San Diego Day 2 of “Remarkably Bad Idea” trip – Nate Harrison Grade

Nate Harrison is a mixed surface climb that would rank #16 out of the top 100 in the US. Knee is still pretty dodgy and I want to do Palomar tomorrow, so my goal was to ride this as slowly as possible.

Link to Strava Activity

Starts out with some no shoulder highway but I left super early so not too bad. Once you get to the dirt section it’s pretty mixed. Some is not too bad (gravel on hard pack) and other sections are pretty brutal – deep ruts, rocky stretches, sand. I was very glad I did not have to descend the dirt part – it would take a lonnng time. The grade on this climb is also extremely deceptive with a roughly 10-11% average. But much of that is made up of 15-20% pitches mixed with 6 to 8%. And of course the most rutted/rocky sections were the steepest!

The sun was in my eyes on half of the switchbacks, so that made it extra exciting to not ride off the side of the road or into a bike size rut.

Knee was pretty much not happy right away, but didn’t seem to get any worse? So I ignored it. Hopefully it will be okay tomorrow.

I was very happy to see the end of the dirt section, and then a slight climb to get to the descent, which is very fast and no shoulders. Luckily traffic was very light, so no problems. At the bottom is a convenient Taqueria, so I rewarded myself with a breakfast burrito.

The descent was also a preview of the ride up tomorrow, which other than being smooth pavement, looks very similar in profile and length.

Starts out through the orange groves
Start of the dirt part
You can make out the switchbacks up the hill
more more more, knee getting grumpy around here
About halfway up, looking down into the valley
3/4 of the way it turns inland under trees and into the park
End of the pavement.. after 2.5 hours of bumpy dirt, pavement felt super smooth and fast!
After the false summit, you go up another 100 feet to get to the pavement descent.
Preview of tomorrow.. the start of Palomar descent

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