Riding with a Tour de France champ…

I spent some of Saturday riding up Palomar Mountain’s South Grade Road. No base layer. No knee warmers or arm warmers. Splendid. 

On my first descent, I was surprised to see the OUCH / Maxxis Pro Team on their way up (much, much faster, I might add).

The big thrill: seeing Floyd Landis, 2006 Tour de France winner, who was later stripped of his title when testing positive for synthetic testosterone. On Palomar, Floyd was just coming through the shade past the Mile 41.6 marker — and he was flying on that small straight-away of 6% grade. Say what you will about the doping scandal, the man can turn the cranks. 

It was great to see him on Palomar, great to see him getting ready for the Tour of California, and great to see his poker face once again.

No, I didn’t actually ride with Floyd. Or Tim Johnson. Or Rory Sutherland. Or any of the other OUCH / Maxxis team members.

But I rode up South Grade Road on the same mountain twice, atop a Moots titanium frame with training Open Pros, the rear 32-spokes, tied and soldered. Not exactly built for climbing. Oh hell.

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The friendly hand waves and helmet nods from OUCH / Maxxis were renewed motivation for a guy like me who doesn’t race, but loves the sport just the same. It’s not always how fast, but how much fun.

Saturday was akin to practicing on the field at Petco Park while the Padres run wind sprints in the outfield. How often does any baseball fan get to do that?

Ride stats:

20 miles up: 6,800 total feet climbed

20 miles down: net loss of 6,800 total feet

Getting stronger. Maybe even a bit lighter.  Time to break out the Tarmac Pro SL for the next Palomar session.

Is this heaven..?

Bright sunshine. No clouds. Jeez, not even any wind.

It must be heaven.

For cyclists, that is.

Time to ride an easy 40 near the Pacific and prep for bigger miles this weekend. Trusty Moots, show me the way.

Apologies in advance to any San Diego motorists on Friday afternoon commutes horrified by hairy white legs and post-Thanksgiving physique. Gotta start somewhere.

This is why people in Portland have bike fenders

Best thing about riding in the rain in San Diego? You never get passed by any other cyclists. Ego-boost for us slow pokes. 25 soggy miles in the bank of C2K. First time for the Moots in a steady rainstorm. Handled spectactularly. One horn. One Land Rover running red light (on a Sunday afternoon, for reasons unknown to anyone except the driver). No one hurt as a result.

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Moots vest. Works great in the rain to block pesky water and sand tail.

Into the rain

55 degrees and wet. Short 25-miler is the call on the Moots since it will need a tune-up soon anyway. What’s a little extra grit and water? Miles are miles… Temps in mid-70s by Tuesday. And each day of sunlight grows a few minutes longer… No Pasadena this afternoon. ToC on the tube at 8 tonight.

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Cycling Belguim style. Be sure to wear shoe covers to protect your kicks.