Saturday, January 16, 2010

Welcome back my love!

A few weeks ago the request came in from my friend Shannon: "want to climb Palomar?" I may not be in shape, but this climb will kick my butt into shape like few other rides can. Plus, how can I say not to a request coming from 6 people willing to drive all the way from Pasadena to ride Palomar (5 of which were Palomar virgins!). I immediately stored the ride in trainingpeaks. After 2 weeks of riding I was ready to visit the mountain we love to hate!

The gang arrived from the northern hemisphere and were ready to roll. I let my worries be known. No, I wasn't worried about the 5,550ft climb in 12 miles! I was worried that the sun was no where to be found. I HATE (seriously HATE) descending that hill when it's cold. I threw on 3 layers and packed another long-sleeve in the pockets for the descent. We rolled out and I was scared of possible hypothermia to come :(

Shannon and I layered up and ready to roll!
The Pasadena crowd looks very happy. Do they know what's to come?!?!?!

Soon we happily welcomed the Lake Wulford climb. Climbing = warmth. The weather in San Diego has been summeresq lately. It was cool today! But then again, we're riding in January...not too shabby for this Michigan native!
As we made our way to the lake atop the climb my quads began to burn. Oh boy! A sign of good things to come.

At the bottom of Palomar we stopped to make sure the bottles were topped off, the excess clothing tops were off, and provided a quick description of the climb for the guests. It went something like this:
"Ok, we'll start up, after 5 miles there will be a V in the road stay left. From there you'll enjoy 7 miles of switch backs. Ready.....set.....GO!"

The watch timer started and we were off. It only took 90 seconds before Shannon and her fellow climbing mules were off. That girl inspires me! She can climb like few other chics can! And she'll be in St. George for her first Ironman in May...I can not wait to watch that action!!!

5 miles in and I was in 'no mans land.' 4 goats ahead of me, and two behind. The iPod was put into play and the fun began. My goal was to build my intensity, heart rate and power throughout the climb. "Where are those 4? Seriously, what studs!" At the 5 mile mark I got out of the saddle and bumped up the intensity. 7 more miles!

Rage against the Machine provided a little inspiration with "Know your Enemy." I caught an unknown rabbit. He was feisty and put up a good fight. Thanks for letting me play dude!

Another thanks to Bon Jovi for letting me know "We Weren't Born To Follow."
3,000ft down.
"Ya, Ya, We weren't born to follow. Come on and get off of your knees. Life is a bitter pill to swallow. We've gotta hold on to what we believe."
Ya baby...climb climb climb. Legs burning, burning, burning.

Rocking out to Kings of Leon I made it back and forth a few more switch backs. Just then I saw one of my fellow goats. I think he thought I was a bit lonely, and figured he'd come pick me up. At every turn he looked out to the panoramic view with appreciation. It was awesome to see him enjoying one of my favorite backyard playgrounds. I vowed to never take this scenery and terrain for granted.

Ok, back to reality. I was dying, and he seemed to be spinning with ease. I tried hard to hold on, and together we passed one of our mules. I love those moments of encouragement amongst training partners: "good job. kill it. go go go." I let him know he was almost there. Seriously, the first time up this long climb is the worst. You just don't know when it will end!

"I Got a Feeling" (Blcak Eyed Peas)...Woooooo Hoooooo! This hurts SO GOOD! LOVIN' IT.
That leaves just over 1,500 to go. I took a glance at my watch and knew I had better get a MAJOR move on if I was going to record a descent time for this fun little time trial. Before we started I was sincerely scared my legs couldn't make this climb after only 2 weeks back on the bike. They proved me wrong, and were in the game to play and responded well to my request for more.

Wait a second- Do I see the last 2 rabbits! There's my favorite goat. " Shannon, I'm coming" (I thought-I couldn't speak at this point) We "flew" (as fast as one can possibly "fly" when grinding on their easiest gear 11.2 miles and 5000 ft in.

Just then my FAVORITE climbing song came on: "He's a Pirate" by DJ Tiesto. I have no idea how it ended up on my play list, but seriously download it. Your cadence will quicken, your power will rise, and your heart may pound out of your chest.

I don't know how I reeled in those crazy goats, but I just about caught them all. It wasn't a race, but you see, at mile 5 I was feeling a bit sorry for my self out there in no mans land. When I clicked the stop watch at the top that I wasn't as weak as I thought I'd be.

A quick coffee/hot chocolate to warm the core and it
was time to retrace our path home

It was far from warm atop the Mountain. Clothes on quick and lets get off this giant. If I haven't mentioned it before, I hate this part. But what goes up, must go down.
To have this kind of ride in my back yard is simply awesome! Thank you Palomar for allowing me to fall in love with you again. I enjoyed sharing this ride with so many out-of-towners! Come back soon guys!

As for me- Palomar my love, I'll be back soon!!!

1 comment:

Scott said...

I had a thought while reading this post. You should embrace the term "no mans land" as a motto or mantra. No mans land, front of the pack. Something along those lines.

Whenever you pass a boy you have reached "No Mans Land". That type of thing. Would even be a good club name, though I wouldn't be allwed in the club. Anyway, keep up the good work, you rock!!!