I wanted to ride with my friend Mary this weekend, so we decided to do a ride that included some of our favorites … Chantry and St. Katherine. It was a really nice morning for a bike ride. There were some clouds hovering over our heads, but we climbed with the confidence that they would only be clouds, and nothing developing out of it.
One thing I forgot about … we started at Del Mar and Huntington at 8:30 am. Montrose usually speeds along Huntington around that time, so there was a chance that we would be passed by like we were standing still. Luckily, they weren’t that fast, and we got to Santa Anita before Montrose group got close to us. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing for them to pass us by … if they did, I’d have my camera ready.
The climb up to Chantry was gorgeous. Definitely was more crowded than Friday. One thing I noticed is walkers, walking down Santa Anita Ave., on the right side as we are climbing. My question is, why would you walk down a canyon road like this, all knowing there are cars and bikes going up and down this road? It’s one thing walking down the road from the campground, but to be walking down at the bottom of the hill? Plus, when you are starting the climb, you have to worry about cars behind you, rocks on the side of the road, and now, walkers obstructing what little shoulder room you have left on the right side of the road … sheesh!
Near the top, there was a large number of cars parked along the side of the road … and we weren’t even close to the picnic ground! At first, we thought maybe these guys were parking for free below the campground, but we then realized they do have a forest parking pass. Wow! Is it really that busy up there? It turned out, Chantry Flat is really popular these days. What makes this dangerous is cars parking on the downhill side, not taking into account bikes who are descending the hill (as was the case with us). I should have brought my whistle with me, to alert everyone of a bike coming down the hill.
I guess more people are utilizing Chantry Flat these days. I was told it was also this busy last weekend too. Perhaps more people are using it due to it being beginning of Spring. It would be interesting to see if it stays this busy through the middle of summer. Perhaps the locals are realizing they don’t have to drive to Angeles Crest or GMR, when they have this in the backyard of Arcadia and Sierra Madre! It’s good to see Chantry getting this popular, but bad for cyclists in a way … more traffic, meaning we’d have to be more aware than ever before when climbing Chantry.
Gee, does this mean my bike needs a pass???
Mary showed me the way to the helicopter pad. First, I didn’t know there was a helicopter pad, and second, I didn’t know there was a way to go beyond the parking lot of the picnic grounds. This adds an extra 300 feet of climbing to the ride, but it is well worth the extra climb. It gives you a fabulous view of the valley.
Now I don’t know the history of Chantry Flat, but I did see a curiously interesting sign … Preattack helicopter. Was this remnants of WWII? There was not much left to it, and there wasn’t any placque to explain what this meant. Anyone have any ideas?
On down the hill, it was really cold, but made it down okay. We didn’t have enough climbing, so we decided to head over to Sturtevant Dr, then climb up Vista Circle. If you are ever in Sierra Madre, and need some extra hills, head up Canon Dr (from Grandview), then go on Sturtevant … good source of hill repeats.
From here, we went up Altadena Dr, then over to the Rose Bowl area, for another climb up St. Katherine. By the time we finished all that, we had over 5,000 feet of climbing, and figured that was a good accomplishment for the day.