Lori and I rode the tandem from Kit Carson Park in Escondido to Palomar Mountain Observatory round trip – 74 miles 9,000 feet of gain. Before we get too far the name of the mountain is PALOMAR MOUNTAIN. It is not Mt Palomar or Mount Palomar it is PALOMAR MOUNTAIN. The ride was organized by my friend, Ken Mathis, who now lives in Michigan and this was sort of homecoming ride on Memorial Day weekend.
The weather was incredible – moderate all day with no rain, no high temperatures or low temperatures and just the typical afternoon winds. Lori and I commented several times how this was the most perfect day we have experienced on Palomar Mountain while riding the tandem.
The ride has 5 climbs – Lake Wohlford Rd, Palomar Mountain South Grade, Mother’s Restaurant to the Observatory, Observatory to Mother’s, and Cole Grade. The featured climb of the day is Palomar Mountain South Grade an HC hard climb – it is 11.6 miles average of 7% and gains about 4,200 feet.
For me the hardest climb of the day is Cole Grade. It is a good 2 miles of double digit climbing. It’s short, steep and usually over 95F in the summer. By the time we hit Cole Grade yesterday we already had 8,000 feet on our legs in 60 miles. Cole Grade on the tandem is really hard and we were barely moving at 4 mph – typical for our tandem on 12% grades.
After 35 miles and almost 7,000 feet of climbing we reach the end of the road!
The last climb of the day is Cole Grade. It much steeper than the 7% average grade it shows below. There are lots of double digit stretches in a 1.9 mile stretch of road. Here is a cool picture to show the steepness of the grade.
Just for fun I thought I would add the Palomar South Grade descent data for the year. I am currently 5th fastest descender of the 11.7 mile descent for the year and it is the end of May 2017. Unfortunately, on my descent that day I had to slow down and eventually pass five cars to get down the mountain. I would have easily been KOM for the year with the 24 seconds of time I lost slowing down for the cars. You can watch my Youtube video of my descent here
Also for even more fun I have included my Everest of Palomar Mountain South Grade 7+ repeats of the 11.7 climb for a total of 29,062 feet. This was my first Everest July 2015. Since then I have done three more.
Photo credit: Julie Stokes and others