Last week I got back from an 11-day stint in Southern California, where I had my first real experience with those big hills that have been called ‘mountains’. I was fortunate to have this chance to get lots of miles and climbing in, not to mention the sun and beautiful surroundings :) Coming into the beginning of my first cycling race-season – off this lengthy winter – it was nice to be able to get some outside riding in!
Short geology aside: The mountains in San Diego county began with sediment from the nearby Pacific Ocean that slowly was built up, compressed, and eventually transformed into sedimentary rock and/or marble. During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (i.e. around 201 million years ago to 66 million years ago), there were eruptions of magma that twisted and threw these rocks into the mountains they are now. (https://www.sdnhm.org/archive/research/geology/geo_oldrocks.html). Fascinating!
As soon as I landed it was off for a ride down the coast, finishing just in time to see that classic California sunset.
Then we settled into a beautiful pattern of sleep-eat-ride repeat. We stayed in Valley Centre (with absolutely amazing hosts – Thanks a million Rob and Sharon!!) which is about 50k inland from the San Diego coast.
The view while we wait for some teammates:
We just had to visit Pannikins, the legendary Coffee shop in Encinitas, where I’ve heard that Barack Obama himself has stopped in.
And there was the lovely Mount Palomar climb as well – humbling is a good description of that day. And it was so exciting to be riding where the Tour of California had gone through
Speaking as an Environmental Scientist, it was definitely shocking to see the low lake levels everywhere. Usually they have a big influx of rain in the spring, and I certainly hope that it comes in to replenish local stores. I managed to snap one pic as I was going up Del Dios highway:
Because I was riding so much there wasn’t too much time for sight-seeing or picture taking, but to finish off here’s some ocean shots and adorable seals. I would highly recommend La Jolla Cove to anyone visiting the area – and bring your snorkelling gear :)