Palomar Mountain 200km with heat July 17


127 Miles 10,600 feet of climbing.

Big news — the heat – triple digit heat  104F on the Palomar Mountain climb

55 minutes non rolling time (20 minutes waiting for OC century riders to roll out) (2o minutes at Nytro when I got back to Encinitas)

Palomar Mountain – featured climb  ranked #9  California’s toughest climbs more on California’s toughest climbs 12 miles 4200 feet of gain


Click for Palomar Mountain, California Forecast

Click here for weather at the top of Palomar Mountain (5128 elevation)

Click for Rincon, California Forecast

Click here for weather at the bottom of Palomar Mountain (1620  elevation)

On Saturday I rode to Palomar Mountain via Oceanside beginning from Encinitas.  I met two groups that I was supposed to ride with but decided to go it alone.  The first group was about four San Diego Randos and the second group was the Orange County century group– or Chuck Bramwell’s group.

I had timed my departure from Encinitas (5:30am) to arrive in Oceanside at about 6:30 am.  When I arrived, the OC group was still getting ready.  We eventually rolled out after 6:50am (meet time was 6:15).  This is exactly why I don’t ride with groups. Groups have too many moving parts 😉   Groups tend to take their time getting ready for a ride and there is no sense of urgency to get started.  They also stop too long at water stops and they actually have lunch on a century ride.  I don’t get it.  All those stops make for an all day ride for just a century which should only be 6 hours tops.

About two miles into the ride I wasn’t happy with the pace the group was riding and I went to the front to pull so they could draft me.  Apparently, may pace was too fast because after a couple minutes I looked back and nobody was behind me.  I figured once they warmed up they would catch me but I never saw them on my wheel the rest of the day.  I then rode alone until I caught Rob Templin who started his ride in Fallbrook after spending the night at Pete Penseyres’s.  We rode together from West Lilac to the base of Palomar.

I began the Palomar Mountain climb at 102 degrees F.  Some onboard computers said it was 106F so let’s call it 104F.  I am here to tell you that I was suffering about three miles into the 12 mile climb but still managed to climb the first part of Palomar Mountain (up to the flat part on Hwy 76) in sub 30 minutes.  I cruised through the flat section and readied myself for the last 7 miles.  As I started the second half of Mount Palomar I disintegrated.  I truly fell apart and I just survived the climb.  It took me 1:35 to climb Palomar Mountain from the store– a far cry from my latest best time of 1:18.  Bike set-up was 53/39 crankset and 11-25 cassette which was perfect.

Palomar beginning Oceanside Route Sheet in .pdf

I refilled my bottles and headed immediately down the mountain.  The descent was like opening an oven door.  As my speed increased (over 40 mph)  the heat blasted me in the face.  As I reached the lower elevations my face was searing– ok maybe a bit of an exageration but OMG was it hot!!

I arrived at the store and got off the bike.  I met Kirsty Marrit there and we rode back to Encinitas together.  The return is leg is always a bitch in the summer heat.  The climb from Rincon (Harrah’s Casino) on Valley Center Road up to Lake Wholford Road is just miserable.  I passed the clock/thermometer at the fire station that said 102F and check my SRM and they were a match.  I was suffering but I think she was worse off.  I thought for safety reasons we should stay together– it was that hot!  I would surge ahead to get my intensity in and then wait for her.  In the end considering the conditions she did great.

0711710 Weather


As I was getting closer to the coast the temperatures felt soooooo much cooler.  I could feel that it was warm for the coast but it was no longer triple digit heat.  I surged the last five miles to the house.  For hours after the ride I would feel dehydrated.  I even  developed  a headache. I felt like I had a hangover.  By the evening, I had finally recovered– from my dehydration.  But the next day’s training ride was scrubbed.

Well there you have it another torturous ride but I am mentally stronger for it!

Here are some pics and some charts.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Please pass it on to your best friend.

I love descending off of a mountain.  I see it as a reward for all the hard work I did on the climb.  I also think I’m decent at doing it.  Although my 508 crews might argue that I’m really good at it since they’ve never been able to stay on my wheel on curvy  descents.  All you have to do is combine a little skill, a little fearlessness and a little faith in your equipment and yourself and you will descend like a pro.  You have to practice descending to do it well.  With practice you should be able to loose some of the fear that holds you back.  Learn to relax and you will find that descending has a certain flow to it.  Imagine yourself dancing with the mountain find a rhythm — pedal pedal lean– pedal pedal lean. Your equipment should ALWAYS be in good running order.  Lastly, I can provide you with a one on one coaching session that will help you descend significantly better after just one session.  In the meantime, I found a good descending skills video on check it out here.

5 thoughts on “Palomar Mountain 200km with heat July 17

  1. I again underestimated the weather. First, in February when we had one of the coldest and nastiest storms of the season and I didn’t finish. Then, on Saturday, when the summer heat decided to come all in one shot but I finished. I have never drank so much water, ever! But, as you said, “I am mentally stronger” for having finished and survived those hellish conditions. Amen! And, descending is the reward. I can never go fast enough.

    • Jaime– thank you for reading my blog and making a comment.

      Our southern California mountains have the extremes in weather. I have climbed Palomar when it’s been snowing and also when it is over 100F. Palomar Mountain is a great place for a cyclist to test their determination. What is your goal time up Palomar Mountain?

  2. just for the record, I wasn’t hurting more than you-I’m just always slower than you;) Thanks for the pull back to town last weekend, helped me in the mountains this week!

    • Kiki– thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment.

      It was a pleasure meeting you. It was a really hot day out there and you did great. Psychologically, knowing that I was headed back to the coast, like a horse headed back to the barn, always makes me feel better. I wasn’t trying to drop you I just wanted to put in the efforts I usually do in those sections as a way to check on my fitness. As you saw, I either doubled back for you or waited. I prefer company while riding but I just can’t find anyone that wants to do century plus rides in century plus heat…go figure :p.

      So has the weather improved for you in Co? Last I heard from you it was raining and cold. How is your fitness coming around for Leadville?

  3. Pingback: Newport Beach to Encinitas – via Mount Palomar | George's Epic Adventures

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