Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baldy 2

The day was heating up fast and my attempt to leave earlier than last week turned into 2 minutes sooner. We spotted John's truck early into the ride. The goal of the day was to catch John somewhere on the mountain. I pushed on parting with Bill near the first hair pin turn, aka Bottom of the Monroe Truck Trail. The clean chain felt better than last week's. Easier forward motion. Pedalled past a couple on a tandem bicycle with California State Bear Jersey's on. I watched the cadence of the rear rider, a female as she stretched her leg out fully with the down stroke. I joked with the rear cyclist as I approached. "He needs to pay you more to push him up the hill?"  They both laughed. The lead rider looked at me and asked, "How much did she pay you to say that?" Those thirty second jokes propel you a bit faster.

Approaching Kevin's Corner at 10.6, I surveyed the tier of road below. I made out the GRRR Kit on Matt riding with Bill. I pressed on. The legs felt better than last week. Mentally I knew I could make it to the Village and back. A few cyclists on the road. Matt caught up with me before the shed. We stopped to see the OTS Vehicle at mile marker 5. The driver of the vehicle paced back and forth and worried about the cost of the tow truck. Matt told him "Dude, you are so lucky. Your car is only 30-40 feet down. You're alive and walking around. There's another car over the side and the driver died. Life is good. Its only the cost of a tow truck." I left Matt to chat and get a bit of head start. He quickly caught up with me. About Fork plus 3, I thought I saw a wave of furry animal headed down the hillside. Matt did you see that? He went back to investigate as I pushed on. Again he caught me quickly. No squirrels with pine cones on the road.  The Reward climb started slow. The heat was 10 degrees hotter than last week. The first part is in shade. At the turn at GRR 6.0 where apart of the wall was missing. A pile of dirt filled in the gap of the wall but looked too much like a launch ramp. Two Angeles National Forest trucks were parked. We thanked the rangers for the quick work putting out the fire from the 12:35 am crash. The car was 1500 below. The passenger had been ejected from the car which saved her life. The driver did not survive. Matt staid and chatted with the rangers. "Do you know about the tow truck? Let me show you the photo." The rangers needed to be there as they pulled the car up from the first incident. I saw another time opportunity to get a jump start and put in the miles.

The ride turned hotter, the air thinner. The "flatter" part at mile marker 7.5 spurred me on. Matt caught me again before then. He talked of three cyclists riding with him who stopped as one had cramps.  The sun heated the thin air. The reward of the downhill at mile marker 8.4 was glorious. We quickly covered the road to cow canyon saddle. then stopped for pictures of the valley to "Upland".

Found John at the Lodge cheering for the racers time trialing to the ski lifts. Drinks. bars. chatting. Water. Matt, John and I headed back. The view was amazing. Looking out across the sky over the top of the muck, Catalina island and San Clemente could be seen. Matt zoomed ahead at the return to Fork plus four. John really laid down the hammer on the climbs back from the village. I kept up. The climb up the hill at the fork, I surprised John with a fast cadence and flew ahead only to be out of gas moments later. John mentioned the road was closed on Wednesday for a Kowasaki motorcycle filming.

With the climbs done. Downhill to the car. The wind rose hot from the valley. Good to have the sweet sweet relief of downhill to cool off the nerves. Second trip to Baldy completed. Yipee.

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