Ride Around the Bear was a bit different this year, due to Highway 330 (the usual route up the mountain) being closed for repair, the ride was instead headed up Highway 18. The most recent change also allowed a detour to explore the wonders of Waterman Road, which was a very quiet and lovely road constructed with some very steep bits, the steepest right at 18%. That got our attention!
Following Vince and Linda on the flat first miles thrugh Redlands leading to Hwy 18
This was in the foggy part of the morning (normal for Highway 18), but we were able to climb above the fog and mist shortly after exiting Waterman Road and heading up the remainder of Highway 18. The first checkpoint was at 21 miles, and staffed by very friendly and animated pirates!
Very Friendly Dancing Pirates welcome the riders to Checkpoint #1. Note fog in background.
More Friendly Pirates serving food to hungry riders.
From there we continued on 18, as it went from four to two lanes, around the Rim of the World and eventually where it joined the traditional Bear route at Running Springs.
The course was well marked with warning signs for motorists.
Riding up the wide section of Hwy 18
A view over the side of the mountain as I was JRA (Just Riding Along).
Another JRA shot, showing the road below.
The 2nd Checkpoint was at Snow Summit, while the 3rd (and lunch) was in its traditional place on the shores of Big Bear Lake. I was the first Rebel to arrive, but as I dug into my lunch, first Linda, then Lou Ann, then Lois and Maureen arrived. Or Maureen could have been before Lois…I'm not sure.
This is Lois, team Velocity member, enjoying her lunch on the shore of Big Bear Lake.
Lou Ann at the lunch Checkpoint in her new OC Rebel Kit.
Regardless, it was a fun and healthy lunch, followed by the North Shore Drive around the Lake, with snow still visible at the higher altitudes (we were at 6,700 feet here). The Much Feared Onyx Summit climb was next up, but a very friendly tail-wind helped push us to the summit at 8,443 feet. We enjoyed home-made (Onyx made!) vegetable soup while we waited for the rest of the Rebels (and a few Velocity's) to catch up.
After lunch the course took us around Big Bear Lake on North Shore Drive.
The ride down the mountain was fun too, highlighted by some aero-tuck drafting by Lou Ann into a non-friendly headwind. Dinner at the finish was excellent, as usual, and a great end to a beautifully presented ride. Thanks to the Orange County Wheelmen for another great Ride Around the Bear. And yes, the weather was practically perfect in every way.