Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Beginning the eastbound journey......a little early! January 29

 54.2 in 5:20.....Cool, windy weather is in the forecast, especially over the three summits that happen in a matter of 10-15 miles about 50-60 miles east of San Diego. I decided to take the nicest, most windless, day of the next week and get as far into the mountains as I could. Google maps told me that it would take 6:36 to get to the little town of Pine Valley. I guess the mild tailwind and the fact that I wasn't packing panniers full of gear allowed me to get there a hour and fifteen minutes faster. I averaged over 10 mph and climbed a record ascent in one day for me, 5226 ft. I'm pretty happy with that! I made it over one of the three summits over 4000 ft, and positioned myself to hit the others early in my next ride when we roll for Arizona.
The ride started out in the low 60's, but within an hour I was peeling off layers, and my thermometer on the Garmin read 86 at its highest, even though it wasn't that hot. It was just the direct sun rays, working their magic in the same way wind chill is working for most everyone else in the country right now. By the time I got over the first summit and into Pine Valley, it was back down in the mid 60's, and I was actually chilled! 
 I headed out Friar Rd, which I'm pretty familiar with now, and traffic was very light all the way out of San Diego. Friar Rd. Turned into Mission Gorge Rd, just past Qualcomm Stadium.,I headed into some mountains, and came upon Mission Trails Regional Park. It was a neat park with a paved bike trail and walking and mountain biking trails shooting off of it. There was also an old dam that was built by the missionaries in the early 1800's for irrigation. The other side of the park emptied out into the towns  of Santee and Lakeside. I wound around the towns streets and filled up water bottles at a 7-11. The majority of the climb occurred on Old US 80 from there. I had a stretch of about four miles where I had to ride on Interstate 8. The roads were fantastic, with nice shoulders the whole way, and I-8 was especially sweet with clean shoulders as smooth as a baby's bottom. I can see why Adventure Cycling uses this road to start their Southern Tier ride from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. It is a brutal start as far as the climbing, though. I read some cyclers blogs that told me that most riders split the climb into two days. Their first day usually ends in Alpine, a nice town with everything you need, that I went through about ten miles before my destination of Pine Valley.
When I got to Pine Valley, I stopped near the interchange with I-8, because that's the way Pam was coming to meet me at 4:00. I stopped there at about 3:30, at a little roadside oasis called Frosty Burger. The lady there hooked me up with an awesome banana split, and we chatted about the local area until Pam got there. If you're biking the Southern Tier, you have to stop at Frosty Burger!


Qualcomm stadium in San Diego




Mission Gorge bike trail


Dam and flume


Prisoners coming back from working on a fire line

Travelling down the historic US 80



I dare you to pronounce this Indian name!!


The BEST banana split!

The Frosty Burger

When was the last time you saw a pay phone!!!?

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