Camp Pendleton and Points North

The Preamble

I have to be honest – the Camp Pendleton ride has traditionally been hands down my least favorite ride.  I would do almost anything to avoid it.  One time I conveniently “forgot” my license and my friend and I took it easy along the coast and let our husbands continue north into Pendleton.  I’m not sure why I hated it so much.  It’s probably because often you feel like there’s a headwind in both directions, or maybe it’s that I was run down by a tank under the tunnel once.  Mostly it’s probably because it’s fairly flat and straight, reminds me of Idaho a bit (except for the ocean, obviously), and I feel compelled in those conditions to go into head down, punishment mode.

I am happy to say that I am now on better terms with this ride, and I think it’s due to extending the ride into Dana Point and also doing it with Team Fun.  I won’t be trite and say it’s because we make it “fun”, because most likely people who join me will not likely call some of the ride “fun”, but the group does help to moderate things a bit – I am more likely to share a few words, lift up my head and look around, and do a whole lot less of the “punishment mode”.

Having a destination like Dana Point, though, really does turn a ride from mostly misery to mostly anticipation.  I’m not sure if everyone finds that harbor as beautiful as I do, but I love the setting – the boats, the large carved harbor, the throngs of people out enjoying the day.  I also find that after you finish the last climb out of San Onofre Beach, the rest of the ride north is pure enjoyment – rollers through San Clemente, and then mostly bike trail until the end point at the harbor.

The Ride

There were something like 17 of us gathered in the parking lot at Oceanside Harbor last Saturday morning.  I really need to not wait almost an entire week before I write these things, but then again, usually the time allows for the particularly poignant memories to stand out.  Six of the crew would form the C group with the always awesome Michell as leader, and the other 11 were stuck with me.  There was a discussion of speed (or desire to moderate it, at least), and I believe I made some promises that the speeds would stay <= 18mph.

mar21-a mar21-b

To Dana Point and Back

So, I guess I’ll come clean.  While some of our leaders are known (or infamous) for leading her groups onto dirt paths, or steep ramps (I won’t mention any names, but she’s a vivacious leader who rides up from San Diego and calls herself something along the lines of a Pinocchio), others of us have our own issues.  My main problem is that I have a hard time following a speed limit.  I think my claim will be that there was a tailwind for most of the way out?? Yes, there was definitely a tail wind, I remember it clearly.  I’m fairly certain Jill will vouch for me…

I think for the most part, I behaved fairly well – that is, until I was egged on by some of our male “friends of friends” who were tagging along to Dana Point Harbor with Penelope, where they were going to break off for brunch.  We were going along nicely, and then the speed started to creep up to 21mph, and I said, “Hey, I think we should probably pull back a bit.”  But somehow that thought got away from me, and over the 4-5 miles through the campground, we somehow got up to over 26 mph.  I was absolutely wasted by the time we approached the end of the campground, but delighted to turn around and see Janice, still tagging along after all that hammering!  Ron (one of the friends of friends) said, “When did you make Janice into such a monster!?!”

Hopefully some of our new members weren’t too frustrated by that experience, because we are never doing it to intentionally drop people, as we always slow down and wait up at some point for everyone to regroup.  Just a tiny little bit of hammering fun to keep me satisfied on the slog until the good part starts in San Clemente… and to slowly bring out the monster in all of you.

Our group ended up splintering around the start of San Clemente, with several members needing to get back earlier – so a small group turned around at Christianitos to head back.  We lost another few when Ron hit a sizable rock that was for some reason on the bike path after San Clemente, and they told us to go on since they were stopping for brunch anyway.  So, the final five of us that made it to Dana Point Harbor accosted an innocent bystander, as we always do, to take our picture with a cool backdrop.


Vivenne, Jill, Heather, Jennifer and Brielle at Dana Point Harbor.

We splintered even further on the remaining trip, with Jill in danger of being late for work.  Vivienne accompanied Jill, while I escorted Jennifer and Brielle south to Oceanside.  Thankfully, we had an uneventful, flat free return trip.

C group ride – Michell throws in some off-roading excitement

(Courtesy of Michell)

C group started out with six and were condemned to my many irregular off-road detouring.

We enjoyed the cool and misty weather on our way up the Stuart Mesa hump. Dee was quite fresh with cool air and went on ahead there while the remaining five took it mellow to San Onofre State Beach where we ventured onto a dirt trail beach access to find some view… and were a bit deterred from the posted no nudity sign from attempting some striptease… Ahem! 

C ride usually just turns around at the southernmost restrooms, but since we started in Oceanside instead of Carlsbad we decided to go all the way up to the north entrance instead. A foursome from A/B group that had turned around in San Clemente caught us just as we got back on Old 101, and made a quick ride back as we proved that flats are contagious and made two tire-changing/repumping stops on the way in.

Michell, Manya, Joy, Sam and Kim at San Onofre Beach overlook

Michell, Manya, Joy, Sam and Kim at San Onofre Beach overlook

Suzanne, Janice, and Dee rejoining the C group after their turnaround at Christianitos.

Suzanne, Janice, and Dee rejoining the C group after their turnaround at Christianitos.

Join us tomorrow (Saturday, 3/28) starting at the Torrey Pines Gliderport at 8am for a sight seeing tour to Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma (RSVP on meetup).

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