What’s exciting for local riders?
Highland Valley Road (very fast little switchbacks), Bandy Canyon Road (fun descent into San Pasqual Valley of Wild Animal Park fame), Lake Wohlford Road (great climb very early a.m.), Cole Grade Road (solid gradient and orange groves). Throw in Palomar Mountain’s South Grade Road, with descent down the back on East Grade Road, and you’ve got a nice century or thereabouts. Sub 4 hours? Pros, yes. Rest of us? Unlikely.
To me, Cole Grade Road now looks to be the optimal place to hammer a solo attack up into Valley Center if the lead group has bunched up after the descent of East Grade Road and westward piece on Highway 76. If someone gets away on Cole Grade, they have a great chance. Only a descent and some flats back to downtown Escondido seperate them from the finish.
It will be fast and furious.
Here’s Palomar’s South Grade profile, including the first 6+ miles eastbound on Highway 76 leading to the base of the mountain. This could be where the race really goes down if a huge attack blows apart the field.