Checking Out Stage 7 Baldy

I figure if I’m not going to be able to watch ATOC Stage 7, then I might as well ride it.  So I sent out some messages on facebook and on the forums, and I thought we’d get maybe 4 or 5 riders, but by the time I we got around 20 riders.  Wow, great turn out.

The route we took was to head out on GMR, then continue on GRR (which seems to go on forever), then onto Baldy Village (and if in the mood, continue all the way to the ski lift).

With such a large group, we were bound to be splintered up, and that’s exactly what happened.

I ended up riding with my doubles buddy Teresa, and my new buddy Vic (actually we know each other through the forums for some time.  I know him as biker395, but now we have an actual name and a face to relate to).  Riding with Vic sure made the time go faster, and riding with a strong climber sure helped.

The climbs on GMR is not really too bad.  It is a constant 5-7% grade, and as long as you don’t go beyond your abilities, you’ll do fine.  I compare it in some ways to Mt. Diablo, except it doesn’t start out as steep, and maybe … just maybe a little gentler.  It’s just that the climb is long.

There was the fast group at the junction of GMR, East Fork, and GRR.  The faster group went on ahead, while we took our time going up.  As far as the traffic conditions … there weren’t very many cars or motorcycles to contend with.  I do recall maybe 6 motorcycles, but that was it.  Otherwise, we had the road all to ourselves.  It was actually fairly quiet, as I remember other times where there were a hoard of crotch rocket motorcycles going up, and in fact would have a line of motorcycles at the junction, but not this day.

I met up with the group at the firestation on Baldy Road.  These guys are fast.  They shot out the gun right when we got to the first hill.  I made the mistake of going to the bathroom, and off they went, and never saw them, except at East Fork Road, and then here at the fire station.  But I guess that’s nothing new … I’m used to that.  Some riders continued on  up to the ski lift, but majority went back down.

I waited for Vic and Teresa, then we headed off to the village, and the Mt. Baldy Lodge, for a small bite … and I mean a small bite.  One burger and fries shared by 3 people??? We are not normal … we are cyclists!!!

One mistake I made … I went inside … when that happens, I eat, instead of climbing the ski lifts (which I have never done yet).  Well, I figure I shouldn’t burn myself out too much, one week before Davis Double … that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Teresa actually was feeling a little sleepy while on the climb … sleepy?  Well, I actually know what that’s like.  On some doubles, I would be riding along, and making the right turns, but it was like I was doing that subconsciously … so I actually know what that’s like.  Three coffees later, and we are all bright eyed … as you can tell from this picture.

Ok, the road back home.  We still had a little climbing left to do … just a few bumps, but not too bad.  I did bring my helmet cam, and took a nice short video of our descent on Glendora Ridge Road.  That was fun, but I still have to learn how to use the helmet cam.  I actually recorded it upside down, so I had to download some software that would convert from .mov to .avi format, then invert it.  Result is below:

The others went straight down GMR, but Teresa twisted our arms enough to go down East Fork Road, then down Hwy 39 instead.  I’m glad we did … that was a lot of fun.

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