|That's the same road I'm on now, South Grade Rd (S6). The wiggly thing kept doubling back on itself!|
|OMG! This road wasn't endless after all!|
|Smokey the bear is always looking to beat wildfires up with his shovel.|
|I think the place is famous for chilli, but it was 88F outside so I went with cheese quesadilla and fountain soda instead.|
|Palomar Mtn General Store, Mother's Kitchen Restaurant, Post Office|
|Not feeling very local just now...|
It had been a while since I got to ride down a winding 7% grade highway that was longer than a couple of miles, so I was more interested in memorizing this technical descent than I was at living out one of my all time favorite youtube sport clips in real life. This was more so when I had a near miss and only avoided hitting a pothole that was laying in ambush just behind a right-turning switchback by less than 2 inches. After which I sat up and ate the wind the rest of the way back to Hwy 76... which was pleasant enough above 3500 or so feet. Below that the air turned so hot that it felt much like having my face stuck in front of a blow-dryer for 5 miles in a row.
|A cow crossing on South Grade Rd.|
|Cow pasture on the faux flat section of Hwy76 west of South Grade Rd|
There was no fun descent to be had after the apex of the climb either. The road was considerably less steep on the south side, and there were two or three rollers to go over before the legs had had enough time to recover. By the time I reached Valley Pkwy on my way back to Del Lago bus station I was quite convinced that I wouldn't be able to complete the Giro di San Diego gran fondo route. It wasn't Palomar that was going to kill me, but Cole Grade Rd!
I was only doing a portion of the ride (68 miles rather than 106) and I could hardly get back up the Bear Ridges, the mild hump on Bear Valley Rd coming back south. On the real ride next week I'll be starting at near sea level in Solana Beach and would have plenty of icky rollers (San Elijo Hills included) on my way back west after mile 70.
But, hey dudes, I'm not a professional cyclist and I'm not entering a race. I only signed up for the gran fondo because I wanted to climb Palomar South Grade Rd in a group... (a bit ironic there. I wanted to ride up that thing in an organized group for safety reason, but here I was, going up it solo the weekend before because I don't like to ride any route blind! Bwahaha). So now I know I can climb Palomar from the steepest side along with Wohlford and Cole Grade. Hopefully this takes a lot of the sting off when I do get swept up by the broom bus next weekend...
Update: I did survive the Giro di San Diego gran fondo... though not a little fast pace group ride the weekend after (crashed out and will be off the bike for a while).