San Juan Capistrano

20150613_084415Here’s the latest travel, ride and IM training connection:  San Juan Capistrano.

I’ve ridden through SJC many times, both on the train and on my bike.  Love the history of the Mission and the swallows.  The rolling hills are beautiful and challenging.  The quiet streets can get loud after happy hour.

Eat sleep swim bike run repeatLast Saturday I was reminded how great SJC is for training.  And, then I took time to enjoy the town.  That’s  something I rarely do when training.  Why???  Because training involves a very structured schedule and no time for side trips.

The day started at 5am; very tough to do with comfy pillows.  Then drove 50+ miles to get there by 6:30am.  The only upside of that discipline was a traffic-free freeway.  A rarity in So. Cal.

Once there I followed instructions to park in a metered space, two levels down. On weekend’s those spots are free.  Note: If you park in a 3-hour spot, and you’re gone longer, you’ll get a ticket.

While driving down through the basement I was shocked by an alive underground city with dozen of cyclist setting up their bike, pumping tires, filling pockets with Gu. Sharing notes. Guiding traffic.  I felt like I discovered the hottest cycling spot in all of O.C.

San Juan Creek TrailBy 7am everyone was headed south to San Juan Creek Trail. From there we rode through Dohney, Dana Point, San Clemente and  San Onofre State Beach.

That’s where Angela and I turned around, ending our day with a 40+ miles.  The others rode to Cardiff, u-turned back to Oceanside.  Ate lunch, then took the 3pm train back to SJC. They rode 60+ miles.

Fun, fun, fun.  What’s not to love.

The ocean was our backdrop, and the scent of fire pits, breakfast  and the ocean hung in the air.  People were relaxed.  Let’s not forget the Dana Point coast.  It is unlike others with turquoise colored water.  Stunning.

For the most part, traffic was minimal, except in San Clement.  There you have two bike options.  Ride down El Camino Real (which has more traffic) or ride through the neighborhood.  That route starts where El Camino Real and E. Avenida Pico meet.  Follow the bike route for it can be tricky.  So stay alert.  This route will eventually land you on Avenida Del Presidente.

Christianitos ExitTake it almost to the end, then turn left on Christianitos and an immediate right onto the San Onofre State Beach trail.  It is a walking trail.  It parallels the 5 freeway, just south of the Christianitos exit.

SJC Which Way To GoBy 10:30 the ride was done, and I felt refreshed enough to walk around.

So I checked out the Los Rios Historic District.  How is it I never visited this place before???  It’s small enough to walk from one end to the other in 5 minutes.

SJC PicnicBut the restaurants, shops, art gallery, Hidden House Coffee or Tea House could keep you there for hours.Los Rios Butterfly garden

There is a  butterfly garden and picnic tables under an arbor of grape vines.

California’s oldest neighborhood is on Los Rios, with 12 historic building.  The Montanez Adobe, built in 1794, is worth visiting.

And, let’s not forget visiting Mission San Juan Capistrano, the birthplace of Orange County.

Still, the best part of the day was riding with my friends, comparing Ironman Cozumel racing notes, and spewing smack talk on who was going to out shine the other during the next race.

Priceless moments.
Always tri.  Never stop.