Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 62
  1. #1
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Angeles Crest Drama

    Sigh. So, Jpcponrad (John) and I decided to do this little ride he loves to do at the most ungodly hour, which is: start from Pasadena (for me, the Rose Bowl) and ride up to Highway 2 (Angeles Crest) and climb it up to Newcombs from the bottom, have breakfast and return. 64 miles with roughly 6-7k feet of climbing...oh, and starting at 4:30am to ride up to Clear Creek in the dark. Sounds perfectly sane, right? Well, I thought so, and thus signed up for it. I awoke today at 3:00am () and met John, in the dark, and took off. There is something to be said for riding AC in the pitch black. It is eerie, silent, star-spattered and serene beyond belief. I couldn't feel my lower half (often happens that early in the morning), so I didn't mind the climb up La Cresenta. I knew John would push me a bit as he is much faster than I am, and even with him "taking it easy," I was still climbing steadily a little faster than I normally can sustain - especially when gaining 5000+ feet in 32 miles!!!

    As we arrived at Clear Creek, the sun was just coming out and it was stunning. But I forgot about the grind to Red Box (ugh) and by the time we neared Newcombs Ranch, I was famished. John, who was ahead of me, suddenly stopped. His spoke had broken on his super-duper-uber-light wheel - clean off! I immediately urged him to call his wife, Sonia, to come pick him up. The descent off of AC is a fast one, but with a wobbly wheel (which he admitted it now was), I feared something could go drastically wrong. He didn't argue with me, and once at Newcombs Ranch, he called Sonia. He and she had a lunch date to be at 11:30am, but we were within great time (8:00am), so her getting there, although inconvenient, was definitely doable. We sat down to breakfast and talked about the year end's rides (I've decided I'm NOT doing the Solvang double, he’s gearing up for Everest etc.)

    Well, this is where life throws you a fun little dilemma to deal with when you just think you are out for a ride (notice I didn't say easy ride - my legs were feeling those 5000+ feet already!). As the time went by, something seemed wrong. Over an hour and a half had passed. Sonia should have been there already. John, immediately worried, asked a motorcyclist if something had happened on the road as we had noticed no cars or motorcycles were passing. Yup, sure enough, a tour bus had spilled something (not sure what) and three motorcyclists had skidded through it around a curb, gone down with two injured and one who was killed when he landed face first on the road - not a good day for those guys for sure! The road - like it had been a few weeks ago on Bob's ride - was closed to all cars/motorcyclists.

    Now, John is level headed and rational, but the thought of his wife being stuck, worried and frazzled on the Crest was not sitting well with him. So, I suggested we try "limping" back with the hopes of catching her (mistake number one). Off we went, heading back to Redbox thinking that we would find her there or very nearby. As we approached Upper Tujunga Road, two sheriff deputies (dumb-asses is more like it) who obviously had better things to do like listening to a baseball game on their radio, waved us past their road block, stating "yeah, you guys can get through." So, again, off we go toward Redbox (second mistake). After climbing my least favorite climb up toward Redbox, we are suddenly signaled to stop by another cyclist. Um...NO, it is NOT okay for us to go through, and as we arrive we are told by a very nice, but a bit scared of me and my *****y attitude, fireman who tells us that we would have to wait for an hour to an hour and a half to pass. The coroner was on his/her way and they would let no one through with the dead body on the road. Now, I understand the sensitivity with these types of things, but they DID let another cyclist through just moments before we had arrived (a cyclist whom we asked to find Sonia if he could and tell her we were on our way - third mistake). Why couldn't we just walk our bikes through all of 25 feet? Another group of cyclists arrived and finally (duh!) a cop was dispatched to tell the sheriff dumb-asses not to let anymore cyclists through.

    At this point, I had 6,000 feet of climbing and 44 miles under by belt. I was not in the mood! John wasn't either but more because now he was really worried that Sonia might try to drive up Upper Tujunga to Newcombs to find us or, worse, think that HE had been injured or killed on the highway. He was truly concerned and made a very quick decision that he would take Upper Tujunga back (which meant climbing back to Big T!). I didn't want to do it, but I understood his logic and with a broken spoke, didn't want him to go alone. So, in lieu of waiting (and without knowing that Sonia was, in fact, less than 1/2 a miles down from us and that the cyclist who got through had told here that we would soon follow), we took off for Big T (fourth mistake).

    Since John was now super-worried, "taking it easy" was no longer the rule of the day. I knew how much he wanted to get to a phone (both of our cell phone receptions were useless up there) and ultimately to his dear wife. So, I just had to suck it up and move the booty. Those of you who have climbed with me know that the booty doesn't move so fast up hills in all its round, voluminous glory. The booty was not happy! But I really had no choice (no offense to John at all as he was just trying to get to his loved one). We stopped briefly at a small cafe so that John could call Sonia on a land line (didn't reach her because, of course and unbeknownst to us, she was arriving at Newcombs Ranch after they removed the road block and was frantically trying to find us!). I swallowed a Pepsi and some crackers hoping to appease or at very least fool the booty into thinking it still could climb and off we went toward Clear Creek. You see, John didn't want to go down Big T, he wanted to go back UP to AC to try and stop Sonia from driving all the way to Newcombs Ranch, which he assumed was going to happen (and did).

    Oi Vey! I, who was now losing steam at the speed I was trying to maintain, asked John how much more climbing there was UP to Clear Creek. "Only about 200 feet or something around that." LIAR! It was another 1,000 feet! Halfway up, I teased (not good to do to a worried man) that he had lied. He barely cracked a smile as he really needed to get to AC, and here I was like an anchor tied to his ankle. I finally told him to go ahead and I would catch up or get down on my own. I knew how to get to AC and down off of the mountain perfectly fine. Unwillingly (as he was determined not to leave me alone at any point on this ride), he finally agreed and took off. This left me to crawl in my granny's granny gear the last 500 feet up to Clear Creek. I was toast - 65 miles with close to 8K feet of climbing...give me morphine!

    When I arrived, John was at the van with Sonia who was crying (poor thing was so frazzled and worried, I don't blame her one bit – and might I add, she looked beautiful. How is that? I get upset or cry, and I look like a blotted snot rag!). She had driven all the way to Newcombs Ranch, and John, as he had hoped only not quite the direction he wanted, was able to flag her down on her return. She was trying to be so sweet with me there, but I could tell she had just had enough of her own ordeal. I offered to ride down the mountain and back to my car, but they both emphatically refused. So, we all piled in the van, and took off. I rubbed Sonia's shoulders and we all talked about it - what a drama of a day! As we got to the Rose Bowl, I kidnapped Sonia and we went off to have lunch and a margarita. What a perfect ending!

    All in all, it was a wonderful ride - challenging due to the pace at the end and the amount of climbing in just 65 miles - beautiful weather, and great company both on the mountain and off at lunch. I'm sorry Sonia had to endure all of that, but I got lucky to have her company at the post meal. So, win-win for me!

    A few pics coming...
    Last edited by merider1; 09-16-07 at 06:05 PM.

  2. #2
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Starting in the dark...












    The tour bus, after which I took no photos at the crash scene out of respect for the dead...

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles
    My Bikes
    thank you for asking
    Posts
    18,502
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow....sorry to hear about the motorcyclist. Glad to hear things turn out ok with Sonia. Thanks for the report, Mary.
    Last edited by roadfix; 09-16-07 at 06:45 PM.

  4. #4
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    My Bikes
    Seven
    Posts
    7,947
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, that's amazing. I must have missed why the early start?
    I'm in it to finish it.

    My Cycling Blog

  5. #5
    I'm Just Sayin'..... Scootcore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    El Barrio Mas Macho(aka Van Nuys)
    My Bikes
    A Carbon One With A Brooks Swift Strapped To It!!!
    Posts
    2,994
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    awful story....but on a lighter note, the beard looks great.
    Mistakes are just fine. Just don't make excuses....

  6. #6
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Topanga, but I'm not a hippy
    My Bikes
    IF Club Racer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
    Posts
    2,820
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ugh, I think I'll just stay off that road on Sundays altogether. Last week, a friend of a friend of mine went down on a motorcycle up there. He survived, but spent several days in the hospital and is still in really bad shape. He went down on something they refer to as 'fatality wall'. Anyone know where that is?
    just being

  7. #7
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjon10 View Post
    Ugh, I think I'll just stay off that road on Sundays altogether. Last week, a friend of a friend of mine went down on a motorcycle. He survived, but spent several days in the hospital and is still in really bad shape.
    Did he go down on AC? Yeah, John said what I was thinking - "I've had enough of Angeles Crest for a while." This is two times this has happened in the last two months!

  8. #8
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Socal
    Posts
    4,178
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great report on a dramatic day. I don't think I can take any more motorcyclist-down-on-AC stories... so tragic.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Topanga, but I'm not a hippy
    My Bikes
    IF Club Racer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
    Posts
    2,820
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by merider1 View Post
    Did he go down on AC? Yeah, John said what I was thinking - "I've had enough of Angeles Crest for a while." This is two times this has happened in the last two months!
    Yeah, it was on AC somewhere.
    just being

  10. #10
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    Great report on a dramatic day. I don't think I can take any more motorcyclist-down-on-AC stories... so tragic.
    I realize now that in my report where I was trying to be facetious may come across as callous. It is very tragic that someone lost his life. No doubt about it and that shouldn't be played down. However, with that said, those motorcyclists do need to slow down. They speed up there and are going down constantly...one cyclist mentioned that a cop told him that there is a fatality up there almost on a bimonthly basis.

  11. #11
    1 Serving Per Container awiner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    My Bikes
    2007 Look 595 Ultra (Campagnolo Record)
    Posts
    1,159
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    Great report on a dramatic day. I don't think I can take any more motorcyclist-down-on-AC stories... so tragic.
    Historically there is one fatality on AC AT LEAST once a month (300+ injuries a year).. Saturdays and Sundays + Holidays is a bad time to be up there.....

  12. #12
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    Wow, that's amazing. I must have missed why the early start?
    Breakfast is better early in the morning! Actually, we both liked the idea of getting back around 10 and having practically a whole day left.

  13. #13
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by merider1 View Post

    Oi Vey! I, who was now losing steam at the speed I was trying to maintain, asked John how much more climbing there was UP to Clear Creek. "Only about 200 feet or something around that." LIAR!
    I'm pretty sure I said a few hundred feet, not two hundred feet!

    Honestly, I couldn't remember how much was left and may have mislead you, but not purposely.

    Oh, and we did 8800 feet of climbing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Socal
    Posts
    4,178
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jpconrad View Post
    Actually, we both liked the idea of getting back around 10 and having practically a whole day left.
    That strategy doesn't work for me, because if I somehow manage to get up that early, I will be asleep for 2 hours in the afternoon!

  15. #15
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Scootcore View Post
    awful story....but on a lighter note, the beard looks great.
    Laziness and the right light, my man, from another perspective I look like I'm coming from a homeless shelter.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sewellymon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sierra Madre, CA
    My Bikes
    03 Cannondale CAD 3, 05 Klein Palomino, 90 Klein Attitude, '77 Windsor Pro
    Posts
    50
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    fatality somewhere beyond chantry flats in the backcountry last night. was mt biking the upper winter creek/ hoegee/ lower winter creek loop. ran into a bunch of sheriff and coroners hiking out. i did not ask, but i'd guess the body might have been helicoptered out

  17. #17
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    That strategy doesn't work for me, because if I somehow manage to get up that early, I will be asleep for 2 hours in the afternoon!
    If I did that I wouldn't be allowed to go for these rides anymore.

  18. #18
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jpconrad View Post
    I'm pretty sure I said a few hundred feet, not two hundred feet!

    Honestly, I couldn't remember how much was left and may have mislead you, but not purposely.

    Oh, and we did 8800 feet of climbing.
    I knew it! My stupid Garmin has not been recording accurately lately!

    Oh, and I kid, John - you were so nice today especially considering the stress you were under. It was still a wonderful ride that kicked my butt!

  19. #19
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    My Bikes
    Seven
    Posts
    7,947
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I guess I'm still not comfortable with the idea of climbing a major highway in the dark. Spinning, on a flat grade, ok ... descending, ok ... but climbing? I know, it doesn't make sense.
    I'm in it to finish it.

    My Cycling Blog

  20. #20
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Socal
    Posts
    4,178
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    JP, what was the nature of the spoke break? Spontaneous, or did you hit something?

  21. #21
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    JP, what was the nature of the spoke break? Spontaneous, or did you hit something?

    Spontaneous. There's something with the Lews that they (Incycle) weren't told prior to this build having to do with certain spokes needing washers or something due to the angle. I'm sure that since I ride out of the saddle a lot that I apply a lot of lateral force.

    The wheel, however, didn't wobble much, even missing the spoke it was pretty true. I was worried what would happen if another one decided to make a break for freedom, though.

    While they're being rebuilt I'm demoing a set of the Mavic R-Sys which is what I'm probably going to use at everest. Normally, I wouldn't go riding around locally on the Lews, but I wanted to make sure that kinks like this got worked out.

  22. #22
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    I guess I'm still not comfortable with the idea of climbing a major highway in the dark. Spinning, on a flat grade, ok ... descending, ok ... but climbing? I know, it doesn't make sense.
    Ron, it was actually really nice. It was pitch black with very few cars going by, and even those were traveling at low speeds. It was silent and with pockets of warm and cool air. There were tons of stars and the view of downtown and into LA spectacular. Unless you do it, you just can't know. Of course, I wouldn't want to do it alone! But I don't regret, even with the day's events, going.

  23. #23
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Rosebowl Land
    My Bikes
    2007 Cannondale systemSix, 2008 Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    3,200
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    I guess I'm still not comfortable with the idea of climbing a major highway in the dark. Spinning, on a flat grade, ok ... descending, ok ... but climbing? I know, it doesn't make sense.
    Climbing in the dark is great, there's so few cars that they're really not an issue and since they have lights on you can usually see them as well as hear them from quite a ways away.

    Oh, and it's so quiet right before dawn that it's unworldly.

  24. #24
    no more nellie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17,369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jpconrad View Post
    Climbing in the dark is great, there's so few cars that they're really not an issue and since they have lights on you can usually see them as well as hear them from quite a ways away.

    Oh, and it's so quiet right before dawn that it's unworldly.
    John meant to add "when M.E. isn't along that is." My high pitched tone pierced the air quite nicely up there.

  25. #25
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Topanga, but I'm not a hippy
    My Bikes
    IF Club Racer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
    Posts
    2,820
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    I guess I'm still not comfortable with the idea of climbing a major highway in the dark. Spinning, on a flat grade, ok ... descending, ok ... but climbing? I know, it doesn't make sense.
    Interesting, I don't mind climbing in the dark, it's the high speed stuff I hate doing in the dark. When I'm climbing, I'm going so slow that even if I did hit something it wouldn't matter that much and theres no chance of not seeing a turn approaching.
    just being

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •