|Juan St in Old Town: a steep affair with cracky pavement and lots of parallel parked cars.|
I'm afraid road surface (all concrete) is rather cracky, and there is parallel parking along most of its stretch. Juan St can be a very busy road during the weekends or when there's a festival going on in Old Town, so avoid it on such occasions.
|Torrey Pines 'outside' and 'inside'. You can see the difference in gradients, I think.|
The park service road (Torrey Pines 'inside') that winds up the hill to the ocean-side of N Torrey Pines Rd, is markedly less friendly to weary legs, however. From the park entrance to the lookout just before Torrey Pines Lodge (where park HQ is) it climbs at 8% grade for about .8 mile. Pavement is pretty bumpy with quite a bit of sand and debris on the road. Traffic is much lighter, though, as people tend to park their cars at the lot at the bottom of the hill and then hike up the road to the park's many trail heads. This is a favorite hill-training climb for many. It's more advisable to climb up TP inside, then coast down TP outside... though crossing N Torrey Pines Rd at the bottom of the hill can be dicey at times (there's a traffic light controlled intersection at the top of the hill for easy crossing). Aside from offering a good hill work out, TP inside is blessed with many scenic rest spots for the more casual cyclists to pull over and enjoy some bird's eye views of the area.
Don't forget to visit Torrey Pines Lodge when you get to the top. It's hiding behind the parking lot on the inland side of the road and has lots of interesting displays about the state park.
|Cabrillo Rd (Tidepool hill) on a really clear day.|
|Lemon St at Alto Dr, crest of the first steep pitch on the road.|
|Texas St from Mission Valley to University Heights.|
|Nautilus St at Fay Ave bike path|
|Honey Springs Rd in Jamul.|
|Via Capri route up Mt Soledad|
As a side note, there is a steeper climb up Mt Soledad than the Hidden Valley - Via Capri route with much scarcer and slower traffic, Country Club Dr - Romero - Brodicaea - Encelia - Upper Hillside. At 11% average grade, it is a brutal climb with only two short mellow rest spots. Upper Hillside Dr is gated off; however, though there is a way through to pick up Via Casa Alta, another steep stretch of climbing to the radio towers and the true top of Soledad Mountain.
|Yes, yes, one of these days I'll go back and take a proper shot of Cole Grade Rd...|
10. Montezuma Valley Road (SR22) AKA 'Montezuma Grade': Alas, yours truly have yet to ride up this most scenic of local climbs known to cyclists as 'the Glass Elevator'. Being on the east side of the mountains northeast of Julian without much public transportation access, it's a bit out of the way for car-less me. Once the weather gets a bit warmer, though, I might just catch one of the two weekly buses from San Diego there and camp out the night in Borrego before riding back into town via this spectacular road. Immediately upon leaving Borrego Springs the SR22 jumps into a near constant 6% grade climb up many S-curves for 10 miles as it winds its way across the Peninsula Range toward Ranchita. Watch the video above and you'll know why this is such a prized stretch of pavement for us bikers!
|South Grade Rd up Palomar Mtn.|
|Nate Harrison Grade Rd up Palomar Mtn.|
|Wiggly Nate Harrison Grade Rd|
San Diego's Steepest Short Climbs
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