580 Full Commitment Century Part 5 - Palomar Mountain. 90 miles, 8594 ft, 95 ft/mi

0.0 R Via Vera Cruz
0.5 L Discovery
0.8 R Craven
2.2 L Campus View
2.8 L La Moree
2.9 R Barham
3.7 L Woodland
5.2 R El Norte
11.5 L E Valley
15.7 R Woods Valley
19.6 L Lake Wohlford
21.5 R Valley Center
26.4 R Hwy 76 / Pala
26.5 L Stage Stop –
Break market
31.4 L S Grade
38.2 L S Grade
38.3 U Mother´s Kitchn
Break market
38.4 L E Grade
49.7 R Hwy 76
64.3 L Valley Center –
Regroup Stage Stop
69.3 L Lake Wohlford
77.1 L E Valley
77.5 R Beven
77.6 L bike path
78.1 R El Norte
84.0 L Woodland
85.3 R Mission
88.3 L Las Posas
89.4 L Edwards Movie
89.6 = OCRR

I am asked how hard this ride will be. Good question, and I will try to answer.

First, we are a recreational group, not a racing club. I am expecting about 15-25 riders to attend.

The fastest 4 (or so) in the group are fast amatures and could compete at cat 4 if they wanted, and average 17 mph on most rides.

The slowest 4 average 15 mph, and I would describe them as active regular riders who routinely ride once a week, at least 40 miles a week.

Palomar Mountain is an 12 mile climb, and riders will complete it in 1 1/2 to 2 hours, about 8 to 6 mph.

We have no sag vehicles. Occaisionally we have someone who will volunteer to ride last, but that is not typical. Riders feel free to abandon rides at any time, and on past Palomar Mtn rides, about half the group will abandon at some point.

My plan as leader is to wait at at the first 27 mile regroup until a 14 mph rider would be expected to arrive. I will ask the slowest rider if they plan to climb the whole mountain, and when I finish my climb ahead of them, I will descend back down to escort them the rest of the way. We will wait at the third rest stop for the successful climbers to arrive. By that point, riders have usually formed small 3-6 person subgroups that stick together for the ride back.

(My climb of Palomar in 2009 was 1:35 from Stage Stop to Mother's Kitchen)

The climb up Mt Palomar is the one great mountain climbs in San Diego. Lance does it on a single speed. 5000 feet in 11 miles makes it good preparation for your next bike tour of the Alps! The descent is a classic mountain high-speed technical descent.

Attention to weather will make or break your enjoyment of this climb. The ascent is unbearable in the heat, and the descent is unbearable in the cold. Check the forecast for Palomar Mountain before you go.

Under 60 degrees - bring a jacket, long finger gloves and knee warmers. Nice extras would be a balclava, insulated gloves, and an insulated jersey. Pack them on your back or tie them under your saddle. Otherwise, plan on violently shivering on the descent, and losing all feeling in your hands. Research hypothermia.

Over 80 degrees - bring extra water, as there is none between the Taco Shop and Mothers Kitchen. Much of the climb is in direct sun. Research heat exhaustion. Low salt levels from sweating is also a problem. Salt takes a long time to absorb, and like food and water, if you wait until you are suffering to ingest, then it is too late. Salt up: Eat salty food the day before your climb, and research hyponatremia.

There are multiple cattle grates on the climb. Go over them quickly and straight ahead. They are uncomfortable, but your bike can handle it.

Weekends see many pocket rocket motorcycles racing the South Grade. They can easily avoid cyclists as they have to also watch for rocks strewn in the road, but they make a peaceful climb unpleasantly noisy.

The East Grade is much quieter. Weekdays and rainy days are much quieter. Returning to civilization, you may prefer climbing the quieter Cole Grade over the gambling rush to the casinos on Valley Center Rd.

The climb ends 20 minutes after your legs have turned to mush.