Back to Palomar Mountain

I rode Palomar Mountain South Grade (14.5 mile 5,000+ ft) today.  I hadn’t been on the mountain since October 12, 2019.  I had one goal and that was to ride the climb at 3 w/kg.  I ended up with 2.93 w/kg for the 2 hour climb. I am happy not only with accomplishing my training goal but also with how I felt.


Palomar Mountain has three notable ascents. There is a fourth but it is really difficult on a road bike more on that later.  The most common ascent would be South Grade.  The other two would be East Grade and Nate Harrison Grade, the latter is mixed terrain.

I mentioned earlier there was a fourth ascent that would be Palomar Truck Trail/Divide.  It is really rocky and sandy.  Going up you can pick your line but descending it will really test your bike handling skills and your tires if you are on a road bike.  I speak from experience. I have climbed and descended it on 25mm tires.  I don’t recommend the truck trail for the novice cyclist.  If you decide to ride a Hardtail MTB you will have the appropriate equipment to climb and descend.

Here is a great resource if you wish to dig down into the details of the 100 hardest climbs in California.  South Grade ranks as 18th  based on FIETS.  Some of you may have your pet climb and may not agree with the list.  FIETS is a mathematical calculation so it removes any subjective or personal bias.

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 6.33.55 PM

South Grade and I have a long history and it’s been love/hate from our very first date. My beautillion should be a case study on how not to climb Palomar Mountain.  I nearly passed out from a very serious bonk! I literally fell over just passed the 4,000 ft elevation sign.  I look at the boulder-sized rock that I sat down and rested nearly every time I climb South Grade.  I  give it the finger, mentally of course.  I was 80 plus miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing into the ride when I crested the mountain.  Great, good job you reached the summit but now I still needed to ride home. It was the day after Christmas and no one was on the road.  Additionally, no stores were open.   I called my neighbor to come pick me up.  He had just become a licensed driver and was all too eager to drive his dad’s pick-up truck and come get me.  I was not an endurance cyclist, not even a century rider, at the time.  What was I thinking?  There is a blog post in there just need to find more time in my days to document that first climb.

Many years later, I was fit enough to climb Palomar without stopping.  The challenge then became doing repeats on it because climbing it once wasn’t enough anymore. As the years went by I was doing multiple repeats on it.  Eventually, I Everested the climb — 7 plus repeats for 29,029 feet in one ride.  I wish I had a link for my blog post documenting my first Everest, Everesting Palomar Mountain, but sadly I never finished it.  I will get it done I promise.


I parked at Harrah’s Casino in Rincon.  Harrah’s Casino likes to call their little complex Funner.  Silly name I know and there is signage guiding you towards it from six miles away.  I like to park at the base of the mountain so that I can be on the climb within a few hundred meters.  As I mentioned in the introduction the goal was to pace my ride at 3 w/kg which for me is about 200 watts.  Yes, you can now scoff at my paltry wattage but hey I am just an average Joe that loves riding his bike.  I have never been a pro cyclist nor anything even remotely close.

When I climb Palomar I take one detour to add an additional small climb and then I add another small climb at the end.  For years I rode by Red Gate Road until one day I asked the best question a cyclist should ask themselves routinely, “I wonder where that goes?”  I was pleasantly surprised to discover a .8 mile 250 ft climb with steep ramps that led to a dead end road.   The bonus climb I tack on at the end, Crestline, adds another 350 feet.  So with a few little tweaks I now have a 14.5 mile 5,000 ft climb in my backyard.  Below you will see my TrainingPeaks screenshot.  As the season progresses the goal will be higher intensity along with a few pick-ups (intervals) on the climb.

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FYI – it was cold AF on the descent. I nearly froze on the first 2,000 feet of the descent and never warmed up on the lower 3,000 feet.  I pulled the pin on doing an additional repeat today.  All good the primary mission had been accomplished.

Ok that is all for now so that I can actually publish a post on the same day I start writing it!

POST SCRIPT – I came away with a little prize for my proper pacing, a KOM. All’s well that ends well.

#Everesting #PalomarMountian #TrainingWithPower #EnduranceRides #WinterBaseTraining #RimBrakesForLife

Cycling Camps San Diego CCSD St Paddy’s Palomar Punishment Plus and more

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I had a great training ride on March 16, 2013.  The St Paddy’s Palomar event has two options A.  68 miles with 6800 feet of gain B.  92 miles 8500 feet of gain but what does an ultra cyclist choose?  Option C none of the above 131 miles with 11,600 feet of gain.  I brought my REV Cycling teammate Lori Hoechlin, and met a few other endurance cyclists Jim Knight, Bob Bingham and Bob “Rock Lizard” Andrews at the Starbucks in Del Mar.  We rode to and from the event and added a few extra miles.  Lori had two slow leaking flats and probably worked harder than she needed to on such a long day.  I had a great day on the bike. I had great legs and felt like I was holding back all day.

A quick word about the event. It was a fun time with more low key people showing up.  No organized start just a steady rolling out of riders.  Left to themselves riders know that a wave of 100 riders wouldn’t be safe 5 miles down the road as you climb Lake Wholford.  You crossed your name off of a roster at the checkpoints and at the finish. Huge spread of pasta dishes salad and bread at the finish.  I would do this event again!  Thank you Jo and Rob of CCSD!

I used my SRM power meter to keep my power within preset ranges on all climbs.  A power meter is ESSENTIAL for proper pacing in endurance cycling events.  I felt great all day having paced my self properly.  I am an authorized SRM dealer shoot me an email– if you wish to discuss purchasing an SRM Power Meter and pursuing a personalized power based training program from from me.

Calories burned 5,500 Calories consumed 2,100 calories in 10 hours

Below is a great shot taken of my by Mike Kurtz

In this picture Skins CY400 compression cycling jersey bib shorts SPY Performance Pink Screws Swiftwick 7″wool socks Serfas Helix tires, Serfas Pro Series cycling gloves, Serfas pink bar tape and Suplest Supzero cycling shoes SRM Dura-Ace power meter and PowerControl 7 – thank you to all of REV Cycling sponsors!

This was also the longest ride in my new Suplest Supzero cycling shoes supplied by REV Cycling sponsor Serfas. I have a full product review coming soon.  For now I’m putting in the miles and the hours.  This was a long ride of over 130 miles with over 11,000 feet of climbing and lots of time in the saddle and my feet were quite comfortable.   Shoot me an email with “Suplest Shoes” in your subject if you have any specific questions.  Stay tuned for full product review on Suplest Supzero cycling shoes.

Below are screen shots from Garmin for the map and summary and screen shots from Training Peaks WKO 3.0.

Entire training ride

Lake Wholford great climb bottom half then ran into friend that was having gearing issues and paced her up a bit and then pulled over to adjust her rear derailleur.

Palomar Mountain Lower Section Goal maintain 3 – 3.5 w/kg

Palomar Mountain Upper Section- Goal maintain 3 – 3.5 w/kg

Cole Grade at 90 ish miles into our day I holding back and pacing my REV Cycling teammate Lori Hoechlin who was fading-  she recovered nicely for the last 40 miles of the day.  Goal maintain over 3.0 w/kg but had to hold back

Everest Challenge Training Flashback– 2006

It occurred to me today that before learning about John Summerson’s list of the toughest climbs in California I would just go out and do repeats on Palomar Mountain.  Palomar ranks 9th on the most difficult climbs in California and 10th in the country!  How convenient to have such a storied climb in my backyard — San Diego.  But since learning about his book I have made the effort on several trips to climb the hardest climbs in California.  Yesterday I climbed Mosquito Flat and another climb Pine Creek.  Today I climbed Onion Valley Road.  I PR’d Mosquito Flat yesterday and Onion Valley Road today — check back for a ride report. 

The graph above was back in 2006 when I was getting ready for my first Everest Challenge.  The first day of the race has over 15,000 feet of gain with little flat (read recovery) in between the climbs.  So why not do repeats and get the same cumulative gain with short recovery?  Made sense to me and so I embarked on FOUR REPEATS ON PALOMAR MOUNTAIN.

To say this was a hard day on the bike is an understatement but mentally and physically I was more than ready to take up the challenge of the toughest two day stage race.  The 100F temperature also played a big factor in my overall fatigue.  In case you’re wondering I kept my climbing repeats between 1 hour 20minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes.  By the third descent I could have descended the upper half blindfolded 🙂    The fourth climb was a  bear.  The fourth descent was the sweetest!! 

Most Difficult Climbs:

1) Onion Valley —               DONE 6/10/10 !!
2) Horseshoe Meadows — DONE 6/10/10!!
3) White Mountain–          DONE as part of Everest Challenge Stage Race
4) Sherman Pass–             DONE 6/24/10!!
5) Whitney Portal —         DONE 6/10/10!!
6) Mount Baldy–               DONE- too many times to mention
7) Shirley Meadows–        DONE 6/24/10!!
8) South Lake–                  DONE as part of Everest Challenge Stage Race
9) Mount Palomar–           DONE 6/06/10!!
10) Mosquito Flat–           DONE 09/02/10!!

Greatest Elevation Gained:

1) Horseshoe Meadows – 6,234 feet– DONE 6/10/10 !!
2) White Mountain – 6,204 feet
3) 190 – 6,199 feet
4) J21/245/180 – 5,750 feet
5) Mosquito Flat – 5,548 feet  DONE 9/-2/10
6) Dantes View – 5,475 feet
7) South Lake – 5,445 feet
8) Sherman Pass – 5,316 feet– DONE 6/24/10!!
9) Emigrant Pass – 5,309 feet
10) Onion Valley – 5,169 feet DONE 6/10/10!!

Highest Elevation Attained:

1) Mosquito Flat – 10,220 feet- DONE 9/02/10
2) White Mountain – 10,152 feet
3) Horseshoe Meadows – 10,034 feet DONE 6/10/10!!
4) Tioga Pass – 9,945 feet
5) South Lake – 9,852 feet
6) Sonora Pass – 9,624 feet
7) Kaiser Pass – 9,184 feet
8) Onion Valley – 9,163 feet — DONE 6/10/10!!
9) Lake Sabrina – 9,141 feet
10) Sherman Pass – 9,126 feet– DONE 6/24/10!!

Additionally, here is the list of the 10 toughest climbs in the US.

Below is a list of some of the top cycling climb bike rides that are listed in the bookBest Cycling Climbs In The US. The book lists the 100 toughest USA road bike climbs from 1 to 100.

  1. Mt Washington, NH
  2. Haleakala, HI
  3. Onion Valley, CA
  4. Horseshoe Meadows, CA
  5. Mt. Equinox, VT
  6. White MTN, CA
  7. Mt. Baldy, CA
  8. Mt Graham, AZ
  9. Mt. Lemmon, AZ
  10. Palomar Mountain, CA

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please pass it on to your friends.  

Encinitas Palomar Mountain Cole Grade 130 miler


Maximum time in aerobars

Minimum time off the bike

Sub 8 hour total time 130 miles

All three training goals were accomplished.


Felt F2 with Di2 53/39 Crankset 11-25 Cassette.

Profile Design Sonic CSX Aerobars


130 miles 10,000 feet of gain almost 4,900 kjs with Normalized Power of 208 watts or 3 w/kg for the 7.5 hours.

Start Encinitas

North on Pacific Coast Hwy

East on San Luis Rey Bike Path

Camino Del Rey, West Lilac, Lilac

UP Palomar Mountain South Grade

DOWN Palomar Mountain South Grade

UP Cole Grade Road

Lake Wholford, Valley Parkway, Del Dios Hwy, to PCH

PCH to finish in Encinitas


I only stopped twice on the full 130 miles.  The two stops were for water only– no solid foods, no nature breaks or anything else.  The difference between my rolling time and total time was only 12 minutes.  Below I have detailed my two stops which account for 4 minutes and 39 seconds the remaining 7 or so minutes were traffic controls.

My first stop (1 minute and 5 seconds) at Bates Nut Farm (mile 47).  I filled one bottle, topped off a half full bottle, downed a bottle refilled it and I was back on the bike.

My second stop (3 minutes 34 seconds) was at Mother’s, the restaurant at the top of Palomar Mountain (mile 67), refilled three bottles with Infinit Nutrition powder , downed a bottle refilled it,  said hello to a friend and then was back on the bike. I then rode the next 62 miles without stopping for fluids or anything else. For those that are wondering the mile marker at the top of Palomar Mountain’s South Grade is 47.8

Total bottle count 1.5 bottles to Bates Nut Farm mile 47.  I downed 1 bottle at Bates. Then 3 bottles on Palomar Mountain climb.  Down 1 bottle at the top.  Then 3 bottles to get home.  Total bottle count 9.5 24 oz bottles!

I had a good day on the bike.  My legs felt strong throughout most of the day.  I faded a little on Palomar Mountain but only near the top.  One reason might be that I didn’t stop at the store at the base of Palomar to refuel.  I had made my refueling stop 8 miles prior at Bates Nut Farm.  I rode hard from Bates through Rincon and attacked the climb just when the road kicks up by Harrah’s Casino (lowest elevation point of the climb).  Starting the climb in earnest from just past Harrah’s adds one more mile to the already long 11.6 mile climb.  This extra mile makes it a 12.7 mile climb 4200 feet of gain AND is in the steepest section (lower half) which can really put the hurt on you …but that’s why I’m out there right?

Garmin Player found here (click on the icon with four arrow next to the turtle and the rabbit slider for full screen view)

Screen shot from Training Peaks WKO 3.o from my 7900 Dura-Ace wireless SRM power meter

Notice the grey line (torque) in the above chart going way above the yellow line (power).  I was riding an 11-25 cassette today.  In this case the torque line is an indicator of  how steep Cole Grade is in certain sections.  Cole Grade was featured in the Tour of California on the final stage which also included Palomar Mountain.

Palomar Mountain is slotted in as 9th on John Summerson’s list of the California’s 10 toughest climbs.

All for now…please pass my blog on to your friends.

Newport Beach to Encinitas – via Mount Palomar

Yep you read that right.  I went from Newport Beach to Encinitas …the long way.  I made a left turn at Oceanside and headed East.  I climbed Palomar Mountain in triple digit heat again and it totally sapped me… again.  I climbed Palomar Mountain less than a week ago on Saturday July 17th.


155 miles 9,000 feet of gain.

Lot of heat again — triple digits climbing Palomar Mountain

My first 80 miles were great! The weather was cool and overcast.  I drank only two bottles of Infinit Nutrition. I averaged almost 20 mph from Newport Beach to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center.  I like the route I chose.  It was mainly coast and flat so I could work on my aero position on the aerobars I had installed on my road bike.  Yikes! Aerobars on a road bike?  Yep …get over it :p  So here I was at my first stop of the day.  I had been rolling for 4 hours 14 minutes (my download told me that) and this was the first time I had dismounted.  AND that’s when I realized it was freakin’ hot out there lol!

I filled my bottles and rolled on to face my nemesis, Palomar Mountain.  A few turns, a downhill, and there I was at the foot of one of California’s 10 toughest climbs— Palomar Mountain 12 miles and 4300 feet of gain.   I began the climb in the 100F+ heat and within just a few minutes I felt my pace was slowing. I have climbed Palomar Mountain many times but I never had close to a century (100 miles)  on my legs before reaching the base like I did on Friday.  Had I made a mistake?  Is it still too early in my training for a century before Palomar?  And if I’m suffering now how will finish this 12 mile climb and the 50 miles back to the coast in Encinitas?

After the first 5 miles I pulled over totally overheated and totally spent.  I took five minutes in the shade and finish my first bottle.  I had three – two on the bike and one in my jersey pocket.  I rolled even though I wasn’t feeling any better…got to stay moving.

As I began the second half of the mountain I just couldn’t pedal on.  I pulled over and took 20 minutes in the shade. I looked at my SRM and it said it was 102F.   I still had about 5 miles to go on the 12 mile climb.  Now you must know something about me and climbing…I love to climb, which is to say I love to suffer.  But when I climb I hold myself to one and only objective…DON’T GET OFF THE BIKE!  So for me to have pulled over twice on a climb I have climbed probably 100 times is a grave situation.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.  I didn’t feel under-fueled.  I did feel dehydrated but that shouldn’t affect my legs that much. I had to be economic with my fluids to finish the climb but I needed to take more fluids in NOW!

You might ask yourself …why is he doing this to himself?  Right?  In case you don’t follow my blog regularly, I am training for the Furnace Creek 508. It is a 508 mile non-stop bicycle race through the Mojave and Death Valley deserts with 35,000 feet of climbing over 10 mountain passes.  It is my fifth year returning to this extreme race.  It is my goal race every year and if I don’t suffer now I will really suffer in October.

Well 20 minutes off the bike was the key and I got back on and finished the climb feeling better but still feeling terrible.  As I think back I hadn’t stopped for my first 80 miles at which time I was stopped fewer than five minutes.  I then stopped for five more minutes after the first 5 miles of the climb.  So basically in over 90 miles I had been off the bike only 10 minutes…in this heat.  OK now it’s starting to make sense.  Funny how things are clearer when you’re at home rested and comfortable in your favorite chair and not dehydrated and smoked on the side of the road.

Even though I wanted to hang out in the cooler temperatures (low 90’s) above 5000 feet I knew I just had to get down off the mountain. I then descended as quickly as possible. I love the 12 mile free-fall from over 5,000 feet elevation to 800 feet.  I love descending at speed.  It’s a blast taking hairpin turns at twice the posted speed limit.  One of the things I also love is there are a few right handers that I am leaning so far over as I cut the apex of the turn that the I feel the long blades of something brush my face at 40 mph.

I had a lot more hot climbing still to do.  But the great thing about coming back from Palomar Mountain to the coast is that little by little it  gets cooler. It’s also into a headwind so that helps in one respect but hurts in another…pushing into a headwind sucks actually.   I eventually started to feel better… just better.  I wanted to ride back up to Newport Beach which would have made a 200 miler but the damage had already been done on Palomar Mountain.  I was very dehydrated and just needed to pull the plug on this ride.


OK so Saturday July 17th I climbed Palomar Mountain on a 127 mile 10,000 feet of climbing day—  Start/Finish Encinitas

Friday July 23rd I climbed Palomar Mountain (90 miles in) on a 155 mile 10,000 feet climbing day Start Newport Beach Finish Encinitas

The goal is to climb Palomar Mountain (90 miles in) on a 210 mile 13,000 feet of climbing day Start and Finish in Newport Beach.  Mid August

Next goal is to climb Palomar Mountain (90 miles in) go down the other side and climb Mesa Grande, go towards Santa Ysabel and then work my way back to the coast and North as part of a 290 mile 17,00 feet of climbing. Start Finish Newport Beach end of August.

All for now…thank you for reading my blog please pass it on to your best friend.

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.

060610 Palomar Century

Entire Ride from Encinitas

Data for the Entire Ride from Encinitas

On Sunday I rode to Palomar Mountain with my friend Rick.  We had a great ride and although it was a little warm we survived the heat of Rincon Springs.  Rick is from Iowa.  He hosted me when I did the infamous Trans Iowa race.  As a good host, I loaned him Felicia a Felt F2 with Di2.  We left Encinitas at 6:15 am.

Lake Wholford Climb new PR of 11:15 Normalized Power 292 watts 4.3 w/kg

Above you see my power chart for the Lake Wholford Climb.  Below is the data for the climb.  I had a much better climb than on May 28th.  I took a 1:30 off my time.  It really helps to have fresh legs when going out on these centuries and doing timed climbs.  The last time I went to Palomar Mountain was after my hellacious experience up to Dawson Saddle where I was soaked to the bone and nearly froze.   I felt good through the climb and felt I could have pushed just a little harder.  I PR’d the climb and I am hopeful that with a little more training at higher intensity I should be doing the Lake Wholford climb in under 11 minutes in the future.

Comparison of data from May 28 (Left) and June 6 (Right)

Palomar Mountain Climb from store 1:18:30 Normalized Power 239 watts 3.5 w/kg

Above is the graph for the Palomar Mountain Climb.  I felt good but faded a little through a small section of the climb.  I finished strong and would like to improve my time towards my PR which is 1:16.  I’m really close just need to cut two and half minutes.  Below is the data and you can see the numbers are much improved on the graphic on the right for June 6.

Comparison of data from May 28 (Left) and June 6 (Right)

Let me help with some of the analysis.  I used the same gear ratios of my standard 53/39 and 11-23 cassette.  Yet because my legs were fresher my average numbers were better.

Cadence — was 3 rpm higher.

Average watts– up 28 watts– 12% increase

Normalized Power– up 18 watts.

Average speed — up 1mph from 8mph to 9mph

Intensity Factor– up from 80% to 87%

In my search for something completely different I found a website called  I posted to it and found my friend Jerald Cook was posting on there as well.  It is a website where you upload your GPS files.  Their software automatically seeks out known climbs and then ranks the riders who have ridden the climb.  Pretty cool eh?  So here is the site and the link to my Palomar ride. I am now KOM of the local guys that ride Palomar Mountain.  Of course, as soon as I publish this blog posting 100 cyclists are going to go out and beat my time.  I guess a couple of days at the top as the KOM will be nice little memory.  But since few people would believe that I could be King of the Mountains of anything I took a screen shot and posted it below.

My friend Rick on Felicia- not bad form for an Iowan on a 12 mile descent


I am riding for Felt Bicycles this year.  You will notice I have positioned the Felt F2 in front for this picture.  However, on this day, and weekend for that matter, I have been test riding a Jamis Xenith SL.  I am evaluating the bike as a perspective new brand for our store.  I really enjoyed my long test ride of the Xenith SL.  It is a great bike with a great ride.  All the usual accolades are appropriate, smooth ride, climbs well and descends well.  I also believe it would make a great addition to our line-up at the store.  Jamis carries a wide and diverse line up of bikes from kids to pro-level race bikes.  More on the Xenith SL

And finally I need to give a SHOUT-OUT! to my friends at Smith Optics.  They hooked me up with a sweet pair of Pivlock 90 sunglasses.  I think they are very nice glasses, optically and aesthetically.  Thank you Smith Optics I’ll be wearing your glasses fo sho!

Palomar Mountain Century- 100/10K

Today I went to Palomar Mountain.  I began and ended my ride in Encinitas.  This used to be my weekly long training ride when I lived there.  The stats are simple 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing.  It’s the perfect century in my opinion.  It has rolling terrain, some flats (not much), lots of climbing and descending.   Along the way you ride through the micro-climates that make San Diego weather so famous.  First you start in cool coastal weather, then you experience the heat of the inland area and of course the mountain climate as you crest Palomar Mountain at 5250 feet of elevation.  Lastly, you fight a headwind all the way home from Palomar.  You are heading in a general westerly direction the entire leg home. I’ve always loved this ride but living in Orange County I don’t get a chance to do it often. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I climbed Palomar Mountain.
I rode at a good pace for the majority of the ride.  And then I got to Palomar.  My gearing choice was too tall and I struggled through the orange groves where the steepest pitches of the Palomar climb lie.  I rode the 11-23 cassette that I have been riding throughout the year in races and training and it was a little tough.  Who knows if it had anything to do with cumulative fatigue from yesterday’s 3+ hour climb to Dawson Saddle. I should return to Palomar with an 11-25 cassette next time. I think the two extra teeth will make a big difference.  I’m a stronger rider now than I was a few years ago but the big difference is I’m lighter.  My weight loss has made a big difference in my riding in particular my climbing.  I try to maintain my weight under 150lbs.  By comparison, when I started Ultras I was 170lbs.  Sadly, I was actually 185lbs at my portliest.
Above is the data for the Lake Wholford climb.  It was featured on the Palomar Mountain stage of the Tour of California last year.  It is a two mile climb that has a steep first mile.  After that it is about 7% for the second mile.  If you are going out there to time yourself I start my timer as soon as I make the turn onto the road and stop my timer at the paintball park entrance.
And now for some techno-babble Shimano Dura-Ace makes an 11-27 cassette for their new 7900 series. I know I will need that ratio on Towne Pass when I do the Furnace Creek 508 in October.  What I would really like to use is an 11-28 cassette.  When I buy my SRM I will buy a standard 53/39 crankset and it would be nice to have the 28T since I won’t be able to afford a compact SRM AND a  standard SRM.  But alas, the rear derailleur for the electronic Dura-Ace aka, Di2, that came equipped on Felicia does not accommodate an 11-28 which would be really sweet on Towne Pass.  I guess I just have to get stronger eh?
I had a front flat on the lower slopes of Palomar. It took over five minutes to change the flat because I couldn’t find what caused it.  I took my time inspecting the tire and tube before installing the new one.
My legs started to fade on the upper slopes and I slowed down considerably.  My total time on the climb was 1:27:58.  I’m going to have to work on that.  I start my timer at “the store” and stop it at the intersection of East Grade Rd and South Grade Rd.   Part of the reason I faded was the 11-23 cassette on the lower slopes and some of the work I did earlier on the foothills leading up to Palomar. One interesting thing is I only saw one other cyclist on Palomar all day and guess what?  It was Mark Ely, a client and friend that I have sold things to throughout my years at Nytro — notably a bike, a Cervelo R3.
Two things threw me off on today’s climb.   The first one was the elevation signs for the 2,000 and 3,000 feet were missing.  I don’t know why they would remove them but they weren’t there.  I had a general idea where they should have been but I wanted to mark my lap times at each thousand feet.  The 4,000 and 5,000 feet signs were still in place.  I thought  it was odd that not all the elevation signs were  in place.  The second thing that threw me off was I had forgotten the mile marker for the top.  I was counting down the miles but I wasn’t sure where the top was anymore.  My miscalculation on the last 1.5 miles messed with my mind a bit.
I was hungry when I crested so I ordered a fried egg sandwich from Mother’s.  I thought it was a simple enough sandwich to make and it shouldn’t be long.  What I didn’t know is that even though the restaurant was empty there was an order for five club sandwiches ahead of me.  It took 15 minutes to get my sandwich .  My stop at the top of Palomar was 20 minutes which WAY TOO LONG.    I usually crest and IMMEDIATELY descend.  But today I had to have lunch.  Back to back hard climbing days are hard to stay fueled for on the bike.
The ride back from  Palomar was uneventful.  I felt strong fighting the headwind all the way to the coast.  The rollers in Rancho Santa Fe were fun too.  I ended my ride at Nytro.  My recovery meal was a grilled chicken pesto sandwich pannini– yummy.  I ate my sandwich while I visited with my former coworkers.