Ever since I left Southern California, about 19 years ago, I would keep visiting LA and actually doing more climbing than when I used to live in LA. Yes, I’ve done all the epic climbs
- Mt. Baldy
- Mt. Wilson
- Deer Creek Challenge
- PV Loop
But one that I have not done is Cloud Burst Summit. Ken Mathis posts a ride, going up Hwy 39 to Cloud Burst .. Hey I’m in, and more importantly, a chance to hang out with my So Cal friends, and hanging out with some new friends too.
We started at the first parking lot above East Fork Road. I’ve never started a ride from here, but it’s actually nice, not having to fight the traffic from Azusa up to this point. However, next time I’ll have to remember to get an Adventure Pass (thanks Ken for the spare pass).
The temps were mild, but was unsure how cold it would be in the shade, so I brought my windbreaker just to be on the safe side.
There’s something about Ken’s group rides … he always attracts hoards of riders to come along. I guess that’s why I love coming back all the time.
It felt odd climbing this part of Hwy 39, with less than 2 miles into the ride.
Part way up the climb, there seemed to be a search and rescue chopper hovering over the canyon. That chopper was loud, and of course, we had to stop and check out what’s going on. We didn’t see anything, but it was cool to see that big chopper hovering overhead.
One concern was availability of water on this ride. Other than Crystal Lake, there is no water, with the exception of the spring off the mountain. About 2/3 the way up the hill, there is one such spring. It’s fresh, and cool, and most likely more clean than any water we’d get from a drinking fountain.
When we get past Crystal Lake, someone drove up with refreshments just before we continue past the road closed gate. That was a welcome sign, with cold water, soda, and potato chips. Aww, that was really refreshing, before continuing up the climb.
Now onto the climb. First getting around this road closure. It didn’t say anything about no bikes, so off we go.
The road conditions up here are not that great. You had rocks falling down from the hillside, to the point where it is not driveable. It’s a technical ascent on road bikes, but at least it wasn’t a steep grade. I’ve heard some of the rocks can be so sharp that it would gash a tire.
The last time I attempted this section of Hwy 39, it was cold, I had hot feet, and I was aching everywhere. I was so exhausted I bailed about a mile from the top. As Ken mentioned, I fumbled at the 99 yard line. Not this time … I was determined to make it at least to the other side.
Onto Cloud Burst … I didn’t know I was going to go through a tunnel. Damn, I didn’t have my blinkers with me. Luckily there weren’t any cars out here. There’s always something about riding through a tunnel though.
Even though the grades to Cloud Burst is not too bad, it’s still the amount of climbing in the legs, up to 7000 foot elevation. Of course, being one of three newbies to this climb, we had to take a few pictures.
Of course, this deserves a group photo.
Whew now for the return back, however it is not just a simple downhill … On the way back are a bunch of rollies.
Oh and there is the 2 mile climb up to Crystal Lake Cafe. After this epic climb fest, Crystal Lake is a must. Mmmm … Food!!!
Oh one more group picture …
And the rest of the ride??? Well give into your tight tuck, as we are bombing down this mountain. Strava says I got 47.5 mph …. Well that was fun.