Monday, December 31, 2007

Highway 39, Attempt #2

Saturday was my second attempt at highway 39, and although we didn't make it all the way to Angeles Crest like we had intended I feel the ride was an overall success as we reached 6000 ft of climbing in 86 miles.

I met Joseph from Bicycle Johns at the Rose Bowl and we rolled out around 8:15. We got caught in with the slow Montrose ride as they were leaving the Trader Joe's in South Pasadena. We hung in with that group until we got to Duarte road in Arcadia, from there we rolled out on our own. we made it to Encanto park in about an hour, took a short break then rolled out to head up the canyon.

Highway 39 is a special route for me. Beautiful rolling roads for the first 12 miles and then up up up. It's the kind of ride that just keeps going up for what seems like forever. But the scenery is beautiful, the views are incredible and it's very lightly traveled. Actually, the last 15 to 20 miles were blocked to traffic. We hopped the gate, ignoring the obvious Road Closed sign. We ran into a Ranger and a Sheriff, but neither seemed to pay us any mind so we kept trudging upwards.
One of the really really cool geographic areas on highway 39 is a high altitude field. After you've climbed up and up, you come upon this open area, where there had been a fire a few years back. Now it's an open field of green grass, with charred trees sticking out like old worn fence posts.

Joseph spent most of the climb way out in front of me as I was stopping to take pictures and am slower than he is. The climb burned my legs, and I could feel the affect of the thin air as I got close to 5000 ft. We stopped at a vista point that was about 5500 ft up and about 43 miles into the ride. The view was incredible, through the clouds you could see the backside of Mt. Wilson from where we were standing. We, rather I, decided this was the turn around point. It wasn't too much farther to Angeles Crest, but I'd had enough climbing and I needed to get home at a reasonable time. Needless to say, the ride was pretty incredible. You can see pictures of the ride on the Gallery.

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