad

Julie led out the Beginner ride this morning on a tour through Carlsbad, using a “secret” path near the Crossings to pass near Legoland.

“Great ride today! Thanks for hanging out for a bit while I got my energy back!” – Katie

“Thanks Julie for a lovely ride, a beautiful day, and good company.” – Beth Ann

“Everyone did so well today – great job! It was wonderful to meet all of you : Beth, Elle, Sian, Katie, Kathleen (& Denise – I already knew her!) Enjoy the rest of this beautiful weekend :)” – Julie

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Julie, Beth Ann, Sian, Ellie, Katie, Kathleen

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Julie, Beth Ann, Sian, Ellie, Kathleen, Katie

Won’t you join us next week?

RSVP for February 8, Coastal Ride with Del Mar Loop

Note that next week, there will be no separate advanced level ride, as many of our members will be heading out to Palm Springs for the Palm Springs Century.  Anyone is welcome to join next week’s group rides, but note that there are leaders for the intermediate and beginner groups only.

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