Sunday, May 9, 2010

SR39 to Angeles Crest Highway

Packed a cooler with Gatorade, bottled water and a turkey sandwich. Loaded the bike, backpack (stuffed full of water, shoes, and extras), cooler and the rescue beacon into the car. Drove out and made my way to Highway 39. Passed a couple of dozen cyclists pedaling uphill. Parked at West Fork parking at mile marker 27.19. I spotted a pair of cyclists gearing up to do the same. We met at the first gate a mile up the road. Darren and Phil were on their way to Crystal Lake. I commented that going solo, I had no worries about keeping up. They sprung ahead, then stopped. I passed them by as they checked on cell phones and gear. A brief time later, Darren zipped passed me alone. Phil somewhere behind. It was comforting to have others on the road. Darren stopped six miles in and then we road together for approximately three miles. As I rested Phil caught up with me. We rode off and on for the next seven miles. Sometimes Phil in the front, sometimes I took the lead. At the critical junction, the proverbial fork in the road where the signage seemed lacking, take the right hand turn to Crystal Lake. Phil followed me left and up the hill. It was good to have people in the line of sight. Long story short. I made it to Angeles Crest Highway. Round trip 34 miles. Ascent 4941 feet. Highest altitude ridden: 6447 feet.

Road conditions. From West Fork to Crystal Lake good to ok. Beyond Crystal Lake, SR 39 deteriorates but still ride-able at slower speeds. At the fourth gate or thirteen miles in, the road narrows to a single lane. More cracks in the road filled with tar. More bumps and irregularities. Water from snow run-off. See photos. Again all doable. I made it. Also note the plan is to open SR 39 to motor traffic in October 2010. Get your ride in now.

Most of the pictures are from the downhill portion of the ride. Going uphill the bugs attracted to my sweat and skin made pedaling uphill as fast as possible imperative. On the way down, I rugged up and the bugs didn't bother me at all.

Great weather. Great ride. Great people along the road.


Bicycle Friends said...

Now that is an adventure! I wish I was able to come!

TJKnight said...

Great ride. We rode Encanto Park almost all the way to the 2 two weeks ago. Then we descended, stopped at Camp WIlliamson, and did Little GMR to the front of GMR and back to Encanto. I can't believe they plan on opening 39! Do you have anything official announcing that Oct. 2011 date?

GMR said...

The scoop about the road opening comes from Adam the store owner at Crystal Lake via Darren.

GMR said...


When I rode SR39 on Wednesday April 28th, there were half a dozen workers coming down in vehicles.

This is the Environmental Impact Report for re-opening SR-39. It doesn't provide a date but lots of useful background information.
SR-39 Report