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Old 04-10-11, 09:05 PM   #1
colombo357
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Did a recon of the L'Etape du California route today

I died.

Up Mt Baldy rd, right on Glendora Ridge, down East Fork and San Gabriel Canyon, and east on Sierra Madre = good.

Up GMR, 1st half = not bad.

Up GMR, 2nd half = death.

Up Glendora Ridge in the opposite direction = brought back to life in the first 2 miles only to be killed again in the next 8. Several pickup trucks passed me SLOWLY in the same direction. I was extremely tempted to flag them down and slip them $10 for a 5 mile ride back to Mt Baldy road, but I knew I'd regret it.

Didn't even bother going up to the ski lifts. I was already cursing quite a bit at the trees next to me.

This is going to be a tough one. Not sure how I'm going to complete this ride with a respectable time. How are YOU preparing?

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Old 04-10-11, 09:57 PM   #2
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This is going to be a tough one. Not sure how I'm going to complete this ride with a respectable time. How are YOU preparing?
how am i preparing? by dispensing with the notion that i'll put up a respectable time. i've done all of these roads enough times to know how they feel (though not in the same day) so i know where the toughest stretches are and where i can save my energy.

a 28 tooth cassette doesn't hurt either.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:24 AM   #3
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If you thought GMR was hard, you're really going to hate the ski lifts.

For the record, I don't think GMR/GRR are tough at all - but the ride to the lifts is hard.
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Old 04-11-11, 08:18 AM   #4
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How are YOU preparing?
Riding my butt off, climbing Palomar every chance I get, and if I still don't feel ready enough, putting a 36T MTB cassette on.

I plan on doing a recon ride either this weekend or next.
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Old 04-11-11, 09:26 AM   #5
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If you thought GMR was hard, you're really going to hate the ski lifts.

For the record, I don't think GMR/GRR are tough at all - but the ride to the lifts is hard.
Sure, if you start GMR with fresh legs, no problem. Not so easy after 5000' of climbing.
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Old 04-11-11, 09:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the report!
Been climbing every chance I get (which sadly isn't enough) and have redoubled my weightloss efforts. Am puppysitting 4 dogs this week, so I'm stuck on the rollers, but I'm also doing Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic this Sunday which is 10,000 feet of climbing in a century.
That and I'm bringing the 39-27 to contend with the ride up to the chairlifts. I just did GMR last year and it seemed remarkably easier than memories of 20+ years ago, (of course I was climbing it with a 42-21 back then, haha.) But I'm sure the section up to the chairlifts will still be murderous-hard.
I'm really looking forward to l'Etape! Going to be my A-Event of the season.
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Old 04-11-11, 11:52 AM   #7
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What really stings is hitting Mt Baldy Rd. as the first climb of the day. You don't get much warmup in Claremont, only a handful of miles. Mills Rd. through the bottom half of Mt Baldy Red. is a gradual incline that doesn't really let up. Then you hit the first tunnel, and the real climbing begins.

A lot of people always hype up the village to ski lift route as being much tougher than everything else. It's 2200 ft vertical over 4.7 miles.

But Mt Baldy Rd is almost identical from the 1st tunnel through the 1st mile of GRR.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:01 PM   #8
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That's somewhat true; the section after the tunnels is pretty tough. I was already planning to bring my rollers and get a lonnng warm up in before the start.
But those last two miles before the ski lifts are indeed tougher...

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Old 04-11-11, 02:37 PM   #9
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This is great information, thanks. How were the traffic conditions when you rode? How about the road conditions?

I've never done the Mt. Baldy road climb nor the ski lift climb; I did one ride from GMR to "the shack" then another ride which started at GMR but was basically the same route as the OP minus the Baldy road climb, so I rode to the Village, down to East Fork and down to the 39, back to Sierra Madre and to GMR (parked in the dirt lot at the base of GMR).

I've been holding off on riding Mt. Baldy road until ski season ends, but that looks like never this year! So I will probably give it a go Fri 4/22 or Sat 4/23. I'm thinking I might park in The Village, ride to the ski lifts on fresh legs, descend down Mt. Baldy, do that climb then either do the ski lifts again or descend GRR/GMR partially or totally and climb back to the village and attempt the ski lifts again.

Does anyone know of anyone who's done the complete route in Garmin Connect or something similar? I was hoping to really hone in on the mileage/elevation, especially of the parts I haven't ridden yet but even of the whole route. My Garmin wasn't working when I did my long recon ride. There were more rollers/climbing than I thought after descending East Fork to the 39, etc. It would be interesting to see what elevation gain was on that segment.

Thanks
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Old 04-11-11, 06:53 PM   #10
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This is what I did on Sunday except i did not go to icehouse parking lot. i too was spent half way up GMR which is usually easy so i think i was either running short on liguids (intake) or i am coming down with something. I passed a car club on sunday (i knew they were coming) about 35 various models. Not training for the TOC but Breathless on the same day.
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/346995

Here is some more climbing info
http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/socalclimbs.htm
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Old 04-12-11, 01:51 AM   #11
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That's somewhat true; the section after the tunnels is pretty tough. I was already planning to bring my rollers and get a lonnng warm up in before the start.
But those last two miles before the ski lifts are indeed tougher...

This is an excellent profile chart.

One thing to remember is that the first mile of GRR (NOT shown on this chart) averages 7.5% and has a few short sections over 15%. This will be continuous from the tunnels, which makes the first climb harder than one might expect.
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Old 04-12-11, 02:18 AM   #12
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This is great information, thanks. How were the traffic conditions when you rode? How about the road conditions?

I've never done the Mt. Baldy road climb nor the ski lift climb; I did one ride from GMR to "the shack" then another ride which started at GMR but was basically the same route as the OP minus the Baldy road climb, so I rode to the Village, down to East Fork and down to the 39, back to Sierra Madre and to GMR (parked in the dirt lot at the base of GMR).

I've been holding off on riding Mt. Baldy road until ski season ends, but that looks like never this year! So I will probably give it a go Fri 4/22 or Sat 4/23. I'm thinking I might park in The Village, ride to the ski lifts on fresh legs, descend down Mt. Baldy, do that climb then either do the ski lifts again or descend GRR/GMR partially or totally and climb back to the village and attempt the ski lifts again.

Does anyone know of anyone who's done the complete route in Garmin Connect or something similar? I was hoping to really hone in on the mileage/elevation, especially of the parts I haven't ridden yet but even of the whole route. My Garmin wasn't working when I did my long recon ride. There were more rollers/climbing than I thought after descending East Fork to the 39, etc. It would be interesting to see what elevation gain was on that segment.

Thanks
Not much traffic. Road conditions were great. For the most part, debris-free.

Sorry, no Garmin info from me. I only use Endomondo on my phone.

My observations:
-Yes, the 39 is not a descent, but rolling terrain. Easy to get excited here and push too hard. This will be a good place to keep the legs spinning and fuel up.
-The initial switchbacks up GMR are steeper, but the remaining long, gradual ascent to GRR, and the 10 mile ascent up GRR, are mentally the hardest, IMHO. This is where caffeine might help some people. I'll probably be slipping a 5 hour energy into my water bottle around here.
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Old 04-12-11, 10:29 AM   #13
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Not much traffic. Road conditions were great. For the most part, debris-free.

Sorry, no Garmin info from me. I only use Endomondo on my phone.

My observations:
-Yes, the 39 is not a descent, but rolling terrain. Easy to get excited here and push too hard. This will be a good place to keep the legs spinning and fuel up.
-The initial switchbacks up GMR are steeper, but the remaining long, gradual ascent to GRR, and the 10 mile ascent up GRR, are mentally the hardest, IMHO. This is where caffeine might help some people. I'll probably be slipping a 5 hour energy into my water bottle around here.
Thanks, that helps a lot. Yeah, I think I pushed too hard on the 39.

Are you planning on doing the camelbak thing again or pack lighter since it's a supported ride?
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Old 04-12-11, 10:32 AM   #14
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This is what I did on Sunday except i did not go to icehouse parking lot. i too was spent half way up GMR which is usually easy so i think i was either running short on liguids (intake) or i am coming down with something. I passed a car club on sunday (i knew they were coming) about 35 various models. Not training for the TOC but Breathless on the same day.
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/346995

Here is some more climbing info
http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/socalclimbs.htm
Holy crap. That's a long, tough ride. Thanks for the data, that helps. I love that site--I ran across that somewhere else but have never used it.
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Old 04-12-11, 11:14 AM   #15
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Thanks, that helps a lot. Yeah, I think I pushed too hard on the 39.

Are you planning on doing the camelbak thing again or pack lighter since it's a supported ride?
There will be water stops at both ends of GRR and at the bottom on Sierra Madre, so I'll only be using 2 bottles + nuun tablets. Should lighten the load by 3-4 lbs in water and 2+ lbs in the pack.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:18 AM   #16
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What do the nuun tablets do?
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Old 04-18-11, 09:55 AM   #17
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OK, I might have bit off more than I can chew. I set out to pre-ride this on Saturday. Called it quits after reaching Baldy village the 2nd time. Pretty sure there were three reasons.

1. Too many miles in my legs during the week
2. The heat coming up GMR-GRR and not enough fluids
3. I'm too fat for this sport

To fix #1, I plan on taking a recovery week the week before the ride, with just some easy spinning rides. For # 2, I'm going to stop at every water stop even if it doesn't feel like I need it. For #3, I'm putting the 36T cassette on. I'm going to finish this thing.

For those that are asking, my Garmin "corrected" showed 9300 ft of climbing without the last section to the lifts.
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Old 04-18-11, 10:39 AM   #18
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What do the nuun tablets do?
You add on tablet to 16oz of water and it makes an energy type drink, electrolytes, vitamin, stuff like that. It's an effervescent tablet.
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Old 04-19-11, 12:23 PM   #19
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OK, I might have bit off more than I can chew. I set out to pre-ride this on Saturday. Called it quits after reaching Baldy village the 2nd time. Pretty sure there were three reasons.

1. Too many miles in my legs during the week
2. The heat coming up GMR-GRR and not enough fluids
3. I'm too fat for this sport

To fix #1, I plan on taking a recovery week the week before the ride, with just some easy spinning rides. For # 2, I'm going to stop at every water stop even if it doesn't feel like I need it. For #3, I'm putting the 36T cassette on. I'm going to finish this thing.

For those that are asking, my Garmin "corrected" showed 9300 ft of climbing without the last section to the lifts.
I'm a bit worried myself. This coming Saturday, I'm planning on riding from the Village to the ski lifts, descending all the way down to the base of Mt. Baldy road, climbing back up to the village and then giving the ski lifts another whirl. If I survive that, I may add on a brief out-and-back stint on GRR to get in a little more mileage and climbing.

Depending on how it goes, I may consider monkeying with my cassette as well. So far, it's been fine. I have a Triple in front (52/42/30) and an (11-25) cassette. Are you guys joking about going with a 36T? I guess I'd rather have it and not use it than find myself walking up the ski lifts at the end--a distinct possibility. I'm not deluding myself that I'll achieve a good time, I'm looking to survive it and ride it without stopping except briefly at the aid stations. I have a 36T on my mtb.
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Old 04-19-11, 01:17 PM   #20
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I'm not joking. I have a 12-36 SRAM cassette in the garage, a X-9 MTB rear der. and a new chain I am putting on. My standard setup is 50/34 with 12/26.

If I don't end up using all of the gears, no biggie. If I do need them, they are there.
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Old 04-19-11, 02:25 PM   #21
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I'm not joking. I have a 12-36 SRAM cassette in the garage, a X-9 MTB rear der. and a new chain I am putting on. My standard setup is 50/34 with 12/26.

If I don't end up using all of the gears, no biggie. If I do need them, they are there.
Depending on how I feel Saturday, I may think about doing the same. But I'm not mechanically inclined--I'd probably need my shop to do it for me. Would I have to swap deraillers too (probably a stupid question)? I suppose so. I wonder if my mtb derailler would work as well--it's a SRAM X9 I believe, whereas my road derailler is a Shimano 105. I like the idea of having some extra gears--especially after arriving at Baldy Village the second time around with the ski lifts still ahead of me... If I manage to do it on the 3rd biggest cog in the back, great; otherwise, I'll gear down into good old 36...

I wonder what gearing the pros will use...nevermind, I don't want to know...
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Old 04-19-11, 02:40 PM   #22
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You will need a MTB rear derauiller to use a 36T cassette.

I don't know about using 105 with SRAM mtb. Are they both 10 spd? I know the new SRAM 2x10 MTB stuff is compatible with SRAM road levers. It's probably compatible with 10 spd Shimano, since the cassettes are interchangable, SRAM/Shimano.
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Old 04-19-11, 06:07 PM   #23
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Doesn't SRAM's new Apex roadset go up to 36 tooth now?
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Old 04-30-11, 09:27 PM   #24
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Decided not to do the Baldy recon ride I was planning last weekend because of a wind advisory--stated there'd be 40-55 mph winds on Baldy, so I opted for a long ride locally but didn't wind up getting in as many miles or elevation as I had hoped as my legs just weren't there. Not good.

Got up at 315am today, saw there was a wind advisory AGAIN on Baldy today but decided this was my last chance so I drove up there anyway to do what I could. I originally planned on parking in the Village then riding up the ski lifts on fresh legs to see what it's like, but it was really gusty and cold up there; seemed to sketchy to me, so I wound up going all the way down to Padua Park at the base. It was calm down there so I gave it a shot. Made it about 5 miles up, just past the tunnels before hitting some nasty gusts and a lot of debris on the roads. Too sketchy for me; I opted to turn around at that point.

The climb wasn't too bad, but not that easy either--seems to be kind of tricky--easy to overcook on I bet as there seemed to be some false flats or even "false descents"--parts where it appeared you should be descending but were in fact still climbing.

At this point, I'm going to have to just treat next Saturday as another training ride and not have any expectations whatsoever of finishing. I won't give up easily, but I would imagine I have a major dose of reality coming my way next Saturday and that it's not going to taste or feel too good...but hey, what doesn't destroy you makes you stronger, right? I THINK I'll be able to suffer through most of the way--to the Village the 2nd time around but then either won't make the cutoff or just won't have anything left for the ski lifts. We'll see; never say never...

I drove all the way up to the ski lifts to at least see it via car. Damn, that looked steep. And I was in granny on some of the initial ascents up Mt. Baldy Rd.--granted that was more in the interest of keeping my legs as fresh as possilbe for as long as possible...but...
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Old 04-30-11, 09:48 PM   #25
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I am sure there will be plenty more in your same boat. just take your time at the rest stops and go slow and easy everywhere.
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