Tag Archives: Montrose

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

Montrose – Dropped at Irwindale Again

I couldn’t find a ride with anyone (many of them were either doing the Mulholland Challenge, or Mulholland Double, or volunteering for the event).  So I decided to ride with the Montrose pack ride.

As I rolled out, I realized I didn’t pack my heart rate monitor … damn, I won’t be able to tell how hard I’m working, especially when speeding down Huntington … oh well.

It may be my imagination, but I swear there were more red lights today than in past Montrose rides.  This kept the whole group together longer, which is not a bad thing.  Of course, maybe I feel that way because I’m more fit, and able to hang in longer.  It was hard to keep at a rhythm, like you can with a long hill climb.  There was a lot of quick stops and starts, so it definitely worked a completely different set of muscles.  Too bad I didn’t have my HRM …. I really would have liked to see what it was doing.

I kept up as we were passing the rock quarries, but then I could feel them turning up the screw, and eventually, there was only so much I could take, and I was dropped “like a badly microwaved potato”.  I was dropped right at Arrow Hwy and Irwindale.  It seems to be the same place I get dropped, no matter if I’m in shape, or out of shape …. and when I used to ride this regularly (when I lived in LA), it was exactly the same place I get dropped.  What is it about Irwindale?

I knew the route, so I took a shortcut, and cut right to the front of the route, where the group eventually swallowed me up.  At least I could finish the ride with some of the pack.

Observation:  There were women on this ride, but it seems like all women who are in pack rides are usually in the top echelon of the pack.  Nice eye candy while riding, granted I can keep up.

Now my original plan was to do Montrose, then climb Chantry, then head over and do St. Katherine … well, Montrose took all the life out of me, so I didn’t have anything left for Chantry, much less St. Katherine.  I did come down to visit dad, so that’s my lame excuse …. spending more quality time with dad 🙂


Survived the Montrose Short Pack Ride

In the Pasadena area, THE PACK RIDE to do is the Montrose pack ride.  They typically have two routes, long and short.  The short is roughly 35 miles (31 miles if you start from Trader Joe’s in S. Pasadena, like I do, and many others).  The long is roughly 50 miles, and goes out to Glendora, and climbs a few hills, but I normally just do the short, as keeping up with the pack is normally an issue for me.

If you haven’t guessed, this is a fast pack.  During the ride, I clocked the max speed topping out at 35 mph, and they were even going slow this week.  Imagine if they really put the pedal to the metal.

The beginning of the ride races through Huntington Dr., en route from S. Pasadena, through San Marino, through Arcadia.  What’s great about Huntington Dr is that it is wide … it has about 4 lanes in each direction, and lots of riders will take up two lanes.  I’m usually a bit skittish about taking two lanes.  Of course, when you are in such a big pack, keeping your line is really key, but there are some that just don’t.  One guy in fact really pissed me off, as he crosses in front of me from right to left, without even giving a gesture (nod of the head, flick of the wrist) that he is about to make this maneuver.  It amazes me that there are not more accidents than there already is on the Montrose rides.

Largest participation in this pack ride was from PAA (Pasadena Athletic Association).  Instead of the ever present green jersey, found when doing the Alto Velo pack rides, there was an ever present black jersey presense of PAA, which is also sponsored by Remax and John’s Bicycle.  I figured I had to mention these guys, since I’m reporting about Montrose pack ride.

The size of the pack is roughly 100+ riders.  I mention this because when you cross a traffic signal that goes from green, to yellow, then to red, it’s impossible to stop a pack that large, so in many intersections, we all just ran the red.  Even more interesting is when we made a left turn onto Longden … the whole pack maneuvered in front of some cars trying to make a left turn, and then the entire pack crosses with the left turn.  It’s quite a sight to see, and even if I was taking video or pictures, it wouldn’t even come close to telling the entire picture.

Oh, and when you have an entire pack at a stop light, you know every one of those riders have to clip in.  I thought it was amazing to hear 100 clips, clipping in when the light turned green.  You just have to be there to know what I mean, in case you haven’t been in such a big pack like this.

In the past, when I rode with Montrose, I would usually get dropped on Arrow Hwy … the traffic light would usually be the barrier for me.  But this time, the traffic light became my savior, my best friend … it allowed me to catch up, and more importantly, to recover.  Yay!  Coincidentally, that’s where I my max heart rate was registered … but only 175 bpm.


Now if you count just the Montrose route, then it comes out to 31.1 miles, and 863 feet of climbing, but if you look at the total route, from Monterey Park, it’s more like 48 miles.  Great day, especially since I finished the ride before noon.