Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sterling Day

The winds cleared out the sky, the normal layer of air and left us with a picture perfect day.

The hillside looking down on Glendora.

Glendora Mountain Road at Colby Trail.

Have you ever hung out with a group of guys where one was a whiz at math, another eloquent with words and one who had eagle-eyes? This alert buddy could spot wildlife out of the crazy patchwork of scrub or spot a deer on the opposite side of the canyon riding 25 mph downhill, or the bobcat brown like the cliff side scurrying away or the bear lumbering down to the stream. Then when you're on your own without any your buddies to scout the environ, you barely see the lizard dashing away from under foot.

Well, today I earned my merit badge. The breeze blew yet the rustle in the brush caught my ear. My head turned upward, I noticed the ears and eyes watching me. Slowly, quietly the velcro latch of the camera case had to be unleashed. Keeping eye contact, it's nostrils flaring, taking in my movements. I clicked the power on button. First shot. then I zoomed. I could barely see through the viewfinder. Did I get it in focus? The ears twitched. I wanted to get a movie, I clicked the selector wheel to send the camera into video mode. It spooked the beast and I got a video! Cool.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crystal Lake

The clouds cleared just enough to allow sunshine and hope for an eventful ride up Crystal Lake. My first ride. Solo. Drove up to West Fork and parked. Got the bike out for our maiden voyage on a remote road with clouds congregating about 6,000 feet up.

The gate at mile maker 28.x was closed but a fair number of service vehicles were coming down around 3 pm. There was someone opening the gate for the vehicles, I said howdy and they smiled and waved back. For a closed road there were about 5-8 vehicles passing me by. Not a single cyclist.

I had a seven pound backpack full of clothes, food, water and the ultimate transportation That backpack felt like 21 pounds as I pedalled uphill. The wind kicked in every now and then, so I was sweating and shivering mere seconds apart. Was it the threatening weather, the altitude, the 7-8% ascent, the additional weight on my back? The legs did ok, but nothing spectacular. Nothing like a dose of reality to bring your inflated ego back into shape. Did I mention I had a fast ride on Monday?

Road work around the 34 mile marker

There's no place like home.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Ride

Warm pleasant afternoon. In too much of a rush to go back for the gloves. The accomplishments on everyone's clocks was good, better and best. Don and friend clocked in 53 minutes from gate to top of Monroe. Matt and Ron bested them with 51 minutes. Ken from SC Velo gleefully chimed in with his son's time of 34 minutes. Being 17 years old has its rewards. I enjoyed my best time of the year. Both for the short distance SDSR and for the longer haul to Monroe.

The talk was about Ken's friend who was traveling south at Mile Marker 10.14 and his collision with an auto on Sunday. His friend suffered a broken wrist and rib bones. I noticed a large dark stain in the center of the road and a pile of clothes in the brush in the curve. That curve is different from all the others. Engineered with a reverse kamber to the uninitiated it will naturally throw you into the other lane.

Perhaps my stop on the way down at Newman's Point saved my life as there was an out of control driver on the road this evening. The young driver raced passed Matt and Ron at the first saddle, weaving over the center line at top speeds. Amazingly, for me it was a peaceful descent. I noticed the Sheriff's vehicle and the driver at the bottom of Monroe. The Sheriff searching diligently in the car. I didn't stop to inquire. But I did go back and was informed by the father of the passenger of the vehicle that an arrest was made for reckless driving.

Drive safe. Be safe. Slow down. Enjoy today and tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday up West Fork

Drove Highway 39 up to West Fork. Then cycled along Devil's Gate Dam Truck Trail. Lots of water in the creek. A few miles on the trail, the hikers thinned out.

There was a kicker of a hill at about mile 6.5. Bill's initial measurement said 7-8 %, my legs told me it was more, then his computer rated the climb at 11 then 15%. I knew with my cleats on, I couldn't stop. I couldn't unclip, so up I went. Out of the saddle, lowest gear come on baby! The view from the helicopter pad.

I went back for Bill who was stuck in his middle ring. No need to go farther. Found the picnic tables and ate our Plaza Produce Sandwiches. Yummy. Real Food, not a power bar. Enjoyed the water show. An easy recovery ride for the knee.

Lizards on the road were unpredictable. I opted to ride to the left where its tail was, thinking it would take a straight forward shot across the road. No, that lizard turned around and skittered in front of me. Small brains. We both survived. Coming back towards civilization, dogs were roaming around with out a lead. That was scarier as they were large and unpredictable. I scooted around one large 100 pound dog with lots of thick fur. He was merrily checking everyone out for goodies and pets. Bill ended up breaking to a quick stop in front of that dog. Both were unscathed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Ride

Cyclists were out in force today. About two dozen cyclists passed me on the way up. It was grey until I reached the top of Monore. The sun came out and graced me with a bit of warmth.

Along the way met Renee with her California Triple Crown jersey. She mentioned that the Tour of California was looking for volunteers for the Stage 7 Time Trial in Los Angeles. I had to admit that I already had VIP passes to watch it in comfort.

Road to Fork plus six. It's been about nine or ten weeks since I was last there. As I sat on the wall another dozen cyclists rode past including Juan and Willie.

On the ride down groups of five or more cyclists headed toward Baldy. I noticed more female cyclists on the road today. These ladies enjoyed their adventure!

Terri, Mel and Loretta. Their philosophy was to relax and chat while they ride. They talked about the Inland Empire Women's group and

The hillside which burned in the Morris Fire was pleasantly alive. The yellow flowers burst out this week.

Enjoyed the coolness of the day.

Highway 39 Walk

Last Sunday on a hike up Big Dalton Canyon, I found a salamander on the road where someone could step on him. I shooed him off the road towards the creek.

He happily disappeared into the scrub.

Later I treked up Highway 39. It was hot in the 80s and the sky murky with moisture and smog. The reservoir was full to the top. A rare treat to be on the other side of the canyon.

Not alot of shade along the road. The stream sounded loud and refreshing.

Overall a pleasant day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Biking in the Rain

A complete contrast between Monday afternoon and today. Monday warm, dry, sun, cross winds, a lizard lounging on the road, a large coyote looking for dinner near mile marker 7. Wednesday cold, moist, dark clouds, more cross winds, fewer miles. From the first saddle, curtains of gray wafted down dousing those below with pellets of hard water. Viewing rain from above was an unusual treat.

Willis hiked along the road. Jeannette and her dog were walking upward. One rider on his ride down remarked about the wildlife ahead. Cool! Then a couple of folks over took me before I could spot it. Carlos and Matt rode by as I headed down.

Three different folks reported a house cat sized bobcat along the road. I had no visual. I looked inward up the slope not outward down the slope.

Unlike Monday April 12th, when the rain fell only in the forest with the roads dry by Boulder Springs. The roads were wet all the way home.

Wiped down the bike when I got home. It was dry and clean. Now its my turn.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday Ride

Rode on Glendora Ridge Road to what I call Fork Plus Four. It's time to get out and ride. Enjoy the earth and sky. Forget about the bumps at work.

The City of Glendora held its Earth Day Festivities on Saturday. New this year was a bicycle ride around town. Over 200 cyclists participated from five years old to adults. Juan and Michelle paced the advanced group of cyclists up Glendora Mountain Road.

Ramon participated in the Glendora's Earth Day Ride on GMR. He captured that true cycling spirit with his beret.

The weather was pleasant and well worth the effort to get above the overhang of clouds.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Night Ride

Warm in the 70s, a bit of cross wind, lots of sun and sky. Completely opposite of Monday. I got a late start to my ride at 4:35. Rode solo to the top the knee was mostly ok but the legs still feel like lead. Saw folks traveling downhill including Tony, Matt and Ron. Enjoyed the warm view at the top of Monroe.

Met Brian and Ray from Baldy Village at the top of Monroe, who rode to Newman's Point. They had an uphill ride home along Glendora Ridge Road. They commented it's lonely on the ridge. Plenty of folks on GMR!

Chatted up Ray about Baldy Road on March 14th the day of a fatal accident between a Ducati motorcycle rider and a truck making a u-turn. Asked how long the road was closed. Three hours. Opened at 3 pm. He was about third in line waiting for it to open.

We discussed Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, now that Pasadena is no longer the start city we mused over possibilities. Palmdale will be the starting city!

An auto club passed us on the way to Newman's. Two Corvettes. A grey Prosche Carrera, a white Lotus, a Nissan GTR. An SUV with a Thule rack on top. They lined up for a photo shoot.

I offered to trade my wheels for one of theirs. I got no takers on this.

Bill's trip around Bonelli netted this bird in a hand.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Some days were more challenging than others, mentally and physically. The mind wanted to wimp out giving the knee a break, the body begged to stay at home warm and dry, and mechanical failures befuddled and vexed before you're out of sight from home. Lump today in the challenging bucket. Fate beats you up, when you don't listen.

The new cleats clung with a death grasp as the front derailleur locked up trying to down shift just two houses from the start. Lying there with the cleats clipped in, I got the right foot free, lifted the bike and freed my left foot. Brushing off the fall, determined to ride, the new found pain in the knee put all the old pains on the back burner. After seeing the difference in wear pattern on the cleats no wonder my left knee complained! The new cleats should make my joints happy. Practiced unclipping before I left my block.

Managed to get shifted into the lowest front gear. That should suffice for the uphill. Tested the front shifting again on Sierra Madre. The response was iffy at best and the traffic heavier. It was not a street to enjoy cuddling pavement. I don't need a lot of gears to go uphill. Keep moving. I am doing this.

The clouds bumped up against the mountains. The sun would shine through for two minutes then the wind brought more wet clouds to the party. It started to rain, by the wall at mile marker 11.39. Please wait! I told the sky. It wasn't very wet. I rode faster, the rain fell heavier. I could see that it was bone dry in the city below while the rain wafted down on the truly (fool) hardy individuals.

Made it to the First Saddle. Good enough for today. Fate tested my strength. Everyone received double points for riding today.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Cloudy, breezy, grey with a temperature of 52F, warm by Ohio standards, and cool by my southern California blood, the weather was 30 degrees cooler than the Thursday afternoon ride. Bringing a small ray of hope the sun taunted its way through the clouds at 8 am only to disappear for the rest of the morning, tormenting the unprepared. The truly smart riders waited until afternoon with a clear sky, warm sun and mild gusts.

With very few folks on the road early this morning, John and Sherrie where on their way to Baldy Village. Snow in the Village? Not at the moment. Sherrie was training for Breathless Agony while John was shepherding a pinched nerve. I kept up for a half mile and then dropped off the back. Perhaps the 80 mile week was catching up with me.

Met Hugh from UCLA took a picture when the dreaded beeps of the memory card left at home brought my documentary to a halt. Doh! Then Adobo Velo in masse showed up with 35 - 40 riders strong all wearing their cycling colors. They had the KSCI camera crew filming their exploits!

William A. who raced San Dimas Stage Race talked of preparing for next year's race. He will be a race marshal of the Adobo Velo GMR Time Trial on Sunday May 16th

The question is will there be a King of the Mountain check point along the course? Riders would have then be challenged to sprint over the shorter time interval or to go for the over all distance.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Road bends

The young man driving this car learned the hard way why there are posted speed limits. Simply amazing he was up and walking after this mishap.

Mile Marker 10.98

Viewing the soda cans and papers laying on the ceiling, the lowest part of the vehicle put a different perspective on life. It's good to be upright.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Afternoon

Tony, Matt, San, Elle, Dale!

Met a few folks on the road tonight. The talk was about the rider in the black kit, no helmet who breezed past everyone. I was inspired to tack on the back for a mile. Knee pain what pain? He made it look so easy. He turned around at Newman's Point.

Dale was pleased to have Elle out on the road. San enjoyed the longer days for longer bike rides. Matt and Tony pushed to their time trial as San cheered them on. Five minutes improvement over last week. Tony was pleased. 1 hour 13 minutes from Goddard School to the Top of Monroe. Matt rode with Dale, San and Elle on the San Gabriel River Trail from Santa Fe Dam to Whittier a few months back. Small world!

It was warm in the 80s which made the descent feel good and therefore fast. On the way down out of the corner of my eye a bobcat scurried up the cliff side. All that registered in my brain was fur with limbs. Matt had the best view, while Tony didn't see it at all. Siting occurred at mile marker 11.0.

Bill enjoyed cruising his new Trek Madone 6.5 around Bonelli Park this morning. Life looks better after a good ride.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week in Review

Spring time in southern California meant wonderfully warm 80F temperatures for the Monday Night ride. Warm enough to enjoy a fast smooth flowing descent with sunlight to see the road, avoid the tire busting rocks and the gentle breeze of downhill speed cooling the skin. The Wednesday night ride contrasted Monday in every way. Clouds threatened rain all day long, then lifted enough to encourage only the brave and fool hearty into an evening ride. I being apart of the latter group, ventured out into the relative dryness of the road. Cold succumbed the knee into complaint loud enough to stop me at a stone wall overlooking the reservoirs before Newman's Point. The afternoon sun sparkled weakly on the water as the wind rippled the lakes. A hawk launched itself in a steep arch over the canyon reached its apex, then dove straight down plummeting towards the canopy of oaks. I spied it two days later:

The Wednesday evening clouds enshrouded Crystal Lake and I thought about Ray riding from Baldy Village along Glendora Ridge Road. He encountered hail, lightening, thunder and snow flurries in less than 12 miles. His photo collage captured his bone thrilling ride.

A rare Friday noon ride, the sun was out and meagerly warmer than Wednesday. There was a pleasant assortment of folks on the road. On the way down a shadow hovered over me. A turkey vulture with a six foot wing span circled over head. I did ride slowly that day, perhaps this was incentive to ride a tad bit faster. This coyote decided to check out what the aerial support was after.

Saturday ride was a bit faster than the Friday "active recovery ride". My knee was mostly quiet, I used a smaller gear and faster cadence.

Sunday afternoon hike behind the Forest Ranger Station and then along GMR showed spring in its glory.

The rains of the spring have brought color to the forest.

And Happy Easter.