We had been very worried about the climb, but it ended up being not as hard as I had imagined. We did break it up into 2 days as you will read. We wanted to spend the morning in San Diego, so left mid day for Lakeside where we had a Warmshowers host. So it was really the next day to Pine Valley that was the real challenge. As I recall, I didn't use my granny gear for most, if not all, of the climb. I like hills, and for me it was the perfect grade, though long. You will have much harder climbs later on!
I hope my journal helps, please let me know if you have other questions, but make it soon as I'll be leaving on another adventure in a couple of weeks.