California Dreaming – Part 1

Cannondale Super Six Evo Red Ascent Cycling team bike on pier in California

Mark's words from the road:

People who know me well know that I’m Dutch...not just in nationality but also in spending habits. This means that my vacations or training camps for the last few years have been, well….affordable. So it was with some hesitation that I let Miriam talk me into a flight down to South California. A vacation soon turned into “how many miles can we jam into eight days?”

Our flight arrived late Thursday night, and Friday we drove to where we are staying (some family of family, long story there). Shari and Lee and their daughter Amanda, our hosts, are great, and so far we’ve been eating like the royal family. Friday the legs didn’t feel so hot, but Saturday we did a 5 hour ride that included a ride up Palomar Mountain. It’s a long climb, taking around an hour if you are booking it. We hit it 2 and a half hours into the ride, and any aspirations I had of doing an hour of threshold up it disappeared about ten minutes in. I bonked pretty hard, but managed to do it around sweetspot. This kind of training is great for early season; not too intense, but doing some sweetspot a couple of hours into a ride really teaches your legs how to fight the fatigue. Gotta say the long climb was worth it once I turned around at the top. The descent was long and twisty, and the Evo handles it better than any bike I have ever descended on. With it’s lower center of gravity I found myself taking corners at speeds that I’m not sure I would’ve hit on my previous generation of Evo. It’s as happy going down as it is climbing up! It’s screaming for a wheel upgrade though….

Mark and Wife enjoying a cold drink post ride in california cyclingSunday was a pretty beautiful day worth mentioning as well. Even though the weather was cloudy and misty, we rode along the Pacific coast. This was our relatively flat day, but everywhere you turn here there are climbs...and not just escarpment climbs, I’m talking 20 minutes on the shorter end. It was just a zone 1 or 2 ride, so we could really take in the views, as well as enjoy some cafe-baked muffins to pack in some calories in beautiful Encinitas. Monday featured some rare rain for this spot in California. This gave us an excuse take a much needed rest day, as well as catch up on things like this blog!

Tomorrow is another day though, and we’ve got a full day of cycling planned with (hopefully) another attempt at Palomar. Don’t think I’ll be knocking Chris Horner or Phil Gaimon out of the two top positions on the KOM though! All in all we will have about 20 hours of cycling two weeks in a row, a good way to bump up the fitness for the early season, as well as get away from the cold of Ontario. This vacation has also been great to try out our sponsors products. We have consumed our fair share of Skratch, which has proven to be the best thing for my stomach. I have tried a lot of different products over the years, and usually after a few days of steady my stomach becomes angry. So far Skratch is the only thing that keeps my energy up, and my stomach happy. Well, enough rambling, I’m going to go bake some Skratch Lab cookies and get to carb loading for the rest of the week!


Mark posing on bridge in Newworld Cycling kit riding the 2017 Cannondale Super Six Evo Red