Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cabrillo National Monument in Santa Ana Wind & Sun

We are on our third straight day of heavy duty Santa Ana condition here in San Diego. It's a bit of a bummer since I'm having an easy work week and had been eying a few delicious roads up in the mountains to the east, but there is no way I would head east of the city limit in this sort of weather (being crazy for adventure is one thing, being stupidly suicidal is another).

Having spent the whole work week inside was driving me silly, though, so I compromised and headed out for a short ride, with a friend, to Cabrillo National Monument instead. Cabrillo is at the south tip of the Pt Loma Peninsula just a few miles around the San Diego Bay. My $15 Cabrillo Pass had just expired at the end of April, so renewing it gave me quite a good extra excuse to stay on the coast. I'm afraid morning commitments meant that I couldn't start until 10am, so the morning was already quite warm and getting moderately windy when I rolled into Moment Cycle Sports' parking lot in Liberty Station to pick up Kim, my cycling co-conspirator for the day.
A rather bad bike lane on N Harbor Dr approaching Scott Rd. Naturally we rode in the 'buffer zone' rather than in the door-zone bike lane.
Taking Rosecrans south into La Playa.
We had planned to follow my Utterly & Horribly Unnecessarily Steep Pt Loma Tour route, but by the time we got to the Shelter Island turn off the wind was starting to get unfriendly. Luckily for me, Kim raised no objection to my skipping the packed dirt (and amazingly scenic) Bessemer Path and headed into La Playa on Rosecrans instead. We turned uphill on Owens and followed San Elijo Ave to the secret neighborhood path that connects to picturesque Armada Terrace, where we slow-rolled for a bit to shake the lactate off the legs before scaling La Playa's resident ogre, 23% grade first block of Lucinda St.
The secret passage to Armada Terrace.
Living on Armada Terrace in La Playa means you're never short of spectacular view!
Lucinda St's ouchy first block at Harbor View Dr.
Kim had spent a lot of her winter cycling miles on Palomar Mtn, and so it was Lucinda St that cried at their encounter! I haven't been riding much in the past 1 1/2 week (tho I ate as if I had been doing back-to-back brevets), so I was pretty surprised that I managed it up the hideous block without having to get out of the saddle. We stopped to enjoy the view from the leveled out intersection with Golden Park Ave, of course. As horrible for cycling the Santa Ana Wind is, it also produces really nice clear skyline all the way to the mountains!
View of the bay from half way up Lucinda St.
Kim rolling past Rosecroft House.
We took Golden Park to Charles and Gage Rds and weaved our way through The Wooded Area while goggling at the neighborhood's over-abundance of gorgeous houses. Rosecroft House is, of course, an attraction worth a little detouring to see. Eventually we made our way to the main road and headed south on Cabrillo Memorial Dr to Cabrillo National Park where the super nice ranger at the entrance booth sold me a new annual pass and wished both of us a good ride.

The view of the bay from Cabrillo visitor center on a clear Santa Ana day is worth getting off the bike for!
Hotel Del Coronado with Mt San Miguel in the background.
Kim was sort of caught between Juan Rodrigo Cabrillo and the Old Pt Loma Lighthouse...
The park was relatively busy! We made a beeline to the soft-drinks vending machine at the visitor center, though arrived to find it in the process of being resupplied (so the drinks weren't cold yet). Luckily I had taken the measure of half-filling my 2nd water bottle and freezing it overnight, so the slightly salted water in that bottle was still nice and cold as we walked around admiring Cabrillo's drop-dead gorgeous bay view.

San Diego Bay view from Ft Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Hot weather and I really don't get along!
1st block of Bandini St in Mission Hills.
We loitered around at Cabrillo for quite a while until the wind started to feel like we were stuck in front of a giant blow dryer with the cooling effect rivaling a blow torch, when we made our escape north on rolling Cabrillo Memorial Dr/Catalina Blvd to Chatsworth Blvd down to Liberty Station. Kim's ride was done there, and I had a nice and easy roll back up the Uptown mesa by way of Old Town and scenic Bandini St where I was once again cheered up the 25% first block by a nice local driver.

It was a nice little 30 mile ride! Yes, yes, I went up a few ouchy steepies unnecessarily, but streets like Lucinda and Bandini are so much more interesting and so less trafficky than things like Canon or Catalina or Juan or Washington Sts. Besides, I've got the granny gear... and why have the granny gear (and all its extra weight) if you aren't going to find a good steepie or two to put it to use?

Palm fronds are getting blown everywhere. If you can, move them away from handicap access ramps!
On another note, the Santa Ana wind has been blowing a lot of tree debris and palm fronds onto the roads and sidewalks. We able-bodied folks don't think about it much, but it would be great if my fellow cyclists and pedestrians would take the time to, when they come across debris & fronds that block the handicap access ramps on the sidewalk, stop and move the obstacles out of the way so our wheelchaired neighbors can get from place to place. It's just a few seconds of your time, and the fronds aren't heavy at all. A bit inconvenient, perhaps, but really good good karma building opportunity!

Today's riding route:

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Thanks for stopping by. Be safe on the roads!