601 – Palomar Mountain 69 mi, 7890 ft el, 114 ft/mi

0.0 N Champagne / Old 395
4.0 R Old Castle
9.5 R Lilac
12.8 L Valley Center
14.3 L Vesper
16.8 R Sunset
17.3 L Valley Center
22.5 R Hwy 76
27.5 L S Grade Palomar
34.3 L S Grade
34.5 U market
34.7 R S Grade
41.2 R Hwy 76
46.3 L Valley Center
51.3 L Lake Wohlford
59.1 L E Valley
59.8 R El Norte
63.4 R Broadway
65.4 L Jesmond Dene
67.9 R Champagne
68.5 return start

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.