Saturday, January 22, 2011

Epic Ride Saturday III - Laguna Canyon Via El Toro

Above El Toro MCAS
Today was pretty much another picture perfect January day in Southern California - clear, calm and by mid morning, about 70 degrees.

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.
About 35 miles into the ride, we entered the canyon.  There is a long and relatively moderate climb into the canyon.  I just stuck myself to the wheel in front of me and pedaled.  I suppose the good news is that my climbing seems to be getting stronger every week.  Once we crested, it's downhill all the way to the coast.  As always, the ride didn't disappoint, and except for one flat tire, we rolled through fast and safe.

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.
The final stats for the day where 68 miles and 2000 feet of climbing.  Moving time was about three hours and forty five minutes.  I was actually surprised when my Garmin showed 2000 feet of climbing, but I guess the climbing was spread out enough not to really notice it.  I'm feeling good (unlike last week) so my long run tomorrow should be happening as planned.

I hope everyone is having a good, safe weekend of training and everything else.


The Green Girl said...

We are so lucky to live here and have such a beautiful morning. I'm glad you had a good ride - those views are incredible!

The Green Girl said...

I'm surprised you haven't been to Palos Verdes yet.

After my run this morning, I went up to Griffith Park - I really want to go running there after seeing all the cool trails.

KovasP said...

With the amount you are riding these days it is no wonder you are feeling stronge.

Caratunk Girl said...

OK, I almost stopped reading at "clear, calm and by mid morning, about 70 degrees." We have overcast, windy, and -10 right now. I do love winter, but reading 70 degrees does make me yearn for warmer days for sure! I am jealous of your outside riding!! :)

That sounds like an awesome ride. I love the description of the canyon..

Christi said...

I am hoping that we hit 40 degrees today so I can bundle up and ride outside. That would be awesome!

Wish me luck!

And Congrats on a great ride!

Bryan S said...

You sure do know how to make all of us non-CA residents jealous. Great weather and great rides. I'll live vicariously through you for another month or two. Spring is just around the corner, but in OK that only really means more wind. We play the hand we are dealt.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice work on all these epic rides so early in the season! You're going to rock Honu :-)

A Prelude To... said...

I agree with Caratunk Girl. Send us some of that weather!

I really have not been on my bike at all in a long time, so I see some really hard days coming up in my near future.

Good job on your ride!!

Shawn said...

Great ride Patrick...I was actually out your way a few years ago on a business trip...about Superbowl time...Seattle lost, anyways..I remember driving through or near all the places you mentioned in your is some pretty there...and warm!!

Chris K said...

Okay, I'm starting to warm up to this biking thing. But do I really need to swim to be a triathlete?!

ajh said...

Very impressive and I bet fun and satisfying!

valen said...

well you just sold that so nicely that it's on my bucket list for whenever I make it to Cali.

J. L. said...

Wow, your ride sounds awesome. My bike is on a trainer in the basement. I went downhill skiing and ran 9 miles in 3 degree temps this weekend. I officially have weather envy!

TRI714 said...

Exactly why I don't like missing that Saturday ride. Im glad you guys got the goods though. Sunday didn't disappoint.


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