Now that I’ve managed to gather myself from various sports watching and other non-motion activities such as staring straight ahead, I’ll see if I can put together a little ride report from earlier today. It feels like it was about 3 days ago, except I’m still hot, sore and hungry. More on that later.
I fought with myself quite a bit this morning over whether or not I should ride to/from the La Jolla starting point. Part of me was thinking, very oddly, that it would be chilly to start at 6:30 am. Perhaps I’m stuck in February, or, maybe the southern hemisphere, because it pretty much isn’t chilly here right now at any time of day. I decided that receiving a phone call at 5:30 am (much of my family is on the east coast right now) was a sign – so I texted Jill and off we went. It was not chilly.
The group was large today and extremely punctual. We could’ve left early even, but I mumbled about something for a little while because it seemed so strange to start on time. We had two official leaders today, myself and Michell, and Jill offered to pitch in to help me keep the group together. The group of 16 naturally split evenly into two groups of 8, and it was noted, each group even had their “token” guy. And so the ride began… pulling out of the Gliderport and heading around Torrey Pines Road to zoom down Gilman toward downtown.
Our pace was moderate, as we tried to take in the scenes of a San Diego morning – shore birds at low tide, sunlight glistening off the bay, and of course, the inevitable cleanup crews from the previous night’s festivities. We made our way down the Rose Canyon Bike Bath to Santa Fe, and worked over to the Rose Creek Bike Path (I use the term “bike path” loosely here, but it’s better than the alternative of taking a risk with 8 folks’ lives on Mission Bay D)r. From there, the ride turns to a sheer feast for the eyes – almost entirely off-road bike path through Mission Bay, around Sea World and Ocean Beach, and then over to Sunset Cliffs.
I had mentioned several times, perhaps even in the mumblings I was doing when the ride began, that there were a lot of turns on this ride and that we’d need to keep the pace casual through the meandering parts to make sure we didn’t get broken up. I think I looked to Michell to reassure us that there were no horrible hills on the route, and then of course, I knew better – and I made sure everyone knew who to blame when the tough got going. The tough was about to get going.
I’ve never been to the Ocean Beach area, so I’m pretty easy prey to trick into going up steep climbs. Michell lured us into a sense of complacency, with what seemed like perhaps a switchback route up the hill we knew we’d somehow need to climb. The piper would have to be paid at some point, and once we made a sharp left diagonal turn back onto a little number called Novara, we finally started to engage the quads. It was apparent that our group had splintered a bit as we crested the hill and I warned those in front to ease up and perhaps stop to make sure everyone had a chance to regroup, since the multitude of turns was to continue until we reached our final destination at Cabrillo. I don’t think I was very commanding today. I need to work on that (probably need some lessons from Michell).
So as I waited to ensure that everyone made it up the hill and knew our next turn, I realized that aside from Ellen, no one else was anywhere to be seen. I was quickly at our next turn, which started the wandering over to the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University where I was guessing Michell had a surprise waiting.
I’m a real stickler for following route plans, so in spite of the fact that 3/4 of our group defected (and I mean to use the word “defected” here), I dragged Ellen along with the loop through the campus – which pretty soon after descending a hill that put the fear of God into me, I knew we were in for a doozy. I think Ellen said something about needing a snack soon, or bonking, or some such warning, but I was trying to put a chipper face on it and said, “Oh, but we’re not far from Cabrillo now!” No, just a really, really horribly steep climb, several more miles, and you’re there! Just like that. Just.
Now, I became quite suspicious of the deserters when I finally got in touch with Jill after I climbed the beast and she reported that they were already happily enjoying Cabrillo National Monument. See, I took the time to type up a crib sheet of the route for Jill and I last night, and well, I’m sure she studied the route – perhaps a bit too well. Me, not being from here, had no idea what was in store on that campus loop – but Jill is a local. And she got to Cabrillo rather fast, almost, direct-like, as if her mind went completely blank and she forgot about the campus loop. That Jill – she’s a tricky one.
So, I was hanging around, taking some pictures at the top of the beast, when lo and behold, along comes the C group looking really, rather fresh. There was no sweat poring off of them, or red faces, or looks of despair. I said, “You guys look rather fresh. How in the world did you get up that thing and look so cheerful at the end?” And of course, Michell just chuckles. They took some nice, scenic loop that just stays around the top of the campus, taking lots of cool pictures and just generally living it up.
Funny, when I met up with the rest of the my original group at Cabrillo, no one seemed to be the least bit disappointed that they got separated from us and missed out on the full route. There was maybe a little guilt from some that they had abandoned Ellen with the likes of me, but not much. Not much at all. Heartless deceivers!
Cabrillo National Monument is a great destination on or off the bike, with great photo ops even on hazy days.
Our way back proved to quite interesting, meandering through some neighborhoods of Point Loma most of us had never been to with some pretty amazing views (and steep descents we were rather grateful to be descending…).
We finished up by meandering near Shelter Island and Harbor Island, working our way through Liberty Station, and finally back past Old Town to Mission Bay and a repeat of the initial leg of the trip to return to the Gliderport. I think perhaps Michell’s goal when she makes routes is to teach me the geography of San Diego – we always seem to go places I’ve never been before!
A few of us enjoyed a little reward at the Bella Vista Cafe. For Jill and I, it was rather essential because how else was I going to make it home that last twenty miles?? I already warned her that if I didn’t eat something, I might get a little vicious and even apt to throw a tantrum. I told her that if this became the case, she’d have to just throw sugar-ladened things in my direction as I sat snarling in a corner I found and be careful not to get closer than arms’ length away. See, with all my family out of town, I keep saying, “Well, I have nothing better to do…” and then biking for much of the day. This is sort of an ill-advised plan, and it’s probably a good thing David is finally returning. I’m not sure if I could handle another 80-miler tomorrow, but I mean, what else would there be to do?
But Jill and I returned, safe and sound – not too much the worse for wear – and no, I didn’t get (too) testy on the ride home. I always say it’s good there’s no one to see me suffering on Levante (the last climb home).
Thanks to all the ladies (and men) that joined us today, and thanks to Michell for laying out the routes.
And here’s another side of the story (from Michell):
I can really get used to this being given a ride in trend! It’s making me more pudgy than usual, tho. Haven’t done a century in a month and all the cakes and cookies are catching up with me.
Anyhow! Had a blast riding Team Fun C group this morning, of course! My Wheel Woman pal, Betsy, decided to join the ride at the last minute and gave me a ride in. I thought she might go with the A/B group, but she decided to hang with me instead. So C group was 8 strong this morning. Igot even more spoiled as we headed off down Gilman Dr as Gwen’s very cool husband, Randy, decided to ride sweep for me. The only perk I was missing was a SAG car stocked with cold sodas and ice-cream!
Rose Canyon and Rose Creek bike paths were very busy today, which meant I got to use the bike bell a lot and probably annoyed the daylight out of local fauna. We got through through Mission Bay and OB bike path in a nice and tight group, though. I can’t thank my ride-mates enough for being so patient and even splitting with the group to stop when the light turned red on them a couple of times. You guys are way cooler than the speedy knuckle-headed red-light-running pelotons on the Coast Highway!
We took the optional 1/2 loop into the Pt Loma Nazarene University to see the Theosophy building and the Greek Theater, and were just heading back out when Heather & Ellen emerged from the Pepper Tree Ln dip. The climb out of it is a bit on the sadistic side of pleasant, but hopefully the view was worth it (you did look back a couple of times as you climbed, hopefully? Bwahahaha).
I was also delighted to see so many opting to go down and up Cabrillo tide pool hill. It helped that the weather on the point was much cooler than at the Gliderport. Alas, I’m batting 1.000 when it comes to crashes when the team rides one of my routes as Betsy got taken out by an errant beach cruiser on OBBP at Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Luckily she has the reflex of a cat and managed to not hit the ground, though I think she’ll wake up with a sore hip tomorrow.
Anyhow! It was good to see everyone! Hope to ride with you gals again next week!