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Pinarello X Peloton: Torrey Pines

Words and Images by James Startt

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Southern California is inked in lore. For years, it has inspired books and songs, not to mention surfers. And its place as a hotspot for cycling only continues to grow. After all, practically every day has summerlike weather, providing a perfect winter getaway for those seeking to ride without the weight of winter clothing. Needless to say, we jump at the chance to test some of Pinarello’s top bikes. It’s a chance to meet up with some familiar friends, like the Dogma, but also to meet some new ones, including the revolutionary Dyodo e-bike, although it’s not always easy to tell the two bikes apart. 

For our Southern California getaway, we meet up with Blaize and Sonja, two locals who are only too happy to show off the area. To warm up on our first ride, we head up to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve perched above the Pacific Ocean that dominates the area just north of San Diego. The 1,500-acre reserve takes its name from the pine forest that covers much of the hillside before opening onto the spectacular cliffs towering over the coastline.

“Torrey Pines is a frequent detour on any coast ride,” Blaize explains. “First there are the pines themselves, and then there are the views from the top. It’s a classic spot. The cliffs are made of very thin granite, very fragile. You definitely don’t want to walk out there. But it is amazing for the views!”

It is also has a steep road climb with very few cars.

“You can really punish yourself!” explains Sonja. “It is a classic place for intervals. You can be following someone on Strava and you see them doing four, five, six, seven or eight repeats. It is not that long, but there are some really steep pitches.”

Meeting along the expansive beaches below, Sonja and Blaize attack the early section of the climb that rises from the ocean and skirts the Carmel Valley Road. And while Sonja enjoys her Dogma F10, Blaize is discovering his Dyodo.

The weather is classic SoCal, mid-70s and sunny, perfect for short sleeves and shorts. The waves are producing some of the biggest swells seen here in months, but our two riders are clearly focused on the task at hand—negotiating the near-10-percent slopes they’re confronted with in the opening kilometer.

Soon enough the two enter the forest on a series of turns before the distinctive golden granite once again dominates; and as the pines fall away, we’re once again overwhelmed by the views, framed by miles and miles of wild, undeveloped coastline. Blaize and Sonja, however, are digging in as they push up the final pitches. “There is really no place where you can just sit back here,” says Sonja. “Right away, coming off the coast, it gets plenty steep. And then the final pitch to the summit is plenty steep! You are constantly out of your saddle.”

Sonja admits that she’s only too happy to hit her granny gear at one point on the climb, but Blaize doesn’t have to deal with such issues, as he’s able to benefit from the Dyodo’s three-speed electric motor. “Riding the Dyodo just makes it fun,” he says. “It isn’t a total all-out effort, but having the motor allows you to keep your speed more. You are still going hard. The Dyodo doesn’t do the work for you, but it allows you to stay on top of the gear more. It’s fun! You still are feeling your legs but it helps you along the way. You know, in a way, it inspires you to go harder!”

After cresting the summit, the two are only too happy to catch their breath and walk their bikes down the footpath toward the cliffs where they can enjoy the full splendor of the Torrey Pines coastal landscape. “You know there is something always so peaceful about the Pacific,” Blaize adds. “It’s more massive than the Atlantic and the waves are often bigger. But so much of the coastline here is preserved. It’s open. It’s calming.”