Tag Archives: East Fork

Climbfest – Baldy and Crystal Lake … Good Heat Training

I got to ride another one of Ken and Teresa’s climbfests … this one went to Baldy via East Fork, GMR, GRR, then back the same way we came, then up Hwy 39 again, onto Crystal Lake, then back on East Fork again, up GMR, then then to Glendora, before heading back to the cars.  Well, that was the plan, at least.

We had a terrific turn out.  Steve had never done Baldy (shocking).  We had two fixies doing the cling (that’s insane) and Karen has her sights set on the ski lifts (I actually would have if I didntehave my sights set on doing Crystal Lake).

Everyone was in great spirits in the morning … that’s before the miles, the climb, and the heat settled in.  Karen was leading a good pace up the hill, so I hung im with everyone at the front.  The rollies up to East Fork is always nice.

First water stop was Camp Williams, right before East Fork turns into GMR.  We then hit the real climbs.

While I had the chance to, I just had to film myself passing up the same guys who would be leaving me in the dust.  I just love Teresa’s tiger roar … it’s almost as good as the devil jumping up and down, or antler man running up the hill.

Group shot at Mt. Baldy Village

I was able to ride along with Vic and Steve for a while, up until the last 1-2 miles on GRR.  We eventually all regrouped at Mt. Baldy Village.  Some went on to climb the ski lift, others went down GMR back to the cars, and others “attempted” to backtrack to Camp Williams, and continue to Crystal Lake.

Now I did have a brain fart here.  I went to the bathroom, and we were ready to leave, but I couldn’t feel my glasses on my face.  So I figured I must have left it at the bathroom.  Luckily, someone noticed they were hanging off the neck of my jersey.  D’oh.

Ok, onto Crystal Lake, and back up the hill we just descended down.  We had a rousing descent here, which is nice to have, just before the big climb.

The descent down GMR to East Fork was fast and furious, and Teresa was descending like Thomas Voeckler.  By the time we got to Camp Williams, all the campers were out in force, and it was pretty darn busy.  Everyone refilled water, loaded up on ice, and in the meantime, Vic and I had our own sandwiches (and of course, and abundance of fries).  It was around 1 pm before we left Camp Williams, ready for the journey that lies ahead.

Hang a right on Hwy 39, and on we go.  I didn’t really get too bad until after we passed West Fork (and it was crowded there too … lot of people hiking from West Fork).  About 5 miles up, the heat was really getting to me.  I’m all the way in my granny, and I’m only sustaining a 3 mph speed, which is not good.  I looked at my Garmin and it was registering 107 F … damn, that’s hot.

Not only was it hot out here, it was completely exposed, and very little shade at all.  I got to about 7000 feet of total climbing, before I had to call it a day.  I was running low on water, and I had to muster up any strength I had to flag down Ken, letting him know I’m done.  So I made it just to the bridge, then headed back down.  It’s too bad, because I really wanted to make it to Crystal Lake.

Totals on the day .. 74.6 miles, 7560 feet climbing.  Gotta get more heat training in, but this was a good trainer for Knoxville.  Good thing I’ve still got 1.5 more months to train for that.


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.