Having survived a week of particularly toasty heatwave, fourteen happy riders showed up at the Torrey Pines Gliderport this Saturday to both revel in the cool (at last!) morning air and to join our ride to Cabrillo National Monument by one of the most unnecessarily complicated routes possible (can’t expect any less when Michell AKA me is allowed to plot the course, I guess).
We initially split into a big B and a small C group heading south through UCSD, Rose Canyon, Rose Creek and Mission Bay. The group stuck together quite nicely on our way south, however, and only split a bit when a few stopped to raid In-N-Out Burger’s restroom just before entering Rose Creek Bike Path.
After the Robb Field regroup/restroom break near the west terminus of the Ocean Beach Bike Path, B and C groups were supposed to take different paths up to Pt Loma Nazarene University, but my attachment to using MapMyRide to plot my routes backfired with a technical glitch that prevented Julie (who was leading the C group)’s Garmin from loading the route. After some discussion it was decided that C group would follow us south through Ocean Beach’s many cracky alleys and onto the gloriously scenic Sunset Cliffs Blvd instead.
Of course, such marvelous ocean view and long stretch of flat roads can’t last forever in a town like San Diego. We must climb up to Cabrillo… although, once south of gentle pre-party-time OB, the ways up to Catalina Blvd from Sunset Cliffs don’t resemble roads as much as they do walls. It was a matter of picking our poison. I opted for the moderately toxic mixture of Novara – Trieste half-circle climb to Santa Barbara from a block up the base of Hill St. Alas, the group was quite stretched by the suddenly not-so-flat road, and C group mistakenly continued straight up Hill St instead of turning off… and ended up beating us all to the crest!
With the help of Kim Z, who ably swept everyone up to Catalina Blvd, we took a scenic detour onto Pt Loma Nazarene University off Lomaland Dr on the west side of Catalina Blvd and spent some legs-shaking time admiring the remnants of Theosophy architecture on the beautiful campus. Yours truly actually tried, without success, to explain to both groups that they could avoid a rather dreadful climb by turning back the way we came to the university entrance rather than following Pepper Tree Ln down Lomaland’s Horrendous Dip of Doom. To my
sadistic delight, everybody followed me down the steep and gorgeously curvy drop to the cliff just above Sunset Cliffs Natural Park… gamely putting up with my moaning and groaning about how all the strategically placed downhill speed bumps are so effective at preventing me from being able to sling shot at least part of The Climb.
Me: Grumble… grumble… This is going to hurt a bit. I hate these speed bumps!
Judy: Oh, this climb isn’t so bad. I’m not even in the small ring yet.
Me: Grumble… grumble… It’ll go from ‘not-so-bad’ to ‘holy @#&^!%!’ just around this right bend here. I hate these speed bumps!
Rounding the bumpy right bend.
Judy: Holy @#&^!%!
Heather K: What are you two grumbling about? Kim N is already way up the road on her 25 cog (which is way smaller than what I’ve got on my cassette)!
And then she danced away on the pedal, up the 21% grade ramp like Mohammed Ali making the boxing ring ropes sing.
I guess you can call us well-spiced by the time we got back to the significantly flatter ground by Mieras Hall. Heather Bru would be proud, everyone made it up the beast! Alas, the Horrendous Dip of Doom did Kim Z (AKA my sweep rider) in. She had been on a cleanse diet this week and steepies have a way of cleaning out what glycogen reserve one has left, so she hung behind at the SPAWAR guard shack on Catalina Blvd while the rest of us followed the rolling road south into Cabrillo. I don’t know how, but Kim N, Heather K and VzrD (on her heavy ‘Black Beast’ mtb, at that) were even perky enough to go up Cabrillo’s famous Tidepool Hill climb also.
After a bit of R&R we decided to ditch the planned complicated tour-of-The Wooded Area & La Playa return route in favor of the straight forward descent down Catalina Blvd back to OB Bike Path. We picked Kim Z back up just before the big drop and she soldiered on at the back of the group, flanked by (Super)Julie and the always helpful Sian, back to Fiesta Island where Mr Z drove down to whisk her back to the Gliderport (it’s hard to find public transportation back there on a weekend… with a bike in tow).
The rest of the group was very stretched out, but the way back being the same way we started from it wasn’t easy to get lost. With speedy Heather K, Kim N and Judy on hand to guide the faster riders back to the Gliderport, not-so-speedy me got to hang in the back and nag the slower climbers back up the Gilman Dr grind and through UCSD back to the finish.
It turned out a fun ride for most and an unexpectedly challenging one for a few of us, but everyone acquitted themselves with aplomb! Thanks, gals, for coming out!
Next Saturday we are starting at the Torrey Pines Gliderport again for an invasion of Mt Soledad by scenic back roads. Come out and see why La Jolla’s little hill by the sea is such a great cycling destination!