I think maybe people get tired of me saying how much I love this ride. However, I don’t think I’m alone in that love. While I love a great climb as much as the next person, I do love a nice, flat relaxing ride with varied scenery. I also love that it’s an accessible ride, meaning, no matter where you are at in your training, it’s a great ride for you.
I also love the amazing group that showed up last Saturday morning. Look at that crew!
There was a lot of “love” in that first paragraph, but it truly was a great morning. Well, one part wasn’t exactly ideal – that would be the weather. You can see in the photo above that we are all fairly bundled up, and it was a brisk 50-something degrees that morning with a heavy fog/drizzle. It did lift when we headed toward Coronado, which bathed the harbor and the San Diego skyline in amazing sunshine. A ride that ends with sunshine and sixty degrees… really, we shouldn’t be complaining! (But we do)
We start this ride in the farthest north parking lot at De Anza Cove, which always has plentiful parking and a restroom close by. Mission Bay is an ideal place to start a ride – low traffic, scenery from the get-go. B group headed out first, with C close behind, while the A group waited for the riders seeking us out in the parking lot (Soo ended up with us, and Judy ended up with B).
Mission Bay to Old Town, to Downtown
After departing Mission Bay, we head onto Pacific Drive and take a little detour Michell taught us through Old Town. We scoot through Old Town, then head down as if you’re going to the airport, then get back on Pacific and shoot straight down town, just when you approach the convention center area, you head south on Harbor Drive and out of the city. I heard someone in my group note that it’s a perfect sightseeing ride – you pass Petco Park, the amazing public library, the foot bridge, the convention center, the harbor area. While it can be busy at other times, early mornings are not a problem.
After exiting San Diego, you head south through the port area in National City. While some might see this area as lacking charm (and also lacking any bit of smooth pavement), it has its attractions – checking out what huge ships are docked, admiring the graffiti art near barrio logan, marveling at how you survive crossing one rugged abandoned train track after another… Yeah, I’m always glad when that parts done, too.
And then you enter the attractive marina area in Chula Vista. There are incredibly clean and nice bathrooms available at the marina just prior to hopping onto the bike path proper that leads the rest of the way through Chula Vista and on to Imperial Beach. It’s also apparently a great spot for a photo shoot.
The bike path begins here (although sadly, it is not continuous all the way through yet to the Strand – but will be someday), and not long after you get onto it, you have to know to take the fairly sharp left that eventually turns back south and leads you toward Imperial Beach. Jill was enjoying the beauty she found in the overpasses.
It always surprises me how far it is to the bike path that starts around Imperial Beach, but after some bumpy roads, a huge salt pile or two, and a few turns that are potentially easy to miss (and almost accidentally get on the freeway… uh-hmm, that may have been me!), you do find yourself on the open path headed for the Strand and Coronado.
I always feel so elated when I reach this point. I feel like I’m almost there, or the beautiful part is about to start (both true). However, the elation is soon typically deflated by a monster wind. It almost never fails to strike somewhere along this stretch and feel relentless as you want nothing more than to make it to Coronado, usually with thoughts of snacks in mind. I have done this ride several times from points north, sometimes fairly far north (say my house in Carlsbad), and by this point I’m generally starved and fairly wasted. A headwind is the last thing you want, but usually what you get.
The headwind wasn’t too bad at all on Saturday, or perhaps it was a tailwind. Or perhaps, there wasn’t much wind at all (an actual possibility I never considered!). The A group made fabulous time heading north on the strand, and arrived in Coronado with even some minutes to spare before the 10:30 ferry. Most of us were heading back around to repeat the loop, but we wished Vivienne and Doreen farewell as they had to head back home. We took a little coffee break near the ferry landing, snacked it up, and then headed south again on the Strand. I opted for the back of the line, or close to it, on the way south.
The ride back seemed on the fast side – perhaps we were just anxious to get it done. Once we reached Mission Bay again, Janice decided to turn it up a notch and blew us away. She was certainly jazzed, and I’m not sure if she even had coffee at the stop. She looked like she was ready to ride all the way back to Oceanside!!
It was great to see everyone out that morning, especially on what started out as a very dreary day. We will work that ride into the rotation when we can – it is especially nice during a hot spell, as it doesn’t seem nearly as bad along the coast. Thanks to everyone for making it a fabulous morning for a ride.