Tuesday, January 6, 2009


You Are Here - the Top of Mount Palomar!!

We did it. Not that I ever had any doubt that we would. I know myself, and if there was any way possible I could get up that mountain, I would. Regardless of the fact that I had not done any biking over an hour and every single ride thus far has been on the trainer was obsolete. We had been planning this ride since before I arrived and I had been looking forward to it since I could remember. Today was the day and as we said on our t-shirts in college "it's time."

After a great nights sleep and four halves of English muffin with apple jelly I was all set to go. Well, let me rephrase that...after food and then forty five minutes of Marit and I asking each other if we had gloves, socks, a hat, arm warms, gels, wind vests, tights, drinks and toe warmers tucked into our jerseys and packed running shoes, shorts and bars we were all set to go.

We made the spectacular drive to Palomar and chatted it up non-stop from start to finish while listening to Autoslave and stained. I was as giddy as a school girl while we got our bikes ready to make the climb. We had so much packed in our jerseys that it felt like I was carrying a small child back there! We parked at the Harrah's casino and proceeded to pee in the parking lot between a small set of hedges like any true biker would do before a monumental ride.

After a 25 minute warm up on the flats it was time to start the climb. It began at a Taco place but as we came upon the official "start" we stopped for a moment and both decided that one last relieving of the badder was in order. To our dismay while looking around there was no place to go...normal people would have gone in the restaurant. Once again, another reason I love this girl, Marit felt the same way I did - why take all that time, I want to squat right here. So, in broad daylight, well, in the shade of a tree, out in the open, right by the side of the road, she squatted down while trucks road past and did her business. I held the bikes. Afterward she held the bikes while I attempted to go behind a small area of flowering bushes and a man came over to yell to her from the Taco parking lot "Hey, we have restrooms in here you know!" Marit, being the nicest most cordial person I know said what any polite triathlete who had just dropped her drawers in public would say, "thank you! I'll keep that in mind for next time!" I was laughing behind the bush as the conversation took place knowing that I would try to portray it here but would never do it justice. For more on this, check her blog, I'm sure she'll write!
The climb began slowly and we chipped away little by little passing groves of citrus fruit. At one point she told me it had been seven minutes. I told her no more updates as I know this climb would take around 90 minutes if we had a good day.

Pictures from the decent!

We made small talk occasionally to pass the time and by 30 minutes in I was already starting to be thankful I rode my 27 cassette. I hadn't maxed out the gears yet, but I knew it wouldn't be long.

We continued to climb and I followed close behind as the road went from fairly strait to switchback after switchback during the second half. Often times we talked about the good things that come from climbs like this, the confidence they build, the experience they give us to draw from when times get tough. The miles kept passing but often times, it seemed like forever to only go one mile. The elevation kept climbing to and I would see 3000 feet, then 4000 and with each passing thousand the view would be even more spectacular. I just couldn't believe we were that high up as we towered about the other mountains in the range. We would look down below from where we'd come and marvel at the fact that we were there not long ago.

Marit does the Napoleon pose along the decent!

When we passed 5000 ft it was a great sense of accomplishment and I was so glad we were riding right together. I felt like a team and I said many times how stoked I was to be riding on this day, at this moment and how thankful I was just to have the opportunity to do this!! Even in the worst pain when my legs felt like they might fall off I still said I loved riding my bike and I did, it was grand!!

When we finally saw the signs that signified the road around the top we were cheering and celebrating!! We did it!! It was a great feeling and we took some time to consume cliff bars and get our picture taken before making the long decent.

The decent was long and cold and we took the time to pile on the layers and thank heavens we did!! After only a mile or two down my hands and back were killing me from riding the brakes so hard. We took time to stop and take some pictures and when we finally arrived back at the car I was one happy girl!

After a 30 minute run around the parking lot at Harrah's we were talking about pizza and all kinds of other food we were craving. The Powerbars we shoved in our mouth the second we hit the car were nice, but not nearly what I was looking for to satisfy my hunger. When we finally arrived home it was time to throw a pizza in the oven and eventually get sushi this evening!! On the way I saw a beautiful San Diego sunset and I relished the moment for all it was worth.

What a day, what a climb, what an awesome training partner. I'm so grateful we took on the challenge and even though it was hard, it was worth every second.

No comments: