Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 10:21

Giro di San Diego bike race will climb Palomar Mountain

Giro di San route.
July 17, 2013
The second annual Giro di San Diego bicycle race is coming through the area in September.

The race will come through Valley Center and will include a timed climb up Palomar Mountain as it covers a total of 106 miles on Sept. 8.

The route the racers will take will be similar to the one used by the Amgen Tour of California that came through the area in May.

Riders in the Giro di San Diego will begin in Solana Beach and ride through San Marcos and the northern parts of Escondido before climbing up Lake Wohlford Road and making a right hand turn to head down Valley Center Road into Pauma Valley.

The bikers will participate in a timed climb up Palomar Mountain's South Grade, then they will descend into Pauma Valley once more before climbing up the northern stretch of Cole Grade Road and heading into Valley Center.

The racers will turn right onto Valley Center Road and head down the grade into Escondido, where they will skirt along the southern edge and head into the Elfin Forest area, then on through Rancho Santa Fe before heading back to the finish line in Solana Beach.

All in all, the Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo is a two-day celebration of cycling, food, and San Diego's North Coast.

"We're getting ready for an epic weekend, in which we expect to double attendance and attract numerous international participants," said Tobias Panek, the event's owner. "Our inaugural event was featured in the Italian magazine GranFondo. I'm truly impressed with the support that we've received from Solana Beach and I'm proud to be supporting Wounded Warriors and Promises 2 Kids Foundation."

The Giro di San Diego features five different cycling events, including mountain bike courses of 10 and 30 miles and three road riding options: 35, 66, and 106 miles. It is held in the tradition of Italian Gran Fondos, which are semi-competitive, long-distance bicycle rides. While it caters primarily to casual riders, it offers VIP entry to professional racers in both disciplines. All rides are scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 8.

As in 2012, the 106-mile "Gran Fondo" route of the Giro di San Diego is the only local event to feature a timed climb up the South Grade of Mount Palomar. Often compared to France's Alpe d'Huez, Palomar is a fabled climb with that has been featured twice in the Tour of California bicycle race. Summiting at 5,240', it is the preferred route for 50% of Giro attendees.

Also scheduled for Saturday, September 7 is the Super Tasty 5K, a unique restaurant walk featuring numerous Solana Beach eateries. The Bike and Fitness Expo, with the ambience of a Southern California street fair, will be held on both the 7th.

"I have big visions for the Giro di San Diego," confessed Panek, whose inspiration for the event stems from participation in numerous Gran Fondos in Italy and other major cycling events that he has managed, including the Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego, which is held in April. "From our charity tie-in, to finding ways to involve the community, to welcoming international cyclists and enjoying the gorgeous cycling that's available here, the Giro will deliver."

For more information or to register, please visit

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