Every year the OCW (Orange County Wheelmen) put on Ride Around the Bear
, which goes on for 101 miles with 9,400 feet of climbing.
Lovely ride, really, I think this was my tenth time on it. First was '98 so I've skipped a few.
Click on photos to enlarge.
Rosanne leads Lou Ann through Mentone.
It starts in Redlands, CA and our little group finally got on the road about 6:00 AM. We were shooting for a 5:30 start, but with one thing and another . . . didn't happen until 6:00. Other Rebel club members: Linda Adams, an accomplished double century rider plus this was her 5th "Bear," Rosanne Giorgio, the Action Figure, does most individual sports + is a phys.-Ed teacher rding her 2nd "Bear" and Lou Ann Montalvo attempting her first.
Linda happily rolling through Mentons
First miles were easy, with a 1% climb for 12 miles through Mentone , a left turn with a bit of a descent through the town of Highland, the another left onto Hwy 330 where the real climbing begins. It's 15 miles to the first checkpoint from the 330 junction, and while I was sticking with Lou Ann, first Linda and then Rosanne rode off the front. The climb on 330 is between 5 and 6% with the occasional jump to 7 or 8%.
Onto Hwy 330 and the Real Climb begins.
About a mile before the first checkpoint, Lou Ann had enough and turned around. Just too much constant climb without a break, plus I think she kind of talked herself out of it, i.e. a lack of confidence thing. At that point I took off and caught Rosanne at the first checkpoint, and we both caught Linda at the 2nd checkpoint.
View from the first checkpoint, clouds on the mountain.
L to R, Rosanne, Steve (working the ride), me, Linda Adams, Larry Carter, Yeti Bob, taken by OCW photographer at the 2nd checkpoint, Snow Valley, CA.
From there on we kept a good climbing pace (6 - 8 mph) up to the 7, 141 foot elevation point before dropping down (a swooping high-speed descent) to Big Bear Lake (that's the "Bear" we're riding Around) at mile 52 at 6,700 feet of elevation, through the micro-town of Fawnskin (where my wife and I have a cabin). I left the keys to the cabin in the car so I wouldn't be tempted to stop!
Linda and Rick relaxing at Lunch on the shore of Big Bear Lake.
Lovely lunch there in a park on the side of the Lake. and the OCW photographer got a shot of Linda and I enjoying our sandwiches. After lunch we rode around the North Shore Drive before turning right and heading across the lake to Big Bear City. Left turn there headed us out CA 18 to the Much Feared Onyx Summit climb.
Me climbing to Onyx Summit, photo by OCW photographer.
The summit is only 17 miles from our cabin, so I've climbed it several times, but with 56 miles and maybe 7,500 feet of climbing on my legs, it feels quite different! That said, the OCW photographer got a shot of me climbing to Onyx which makes it look like it's not very steep at all. It's probably a 45 min. climb and summit's out at 8,440 feet. OCW has a nice little party at the summit, then it's (almost) all downhill back into Redlands. The "almost" bit is a climb called Barton Flats, which is 6 and 7% for a mile after an eight mile descent from Onyx.
Rosanne and Linda after a Nature Stop at the Summit of Onyx.
The final checkpoint is Angelus Oaks and we stopped there to regroup, sample their assortment of cookies and talk to the checkpoint workers.
From Angelus Oaks it really is downhill all the way (30 miles) into Redlands, and back to the finish in Sylvan Park.
Linda leads Rosanne on the final descent back into Redlands.
Here's the OCW website for more Ride Around the Bear information:
Rick / OCRR