Ride Report: Mount Baldy

Sunday, May 31th marked one of the last big days I had left to be able to train for the upcoming Ironman Boise 70.3. After that weekend I would begin to taper my training, allowing my body to repair itself and be at full strength for the big race on June 12.

In order to get in some good hard miles at the peak of our training, my wife, Elise and I decided to head out to Clairemont, CA and the foothills of Mount Baldy and the San Gabriel mountains. Having just finished watching the biggest names in cycling tackle the mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia and the Amgen Tour of California, we were stoked to test our legs on the steepest climbs we could find close to home.

We began our ride on Baseline Road, made a left onto Mills Road, and then within just a few minutes we turned onto Mount Baldy Road, which quickly climbed over 3,000 feet in less than ten miles. The road is a bit sketchy on a Saturday as there are plenty of trucks, sports cars, and motorcycles driving up the mountain. Regardless of the crowd, the climb was beautiful with a few sections so steep, I wondered if I would have an easy enough gear to make it up.

Once we made it into Mt. Baldy Village, we stopped for lunch at the Mt. Baldy Lodge. The restaurant was filled with bikers of twovarieties, the leather wearing kind, and the spandex wearing kind, the two of which coexisted surprisingly well. After sharing a burger, we rode back through the town and did a short climb to the top of Glendora Ridge Road.

Once at the top of Glendora Ridge Road, we began a long gradual descent on the winding mountain road, which saw no cars and maybe only 3 motorcycles. Descending those kinds of turns overlooking some very steep drops into the canyon below was reminiscent of what the pro tour cyclists descend at frightening speeds in the Grand Tours.

About 15 miles down the road, we encountered an unprepared young cyclist who had gotten a flat and had no spare tubes or air. Lucky for him, we had extras and were able to fix his flat and send him on his way. Were it not for us, he would have had one long walk home.

The road occasionally had some more small climbs and we eventually ended up at a fork where Glendora Ridge Road met Glendora Mountain Road (or GMR as the local cyclists call it). We decided to make our ride a longer one so we turned right and took the long route. This meant more winding, fast descents that took us to East Fork road and down along a river and eventually dumped us out next to the San Gabriel Reservoir.

We crossed the San Gabriel Reservoir and turned onto Highway 39, riding along the lake and out of the canyon until we ended up back in the foothills in the city of Azusa. Once in Azusa, we took city streets until we were back at the car in Clairemont.

According to my GPS, we logged 56 miles and over 5,600 feet of climbing, not a bad day of climbing for staying within a 30 minutes drive of our Orange County home.

If you are interested in trying this route out for yourself, you can check out a similar route that I found on Geoladders.com, although I would consider altering the route and staying off of Mt. Baldy Road, there are just too many cars going up and down when there is a virtually empty Glendora Ridge Road going up the other side.

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