Yesterday was pretty awesome. A gnarly ride and watching some of the best cyclists in the world at work combined for a great day. A couple friends from the OC and I met up with a buddy and some of his training partners from the TCSD down in San Diego and rode Palomar Mountain to catch the final stage of the Tour of California. I had heard many descriptions of Palomar, none of which characterized it as "easy" and thus, I was a little weary about what lay ahead of us 20 miles into the ride. Well the mountain did not disappoint! This is quite an intense climb, and now I understand why it has been categorized as a "non-category" climb. The thing is unrelenting. After the store, it is literally all climbing for nearly 12mi, with something like 4,200 ft of elevation gain.
The highest I can recall my heart rate ever getting on the bike is about 160. And it was for a fleeting moment. Palomar held me between 165 and 172 for the entire climb. Having never climbed it before, and therefore not knowing what was coming at us, made the trek even that much more... shall we say, adventurous. At one point my buddy Ryan even said, "F#%K, I don't know if its another mile, or like 5!!" But, with the help of all the fans lining the road, cheering for every rider like they were part of the tour, we ended up topping the beast in 1:15. After reading that the "Normanator" mashed it in 56, I don't feel so bad about that time.
One thing is for sure though, the climb at this time of year makes for an interesting wardrobe situation. It was about 60 when we started, but the temps dropped as we climbed. However, as I was operating at nearly max output, the beanie, jacket and leg warmers, had me quite toasty. This lasted for about 20mins after we reached the top, but with the SNOW (yes D, you read that right. SNOW in So. Cal.) the temps had us quickly "a-shivver". So after layering up with our extra clothes we descended down to about the 3,500ft level to await the race. If anyone saw the coverage and saw the two fluorescent green "Borat Thonged" dudes, thats where we watched from (the man thongs NOT influencing the stop, its where TCSD had set up shop). To see the first breakaway of 6 or 7 come by at the speed they did after having just climbed the hill myself, was quite awe inspiring. Those dudes straight HAMMER!! Having descended that far down we were actually able to get back to the store and see the riders on their way down as well, and then catch a viewing one more time about 5mi from the finish.
All in all a pretty awesome day. I am pretty sure I will be making at least one more trip to the summit of Palomar before Wildflower, cause it makes "Nasty Grade" look like a speed bump!
I got some pics which I will post later and even some video, which if my technologically/computer illiterate brain can figure out how to post, I will include also.