Good Riding in So Cal

Ok, I’m back in the Bay Area, after spending about a week in Southern California. Spent some quality time with dad, but also spent some time riding too (you knew I couldn’t pass that up).

During my time in Southern Cal, I spent most of it riding up in the foothills of Angeles National Forest. Back when I used to live in Pasadena, I always knew there was great riding around there. You could hover along the foothills, in cities like Altadena, Monrovia, Glendora, etc … or you could venture over to the west side, and if you go for enough, you could get over to Mulhullond.

Lately, I have been eyeing not only the foothills, but exploring the forest up in the San Gabriel Mountains. Of course, the odds on favorite ride is Baldy and GMR.

But even to do GMR, you have to ride a while to get there. Arcadia is the city adjacent to Pasadena, and if you take Santa Anita straight up into the mountains, you eventually reach Chantry Flat. I did a solo ride on Friday, and it was so peaceful, so quiet, that I decided I needed to do it again on Saturday, with my friend Mary. She actually showed me an added route, up to the helicopter pad, and that was well worth the extra 300 feet. It gave us such a spectacular view.

Little did I know there were such treasures so close to home, and I only find out about it after I have moved out of the area! Later on in the week, I decided to do Crown and Starlight Crest. This was a steep, 18-20% grade, but luckily, short. Yea, it’s short, but it still is 18-20%. But while I was doing this, I realize I am right at the beginning of Angeles Crest Forest … so I figure, why not … go climb Angeles Crest Highway. This was really enjoyable, especially without all the car traffic you would normally get on the weekend. I had a time crunch on this day, and had to get back, so couldn’t spend the whole day to get up to Newcomb’s Ranch (popular turnaround point), so I could only go up to the 2500 foot level. However, what I did see was spectacular.

It’s strange how all of a sudden I have this urge to climb mountains. I think before, I still had a fear of traffic when climbing Hwy 2. I think the time I spent riding in the Bay Area may have taken the fear out of me. I only wish I had gotten over this fear before I moved out of Pasadena.

I started to hear to noises coming from my bottom bracket, so I was a little leery of doing a lot more climbing. However, I still wanted to climb up to the Water Tower in South Pasadena. The day I did this, I did have to meet with my sister for lunch in Pasadena, so I had to make this a really quick day. This was perfect … the climb up to the Water Tower is nice and short.

It had been a long time since I climbed up here, and thought there was a different way to get up to the water tower. So down I went then up another street, and climbed up, but couldn’t tell where the water tower was. Apparently, there was only one way up, and I just made it up a different hill. I guess I was doing hill repeats today.

I have come to a conclusion on different types of hills between Northern and Southern California. In Northern California, they deliberately have hills right in the middle of a city, like San Francisco, Berkeley, etc … And even if there are hills, they would be in the suburb. However, in Southern California, you have hills in the mountains. There, you have elevation, mountainous terrain, where you really have to go out of your way to get up here. I like both styles, but each has it’s own character of its own. I like Southern California, where your climb actually is in a forest. In Northern California, your climb is not in a forest, but actually a suburb. Like I said, a character of its own.

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