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Travel: San Diego Cycling Camps
San Diego has some of the best riding in the entire country, especially now. The winters are mild, with the average January low temperatures being about 50 F. There’s no shortage of great terrain, from coastal flats and rollers to 6000ft climbs. We asked coach Sean Burke to tell us about the winter training camps he offers there…

If It’s Good Enough For the Pros…
The pros have discovered San Diego and any have been training here for years. Floyd Landis lives in the northern San Diego County town of Temecula and is frequently seen climbing Palomar Mountain, Axel Merckx spends most of his winters here and can be found hammering on the Swami’s club ride most Saturdays from November to February, and it isn’t unusual to see Chris Horner getting in some winter training riding through the Cleveland National forest that runs through part of San Diego.

Even in January, the sun shines almost everyday in san Diego.

Plenty of Great Rides
After running several 3 and 4 day camps for the riders I coach, and guiding multi-week tours in Italy, I decided it was time to offer week-long training camps in San Diego that allowed “regular Joe” riders to get out of their winter funk and get in some great riding. I just wanted to share this great terrain and great weather with riders from all over the country.

Unlike many of the other camps, this is no “Ride With The Superstars” camp. This camp is simply about getting in the miles, and riding some great routes. The guides are local racers, and each ride has sag support so you don’t have to carry that extra jacket up the hill.

The lodging is a gigantic house in north county San Diego close to all the great rides. The two longest, most difficult days are the days we ascend Palomar Mountain and Laguna Mountain. Both of these days will be over 4 hours on the bike, and will cover over 5000 feet of climbing and descending. There is a chance there will be a little snow on top of these mountains, but the cool thing is you can usually ride up them in a short sleeve jersey and bib shorts.

The two big mountain days are separated by a 20-30 mile easy ride up the historic Pacific Coast Highway where we will pass some of San Diego’s most famous surf breaks.

The Laguna Mountain ride is probably the most beautiful scenic ride in San Diego. We’ll ride through the desert like chaparral landscape and climb to the summit of Mount Laguna where we will be surrounded by pine trees, but you can also see the Anza Borrego Desert almost 6000 feet below. On the descent we’ll pass some gorgeous meadows and lakes, and at the bottom we’ll hop in the van and drive back to camp HQ.

The region boasts all the terrain you need – from flats and rollers to 6000ft climbs.

Since the camps are all inclusive we’ll feed everyone a hearty cyclist’s breakfast each morning, and make sure you are well fed after putting in those miles each day. On some evenings dinner will feature good old home cookin’ and other nights we’ll have cyclist friendly catering brought in from some of the local restaurants.

Who Needs Stars, Let’s Ride
By using a large house (including a heated pool and hot tub) rather than a hotel, and by using local racers, rather than cycling superstars as guides, I can offer full seven days of riding for about half of what similar training camps charge for only four or five days of riding. As a coach, I can help you out with bike fit or just chat with you about training if you wish, all you have to do is ask.
The camp is limited to 14 people, so everyone will be well looked after.

Of course there will be a few discussions on training and racing in the evenings if you want to attend, but you can also relax in the living room watching DVDs like” Breaking Away”, playing Playstation games, or chill in the hot tub.

The PEZ Reader’s Discount
These training camps are simple, no stress, and all-inclusive. All you have to do is show up at the San Diego airport and I’ll take care of the rest. Now here comes the best part. PEZ-Readers can get $100 off of the $1100 price just by letting me know you read about the camp on PEZ. Just type PEZ in the optional instructions box when you send in your $300 deposit and you’re your balance due on January 13th will be reduced by 100 bucks.

With a focus on riding, you don’t pay for high-priced guides.

San Diego Cycling Camp Itinerary – January 21 – 29, 2006
• Saturday January 21st – Arrive at San Diego Airport, take a van to the hotel in North County San Diego, build bikes, and go for a short, self guided ride if time allows.

• Sunday January 22nd – We will do a warm up ride in the 35-45 mile range. We will go past the famous San Diego Wild Animal Park, and ride some rolling hills, and get in an awesome descent or two.

• Monday January 23rd – Today is the first big day, and we are heading up Palomar Mountain, a favorite for SoCal locals, to an elevation of approximately 5500 ft. Palomar Mountain Road has 21 switchbacks, just like the famous Alp d’Huez. There may still be a little snow on top of the mountain, but you’ll be able to ride on just your shorts and a short sleeve jersey. We’ll stop at the general store to fuel up and then descend back down the 21 switchbacks. The ride will be in the 60-70 mile range, but will feel more like 100+.

• Tuesday January 24th – Today we do an easy ride up HWY 101, we’ll pass the famous Swami’s surf break, and have an optional climb up Torrey Pines Road in case you didn’t get worked hard enough yesterday.

• Wednesday January 25th – Today may be the most challenging ride of the week. We will start in North Country San Diego, and ride to the small town of Julian, famous for their apple pie. From Julian we will go to the top of Mt Laguna and hit an elevation of over 6000 feet. The ridge along the top of Mt Laguna is covered in pine trees, yet you can look to the east and get an amazing view of the Anza Borrego Desert. We descend down the mountain on a road called Sunrise Highway, this is a fast descent with lots of long, sweeping turns, and beautiful views. Total mileage for the day will be around 80-100 miles, probably the most challenging 80-100 miles you’ve ever done! Massages will be available this afternoon for a reasonable fee.

• Thursday January 26th – Another easy day, you’ll need it after yesterday. We’ll cover 30-60 miles today, along a scenic mostly flat route in North County San Diego.

• Friday January 27th – Today will be a hilly ride through the towns of Bonsall and Temecula. Temecula is big wine country, and is also famous for being the home of Floyd Landis. Floyd is frequently in and around San Diego this time of year, and there is a chance we’ll actually see him out on the road. Today’s ride will be about 70 miles with lots of climbs of all lengths. Nothing big like Laguna or Palomar, but you’ll get in several thousand feet of climbing and come home tired.

• Friday night is our big night out. We’ll head to the famous Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego, and have a few drinks.

• Saturday January 28th – Early, self guided ride in the AM (you’ll know the surrounding area pretty well by now), followed by an official bike packing party and some relaxation before heading home.

• Sunday January 29th – Get dropped off at the airport and go home! Kiss your loved ones and head to work on Monday morning!

The dates confirmed are for the January camp only, but more camps in February and March are likely, as are custom camps for clubs and teams. These are becoming more popular as amateurs see teams like CSC and T-Mobile doing their winter camps in the area. For more info contact Sean Burke at



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