« A Tale of 2 Cycling Holidays | Main | PCH: Newport Beach to San Clemente »

August 07, 2003

Pedaling the San Gabriel Mtns.

Mt. Baldy to Highway 39.

Upland to Azusa via Euclid Ave., Mt. Baldy Rd., Glendora Ridge Rd., East Fork, and San Gabriel Canyon Rd.


DIRECTIONS:

The 10 Frwy., east or west, depending on where you are coming from, leads to Euclid Ave., and once there you just head north to FOOTHILL BLVD. in Upland, Ca..

Turn right, and drive past CAMPUS AVE. to UPLAND MEMORIAL PARK, and you will find parking.

For folks taking their bike on the bus: East or west, the OMNITRANS #61, 66, or 68 will connect you with the northbound 62 on Euclid to 19th street.

For folks coming from points west, the MTA 484 and FOOTHILL 482 connect you to the OMNITRANS 66 and 68.

Regardless of where you start in UPLAND the path leads steadily upward on FOOTHILL BLVD..

Sorry, but there's no way around it. You have to climb steadily upward BEFORE you can start the trip back down. :-)

I took the trip, and wrote the story, below, a few weeks AFTER the horrible events of 9/11:

Oh say can you see by the dawns early light (actually 10am, so sue me!).

I start out on my ride from the northern reaches of Upland along a 2 lane blacktop into the foothills to connect with Mt. Baldy Rd.

(Euclid leads to Mountain Ave, and then you head up to Mt. Baldy Rd.)

My camelback's full of liquid (H2o, not beer, honest!), and my flag's already waving proudly in the breeze from the handlebar of my trusty steed.

It turns out to be a steady, gradual, climb of 9 mi. and 1000 ft. elevation gain (from 3 to 4000) to Baldy Village and the next stage of my ride.

I'd estimate that I walked about 2 1/2 of those miles, some of the uphills were that steep.

Maybe about 6 mi. up, after the last of 2 50 year old tunnels dug out of the rock I see a cyclist lugging his bike off to the side of the road.

Turns out he'd just blew a rear tire at 50mph on the downhill. ;-)

Having an excuse to rest for 15 min. I talked to the guy about where he'd rode from and

where I was headed.

Things were looking up as he said I'd have a blast on the Ridge. ;-)

After 2 1/2 hrs. I pull into the Village and head to the Baldy Lodge Restaurant for lunch.

By now I'd noticed something that sent a feeling of joy and pride through me.

The reaction of travellers passing me on the descent upon seeing my flag, especially if they had small ones hanging from antennas.

Smiles, and lots of waves, and shouts from cyclists and motorcyclists. ;-)

After 5 mi. of this I decided to wave and smile at every oncoming car, and that really got responses, and boosted my energy level the higher I went.

People in the Village came up to me with smiles and told me how they loved the flag on my bike.

2 hrs., 2 huge bowls of clam chowder, and 4 glasses of coke later it was time to hit the ridge.

It's a 1 mi. climb from the Village to the ridge pt. above it, and the next 11 mi. were shere bliss......

Purple mountains majesty, above the smoggy plains, America, America, crown thy good with brotherhood...........

Up there, in the mtns., you feel at 1 with nature, 1 with your fellow adventurers, calm, at peace.

Along the ridge you come, after another mi. to a turn off that allows you to sit on a rock wall and stare out in awe into a magnificent forested valley for more than 15 mi.

I felt such a sense of wonder. For the 1st time that day I really let my troubles wash away, wrapped myself around the beauty surrounding me, and realized I was enjoying a very special trip.

This 2 lane rd. winds its way thru several mtn. ranges as it heads west. For every 1/4 mi. climb on my easiest gears there were 1 to 1 1/2 mi. roaring descents where no pedalling was required, but ya damn well better keep yer hands on yer brakes and eyes on the curves ahead.

Lots of motorcyclists and scooter riders up there, and for some reason they like to hog the road. ;-)

I even saw SUPERMAN, on vacation. Cape and all. On a Harley no less.;-)

No I wasn't drunk. I had water in my camelback, I told ya! ;-)

At the 21 mi. mark of my journey I came to a fork in the rd..

I had a score to settle with the road I took next.

A few yrs. ago I'd rode in the area west and north of this spot and decided to climb this rd. to the ridge and west on the ridge and back down to the valley. I ended up walking up, up, and up for 6 mi.

This trip was soooo much more fun. ;-)

So much fun I swear I had 1 long org... um feeling of pure heavenly joy and exhileration coursing thru me.;-)

7 1/2 mi. of sheer speed. 7 1/2 mi. of absolutely no pedaling.

Reaching speeds of up to 33mph on multiple winding turns going down, down, down to the East Fork of the San Gabriel River with the forest and canyons in all their beauty spread out before me.

Your life is in your hands on this downhill. Lose control for an instant and it's all she wrote. Porky Pig will be saying "That's All Folks!" as your show comes to a close in spectacular fashion.

Reach the bottom in one piece and, like what's his face in TITANIC, you feel like you are King of the World, and your troubles are put into proper perspective as you realize that ANYTHING is possible if you have the skill, strength, heart, courage { and sometimes shear insanity ;-) } and belief in yourself to accomplish it.

I ride west, down the East Fork, to 100 year old FOLLOWS CAMP, and have a nice meal, and a couple of beers at its restuarant/bar, and then head out west again to make a left onto San Gabriel Canyon Rd. (highway 39).

...... twilights last gleaming (it was 5:30 to 7pm), and the rockets red glare ( my rear light ), the bombs bursting in air { whether it was the clams, the beer, or both, I was, um, passing wind rather loudly, frequently, and enthusiastically by now ;-) }, gave proof thru the (evening) that my flag was still there waving proudly for all to see.........

As I rode the last 10 mi. out of the canyon ( to Azusa & Foothill Blvd. in Azusa, Ca. ) and back to my life down below, I was whistling up a patriotic storm as a way to keep up my strength for the final leg of my journey.

Bits and pieces of the anthem, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and even a certain Springsteen song.

Some witnesses might swear I could be seen singing a few bars as I rode down the mountain, waving at all who passed me by, but with the wind whistling around me I DOUBLE DARE YA to prove it! ;-)

With a couple of mi. to go I neared a couple along the side of the road, overlooking a dam with a sliver of sun shining at one end.

They were wrapped in each others arms, kissing up a storm...

I briefly interupted the festivities, as I passed, by yelling "give her one for me!!!".

They laughed and waved as I went by. ;-)

44 mi. of peace on earth, good will toward men, no cares to think about, and a chance to clear my head, relax, and enjoy just being alive.

Tomorrow will take care of itself.....


For those without a car you can go back to the Montclair Transit Center on the eastbound FOOTHILL 187 OR 189 bus.

For those looking to connect with the 480, 482, and 484 busses just take the FOOTHILL 280 south on AZUSA.

Those with cars back at the park can take the bus to Monclair, and then the OMNITRANS 66 to the park, or just ride east another 30 miles or so on FOOTHILL, CITRUS, ALOSTA/ROUTE 66, and FOOTHILL again back to the park. :-)

August 7, 2003 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341ca35a53ef00d83421ceed53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Pedaling the San Gabriel Mtns.:

» The Best of Me Symphony #21 from The Owner's Manual
The Best of Me Symphony Simpsony 21 Tonight, The Owner's Manual welcomes to our Best of Me Symphony broadcast booth a unique and special guest, Springfield cultural critic and accomplished couch-potatoist, Homer Simpson. Do you have any questions befor... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 25, 2004 11:42:21 PM

Comments

This DOES make you want to get on a bike and go somewhere...

Posted by: Denny | Apr 26, 2004 9:55:00 AM

Great post. Sounds like a very challenging but totally magic ride!

Posted by: kimbofo | Apr 23, 2006 6:56:13 AM

Post a comment