Tag Archives: Chantry

Squeezing in a Ride on Christmas Eve

Wow, we were lucky enough to get in one good, clear day and it happened to be on Christmas Eve.  The peaks on the San Gabriel Mountains were so incredibly clear.  Pictures don’t do it justice.

I couldn’t get together for a group ride, so I decided to go out solo.  I figured I should make it a short day, and get back by noon.  I took a short, direct route, to get to the climb on Santa Anita Blvd, on up to Chantry Flats.  It was just an absolutely gorgeous day.  There were no clouds in the sky at all, and it was as blue as the sky can get.  Felt like singing Mr. Bluesky.

I saw a bunch of cyclists coming down, but all of them were

mountain bikers.  What’s up with that?  At least I didn’t get passed by anyone … until the last 0.25 miles from the parking lot of Chantry Flats.  I decided to go up to the chopper pad, and the same cyclist who passed me up, decided to go up along with me.  Funny, it turned out the both of us were from the Bay Area, visiting.

I was out there in my long sleeve Cervelo jersey, and it kept me quite warm.  It was perfect wearing it climbing up the mountain, and it did get a little cool up at top.  I definitely needed that warmth while descending, but once I got to the bottom …. whoa, it was way too warm.  I probably should have left the knee warmers back home.

Just couldn’t hang on to the pack

I felt pretty strong over the past week, hill climbing pretty strong, so I felt I was ready to tackle Montrose.  My speed was pretty good, and I was continually up in the middle of the pack, so things seem to be looking up.  We were screaming … I mean just screaming down Huntington Dr (averaging between 25-35 mph), and I felt as if I might actually hang in with the pack for the entire ride.  Then, we got to Arrow Hwy, and I was struggling to follow the wheel in front of me.

At this point, I recall a great Phil and Paul quote … “turning your body inside out” … and that’s exactly how I felt at this point.  Then, I lost touch with the pack.  So the next thing I know, I am now at the back of the pack, and being distanced.  My heartrate peaked at 181 bpm … no wonder.  I just wanted to stop and curl over.  Then, suddenly, I see about 20 cyclists huddled around the slow lane.  Holy crap … a crash.  Reports from some of the other riders I talked to was wheels crossed, and it affected 4 riders.  I also heard 1 of the riders suffered a broken hip.  That sucks!

I decided to take a shortcut on Irwindale, and cut over to Foothill, then Encanto and onto the route.  What was amazing is they were only 5 minutes behind, till they caught up with me.

The original plan was to go hammer with Montrose, climb Chantry, then climb St. Katherine’s.  Well, hammering with Montrose really took a lot out of me, so I opted just for Chantry and not for St. Katherine.  My climbing wasn’t as strong as I hoped it would be, and it probably impacted my time, so I was not shooting for a personal best on this climb.

While I was up here, I figured I might as well go up to the helicopter chopper pad.  Even though I was spent, I still wanted to charge up the hill.  It doesn’t seem like many people know about this climb up to the chopper pad, or maybe they just don’t care to climb this.  For those that don’t know about it, you don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s an amazing view from the top.

Ride Stats:  53.1 miles, 3105 feet climbing (most of it after breaking off from the Montrose ride).  More stats at http://www.strava.com/rides/143091

Balmy California Winter

While the east coast is being pelted by snow blizzards, with temps in  the 20’s or even lower … How is it in California?  Do you really want or need to visit family back east? What’s the weather like in Chicago?  New York?  Philadelphia?  20’s?  Well, while they are digging their snow out so they can drive their car, I had to wear shorts, in mid-70 degree weather.  Ah, gotta love California winter.

I drove down for a visit to SoCal (since I won’t be able to make it during Christmas).  I forgot to email the usuals that I ride with when I come down to SoCal, so I couldn’t arrange to ride with the usuals,.  I decided to take my time, and do a solo ride.  My route was to go climb up Chantry Flats, up to the helicopter pad, then hop over to St. Katherine’s and St. Augustine.  My ride over is along the Montrose route (which is a fast group of 100+ riders), but luckily, they had already passed by before I started.  It would have made a pretty cool shot to see the 100+ pack breaking every traffic law around, but that will have to wait another day.

Wow, I’m glad I didn’t bring my knee warmers.  I did bring my vest, but that stayed in my jersey pocket.  I had my arm warmers on, and even though I probably didn’t need it, I just left it on, more because I’m just lazy.  I fear though that I didn’t put enough sunscreen on my face.  Hopefully I won’t turn into a tomato tomorrow.

I decided to try to run my heart rate up, and work as hard as I could, and not try to get into my granny gear.  This is to help justify if I should convert to a compact double crank, or not.  I got my heart rate up to 175 bpm, but the limiting factor here was lack of power in the legs.   I had no choice but to switch to my granny gear … ugh, it serve as a good recovery.  It also was a good excuse to stop and enjoy the scenery. After I recovered well enough, I switched back to my middle ring.

Now, look at this and notice one thing … there is no snow. Sorry, had to throw that in.

So this switching from granny gear to middle chain ring seem to be going well. I only did this because I have done this climb several times before, and I don’t have this agenda to finish the climb in a specified time. In other words, I was enjoying my ride! I went early enough that there wasn’t too much traffic going up, or maybe it’s because everyone is flocking to the malls getting in last minute christmas shopping? Whatever the case may be, it’s an advantage for me.

Got up to Chantry Flats parking lot and it was completely filled … so I guess not everyone is out christmas shopping. It was just amazingly crisp up here. I decided to continue to go up to the heliport, which adds probably another 200 feet to the climb. This extra climb is well worth the effort (no matter how tired or fatigued your legs are).

So when going up to the heliport, you do have to cross a gate, so there is no car traffic to contend with … however, you do have to watch out for hikers, especially on the way down. But hey, I’d rather be confronted by hikers instead of cars.

Getting ready for the descent, it was really sunny, and normally, I’d put my vest on, but not today. Still had my arm warmers on (just too lazy to take them off). As I was descending, I saw quite a few cyclists climbing up. I guess I went out earlier than everyone wanted to go out.

On to Altadena I go. This brings back a little bit of nostalgia to me, as I used to do this route every Tues/Thurs morning before my commute into work when I used to live in Pasadena. It’s a fairly gradual climb, but it’s enough to get you working. More power training! Forcing myself on my middle ring, I got my HR to zone 5. Funny how I got to this zone more on easier, gradual climbs than the longer sustained climbs.

Onto the Rose Bowl, then Inverness. It still amazes me how this is one of those hidden treasures that most cyclists don’t go on, except those few that love it, like myself. Fantastic views overlooking JPL in the distance, Arroyo Seco … how could anyone resist this?

Typically, after climbing St. Katherine’s and St. Augustine, I head over on Figueroa to Lida, then down past the Art College. Here is a view from just before descending down Lida.

One of my favorite descents in the San Gabriel Valley is going down Lida back to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, there was slow car traffic in front of me … doh! Oh well, so much for the fast fun descent.

More pictures at http://spingineer.smugmug.com/Cycling/Chantry-Flats/10698565_gzVbq/1/744993496_8uWqR

Great day overall for riding today. Total stats … 47.5 miles, 4300 feet climbing.

Headwinds or Hills … Which Do You Prefer?

The skies cleared up by mid-morning, so it was time to take advantage of it. So, Chantry Flat was calling me. I was undecided, to do either St. Katherine or Chantry … I’ve done St. Katherine many times, so Chantry it is.

Chantry is a nice steady climb … just sit in the saddle, and just turn those cranks. There weren’t too many cars on the road (but then again, it is a Friday early afternoon). What continues to amaze me (and sorry, I didn’t get any pictures of them) are skateboarders, descending down the hill. Sure, it is a thrill to go bombing down the hill, but just hope you don’t run into some fair sized boulders.

It might just be me, but everyone that passes me in the opposite direction are so friendly. I guess it’s just the weekend crowd that makes the confrontation with non-cyclists that abrasive.

As I was climbing Chantry, it just dawned on me … these hills remind me a lot of the hillsides in the TV show MASH. Now I know that it was filmed somewhere in SF Valley, but not here in the Santa Anita Canyons.

It’s a good thing I brought my windbreaker, because it was cold coming down the mountain. As soon as I started on flatter terrain, on comes the headwinds. It’s pretty de-moralizing to see yourself go from 20-25 mph, down to 14 mph, on a stretch where you should be sustaining at least 15 mph … But on the way home, I just could not maintain any sustainable pace. I don’t know if it’s because all the energy in my legs were left climbing Chantry … but I was dragging my ass back. Just hope I’ll do a little better on my ride tomorrow.

Stay tuned …