Cycling from Los Angeles to San Diego: Part 2

When Mr. CiclaValley last left you in Part 1, the suspense was building…

Will his cold ramp up? Will he survive the street fight taking place in an upscale community gas station? Could he avoid the paparazzi? All valid questions.

What’s the answer? I’m #valleystrong. Let’s just get back to the fun:


11:01am – Laguna Beach was probably the least favorite part of the ride. You had to take up a lane of PCH and those drivers who focused on speed(which felt like most) didn’t seem too happy. Remind me not to purchase a house here.


11:09am – Dana Point provided some buffered lanes, but deeper rollers. If you ride in a group, there’s a decent chance you’ll get some separation.


11:17am – Here’s that theme! I love big signs. We cut off the highway a bit through the Lantern District which was pretty underwhelming after riding under the marquee. At least they have that sign.


11:28am – Going by Capistrano Beach, you get about a four mile reprieve of flatness accompanied by some protected bike lanes, that is, unless you’re following these guys.


11:43am – San Clemente. A little bit of rollers, a lot of cars. They didn’t quite give the space I would have liked behind me, but hey, there’s an empty lane to my left. Why not try that?

12:19am – Two boobs and a nuclear power plant.  Coming out of San Clemente, there’s a bike path that follows I-5 that takes you, surfers and a bunch of burnouts to San Onofre Beach. This puts you onto Old Pacific Highway, which is pretty empty from cars coming from it being a dead end or avoiding nuclear exposure. I don’t know.


12:28am – The highway dead ends, but the fun doesn’t. After passing the barriers, you’re get a nice few miles on your own.


12:36pm – We pulled into Camp Pendleton where cameras are verboten. Even Wayne was asked to take off his GoPro. Getting through the base is an eight mile stretch which we were putting the pounding on averaging 25mph over some slight rollers and crosswinds. Thank you Brian & Sasha for facing the brunt of it.


1:36pm – Once we got out of Pendleton, we noticed Wayne had dropped behind us. We waited fifteen minutes when we got a text that he was going to take the train the rest of the way.

SD13401:40pm – Of course I’m going to rubberneck and take a pic of this beautiful mid-century marquee. As for riding through Oceanside, it feels like cars are on top of you, but there’s a lot of red lights. No one is going anywhere fast.

SD13501:50pm – You know when you roll into Carlsbad here that the people living here are getting an extra paycheck or two. Cars pick up speed here, but at least there’s bike lanes because they have money for it.

SD14082:08pm – There’s something nice about riding through Encinitas as it has that relaxed, lived in beach town vibe instead of that expensive, show how much money I make to as many people possible vibe. I’m not saying we didn’t pass a few communities like that.

SD14152:15pm – The drivers were pretty respectful of us earlier riding on the sharrows and the bike lanes here were just as comfortable. Unfortunately, things were about to get less comfortable as Sasha was tailing off at Solano Beach to meet his girlfriend. So just me and Brian. God help us all.


2:41pm –  Up to Torrey Pines, you face a series of rollers that open up to lagoons to your left. There’s plenty of bike lanes along here, but you forget about that when you see this, the largest climb of the whole ride.


2:46pm – At 1.5 miles and a 5% incline, this is the type of hill I normally love, but at 114 miles into the trip and bordering sickness, I kept it as slow as possible to stay out of the red zone. The hill is a bit deceiving too, as it stretches farther than I initially imagined, but that could be the dementia kicking in.

SD14512:51pm – See. That wasn’t so bad.  We turned onto Torrey Pines Road and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

SD14582:58pm – When you ride by the architectural landmark of the caliber that is the Salk Institute, you have to take a photo. Unfortunately, the complex is gated off, so I couldn’t get a view like this.


3:15pm – We started meandering through La Jolla which had a Beverly Hills meets the beach type of vibe. Even though you could get around faster by bike, it was still a lot of stop and go.


3:23pm – This was the last point where we rode alongside the beach. A lot of tourists slow rolling taking pics, so beware. Also, look at the number of people with their shirts off in October. Yes, California is an awesome place to live.SD1335

3:35pm – We merged over to Mission Blvd. and I’ll have to say that the cars did not treat us so kindly. There were even sharrows there, but it felt like many people had somewhere to go and they wanted us to know how we were slowing them down.


3:56pm – We grabbed a quick drink as I could feel my sickness level gaining and crossed over Mission Bay. There were some bike lanes to start, but when things became more freewayish, it was every man for himself.


4:12pm – Down the home stretch into downtown. Maybe we could have picked a better route the last few miles, but this was the best tour guide I could afford.


4:24pm – Finally reached our endpoint along Broadway. My final stats: 136 miles, 7 hours 37 minutes of moving time, 3,282 feel of climbing, 17.8mph average speed and one old guy.

It was a great ride and thanks to my buddies for putting in most of the work. I still have a slight bit of emptiness in my heart for not riding under all my capacities, but that just means I look forward to doing this ride again. And again.