Tomorrow’s the day. It was so damn obvious.
Typical Saturday in February? About 10 serious riders ascend South Grade up the face of Palomar.
Had to be 200.
I’ve never seen so many bikes on the mountain — ever. They came from everywhere. And more are amassing for Sunday. I met a father-and-son combo from St. Louis. Highest “mountain” in Missouri, according to the Dad? Something like 480 feet. Ouch.
The son was forced to walk up to the summit after blowing up around 4,000 foot elevation, due to gearing more suitable for the flats. The mountain shows no mercy.
Sunday should be fun at the summit’s 5,120 feet. By 3 p.m. today, campers and tents were positioning on the inside shoulder of the KOM. Front-row seats to witness the strong men.
Cole Grade Road, the final KOM, isn’t getting quite the same hype as Palomar. But most pundits are predicting it will decide the stage winner.
Here’s the tricky part: The initial incline is a false 6%. By that I mean it looks like 6%, but it checks in at more than 10% on the Garmin. The eyes tell you one thing. The legs scream another.
Whoever is in the breakaway group for Stage 8 can take the win if they pound Cole Grade Road and time trial through Valley Center before BOMBING down Lake Wohlford Road. And they will BOMB. I caught a headwind on El Norte Parkway in Escondido after the descent of Lake Wohlford.
Just another wild card in what should be a day of great racing.
My viewing spot? At the highest point, hands down.