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Mt. Laguna Road Bike Ride San Diego

September 2, 2015
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Discovered: Altitude & Trees in San Diego – Mt Laguna

Located 20 miles north of the Mexican border, San Diego is basically a desert by the sea. Many people consider the climate to be near-perfect year round- the average temperature in San Diego country  is 70°F.  There is over 70 miles of coastline in San Diego county. This place is pretty fantastic and I have loved living here for the past four years. That being said, I often feel a deep longing for crisp, mountain air and lush, green trees. I didn’t know this existed in San Diego until this past weekend, when Tyler and I took our bikes (bikes of the road variety this time!) to East County past the town of Alpine and climbed up Mt. Lauguna, the tallest mountain in San Diego county at nearly 6,000 ft. The ride is a moderate 50 miler with a decent amount of climbing right off the bat.

Here’s how you can do it too…

Getting there: It’s about an hour drive from Encinitas in North County, San Diego to the park n ride where you will start the ride. Head East on hwy 8 towards the city of Alpine. A few miles past Alpine, you will approach the intersection of hwy 79 and hwy 8. Exit there and turn left where you will see a park n ride on the left side of the road. Park there and gear up! The other option is to park a little further down the road at Pine Valley.

 

The Route: because we road on a particularly hot day in August, we made sure we were rolling by 7am to beat the heat (which meant a 5am wakeup call!). In addition, we opted to ride counter-clockwise in order to get the majority of the heavy climbing over with early on in the ride.  IMG_6947

Head out from the park n ride on hwy 79. Continue on Old Highway 80 through the quaint town of Pine Valley. Continue along hwy 80 and when you turn away from hwy 8, the road becomes the Sunrise Highway. There awaits a lovely 6% average grade climb to Mt. Laguna! If you see trees, stunning views, and signs warning about ice and snow you’re going the right way! 

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Once you reach Mt. Laguna, you have a long decent, desert views, and occasional gusty winds to look forward to. We stopped at a scenic lookout for a quick break and took in the sights and noticed that the famous PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hiking trail that runs from Mexico to Canada was right below the observation deck. Cool!

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Sunrise Hwy dead ends into hwy 79. If you go right, you can extend the ride and head up to Julian for apple pies, cider, and other treats! We opted to turn right, back to car to keep our ride at the 50 mile mark. Soon you will pass Cuyamaca Lake and several equestrian trails. Finally, a fun, curvy descent awaits! Soak in the joys of gravity and be safe! Finish the ride with a climb back to the park n ride lot. The whole thing took us 3.5 hours with a short stop built in.

Mt Laguna Ride

Stats: 50.5 miles // 4,933ft elevation // 3:23 moving 

Gear

Watch out! there are parts of the climb that have a very narrow, sometimes non-existent shoulder. If you are riding in the early morning, most of the climb is in the shade (score! but it also makes it hard for cars to see you). Make sure your bike is equipped with forward and rear facing blinky lights.

Have you rode Mt. Laguna? Share your experience in the comments below! 

Action, San Diego Home, Triathlon

Mega-Ty’s 1st Tri!

May 4, 2015
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4 a.m. and the alarm rings. Why oh why are we doing this? 

Cold oatmeal “aka overnight oats”, a coffee, load the packs and bikes in the truck and we are off to the San Diego Sprint Triathlon and our first tri! IMG_3186

Megan and I are normally not early for anything. It’s not that we are late, we just tend to be exactly “on time” if that makes any sense. Today though, being early was key! Driving, parking, walking, setting up your transition area, using the washroom, using the washroom again, walking the transition zone, walking the swim start, snacking, putting on your wetsuit, going to the washroom again, putting your wetsuit back on, and then lining up; you’ll need all the time you can get. 

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The transition and transition setup was one of my favorite parts of the race. I equate it to packing a big backpacking trip, where you lay out all your gear, take inventory, pack, un-pack, then pack all back up again. Any setup you place down, you are going to want to change! Your shoes can always be more open, your helmet always placed better, and your bike straighter! Just set it and forget it! 

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Before I put on the wetsuit!

Head to the swim start area, and join in on the conversation of “when does my heat start?”, “what buoys do I swim around?”, and “what type of goggles are those?”.  

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The swim to bike transition was more difficult than expected. Getting out of the water, unzipping the suit, and running in, your equilibrium is thrown off. After a short bit, things will come back together, but taking the time earlier to walk the transition area really helped finding the bike. I second guessed myself a few times even still.

The bike portion was great! Few bumps, but getting to pass, and being passed, is both energizing and humbling! 

The run… oh the run…! Running right off the bike feels like running through mud. Push through it and things get better, but right out of the gate, it’s rough! 

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With the finish in sight, everything makes sense as to why people get addicted to this sport. 

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 A big big congratulations to Megan for finishing 2nd in her age group! I couldn’t be more proud!

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