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San Diego Local to Ride the Tour de France

Cardiff resident and dermatologist Mitchel Goldman, 61, prepares to ride the Tour de France this month.


Mitchel Goldman, 61, will ride the Tour de France this month.

When did the cycling bug bite you?

I was going through a difficult time during a divorce, and my friend Dr. Harve Meskin said “cycle therapy” was the cure.

Why is biking superior to other forms of exercise?

It allows for both aerobic and fat-burning exercise in a meditative way. Also, you foster relationships with other cyclists. I ride to work with my friend Bill Gross, and am a member of three cycling clubs: Swami’s, Challenged Athletes, and Solana Beach Cycling Club.

Favorite places in San Diego to ride?

Almost anywhere, but especially East County around Alpine and Mt. Laguna. Kitchen Creek is my favorite, since it’s a fire road with no traffic. The 20.65-mile bike ride in Pine Valley has an ascent of 2,795 feet and a maximum elevation of 6,046 feet with a 6- to 8-percent grade. We usually extend the ride to go down Skyline to Julian for some apple pie, before heading back to Pine Valley via Lake Cuyamaca. That makes the ride about 80 miles.

Do you bike to work?

Every day but Tuesday, when I do a live medical TV segment on the 6 p.m. Fox 5 news.

What is Your longest ride ever?

A Challenged Athletes Foundation ride from San Francisco to San Diego—I’ve done it seven times.

Your typical breakfast?

Two eggs, cottage cheese, black coffee, and a glass of beet juice.

“The older you get, the more you need to exercise. The three main reasons you look and feel younger are heredity and the choices to exercise and to be happy.”

You rode the second half of the Tour de France route last year and you’re riding it again this month. Favorite stretch along the course?

Around Mt. Ventoux, a 26-kilometer climb of over 6,000 feet. The climb up Alp d’Huez is also lots of fun. Both are classic climbs that my wife and I have done three times.

What are the biggest challenges of the race?

High altitudes—for a San Diegan, climbing up 15-percent grades is difficult, but you just live in the moment, take in the scenery, and everything is beautiful. In cycling there is one rule, ascribed to Eddy Merckx: “It never gets easier, you just get faster.”

What kind of bike do you have?

A locally handmade Holland HC, and for traveling, a Holland Exogrid Jet—it’s an amazing 16-pound race bike that comes apart to fit in a normal suitcase. Bill Holland has been making bikes for the past 42 years. He’s one of the best in the world and is right here in San Diego. He also made a custom bike for Bill Walton that was part of the bronze statue just presented to the city.

You’re a dermatologic surgeon at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology—what sunscreen do you use while cycling?

SkinMedica Defense + Repair. Not only is it SPF 50, blocking both UVB and UVA rays, but it’s also the first sunscreen to block infrared radiation. It goes on without looking like you’re wearing anything and stays on for two to three hours of heavy sweating. I also take an antioxidant pill called Heliocare, which is derived from a Brazilian fern and specifically protects the skin from ultraviolet damage.

Give us a lecture on staying hydrated!

Drink one 12-ounce bottle of water with electrolytes every hour no matter what the weather. It’s always important to stay hydrated, since that will allow your muscles to work most efficiently. Dehydration is a leading cause of muscle cramps.

Tips for staying fit in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond?

The older you get, the more you need to exercise. The three main reasons you look and feel younger are heredity and the choices to exercise and to be happy.

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