Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday on the Mountain

As the morning warmed up, I headed out the door for a bike ride around 10:30. Not my usual time. I waited until the outdoor temperature read 55F. I donned shorts and brought the leg warmers. Doubled the jersey and brought hat and ski gloves. Toasty warm was the goal for the descent and not overly burdened on the way up. The knees responded free of constraints, the brain freed from work worries and the mood good from sunlight and clear air.

Traffic was light, however the autos were all intent with getting somewhere fast. A black Mitsubishi car raced laps up and down. A couple of skateboarders. A few motorcycles. The rush of "owning" the road, pedaling fast and a warm December sun filled my soul.

Kelly of Claremont was headed down and we stopped at mile marker 11.0. Haven't crossed paths with Kelly since July 11th.

We talked of goals for the next year: Staying upright, Crystal Lake and Mount Palomar. I ditto'd those goals. The staying upright a number one priority. Remember my indecisive squirrel incident and my recently acquired cleat footwear has left my healing skinned knees purple. My descending rhythm repaired, but not fearless.

I enjoyed the view from the top of Monroe. I could see Catalina in the distance as well as the towers of Los Angeles. But the camera does not always discern. It was past noon and body craved calories. The mojo bar engulfed.

I caught up with John at the shed on my way down. I had spotted John chatting with resident Frank of Palm Drive. I figured if he was on his way up he would catch me along the road. I haven't seen John for six months or more and it was good to connect. My average on the road today was much better than Saturday: 7.4 mph with an overall time of 1:08:30 to the top of Monroe. The Vitamin D article that I mentioned was worth a look.

An opportunity to catch up with friends. Perfect for the holidays.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Cheer

It just took a different perspective to understand why riding Glendora Mountain Road challenges the best of us. From the junction of Monroe, Mystic and Poop-Out Trails, this view of Glendora Mountain Road shows the uphill from the bottom of the Monroe Truck Trail at the Little Dalton Creek, through the S-bends, past Colby Trail hairpin, two more hair pins with a longer straight away to the burn out hair pin wending up to Coyote Corner the final hairpin, past the "banana tree" to the new section of road and up to the first saddle.

The hike up Mystic Canyon was warm and toasty today. Not a lot foot or mountain bike traffic. Noticed someone had performed trail maintenance. The ruts from the four inches of rain a week ago had been dug out. They created bumps or tiers for future run off to follow and had soften the path. It felt good on the feet.

On the Sunday hike the mountain bikers caught be by surprise. I appreciated the guys who had cow bells on as they come up fast without warning. Not certain if this was a part of Peter's group.

Today's adventure had a double whammy as I lost an item along the trail. After putting the turkey in the oven and the soup on simmer, I hiked back up Mystic and found my treasure waiting for me on the difficult rocky section just 15 minutes from the bottom. I was glad to retrieve it and to return home. Merry Christmas from the road. Ride safe.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Ride 2009-12-19

A mere wispy of a memory, the rains of last week dimmed as the sun rose. Winter, only moments now from arriving, inconceivable as the morning warmed to spring like temperatures. Yet as I left for my ride the briskness of morning 52F lingered in my brain. Best I thought to be warm than cold.

Jason was out on the road early today to ride to Baldy Village with a new acquaintance. His one hour head start meant our paths would not cross.

Spying a trio of riders on Sierra Madre, I pushed to catch up. I narrowed the gap, but the cell phone buzzed and I stopped and checked a message. Convenient? They stopped at the electronic sign and there I met Matt, Wolfgang and Charlie.

The gate was open. Patches of dry fine grained dirt sporadically covered the pavement, the road free of mud and very passable both up and down.

Wolfgang and Charlie had plans of traversing several miles up Glendora Ridge Road, possibly Baldy Village. Charlie convinced Matt to swap front wheels to see if the components gave a smoother ride.

The air was clear and views of the towers of downtown Los Angeles stood out in the skyline. Catalina and San Clemente Islands stretched out along the distant panorama.

The story untold was what happened to the wall at the top of Monroe approximately mile marker 5.25. Sandbags shored up the mountain side and two deep ruts on each side showed where water flowed.

Adobovelo had their riders on the road. I chatted with Francis, Felix and Mandy. Topics included the recent Triple Lakes Ride aka Tour de Frances, the Double Century in Death Valley and the weather. Mandy showcased his new Rossetti bike. Made from carbon it was light about 16 pounds as I lifted it up. The handle bars were also carbon and uniquely shaped. The brake cables were hidden within the frame. More room to mount lights for night time riding.

The snow atop Baldy from GMR and the top of Monroe. I kept an eye out for Peter and his crew of mountain bikers, but I didn't put a name to a truck.

All in all a great day for a ride. Good road, good weather, and great company.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Road Status

Confirmed. Road is Open. Time 16:15.

Unofficial word from the road is that it will be open today at 2 pm. Open for the weekend. I will check this afternoon around 4 pm.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catching up with Bill

The weather was stunning today, brisk and cool 52F. Heat wave for everyone else. Chills for us here locally. Bill took this stunning view of Bonelli, Mt. Baldy, Ontario and Cucamonga Peaks. Must, must click for a larger view.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Road Status 2009-12-14

Four inches of rain fall during the week moved earth from the hillside impacted by Morris Fire. Dark slick wet mud covered the pavement on Glendora Mountain Road between mile marker 9.06 and 7.51. The dirt an eighth to a quarter of an inch thick shaded from the autumn sun stayed moist into the afternoon. Fresh tracks of equipment lined the edge of the road and the shoulder. It may be a long winter.

The road closed Sunday 13-Dec-2009 and remained closed today. Department of Public Works personnel reminded stray folks that the road was closed.

The morning hike up Mystic Canyon showed the beauty of the weather and the forest.

GMR was silent without motor traffic.

In the afternoon, Coyote Corner lived up to its name. A coyote embolden by the quiet and looking hungry staid out on the road. I passed cautiously in an attempt not to lure it to me by reaching for a camera tucked in a back pocket.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Matt spotted an orange jersey hiding in the hillside Friday Dec 4, 2009. It looked like a hunter's orange jacket placed in the wild. I conjectured it was placed to get the deer acclimated to human scents and forms. That theory proved wrong. I hiked in my bicycle cleats to get a close up look at this new forest denizen. A pleasant shock and a laugh.

Perhaps this is a geocaching. I won't give away the location. No hints! My cleats need cleaning now.

Catching up with Bill

Rain on Monday. Nice constant light rain to cool down the hills and replenish the earth. Rain to heal the scars of summer fires. Gentle rain to soak in and soothe, hydrating the heat beneath the forest.

Time to catch up with Bill's San Dimas Loop in and around Bonelli Park. Weaving around the rolling hills on his Trek bikes and cruising down the descents he captured the quiet moments of herons. The rest of us working stiffs endured a day of gray, oil slicked freeways and California drivers confused by wet roads.

Heron on the wing.

Young heron wading.

Ooooh. Is that water cold?

Remember the warmer temperatures of a week ago.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Ride

Good connecting with folks along the road on a cloudy cool day. Temperatures ranged between 49-53F. Most riders were dressed for chilly elevations.

Ken and Leo fairly new to the road, decided to see new scenery along "The Loop" to East Fork and Highway 39.

Steve, Chris and Mike were on their way to the Baldy Ski Lifts. Are you warm yet?

Eagle-eyed Matt who spotted coyote ears from a quarter of a mile pointed out a new denizen of the forest, a life-sized orange dressed mannequin. The presumed purpose was to get the wildlife use to the sight of hunter like figure to lure them into a false sense of security.

Early in the ride met Guido on his mountain bike headed up to Colby Trail. Also connected with Rick, a triathlete friend. He really enjoyed the Muddy Buddy event on November 1st at Bonelli Park.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Catching up with the Road

The convoy of fire fighting equipment headed down the mountain included 4-6 hook and ladder trucks, 4-6 red fire trucks, 4-6 green US Forest Service trucks, 2-4 US Forest Service white SUVs, and 2-4 Sheriff's rescue trucks and SUVs. The steady flow of vehicles on the road tonight could not be missed. At the end of the train a flat bed tow truck with a motorcycle on board from a crash near mile marker 8.8. The story stated that Horatio Lopez (age 26) grabbed vegetation and saved himself from plummeting down another 400 feet. This part of the mountain burned during the Morris fire. Perhaps this over-the-side mountain rescue of a crashed motorcyclist warranted the turn out of fire fighters.

Last Wednesday, November 25, 2009 around 9 pm, the turnout at mile marker 11.0 was the base for a campfire that spread to an acre. This turnout which currently houses concrete k-rails for road repair had a dirt built berm along its perimeter. I expected a steep drop at the edge of the berm, however another area of flat hillside surprised me as I stood on the dirt edge. Large enough for a couple of sleeping bags and the spot of the initial campfire before the slope of the hillside took off. The area was marked with yellow tape with the words: "Caution: Fire Department - Do not enter." The ground was littered with broken chards of bottles and many cigarette butts.

It spread over the hillside and firefighters contained the blaze to an acre of damage. The fire conditions were posted as >extreme danger. Fire restrictions are in effect.

Sheriffs patrolled the road tonight and questioned all in parked cars. Time to have a few more inches of rain.