Friday, February 02, 2007

The Mt. Soledad Ride

When I first moved to San Diego, one day, my father and I were driving around, kind of getting lost, were driving up this insanely steep hill, and finally ended up at the top, and came across whast is known as Mt. Soledad. My dad and I were amazed at this monument. It is up on top of a hill towering above San Diego, Mission Beach, La Jolla, Clairement.... heck EVERYTHING. On clear days, this includes being able to see 70-80 miles. Simply amazing. The two things I took away from this trip was how incredible the view is from up there, and how steep of a climb it was getting up there.....

Every thursday, Ginger and Homa would do this bike ride, and after finding out what the course was, I thought they were psychotic. They would start at the bottom of Torrey Pines, and go up the inside road as their warm up. They would travel down Torrey Pines road, and head down La Jolla Shores, and then up Mt. Soledad.

UP Mt. Soledad.

Homa has a reputation as being very energetic, crazy, and one who somewhat enjoys pain.

Ginger definitely comes across as nice and gentle, but coming from a mountain climbing background, you know she is hardcore.

After a few months of all this fun they were having, and Homa finally talking me into it, I decided to give it a shot.

Here we go.

As I was driving to the start at Torrey Pines state beach for 6:30am, I was greated with a beautiful full moon setting on the horizon to the west, just as the sun was coming up on the other horizon to the east. I knew at this point that it was going to be a great workout.

We started the climb up the inside of TP, made our way down to La Jolla shores, and finally made it to the base of Mt. Soledad. Ginger said "Ryan, you may want to take off the jacket and arm warmers, even though its only about 50-55 degrees out. You will get warm." I happily removed those articles of clothing, and we started up the ascent.

The first challenge is taking "that right at that stop sign", where if you drive a car with a stick shift transmission, you know exactly what I am talking about. It was like a little foreshadowing - as if it's the point of no return - like a warning. Stop, or continue on.

Maybe enter at your own risk would be a more appropriate sign.

Not wanting to stall, I immediately got out of the saddle, and started powering up. I got to a point shortly after the stop sign, and was able to sit back down in the saddle. I continued like this, and was moving at a pretty moderate pace (read: 6mph). A nice little motivation piece was coming to the point where I took one of my favorite pictures in San Diego (look at the ocean swim post for that). I prodded along, and came across a few relatively flat sections, caught my breath, and then looked up.

With the emphasis on the "up". (Are you able to paint a picture yet?)

I noticed the road ahead of me grew steeper.

And then it went around a corner, so the end wasn't in sight. I start to climb, I got out of the saddle, and started powering up. The hill kept coming, and I kept powering. I felt my heart rate increase. The sweat was starting to drip. It was getting harder, and somehow, steeper. I started using my arms to swing the bike back and forth along with my legs to generate more power.

And then I got around the corner.

and I was there.

The summit - I am here!!!!!! WOW!!! THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

Ginger and Homa were a little bit hehind, and once they got there, it was nothing but love.

We hung out at the top for a bit...

and enjoyed the views...

made our descent down Mt. Soledad (much more fun!), back UP La Jolla shores (no easy feat either) and back down TP to our cars.

Wow, I really can't think of a better way to start the day!!!

Total Distance: 14 miles
Elevation Gain: over 1000 ft
Time: just under 2 hours

Mt. Soledad ascent: 1 mile
Mt. Soledad Elevation gain: unknown, but somewhere from 500-700 ft.


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