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Warm Beer
Ok, so I've been getting in some long road rides for the season. You know, those really boring 5-6hr rides on the road that just go on and on. Even with the ocean views and surprisingly beautiful roads, the road bike still scares the shait out of me. With cars whizzing by me at any given time it is really difficult to relax and let the mind go. Plus with all this freakin' training the feeling of being stuck in the Santa Monica Mtns. was beginning to rear its ugly head. Much like the Dr. and his Ranching escapades, Dodge needed to be escaped. Even if this wasn't as adventurous, it'd be something different.
Daniel, Lyle, Mick, and I met up in Pasadena not far from the JPL. The route was decided: Up Lower Merril-Mt. Lowe-Chaney Trail-Mt Wilson Summit-Valley Forge Trail-West Fork Fireroad-Red Box-Gab-Switzers-Josephine Peak Fireroad-Strawberry Peak-Red Box-Mt. Wilson-Chaney Trail-Middle Merril-Mt. Lowe St.-Chaney Trail-Sunset Trail-El Prieto- and back home.
Leaving from Daniel's place the sky looked forbidding. Dark clouds were everywhere and it was a bit cold. I checked the temp. at the top online and it was 33 degrees. We rode the streets until we came to that park where Lower Merril begins. The trail has changed a bit since that last 2 seasons of rain. Apparently it had been covered in mud slides. The switchbacks seemed much easier and the trail itself sanitized. Either way we set a good pace going to the top. There were an abundance of hikers who were polite and happy to hear my bear(dinner)bell hanging from my cables. We almost cleared every switch except for the staircase at the top.
Feeling good we shot over to Chaney Trail via Mt. Lowe. That is a nice little section of trail with great views. Climbing Chaney was a grind. Setting a good pace, the fireroad became more and more untame. After passing Inspiration Point we were now going through clouds. The sun went away and the temperature began to drop. The cold wasn't bothersome, but we also had been climbing for a good hour. We encountered a few hikng expeditions on our way to the top, but in reality there were very few people. We went thru the tunnel and arrived at the Mt. Wilson parking lot on top. I was feeling fine. Daniel suggested the Valley Forge Trail. Never having ridden it, why the hell not go for it?
This trail had a really loose top soil covered with dead leaves and sticks that hid sharp rocks underneath, and a lot of exposure. Right away I realized that my old tires were done. 29er tires last a long time, but these were done. This was so evident that taking it easy was my only option. Sure enough Lyle flatted caused by a hidden rock. As were sitting during the tube change, it gets cold quickly. I eat a PB&J, and were off riding after about 5 minutes. This trail was nice but with my tires being done, it was precarious. That loose top section made it really sketchy. I was starting to shiver as well which made me stiff and not smooth.
We arrived at West Fork Fireroad and climbed to Red Box. This was a nice climb, about a half hour or so. It wasn't steep, but then again the pace made it a bit hurtful. The cloud really were dark now, and the they were covering the surround peaks as we came level with the 2 Highway and stopped at Red Box for a snack. it was almost 12 and we had started around 8.30am.
It was beginning to mist a bit as we watched some people stand around a fire they had made right by the Gabrielino trailhead. It looked comfy but going there would ruin my ride. We dropped in for a very nice treat. Gabrielino...what can you say. It is a badarse trail. We lapped up the 4 mile descent and came upon no hikers nor bikers. I managed to wreck twice, once on a little climb which resulted in a nice hipper while the other was a washout on a switchback(damn tires) which kinda hurt. As we got lower towards Switzer the mist let up. Arriving at the camp the lack of water in the creek was glaring, especially in the middle of the rainy season. Climbing out of Switzers wasn't as painful as usual which was good. My training has been paying off.
We hammered up the 2 to Clear Creek Ranger and turned to Josephine Peak Fireroad. The first mile or so the pitch is evil and we hammered this section. I was feeling sprite and once the pitch let up it was big chainring time and see what we're made of. About 100 yards from the saddle(summit) I freakin' flatted??!!! WTF? My Stan's juice was streaming out the sidewall which had been sliced. Right away I knew it wouldn't seal. After taking off the rim strip, putting the tube in, covering the slice with duct tape and a wrapper, pumping up the tire, and putting everything away, we were frozen. My hands were shaking and numb making it hard to even change the tire. It was misty again and the temp was about 40. Our legs were like wood as we started up the beginning of the Straw Peak trail. Its subtle pitch makes it hurt as we navigate the treacherous "No Fly Zone". Once again I had no confidence in my tires. The trail had a loose top layer which made the normally fun and technical section around and to the bottom a lot less fun. Some work has been done. A fallen tree has been cleared and some slide areas righted.
The Portreo was full of snow and slush. We took a quick snack and slogged on. The trail was icy then snowing then muddy and so on. The rocks were shiny, wet and damn slippery. We climbed up those nasty switches out of the backside. Managing to clear them all, the climb up to the east saddle was fun and fast. The trail was nice and tacky without the loose top section.
By the time we get the the east saddle it is almost raining, a heavy mist. The wind is howling. My toes are getting cold and a bit wet(thank god for wool socks). I take the backseat as we go down to the 2 highway. While the trail was more packed down, it is narrower and wet. There were also a lot of hikers on this section. About a mile before the bottom it starts raining.
The 2 highway was soaked as we crossed it and began the last climb up from Red Box to Mt. Wilson on the pavement. It really began to rain and it was focking cold I could see the steam from our breathe's and it extended about 1 1/2ft from the mouth which let me know it was DAMN COLD. I hammered it up the climb, pace be damned. I felt good too, but I was now losing feelings in my hands and feet.
Everyone was hurting and cold. Luckily it was downhill the whole way, or would that be unlucky? Retracing our steps we started down Chaney Trail Fireroad from Mt. Wilson. It was focking pouring now. Each time we came to a singletrack option we declined. I could barely handle my bike right now. I was shivering, jaw locked, hands numb and unable to shift and barely brake, in other words, no singletrack for me. We bombed down and down for what seemed to be and eternity in the freezing rain. I could barely see, there were rocks everywhere. My mind kept reminding me it'd be better to go slower then to wreck and get chewn up by the cold wet rocks littered all over the road. I hadn't been this cold in a looooong time.
We passed Sunset as the fireroad became paved. I had hoped for the temps to warm from the top to the bottom, but not much happened. Barely able to steer my bike down the PAVED wet road we finally arrived to the neighborhoods. Still pouring we continued down the streets to Daniels. I was frozen and sleepy. I wasn't tired, just a bit sore and cold. I wanted a beer to cap it all off, but the thought of anything cold was ludicrous. Was there such a thing as a beer served hot? Now that sounded good to me. Hot Firestone sounded damn good.
After a cup of coffee and a change of clothes Mick drove me back to the Westside. It was now 4.30. A bowl of hot menudo later, warm feelings permeated my body.
Finally, a real mountain bike ride(pictures to come).
Good times!!!
Stats:
Miles- 48-miles
Elevation Gain- 9020ft
Time- 7.07
paz afuera

Posted by Papisimo a 33 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Gary Fisher 29er mofo from Flogsville on 01/28/07

Responses: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) Post Reply Alert moderators of this post

  • Re: Warm Beer
    That was an epic ride and the epic tale needed to tell it! Pretty tough conditions and me thinks you should invest in some really good winter gear. The neoprene booties that go over your Sidi's block out much of the wind, cold and wet on these winter rides. We ride cold conditions all the time (we have no choice at our elevation). I actually have three differing cold weather set-ups. Cool, Moderately Cold and Fawking Freezing! The Assos Gator jacket went for over $500, but it's worth it's weight in gold on an FF ride. I'm ordering an Assos 851 Airblock jacket and 851 bib tights next week. The fit and function are top-notch, as to be expected from the Swiss. It's pricey, but the last outfit was in great shape, even after three years and only ended it's life, by being stolen out of my car (along with everything else) a couple of years ago.

    PS: You guys are animals! The mileage and elevation gain are insane. Thanks for the great tale!
    Posted by STP a 48 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Stumpy hardtail from P'Dale on 01/29/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Super Ultra Extreme Endurance Fun Time Challenge Game Show!!! I've been curious about that Valley Forge Trail, but I'm almost always 'behind schedule' when I reach Eaton Saddle. Looking forward to pics!

    @STP: Since I was blocked from replying to your thread (dunno why), I'll say it here: In 30 years, you and Sarge will own the podium in the 70+ Expert class. The rest of us will be enjoying our catheters and dialysis machines and carrots puree.

    [Grandpa Simpson]"MAAAAAATLOOOOCK!"[/Grandpa Simpson]




    Posted by Dr Wellington Yueh on 01/29/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    For some reason, I couldn't post in STP's thread either..

    So, to STP I say, " YOU ARE A FRIGGIN MUTANT!!!!"

    That is all......



    ;)

    Oh, Papismo....we'll flog soon..
    -Paz......you know the rest..

    ;P
    Posted by Crzyridr33 a 34 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a SantaBansheeCruzBlurr on 01/29/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Well, most of shots turned out like the ride down the moutain, hazy and foggy.
    Here we are right before the tunnel leading to the Mt. Wilson summit.
    Gratuitous team photo
    ?t=1170215211
    We're hammering up Josephine Peak Fireroad trying to beat the mist.
    ?t=1170215281
    paz afuera
    Posted by Papisimo riding a Bike on 01/30/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Nice uniforms, ladies. Shouldn't you have gotten your matching outfits with every color of the rainbow to more closely represent your Teletubby bretheren? You'll be happy to know that you passed up about 12 miles of the most awe-inspiring, challenging, and wickedly fun Southern California single-track in your quest to log the most miles of asphalt, fire trail, and elevation gain ridden by any mountain biker in modern history.

    BTW, where do you shop for your clothes? Me and my 12 mountain biking buddies want "matchy-matchy" uniforms for the next time out -- we're thinking of something a little more fuscia for our color scheme...
    Posted by Scarface a 38 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized Stumpjumper from Pasadena on 01/31/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Scaryface,

    They are part of the Helen's Cycle Mtb. Team....they will flog your a$$ from here to Mt. Kilimanjaro..with singlespeeds
    Posted by Crzyridr33 a 34 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a SantaBansheeCruzBlurr on 01/31/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Thanks for the compliments Scarface on my tighties. Glad you noticed them. Once I convinced everyone to buy the same thing as me, we've been having a lot of fun riding our dirt bikes. We are way cool now.
    As for the singletrack I definitely mentioned that I wussed out on most of it going down. Maybe next time I'll be good enough to go. Right now I'm going more for distance for the Vision Quest in March. What do you expect me to do? There is always someone stronger and faster.
    paz afuera



    Posted by Papisimo riding a Gary Fisher 29er mofo from Flogsville on 01/31/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Hey, Papo...

    For days like that, try drinking a gallon of Zerex before the ride. =)

    RE: Uniforms... At least you guys are an actual racing team. When it's a club with uniforms, that's pretty fay.
    Posted by Dr Wellington Yueh on 01/31/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Hey Crzyridr33 -- the rules of the SoCal MTB Dirt Story Board clearly state "Before you post or reply, make sure you stay on the subject of this message & don't be threatening, abusive, or defamatory." Your use of the terms "flog" and "a$$" in response to my legitimate inquiry as to the location for possible acquisition of the cool, "matchy-matchy" riding gear clearly violates those rules. Prior to my submitting your inflammatory response to the websmaster of this page, I just wanted to respond to your remark that "they will flog your a$$ from here to Mt. Kilimanjaro..with singlespeeds" by telling you "oh yeah, well my brother's bigger than your brother."

    Papismo -- thanks for the post back on the Iditarod trail you did with the Helen's team. Didn't realize you gentlemen were part of a legitimate riding team -- your attire has officially been approved by the MTB Fashion Police.

    Dr. Well -- Agreed on the Zerex -- mix that stuff with some tomato juice and you've got one hell of a Bloody Mary.
    Posted by Scarface a 38 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized Stumpjumper from Pasadena on 02/01/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Scaryface,

    0 out of 10...

    Just so you know, I've had the pleasure of riding with the Paps....therefore, I can say whatever the hell I want regarding how much he and his team WILL flog (mtb term) your a$$(not ass...a$$) to the farthest reaches of your recturm..


    GLTY
    Posted by Crzyridr33 a 34 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a SantaBansheeCruzBlurr on 02/01/07
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  • Re: Warm Beer
    Crzyridr 33. Yawn...
    Posted by Scarface a 38 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized Stumpjumper from Pasadena on 02/02/07
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  • attn: scarface
    hey scarface,

    quit mocking Czy33, thats my job. You go find
    someone else to victimize, cooch breath.
    Posted by Diamondback a Cross-Country Rider riding a Hp Quad 8400 from Sunland on 02/03/07
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