Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend Rides

Enshrouded with a thick grey marine layer the rides started off cool and moist. The thin short sleeved jersey I wore each day didn't feel warm enough. Pedalling uphill until the day warmed up or reaching an altitude above the clouds were my only options.

Met Phil and Dick at the shed. Phil rode an all carbon Eddy Merckx bike with Campy components. A certified spin instructor, Phil was putting the roadies to shame. Dick rode a titanium LiteSpeed.

Then Tom another Lite Speed rider, Vicki and Wally showed up. Wally promised me pictures of a GMR fishing adventure! It was a chilly on the ride down with Vicki and Tom.

Another grey day that lingered into late afternoon. Fortunately I shared the road with which celebrated its fourth year anniversary this weekend! The entire team zipped past me with Rosalie on her Calnago bike. Mandy was the sweeper of the ride, at the tail end.

The club cheered me on with cheers of "Sprint! Sprint!" at the shed. I laughed. I heard "GMR, can take our picture." Gladly I took their picture, but what's this sprint with 20 plus miles to go?

John of Rancho Cucamonga had his harrowing encounter with a Jeep driver pushing him off the road a month ago. John's goal was to get in shape on his Felt F3! If you made to the shed, you are in shape, John. I do know the desire to be better and faster.

Hanging out at Fork plus Four enjoying the sun and "lizzing" on the wall, Raoul stopped by. Hey remember me? I do now Raoul. Good to see you.

We were joined by Alfonso Senior and Alfonso Junior. Alfonso Sr. combed eBay for bicycle parts and assembled nine bicycles for his three sons. Jr. was riding a very nice Specialized Tarmac.

Above the marine layer, the thunderheads were a treat to watch since I had my share of sun!

It was a good ride on a peaceful mountain rode.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ice House Canyon

With Tuesday being slated as a personal time off, it ended up being more work than rest with meetings, emergency resuscitation of a customer application and roll out of a new application. Wednesday I needed to play hard. It started with a warm up walk around the neighborhood with brother Jim and sister Michelle. I suggested Big Dalton Canyon Road for the cardio-burning walk. Less traffic. Fewer people. I said. With the 90 plus kids from Bonita Unified School District, teachers and support staff for their field trip. I could have been right.

Michelle and I moved on to the event of the day, Ice House Canyon. It was easy to find, two miles out of Mount Baldy Village. The trail was easy to follow, even if we did diverge a few steps off the beaten path. There were just enough hikers to guide us back.

The music of the river splashing over the rocks gently healed the work worries.

My air smelled incredibly good. The blue sky dotted with thunderheads.

We hiked for half an hour out and back. Enough time to work up an appetite but plenty more trail to hike for next time. Lunch at the Mt. Baldy Lodge was on the back patio with a fountain.

Mid bite, Michelle mentioned "mind your sandwich". I thought what an odd comment to make as I turned and looked over my left elbow, my heart jumped a foot higher than head. Quietly, Jaeger had approached and was sitting patiently waiting a treat of meat. No french fries, just a bite of sandwich please. The folks at other table with their service dog Sadie, explained that Jaeger protects the lodge from bears at night and doesn't cozy up to just anyone. Jaeger knew I was special. A soft touch at home the cat is very happy with sharing my meals. How did Jaeger know? He was dutifully rewarded for his patience.

The other friend at lunch was a jay. The jay left unrewarded.

With lunch finished we headed home down the mountain. Enough time for a nap and a twenty mile ride to the maintenance shed. My land legs needed to be stretched out as I warmed up the first few miles. The hip flexor said what the heck is this cycling motion. What happened to walking?

The traffic was light, however I did notice a white truck with a bike tethered in the truck bed. The screech of his wheels as he rounded a corner emblazened this particular truck in my memory.

A good day of fun indeed.

Memorial Day Ride

I rode fork plus four on Monday Memorial Day. Just as I thought the traffic wasn't bad a dozen motorcycles buzzed by me. Past the fork the traffic diminished. Glendora Ridge Road beyond the "Point of No Return" (aka fork plus four) to about fork plus five or six.

Bill enjoyed the ride around Bonelli. The view of the lake on the grey cloudy morning. The sun did break through the clouds for the holiday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It was a rather quiet day on the road: early start, gray clouds, holiday weekend kept the traffic down. This was my third trip to Baldy.

Baldy was busy with hikers, skate boarders, cyclists.

The view from Glendora Ridge Road mile marker 8.3.

Bill's Components

Bill installed new components on his Trek Pilot: a Shimano Deore XT 9 speed (11-34) cassette and a Shimano SLX super long cage rear derailleur. Normally fitted to mountain bikes, but Bill has enhanced his road bikes for steep grade climbing capabilities - at least that's his theory.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bonelli Round Up

Bill has been riding around Bonelli and upgrading the components on his Red Trek Pilot 2.1 to take on steeper grades.

May can be quite gray in the morning.

My personal favorite with ducks on grass. Reminds me of Paris January 2007 with ducks on ice.

Glendora Ridge Road

SoCal Hikes captures the raw beauty of Glendora Ridge Road wending its way to Mt. Baldy as viewed from the Big Horn Ridge.

This covers approximately fork plus four to fork plus ten.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Day

Monday May 18th, 2009

Ron G spotted a female coyote running along the road. Ron G ranks as the GMR's equivalent of the Crocodile Hunter. Check his web site for snake handling tips, coyotes, tarantulas, and my personal least favorite a potato bug.

Monday night I smashed my SDSR time with a new best time of 31:25. Thrilled.

Wednesday May 20th, 2009

A mere 92F when I left the garage at 3:45 pm. The afternoon sun seared through my layer of sun screen. The promise of cooler temperatures with the elevation change didn't register with the body. The first part 4-6 miles from home the mountain shaded the road a bit. After the first saddle mile marker (mm) 9.49 the afternoon sun bore down in full glory. Pedalling to Newman's (mile marker 7.5) I had to bring back memories of December, January and February when I was shivering, cold and merely dreaming of a warm California sun. Past Newman's the mountain again shades the road in the afternoon. Plus a short down hill section provided a nice cool breeze. I made it to the top of Monroe (GMR and Monroe Truck Trail). It was peaceful for the most part traffic wise. The afternoon brought out the working folks trying to cram exercise between career and dinner.

Met Matt P. at the Maintenance shed who rides three times a week. Ron G had an 60 mile plus day. He had to test out the new section of Angeles Crest Highway before riding GMR with Matt M. On the way down encountered Matt D who had the misfortune of ripping open a tire on a rock descending. He patched the tire, put in a tube which immediately blew out. Matt M assisted with a loaner tube. This time Matt D. used a Gel wrapper to help stabilize the gash in the outer tire.

Tomorrow I need to update everyone with pictures of Bill's Bonelli pictures.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Ride

It was all sun and no cloud cover today. Groups of cyclists staging at Von's in the morning egged me on to get on the road, but not soon enough as it was 8:30 am before I left the homestead.

The seat height has been adjusted twice in hopes to give the knee some relief. The hip flexor noticed right away the difference with a complaint of ouch. A few strokes out of the saddle helped loosen the muscle. I decided not to push.

Met up with Vickie near the first saddle and rode to Fork plus Six. She and her husband Tom are training for L'Alpe d'Huez in France in July. Very awesome event.

Lloyd. Vickie and Tom.

I hope to see them soon.

Catch up

Spring is such a tricky season in southern California and Wednesday May 13th exemplifies the type of day we classify for the season. Winter in the morning and Summer in the afternoon. Let me explain as the gray damp clouds clung to my soul as I rode up the mountain. The moisture played sad lullabies luring me to turn around and turn tail. "It's cold. It's lonely. No need to ride today. No goals to accomplish." In the thickness of morning fog, I needed to overcome the mental meltdown. At the first saddle I could see the evaporation of the clouds floating up into the air. Relief. The brightness of sun in all it's glory felt good to burn off the melancholy madness.

The clouds did keep folks off the road. I didn't see any traffic until four cyclists passed me at the shed. The leggings and arm protectors came off and a layer of sun screen was applied. It was warm moving quickly to hot and the sun was streaming down. I didn't encounter motor traffic until fork plus five.

The fight now was keeping my mind off my knee. Decision time came at Glendora Ridge Road mile marker 8.3. Back the way I came or on to Baldy. I might not have time in the upcoming weeks for a long ride. I opted to move on. The road flattens out and is kinder on the body.

Mount Baldy Village starts where the two roads meet.

Met a fellow named Bill at the Post Office who rode up the Claremont side, Mills Road to Baldy Road. He was going to do the same ride again later in the day.

Met Norm "Mandy" and RosaLee of as they sat outside at the Lodge. They caught up with me on the way back. They were good company. Norm convinced me that a sandwich would be a good thing to do in the Village. Lots of rides out there and lots of fun and friends at Adobo.

Monday Night Ride 5/11

Monday night was cool and it felt good. It was short and sweet. Best SDSR time of 32:35. Awesome

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saturday May 9

A large Saturday cycling crowd was amassing on GMR south of Sierra Madre. It was good to have company on the road after a solitary Wednesday ride. I played "leap frog" with a rider wearing a Pittsburgh Jersey. He passed me, I passed him. Finally we road together. Rick explained Pittsburgh is a great place to visit. Rick got motivated to ride one day and can pedal a century or double century with out even blinking now. Rick set a lively, yet doable pace and I took great pride passing four other cyclists on the way up. A rare treat for me.

Met Barry and Marianne at the shed.

Note Barry's beer view mirror. He had to drink a few beers before he got the bottle cap off just right!

Rick had a story about a previous encounter on Glendora Mountain Road. He was riding his race pace when he spotted a rider 300 yards in arrears gaining on him. Rick did his best to keep his lead, but the gap was closing and closing fast. He figured the rider would breeze past, leaving him in the dust. The rider pulled up along side Rick and said, "Hi, my name is Matt." I have yet to meet a cyclist on GMR who doesn't know Matt.

Matt's story was the hike to the top of Mount Baldy left him a bit worse for the wear. Matt was proudly showing off his brush with the other side.

I kept up with Rick until fork plus 4.5 when the hip flexor complained. He sailed up the mountain. I plugged on at a slower pace to fork plus six and then headed down the hill. It was a good fast ride.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Made It - Part Deux

It was a beautiful day. It was an Amelia Earhart day. I flew solo and cycled to "fork plus 12" ..... yes Jason, that's Baldy Village.

While there was a group of five cyclists from Desert Cycling. I couldn't quite join their merry band. The bartender at the Buck Horn Lodge was quite accommodating. He said he would fill my water bottles. I turned to get them off the bike when he spotted one in my jersey. How the mind forgets after pedaling 23 miles uphill. I ended up buying a ZipFizz powder for the water bottle. There was too much water and it had a volcanic reaction. It overflowed the bottle. My fingers were sticky. Note to self buy powdered drink mix to carry with me next time.

Praise to the Public Works guys. I told two or three flaggers that I appreciated what they do on the road. They each smiled and said thank you. I waved at them on in their trucks on the way down hill.

I rode a marathon pace not sprints today. I went a good long distance and I am now recovering in my skins. Time to check in with work.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New to the Road

Some folks start "Glendora Mountain Road" at the corner of Sierra Madre and Glendora Mountain Road in the city of Glendora. Others load bikes on their cars and trucks and park just north of the ranger station avoiding the initial uphill grind. An Adventure Pass is needed if you park in the Angeles National Forest beyond the yellow gates, parking is free within the city. I live approximately 2 miles away so I start from my garage and ride out. Still there are the real cyclists who ride from Pomona, Claremont, Upland, Covina, Monrovia or Pasadena and beyond before hitting the hill.

From Sierra Madre to the Electronic Sign less than a mile there is a short steep section that is an 8% grade. The Electronic Sign is close to the beginning of the mountain time trial of San Dimas Stage Race (SDSR). The SDSR time trial is 3.74 miles in length and ends at the new portion of the road at mile marker 10.0. San Dimas Stage Race occurs once a year in March. I like to track my progress over the SDSR portion.

Near the Electronic Sign the first Mile Marker of 13.79 is visible. The miles count down as you go up the mountain. Where the closeness of the earth to the road give way to a view to the south towards Glendora and a view to the north with Azusa Canyon around mile marker 9.49, I call this the First Saddle. This is now 4.3 miles in distance from the Electronic sign. The published grade ranges from 4 to 6.9 percent. Some GPS systems may register different readings, but your legs will know what's real and what's not. The maintenance shed is another four miles up the road and is located at mile marker 5.51. From the first saddle to the maintenance shed more of the same kinds of incline. There is one section that is 7.3 percent just before the shed. It is character building. This link will help you alot.

I have learned to meet folks on the "fly". Now that the weather is better more people are on the road. For a newcomer I recommend a "low impact" time when there is less motor traffic. During normal day time hours is the best time during the week (ie normal work hours). But also late afternoon or early evening is good to ride to avoid others, however it only takes one motorcycle or one hot rod to rip your ears off. I will caution against riding late at night as mountain lions, bears and wildlife do make their home here. Saturday and Sunday there are more motorcycles on the road -- read in more danger to cyclists. Cell phone reception is ok from the start to the first saddle. Beyond the first saddle there is less probability of getting a message out if there is an emergency. Another reason to make friends on the road. Bring a spare tube or two, CO2 cartridges, hand pump and plenty of hydration.

Also use type in 700 Glendora Mountain Road, Glendora, California and then click Street View. Pretty awesome it shows you the road on a nice sunny day.

Other links:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grey May

With a thirty percent chance of rain I managed to find the only sunny part of the morning to get a ride completed. The day was cool and cloudy.

At Newman's I stopped to take pictures. A rider on an Eddy Merckx carbon bike and Eddy Merckx clothing asked if I had an wrench to adjust his seat height. Amazing I said, "Leave it to a woman to have the right tool." We discussed titanium bikes, as I am toying with the idea of purchasing not a carbon bike. Seven, Litespeed were among the manufacturer's to review.

On the way down, a female coyote was on the road. I stopped and opened my jacket. She started approaching. I decided that was not the expected or desired behavior. I did not take a picture. Nor did I have extra food to encourage this behavior.