Stay Classy, San Diego

WORDS & PHOTOS: Kansas Waugh

Wedding weekends are guaranteed fun. If you’re not having a blast at one moment on the trip, you definitely will later. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to be celebrating loved ones with lots of friends and everything is perfect, including the place. I had such luck this summer when I traveled to San Diego to celebrate a marvelous pair of friends, and since there was ample time for riding, I brought along the sled.

There were several rides that weekend, as there were several riders in attendance. Two routes were popular. The first was a short, city ride that I would recommend for anyone into steep hill repeats. This is the northern climb to Soledad Park. Start at the intersection of La Jolla Parkway and Hidden Valley Road and head south on the latter. Turn right on Via Capri and ride it to the top. The grades are between 11% and 14% with a couple of short steps. The views on top are sweet, and somewhere on top of this hill is the former residence of Dr. Seuss.

The other ride is out of town, and it’s hugely popular with both locals and visitors. It’s basically N Torrey Pines Road north, along the coast. It’s faster, for sure, and has beautiful views of the ocean and beaches. Of all the places to stop, and there are many, you must make a point of taking some silent moments at one in particular: the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The Salk (1959-1966) was designed by the great Louis Khan, and is considered by many to be one of his crowning achievements. In the characteristic concrete and marble so enjoyed by Khan, the Salk is a monumental work of programmatic organization and spacial order, and the central courtyard is one of the world’s remaining greats. Its geometric balance and scale are indicative of a strong current of tranquil optimism in humanity that ran through Khan’s designs, especially around this period.

There is a small pop-up cafe just outside the entrance gates. Grab an espresso and sit for a few minutes on the marble benches at the near end and look west. I highly recommend it.