63.7 miles, 5:06 moving time, 6,050 ft elevation, 17 Strava trophies.
Back to Back riding is always interesting. Today was Day 3 of PTC’s Big Bike Week. (I missed Day 1 on Friday). My legs felt okay when I woke up, then they felt sluggish on the easy part from Sierra Madre to Encanto Park. It had me worried if I’d make it to the top. It was a bright and shiny Sunday morning. We expected cool air temps in the mountains and that was a good call.
B Group started at 7am from Sierra Madre Starbucks. Lynda, Bill, Luis, Rob, Bob, and Me. We picked up Rudy on the way to Encanto. A Group started at 7:30 or 8am. Jonathan and Peter. We connected with them at Gate 2 and somewhere near the top. We also picked up MikeK at Gate 2.
The ride started up the San Gabriel River Trail. Stiff head winds. The climb takes you along the San Gabriel Dam. There’s some rollers to East Fork. We filled up water and potty stop at the Off-Road Vehicle Park. A lot of off-road trucks and dudes were headed to the trails. After that, the traffic really died down. We passed West Fork and Cogswell Dam. From Cogswell to the Crystal Lake, the real climb begins. This is Gate 1. It’s a constant 7-8% with pitches and false flats to 10%. You follow the creek for a bit, then, you cross over a big bridge. Peter passed by us around here. Gate 2 is a few miles from the top. Here, Jonathan caught up to us. Just around the bend, there was Cold Brook Camp, where we stopped for more water.
The switchbacks are tight and steep, and he views were getting irresistible, so Rob and I pulled over for a selfie. At the top, we regrouped. My Mio HR monitor died somewhere in there, dang it.
The descent was chilly, but we were prepared. With a wide open, very smooth road, and very few cars, we were hitting maximum land speeds. I topped out at 42 mph and MikeK zoomed by. We got more water at ORV spot. We saw Seb at Encanto.