|Above El Toro MCAS|
Today's OC Velo ride was through Laguna Canyon again. But instead of hitting the canyon at height-of-land from the east, we made a loop through Irvine, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo and then turned south to ride the entire length of the canyon.
Any ride that includes a loop through Southern Irvine and Lake Forest is almost always going to circumnavigate the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Before the station was decommissioned in 1999, it was the home of the Marine Corps Aviation's west coast operations. The place is huge. There are two pairs of main runways - one pair is 8,000 feet long and the other pair is 10,000 feet long. Add the (I suppose) standard "extra-land" security buffer between the areas of operation and the perimeter, and you have one massive footprint of real estate.
Since the station's closure the site has been embroiled in controversy. First there was talk of turning the base into a commercial airport. When that got voted down, a plan was approved to turn the former base into a multi-use area including residential tracts and a public park. But then the money ran out, and except for a few bits and pieces of the park that where completed, the land remains unused. You can still see the runways from a couple vantage points along the ride.
|The beach end of the canyon opens up into downtown Laguna Beach.|
A cross wind from the left in the canyon means a tail wind on the Coast Highway, so when we turned north towards home, things got even faster. There's not many things more enjoyable than a fast paceline, and with exception of a few traffic signals, that's how we rode for the next 15 miles back to the Huntington Beach Pier.
|The route - door to door.|
I hope everyone is having a good, safe weekend of training and everything else.