Umunhum on My Compact Double

I’ve done Mt. Umunhum a number of times, but it has always been on my triple.  It’s time to try it on my compact double.  I won’t be breaking any records, and just want to finish it.

Unlike before, I did make a number of stops.  I guess I won’t be getting any PRs on the climb.  The last time I attempted this on my Volagi, I didn’t make any stops, but I really paid for it at the end.  I ended up bailing after about 1 miles on Mt. Umunhum Road.

It started out pretty warm .. I started at 9 am, and even then, I was just in shorts and no arm warmers or jacket (although I carried them with me, just in case).  It’s a good thing I did, because as I started climbing towards Umunhum, the fog was shrouding the  mountain.

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I later found out there were expected wind gusts, so that’s why the fog was moving around the mountain peaks so much.  However, as far as gusty winds, it really didn’t affect my climbing at all.  The temps were still okay .. however, I did notice my Garmin was at 90 F at the base of Mt. Umunhum Road (although the bike was sitting in the sun), and the closer I got to the top, the temperature dropped into the 60s.

I did get passed by several people while on Umunhum, but I didn’t pass anyone.  This kinda tells you how tough this climb is.

I did get passed by this other woman, who was just behind me.  She passed me almost with ease … but she did give me motivation going up the last part of that ramp!  Thank you!

When I got to the top, it was all foggy, and I thought, “I’m in the clouds”.  Even though it’s foggy up here, it isn’t down in the valley.

 

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Ok, time for the descent.  It’s a bit chilly up here, and it’s a good thing I had arm warmers and a vest.  I think a jacket may have been a bit too much, so this is perfect.  Now for a big drop in descent, from 3300 feet, down to 500 feet.  Unfortunately, this means that there may be some timid cars descending the hill … I guess that’s what good brakes are for.

Remember how I said it was forecast to be windy???  Well, I found out when I got off the mountain.  It was really swirling and windy down below.  You wouldn’t have guessed it if you climbed Umunhum today.

 

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Volunteering for DMD 2018

My feeble goal of completing DMD (Devil’s Mountain Double) was squashed by all the cold and rain we had in March/April.  My knees were just not having it, even though I felt good last week on Primavera Century.  So instead, I opted to volunteer to help support this event.

I volunteered for two stops … Morgan Territory and at lunch, at the Junction.  This year, DMD is the first event of the Ca Triple Crown Stage Race.  Every year, the Ca Triple Crown chooses 3 of the toughest double century, and times it, to see who is the baddest, most kick ass double century rider.  So I decided to be the time keeper, taking down all the numbers of every rider that passes through this rest stop.

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It was partly cloudy, but every now and then, the sun would show through (but not enough).  For a tough double century, this is perfect conditions (won’t have to worry about overheating on this ride).

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First Two Riders

First two riders came in around 9:15 am, and way ahead of everyone else.  I have no idea how well they did on the rest of the ride, but as you can see, they quickly got to the stop, then hurried onto the course.

The riders came in waves … there were two fixies doing the ride … Wow, major kudos to them.  Riding this hilly double century, on a fixed gear?  And then I saw one rider, who had a Colorado Triple Crown jersey.  Now that’s gotta be tough, especially with all the mountains they have there, and at elevation.

And then there was one guy, who was riding a bike from someone in Iowa, or something like that, called Strong.  It’s a Strong Bike.

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Strong Bike

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And then some of my friends showed up.  One of my dearest friends, Teresa came rolling through, affectionately nicknamed Tiger.  Of course, she loves mug shots!

After this rest stop, there is a steep descent, with road narrowing to 1.5 lanes, and of course with blind curves.  Well, unfortunately, despite the warnings we give to watch speeds, we had some riders go down.  Three riders went down … first fell on a corner (not sure if they went too hot into the turn … that’s the most obvious reason), and two others went down, not being able to react fast enough.  The middle rider got out of it fine, without having to go to the hospital … the other two unfortunately had to be shipped to the hospital … one with a fractured collar bone, probably some ribs issues … ouch!

What made this difficult is that the riders coming behind that accident, now had to wait 45 minutes to an hour for the firetrucks, ambulance, to come by, care for them, then clear the road.  It’s just unfortunate.  The combination of narrow roads, steep descent, just makes this very dangerous.

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The Junction Cafe

I finally made it to the Junction, which is a cool cafe, out in the middle of nowhere.  It’s about 25 miles down on Mines Road before you hit this spot.  I made a bunch of cold sandwiches for the riders.  Either my sandwich making is a newfound art I didn’t know I had, or the riders were so hungry, they will eat anything.  I had so many complements that the sandwiches were good … I had one guy take 4 of them.  I think it was the latter … but it’s great to hear those complements.

What’s constant though is how thankful everyone was for us being out there, volunteering our services for them.  To all those riders, thank you for the complements, and I have nothing but utmost respect for every one of them out there … at least they had the guts to actually do it (even if they didn’t finish it).  There were a few that had to DNF (did not finish) … but hey, consider this a training ride.  Not many others would even attempt this.

 

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Primavera Century 2018

I was originally going to do Primavera Century in 2017, but from all the rains, there were so many roads blocked, or closed, that they couldn’t do it last year, and it was cancelled.  I used my 2017 registration, and applied it to 2018.  It’s my first organized century ride in a long time (last year’s Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge didn’t count … I did a modified metric century plus).

Met up with a number of my old friends, and it was good to see them.  However, due to timing issues, I never did get to ride with them on the century.  I ended up riding on my own.  It was okay, as with any organized ride, you end up riding along with complete strangers, who are at the same level as you are.  In some cases, that works out best.

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Climbing Calaveras

One of the most advertised points on this ride was riding Calaveras all the way through.  Normally, the road is closed half way through, but through a special arrangement, they allowed Primavera riders to go through.

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It was nice to be riding without worrying about cars breathing down your neck.  However, as I ride through there, I couldn’t figure out why the road is still closed.  It looked like everything was all ready to be opened, and yet it’s supposed to be closed till September?

Sometimes when you ride a century, you seem to be riding all alone out there.  You start wondering if you are on the right route … and I happen to lose my route sheet.  Oops … well, at least I have the direction markers on the road.  Eventually a few caught up to me, so at least I know I’m on the right track.

 

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Lunch was at a winery, and it was cool to have bikes in the middle of a winery … Cool shot, eh?  The 100 mile ride went on a loop, to go towards Patterson Pass (but not ride through it) … instead, we took a little loop through Flynn Road, and pass by a few windmills.  The tourist in me just marveled at the fact that I am riding past some gigantic windmills.

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The way back was pretty much a sprint back.  It’s one of those where you try to keep up with the small pack you are in.  Unfortunately, when you get caught at a light, you may get dropped from the pack.  That didn’t stop a few others though, despite the fact there is a red traffic light there.  Oh boys … it’s not worth running a red.  Besides, it makes cyclists, as a whole look bad.

Anyhow, about 7 hours total, and I got my century in.  I felt good at the end of the ride … didn’t feel like I was fatigued or exhausted, and that’s a good feeling.  It was 100 miles, and 6323 feet of climbing.  At least I got a century in the books.

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Social Media – Use at Your Own Risk

The concept of social media was so innocent when it was introduced to us.  They promoted, hey, let’s produce a platform where you can catch up with all your friends.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  That meant putting lots of personal information on there, like date of birth, phone number, home address …. Whoa, put the brakes on … phone number and home address?

As you all know, Cambridge Analytica was able to extract possibly all of that information, when some survey was posted on Facebook.  I mean this not only allowed people to share information, but it also extracted information from their friends, who didn’t even participate in the survey in the first place.

So I immediately turned off the ability for 3rd party applications to communicate through my Facebook profile (I may actually do the same thing for Twitter and Google Plus as well).  Will that help?  Who knows.  One thing I did notice is that when I tried to share my Instagram posts directly from my phone, it didn’t allow it.  I guess that confirms that it does do the job … but I think it may be a matter of a little too little, a little too late.

I then started to look at my other privacy settings, and more specifically the ads settings.  What I didn’t realize was each application that you click “like” will add to the source of where ads will get posted to you.  Holy shit!!!!  I had probably 20 sites, that was not high on my interest list, that could possibly be posting an ad.  Sheesh … I immediately turned that off.

Next I looked at some of what my friends’ settings are, and wow .. under contact info, I saw that many of them included their home street address and phone number.  If someone just viewed your profile, and saw your basic contact info, they can start spamming you like crazy, calling you, even visiting you at your home.  The default setting is for everyone to see your profile information.  That is bad …

So this is why I cringe when looking back at Social Media.  I’m too deeply into it now, but the first thing I would do is restrict who can access my profile.  Second, remove any personal information that can be spread to cause harm, like home address, phone number, and will probably be removing a few more in the future.

Facebook is not alone in this … Twitter is not quite as bad, but I still have some issues with them.  I chose to require 2 factor authentication for all my Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus).  However, with twitter, the 2nd factor is via SMS text messaging, which means I have to put my cell phone in there.  The cell phone is in my twitter profile.  However, if someone got access to my profile, they can retrieve that info, and start spamming me.  What I really wish, that Twitter will do, is provide 2nd factor via push authentication (like what Google, and WordPress does).  I really don’t like the fact that the 2nd factor code is done via SMS, which can be hacked easily.  I really think push authentication for 2FA is the way to go.  I only wish more apps could adopt this.

Anyhow, enough of my rant.  The point of this blog is to be very leery of the information you share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media platform.  Now back to doing more house chores.

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Angeles Forest Highway … How Have I Not Ridden this Before?

Easter Sunday, I had to get back a little after lunch time … so normally when I’m a little short on time, I’ll do the climb up Hwy 2, to Clear Creek, then head back.

But I’ve always wondered about Angeles Forest Highway, seeing riders come up from there. I’ve eyeballed this on Google Maps, but never really did this on my own. I hesitatingly descend down Angeles Forest Highway, remembering that eventually it would connect to Big Tujunga, which I remember doing once or twice (but that was about 10-15 years ago). I figured, what the heck … it’s a nice smooth road … plus it starts off with a descent.

As I start descending, I thought to myself “Why haven’t I don’t this before”? Not only is it not as busy, but there definitely is more shoulder room to work with. Sure, I do get buzzed by crotch rocket yahoos, going down, but I would get the same thing descending down ACH.

The cautious side of me wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a turn. I remember Mt. Gleason as being a landmark road, and as I pass it, I wanted to check Google Maps. I must have looked at this wrong, because when I saw Big Tujunga Road, I thought I saw it being on the other side of Santa Clarita, which was way over on the other side of the valley. Well, I decided to backtrack, and get on Mt. Gleason. This took me to Tujunga, and the only way I know of getting myself back to Pasadena, is to head back on Foothill Blvd (not the prettiest of roads, and a major street through the valley). It’s not bad … there is plenty of room to maneuver, but just not the most scenic. I did get back alright. Maybe next time, I’ll study Google Maps with more detail, and pick a nicer route.

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Last Minute Procrastination Before Driving to LA

It’s my monthly visit to LA, and as always, I wake up at an ungodly hour (5 am), do a mad rush to get everything ready.  I guess a smart man would prepare everything the night before.

I did prepare last night … put clothes in the bag, packed two sets of jerseys in, but there’s always the last minute thing to bring.  I guess the blog will make sure I have what I need for this ride.

So here’s a checklist

  • Shoes
  • helmet
  • Gloves (oh, shoot … where are they … check)
  • arm warmers, knee warmers
  • pump
  • USB cables
  • socks
  • food

I know I’m missing something … and this is all just before heading on the road for my 6+ hour drive.  Does everyone, who has a weekend trip, go through the same procrastination emergency?  Well, off I go.

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Damn Daylight Savings Time Again

Unfortunately this is still a thing

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