Ride a bike, share your experience and love. When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart. ~Diane Ackerman

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Made it "too" Mount Baldy Village

About four years ago when I started riding again, I had a mental check list of goals I'd like to accomplish. The first goal was to ride until spring, then summer then so on. Another was get to "Yellow Gate" and then get to "Potato". I had many more and slowly, I was able to check them off.

A big goal I set for myself was to get to Mount Baldy. Of the four years of riding this one, each year, would evade me. You see the trip to Mount Baldy isn't easy. First you have to get used to climbing. I mean 22 miles of almost uninterrupted climbing and once your commit yourself to GMR, there are no rest/water stops until you reach Baldy Village.

Each year I'd say this is the year and as they pass, no Mount Baldy trip for Jason. Well one day I was "Googling" Glendora Mountain Road and I found this Blog where the writer mapped out a system of steps that ultimately got her to Mount Baldy. Basically, she set a goal to reach the East Fork, then slowly she'd add another mile. Thus Fork plus 1 then Fork plus two ... Then Mount Baldy.

I was excited about her system (If you haven't guessed it by now, her name is Annette) and I decided I wanted to start riding with her to prepare myself for the Baldy Trip. At first, on her site there was no way of reaching her. No spot to leave comments, no email. Finally, she posted her email on her blog and that day an email was sent! Long story short she replied, we met at ATofC and promised to start riding together at the end of March. Speed up to June 27, 2009, I made it! This was my first time in 15 "ish" years and her 4th in two.

The ride went well. At the fork I felt strong and the miles melted away under the heat of the sun. Matt started his ride earlier in the day and at about Fork plus 6, we crossed paths. We also ran into Wayne, an old friend of mine. He was heading to Mt. Baldy too. We rested for a few minutes, talking with Matt, Annette and Wayne. As it turns out Wayne, Matt and Annette grew up in the same town and there lives intersect.

We rode on, and after Fork plus 8, I started to feel the heat. The mile markers came up slower and about two miles short of Mount Baldy, I started to get impatient. When is this Road going to intersect Mount Baldy? Where is Baldy Village? I'm tired of climbing, I'm hot and hungry, I want to be done. Well soon enough Mount Baldy Village appeared and I made it!

Although I was tired, this was a great feeling of accomplishment. We hung out at Mount Baldy for a while. Annette showed me some key places of interest, like where to get water and where there are public bathrooms. We refueled and headed home. I went home via, Mount Baldy Road into Claremont and then rode Baseline to Glendora to pick up my car. Annette, the trooper, headed back the way we came.

Picture Above: Carl started his ride about 15 - 20 minutes before us. This was his first time out on GMR in about three months. He did really well but flatted the last 100 feet before the Maintenance Shed.

Picture Above: This big group was a club from Rancho Cucamonga. I didn't get the club name but one of the members helped Carl with his flat. There was a woman named Sita? I've seen her a few times up GMR.

Picture Above: An action shot! Matt looking at Mount Baldy. I can't remember what mile marker this was, but you could see the mountain in all its glory. Matt started his ride earlier and at Fork plus 6 we crossed paths. He rode up with us for a mile or so before turning around.

Picture Above: Wayne! I went to school with Wayne's son Chris. We were Mountain Bike buddies and raced together in Big Bear. Chris used to work at Incycle before getting married and moving to France.

Picture Above: Matt and Annette talking with Wayne about their High School days.

Picture Above: At Last, one mile left. According to Annette, this is one of GMR's highest points.

Picture Above: Made it too! What a nice sight to see!

Picture Above: If you have to fill up your water bottles do it here. The Mount Baldy Post Office.

Picture Above: The bathrooms! Public bathrooms are located at the Mt. Baldy welcome center.

Picture Above: Annette at the intersection of Glendora Mountain Road and Mount Baldy Road. Our trip to Mt. Baldy completed. Thanks Annette!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bicycle Friends Book Club - 1984

Friday, Peter and I were talking about starting a Bicycle Friends Book Club. The idea is simple, we choose a book, read or listen to it on CD and talk about it during our weekend rides. I kinda like the idea, because I enjoy reading and riding! We decided upon George Orwell's , "1984". Anyone interested in this concept is welcome to join. Just send me a quick, I'm in email to bicyclefriends@gmail.com.

"1984" should make an interesting read, as its about a dystopian society and the presents of big brother in their everyday lives. I look forward to reading it and comparing it to our society today. According to Wikipedia, the terms, "Big Brother, Double Talk and Newspeak," came from this book.

Hmmmmm... Road or Mountain Bike Ride today?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Glendora Mountain Road - A cold, wet, foggy morning riding

Today we rode GMR to the maintenance shed. Annette and I met up at our usual spot and we quickly started our trek up GMR. Traffic was light and on the way up we spotted two motorcycle cops coming down the mountain. They are always nice to see and because road conditions were bad, motorist watched their speed.

At the start of the climb I was tired. Baby Natalie isn't a great sleeper and she kept us up most of the night.

As Annette and I rode up GMR, I quietly doubted my ability to reach even the maintenance shed. Man, I'm tired and the first steep climb before Big Dalton Canyon Road was harder than usual.

By Colby Canyon, I started to get into my groove. We kept a moderate pace the whole way up and as we climbed the colder and wetter it became. Like last Saturday, there was a lot of moisture in the air. The only difference being it came sooner. By the first saddle visibility was limited to 20 feet and this is about the time we met up with Matt. Matt started his ride in the early morning and he warned us that the weather conditions up GMR only get worse. We "noted" his warning and through the thick blanket of mist we rode. (A glutton for punishment, Matt decided to ride up with us too! Of course for just a short while.)

There were only a few motorcyclist on GMR and the mist was so thick that only the buzz of their engines could be heard, serving as a warning that they were approaching.

We stopped at the maintenance shed, soaking wet, cold and with the realization our ride ends here. No Mt. Baldy today.

These pictures do no justice to how wet it was today. The thick layer of mist and moisture fogged up my glasses and quickly formed into droplets of water blurring my vision. We had to stop a few times to clean off our glasses and stretch out our arms. The cold penetrated my joints and as two motorcyclist passed me on the way down, I welcomed the warmth of their exhaust.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun with my camera and photoshop.

Yesterday I rode GMR with Annette. During our long ride we talked about many things. One such topic was her wonderful panoramic photographs of GMR.

It turns out she takes the pictures and her husband Bill uses special software to "stitch" groups of pictures into one long photo. Well I thought I'd give it a try.

The following picture is of the family watching the Laker Game. Click on it and you can see how long it is. This was about a 130 degree shot.

I also bought Photoshop Elements and tweaked this picture I took yesterday. I think it came out okay. PSE is pretty simple yet adequately powerful for my simple needs. This picture I lassoed the middle flower then black and whited the background to really bring out the color of the main subject.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fork plus 6.20 miles - Woohoo!

Today was a good day.

The plan was to ride GMR, Fork plus Four, at 9:30 am. At 9:00 am, as I was ready to leave the house, Annette calls. She drove up to Colby Canyon to check out the ride conditions. GMR was wet and road conditions were slippery. We decided to postpone our ride until 3:00 pm.

At 12:30 pm "ish" Annette calls again. "If we are going to make Fork plus Four, we need to leave at 1:30 pm. I said I'll check with the wife and get back to her. I asked Jamie and 1:30 pm was a go!

I met Annette at GMR and Sierra Madre by 1:30 pm and away we went. The weather was iffy. Although the road was dry there were thick clouds/fog hugging the mountains and by the first saddle, the moisture had built up significantly.

Up GMR we came across a dead Bear. The stench of rotting flesh filled the air as we came up to it. Annette took pictures. I wonder what took this thing down? Soon after we spotted a baby coyote. It was very cute and Annette took pictures of it too before I scared it off.

It didn't take long to reach the Maintenance Shed. We rested at the shed for a few minutes before heading off. I was pretty excited as I was in uncharted territory. Annette was my Sherpa and off we went into the wild! From the Maintenance Shed its downhill to East Fork and Mile Marker ZERO! Wohoo, the last time I was here I think I was 16 years old!

We trudged on and the mile markers came up quick! MM1, MM2, MM3, MM4, I hit my goal. We kept going. With each mile it got colder and wetter and we decided to stop at Mile Marker 6.20 and just 5.80 miles to Baldy Village. I'm almost there!

These are some pictures I took on the way up GMR. The weather was great for some macros! I especially like the second picture. It really shows how much moisture was in the air. I think the last picture would make for good stationary or "Thank You" cards. Its kind of Zen like in Black and White.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Art by Meme: Simply amazing and very appropriate.

Hmmmm, this makes me want to build a fixed gear bike. Lets see, go to craigslist.com, scan the LA area for a good vintage road bike with horizontal drop outs... :)

Back to Business - GMR

Today I decided to ride GMR after an almost two week hiatus. I wasn't expecting much and the ride turned our to be great (Not a hammerfest, just a nice steady ride up the mountain). I met up with Annette from Glendora Mountain Road. Together we rode up to the maintenance shed. It was an easy pace where communication was steady and not forced.

On the way up was absent of other riders, just your typical speeding motorcycles and cars. Since this was my first ride in two weeks, I left the bicycle computer home. I didn't want to know my speed, cadence, nothing. I just wanted to ride.

Francesca spinning a wheel

Young Bicycle Friends

Kids in motion. Saturday we celebrated my son's second birthday. It was a family affair and the cousins were out on their bikes. Katie shed her training wheels on this day!

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