In the Pasadena area, THE PACK RIDE to do is the Montrose pack ride. They typically have two routes, long and short. The short is roughly 35 miles (31 miles if you start from Trader Joe’s in S. Pasadena, like I do, and many others). The long is roughly 50 miles, and goes out to Glendora, and climbs a few hills, but I normally just do the short, as keeping up with the pack is normally an issue for me.
If you haven’t guessed, this is a fast pack. During the ride, I clocked the max speed topping out at 35 mph, and they were even going slow this week. Imagine if they really put the pedal to the metal.
The beginning of the ride races through Huntington Dr., en route from S. Pasadena, through San Marino, through Arcadia. What’s great about Huntington Dr is that it is wide … it has about 4 lanes in each direction, and lots of riders will take up two lanes. I’m usually a bit skittish about taking two lanes. Of course, when you are in such a big pack, keeping your line is really key, but there are some that just don’t. One guy in fact really pissed me off, as he crosses in front of me from right to left, without even giving a gesture (nod of the head, flick of the wrist) that he is about to make this maneuver. It amazes me that there are not more accidents than there already is on the Montrose rides.
Largest participation in this pack ride was from PAA (Pasadena Athletic Association). Instead of the ever present green jersey, found when doing the Alto Velo pack rides, there was an ever present black jersey presense of PAA, which is also sponsored by Remax and John’s Bicycle. I figured I had to mention these guys, since I’m reporting about Montrose pack ride.
The size of the pack is roughly 100+ riders. I mention this because when you cross a traffic signal that goes from green, to yellow, then to red, it’s impossible to stop a pack that large, so in many intersections, we all just ran the red. Even more interesting is when we made a left turn onto Longden … the whole pack maneuvered in front of some cars trying to make a left turn, and then the entire pack crosses with the left turn. It’s quite a sight to see, and even if I was taking video or pictures, it wouldn’t even come close to telling the entire picture.
Oh, and when you have an entire pack at a stop light, you know every one of those riders have to clip in. I thought it was amazing to hear 100 clips, clipping in when the light turned green. You just have to be there to know what I mean, in case you haven’t been in such a big pack like this.
In the past, when I rode with Montrose, I would usually get dropped on Arrow Hwy … the traffic light would usually be the barrier for me. But this time, the traffic light became my savior, my best friend … it allowed me to catch up, and more importantly, to recover. Yay! Coincidentally, that’s where I my max heart rate was registered … but only 175 bpm.
Now if you count just the Montrose route, then it comes out to 31.1 miles, and 863 feet of climbing, but if you look at the total route, from Monterey Park, it’s more like 48 miles. Great day, especially since I finished the ride before noon.