Well, well, this Saturday Michell (me, that is!) took absent-mindedness to a new level and was just plain absent altogether at the Torrey Pines Gliderport ride start. I really meant to get up there early to scout a few spots along the routes before hand (there are some flood-proned areas along Rose Creek), but the alarm clock must have thought that I looked too dead to bother wasting an effort on… And so, I opened my eyes 2 1/2 hrs later to find a weirdly sun-lit room rather than a dark pre-dawn one. It was already 8:02 a.m. and we were supposed to have lifted off from the Gliderport two minutes ago. Arrrggghh!!
Luckily for me, Kim Z was there to save the day and sportingly agreed to take B/C combined group down to meet me at De Anza Cove on the north side of Mission Bay as Jill took the A group on the scheduled ride (which she may post a report on later). It usually takes me about 45 minutes to ride from home to De Anza Cove, so I hopped off the bed straight into the cycling kit slapped two water bottles onto the bike and time-trialed straight out the door. Heather B would be proud of me… I actually rode really fast all the way in and made it to the south terminus of Rose Creek Bike Path in 32 minutes, just in time to snap a shot of the gang coming ’round the final turn on the path. That was a speed record I hope I’ll never have to try to break!
Since we had planned to attack Mt Soledad from the northwest, some ad-libbing was now in order! We picked our way through the least trafficky back roads from Pacific Beach to Bird Rock. I’m afraid Jill Q needed to get back early and had to split off at the Aquatic Center on Nautilus as the rest of the gang went from evading leashless dogs and toddlers on Fay Avenue Bike Path to dodging shiny Ferrari’s and the Maserati’s through La Jolla Village to the start of the Bridges Route. You could say that we had Mt Soledad well surrounded before starting our assault.
Under and over the Al Bahr Troll Bridge we rode, and around Crespo Dr’s super-tight switchback before picking snaky lines on the superbly cracky surface of Castellana Dr to dive around and under the Puente Castellana Troll Bridge (By the way, there is no ‘troll’ per se on either bridge, they were nicknamed that to fit in with the legend of the Munchkin Colony. Many locals even have the custom of tapping their car horn as they pass under the bridges in order to ‘wake the troll’). A short scenic descent took us to Hillside Dr where the day’s biggest climb forced us to pay for all the wonderful views it has to offer. Angela’s rear derailleur didn’t enjoy the steep gradients much and refused to properly shift, so we stopped to give it some TLC just as a tight pack of SPY riders came roaring up the slope. The Bridges Route isn’t such a well-kept secret these days!
The steep grade relents a bit just past the only remaining Munchkin House before kicking back up again as we entered the CX section of the route, which, I’m happy to report, had drained very well after two days of heavy rainfall. I guess I could have even gotten out of the saddle to punch through the steep bit of it without having to worry about a sliding rear wheel. Brielle toughed it out and pedaled on through (what a beast she is turning out to be!) while others took the more prudent course of action and walked it, undoubtedly while swearing to themselves not to follow Michell off the pavement ever again. We eventually all made it to the memorial cross just as the place was being set up for a dedication ceremony. It made for a nifty group photo.
A side detour over Via Casa Alta and the double gates took us to La Jolla Reservoir overlook for one of the best views in town… and just about the only place about where the elusive Seuss House is fully visible. Of course, a view like that comes with a (dirt-y) price… By the time we got back to Via Valverde our road bikes were having quite an identity crisis. What to do but to go looping around the enchanted Muirlands for a good dose of well paved distraction?
We caught a bit of drizzle winding our way though the well-hedged Muirlands maze down to Skylark and then took bike-friendly Cass St through Pacific Beach to Mission Bay for a mellow riding stretch by the water. At Mike Gotch Bridge over Rose Creek Jen took leave of us to ride straight home as our remaining foursome made our way up Rose Canyon and Gilman Dr back to the Gliderport.
It turned out to be a good ride! Thanks very much to Kim Z for standing in for me in the first part of the ride and to everyone for being such fun and supportive riding companions!
Next Saturday (May 23rd) we are starting at the Ralph’s on Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad and heading down the coast to explore Carmel Valley (and, in the case of A group, Rancho Santa Fe). There will even be a true beginners level C ride down to Del Mar and back. Any riding level welcome. Come out and join us!