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Old 11-14-10, 10:51 PM   #1
idoru2005
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CA 39 vs. GMR

This morning I rode from Encanto Park to Crystal Lake. This was my 2nd time. I got a pretty early start (on the road at 7AM). I was the only one out on the climb. On my descent I saw only 2 cyclists past the gate. On the lower slopes (near East Fork) I saw a few riders heading up.

Personally I think the Crystal Lake climb is more challenging than GMR. The descent (especially on the closed section) is very fast and you can use the whole road to pick the best line when cornering.

My impression is that GMR is more popular than CA39, why is that?
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Old 11-14-10, 11:57 PM   #2
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My impression is that GMR is more popular than CA39, why is that?
It's a sociological issue. Who is going to see you on Hwy 39?

I could ask the same kind of question of the MTB realm: Slickrock MTB Trail vs. Gold Bar Rim Trail

The crowd isn't going to see your neu-MTB and all of the current keeping up with the Jones' gear on the Gold Bar Rim, but will on the Slickrock.

Personally, I think it's a good thing. Let the posuerama, pose and the riders, ride.
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Old 11-15-10, 02:14 AM   #3
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.....I think the Crystal Lake climb is more challenging than GMR.

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My impression is that GMR is more popular than CA39, why is that?
You answered your own question - as part of your question.
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Old 11-15-10, 02:28 AM   #4
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How many feet of climbing did you get in the 50 something mile ride?
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Old 11-15-10, 04:00 AM   #5
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Might have something to do with the constant threads, debates, and signs warning cyclists that the road is closed and riders may be cited for being on the road. Plus the no water available issue.

The other thing is that GMR has many variations. GMR/ GRR to the village, back or go down Baldy. Down Little GMR,est fork, down 39 or opposite. Crystal Lake is one way up and one way down. Many riders like to do a loop rather than out and back.

Plus, a rider can make it much more challenging adding in the lifts.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:19 AM   #6
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You answered your own question - as part of your question.
Well, my own answer only counts for part of it, especially when I'm posting to a message board and want to hear others' opinions.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:26 AM   #7
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Hwy 39 is grueling, especially if you go to Dawson Saddle. GMR/GRR not so much.
The ride to Baldy village is a lot easier for people who aren't used to long climbs and there is the destination part of it. On 39 one must decide where to turn back.
Plus there is the whole food and water thing, although if the store opens at Crystal Lake that part could be resolved.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:31 AM   #8
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How many feet of climbing did you get in the 50 something mile ride?
Elevation at Encanto Park is about 600ft. I stopped climbing just after the 5000ft sign. So about 4600ft of climbing in 24 miles.

I think if you are training for a climbing century, this region is tough to beat. Many opportunities to string together multiple climbs in a single ride (if that's what you are looking for). For Mt. Laguna, I plan on coming back here and doing something like this:
Big GMR->GRR->Baldy->GRR->Little GMR (descent), East Fork->CA39 to Crystal Lake->back to Little GMR (ascent)->Big GMR (descent). If I can do this, I'll be ready to climb Mt. Laguna 3 times in a day.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:40 AM   #9
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If I can do this, I'll be ready to climb Mt. Laguna 3 times in a day.
Only the third loop is hard.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:50 AM   #10
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This morning I rode from Encanto Park to Crystal Lake. This was my 2nd time. I got a pretty early start (on the road at 7AM). I was the only one out on the climb. On my descent I saw only 2 cyclists past the gate. On the lower slopes (near East Fork) I saw a few riders heading up.

Personally I think the Crystal Lake climb is more challenging than GMR. The descent (especially on the closed section) is very fast and you can use the whole road to pick the best line when cornering.

My impression is that GMR is more popular than CA39, why is that?
Just to give you something to think about a cyclist was killed last year a year or two ago when he ran head on into a worker for the county for assuming that no vehicles would be on a road that was closed this was a park road so no traffic is on it, it was a weekend also making it even more likely no one would be on it. People who knew him said he did this all the time on this road so he was assuming he was never going to see anyone so he thought it was safe to do.
Be careful as a county or work vehicle could be on the road and both you will be under the impression you are the only one on the road and at any speed on a bike it will most likely not end good.
Just something to think about when on a closed road never assume you area alone.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:54 AM   #11
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Only the third loop is hard.
Maybe for you the first two loops are easy. The 1st loop is a relatively easy climb, but it's looong and starts right at the beginning. The 2nd loop is my nemesis - I've cramped on it on each of two times I've been there. The first time I sagged out (I had to hike out of the car-less zone). 2nd time I cramped at the base of the climb, but managed to complete it. I never got a chance to try the third loop. I'll definitely head down there to practice this climb before the event.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:57 AM   #12
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Just to give you something to think about a cyclist was killed last year a year or two ago when he ran head on into a worker for the county for assuming that no vehicles would be on a road that was closed this was a park road so no traffic is on it, it was a weekend also making it even more likely no one would be on it. People who knew him said he did this all the time on this road so he was assuming he was never going to see anyone so he thought it was safe to do.
Be careful as a county or work vehicle could be on the road and both you will be under the impression you are the only one on the road and at any speed on a bike it will most likely not end good.
Just something to think about when on a closed road never assume you area alone.

I'd like this climb to be more popular for this very reason. Being alone on a road is a double edged sword. If something goes wrong, you are far from rescue. More eyes (and wheels) on the road is a good thing - safer (to an extent).
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Old 11-15-10, 09:26 AM   #13
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Hey Mr. Frijoles, or anyone else

I've decided to throw in a weekday of climbing. From Ontario, what would be a good 1 hr climb ?

Shinn Road to Mt Baldy Road, or drive all the way up to Baldy Road ? I've riden down Mt Baldy road, but don't know how steep or flat Shinn road is.
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Old 11-15-10, 10:30 AM   #14
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I never got a chance to try the third loop. I'll definitely head down there to practice this climb before the event.
I would equate the third climb equal to decker in terms of difficulty because of the slope, length and where the climbs occur during the rides. One thing about the third climb to Mt Laguna though is that the road surface is terrible and narrow. And be careful on the slight descent as it's narrow and has either rocks on one side or a dropoff on the other side. I came off that climb screaming down only to see a large hole in front of me and the only option was a bunny hop... uphill... not exactly smart but it was better than hitting a rock.

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Old 11-15-10, 11:12 AM   #15
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Hey Mr. Frijoles, or anyone else

I've decided to throw in a weekday of climbing. From Ontario, what would be a good 1 hr climb ?

Shinn Road to Mt Baldy Road, or drive all the way up to Baldy Road ? I've riden down Mt Baldy road, but don't know how steep or flat Shinn road is.
I live near Foothill and Euclid so an ez access ride for me is straight up Euclid. Runs into Mountain ave. Above the ranger station and dam, I take Shinn Rd to Baldy Rd then to the tunnels. That's about an hour and 10 miles at my pace. If you feel a little better, ride on up past the tunnels. For a weekday ride, enough climbing to let you know you've climbed but not killer. But much easier that driving to GMR.
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Old 11-15-10, 12:11 PM   #16
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GMR goes somewhere specific, with a place to chow down and pose.
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Old 11-15-10, 01:04 PM   #17
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GMR goes somewhere specific, with a place to chow down and pose.
I can understand that.

On the other hand, at the 4000'-ish elevation on CA39, there's that nice 'stream' of water pouring out of the rock. How often are we able to drink water straight from 'the source'? That's enough reason for me to do this climb
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Old 11-15-10, 01:14 PM   #18
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I live near Foothill and Euclid so an ez access ride for me is straight up Euclid. Runs into Mountain ave. Above the ranger station and dam, I take Shinn Rd to Baldy Rd then to the tunnels. That's about an hour and 10 miles at my pace. If you feel a little better, ride on up past the tunnels. For a weekday ride, enough climbing to let you know you've climbed but not killer. But much easier that driving to GMR.
Got it! Where would be a good place to park near the area where Euclid turns to Mountain ?
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Old 11-15-10, 01:42 PM   #19
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Plus, a rider can make it much more challenging adding in the lifts.
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Hwy 39 is grueling, especially if you go to Dawson Saddle. GMR/GRR not so much.
The ride to Baldy village is a lot easier for people who aren't used to long climbs and there is the destination part of it.
I think that the "challenge of the lifts" was a bit overplayed. It was a nice climb but a little anticlimactic. The gently rolling 12+ miles on GRR before the village really breaks it up into two completely separate climbs with lots of time to recover in between. I'll have to try the climb up to Dawson Saddle next time I am out that way.
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Old 11-15-10, 01:57 PM   #20
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Got it! Where would be a good place to park near the area where Euclid turns to Mountain ?


Just east of foothill on the northeast corner is competitve edge bike shop (chick's sporting goods used to be there too/..across from Mc'Donalds)

Some riders park there to start their rides, nice lot. If you head towards the back on the bike, there is a small street(alley like) called Eugene Ct. It dumps you right onto Euclid above Foothill so you don't ahve to mess with the Foothill/ Euclid intersection traffic. That short climb above the chapel is a mother!
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Old 11-15-10, 02:12 PM   #21
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Thanks. That will be my Thursday ride.
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Old 11-15-10, 02:58 PM   #22
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I think that the "challenge of the lifts" was a bit overplayed. It was a nice climb but a little anticlimactic. The gently rolling 12+ miles on GRR before the village really breaks it up into two completely separate climbs with lots of time to recover in between. I'll have to try the climb up to Dawson Saddle next time I am out that way.
i agree... a lot of people do the baldy lifts going from GMR to GRR because its scenic, but i think the true baldy climb is the 13 miles from mills ave to the the lifts in one continuous shot. that climb on a hot summer day at a good honest pace will definitely be much more challenging than taking it off of GRR.

the climb to dawsons saddle is just long but not so challenging as the grades pass crystal lake to the saddle are very light, less than 4% i believe. so unless you are really trying to hammer the whole climb, there's plenty of spots to recover and recollect yourself. but that said, it is a nice climb, scenic and there few other places in the area to get 25 miles of continuous climbing in, outside of onyx and mt wilson.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:04 PM   #23
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i agree... a lot of people do the baldy lifts going from GMR to GRR because its scenic, but i think the true baldy climb is the 13 miles from mills ave to the the lifts in one continuous shot. that climb on a hot summer day at a good honest pace will definitely be much more challenging than taking it off of GRR.
I was riding with Ben FR and after we did GMR/GRR/Lifts, we went down Baldy Rd and were going to go back up the lifts. But he was starting to get a little fried so we just turned onto GRR after we got to back the village the second time. It would have been nice to do the straight shot all the way from bottom to top.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:06 PM   #24
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i agree... a lot of people do the baldy lifts going from GMR to GRR because its scenic, but i think the true baldy climb is the 13 miles from mills ave to the the lifts in one continuous shot. that climb on a hot summer day at a good honest pace will definitely be much more challenging than taking it off of GRR.

the climb to dawsons saddle is just long but not so challenging as the grades pass crystal lake to the saddle are very light, less than 4% i believe. so unless you are really trying to hammer the whole climb, there's plenty of spots to recover and recollect yourself. but that said, it is a nice climb, scenic and there few other places in the area to get 25 miles of continuous climbing in, outside of onyx and mt wilson.
Thanks lowlife, I hadn't realized the climb past Crystal Lake gets easier. Sounds like I just need to take a slower pace early in the climb so I can push through to Dawson's saddle. Either that or park near the OHV area and start the climb there instead of Encanto Park.

Here's a panoramic shot I took:
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Old 11-15-10, 03:27 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=idoru2005;11791314]Thanks lowlife, I hadn't realized the climb past Crystal Lake gets easier. Sounds like I just need to take a slower pace early in the climb so I can push through to Dawson's saddle. Either that or park near the OHV area and start the climb there instead of Encanto Park.

anytime i do dawson's saddle, i always park just pass the OHV area and then head up. from there, its 24 miles straight up to dawson's. by the time i'm done with the dawson climb and having descended for close to 40 minutes, i just prefer not to deal with the rollers on the 39 or with the traffic, since its usually later in the morning by then. another option, a more lengthy one, would be the three saddles ride, which goes up GMR down little GMR, across east fork, and then up the 39 all the way to the saddle. i believe that's a good 85 mile in the saddle and over 12k of climbing for an out and back route. let me know when you plan to do dawson's and maybe i can join you. i want to get one last run up there before it gets covered in snow.
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