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Old 07-09-12, 03:00 PM   #1
PhotoJoe
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GMR for Dummies

All this talk about GMR, can someone break it down for me? What are the different destinations and in what order? I think the "shack" is first, then "village" then "lifts". Is that right? How far is each one? What is the average incline for each? Additional thoughts about difficulty. Just want to know what I'm in for....and I AM in for it!
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Old 07-09-12, 07:30 PM   #2
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You got the order correct. From the bottom of GMR it goes Shack, then Village, then Lifts.

1) GMR yellow access "gate to the shack" is about 8 mi @ 5% grade. Nice consistent climb, not easy, not hard. It's just right. 6/10 difficulty. Expect it to take 60 minutes for an average rider.

2) From the "shack to the village" along Glendora Ridge Road (for GRR don't take the left at the T intersection shortly after the shack) is about 12 mi @ 2% average grade, but that low avg grade is because there's a lot of up and down. Plenty of it is 5-6% uphill. The 12 miles have lots of stretches to take it easy on flat or downhill sections and is the easiest section of the ride. 4/10 difficulty, maybe higher if you are easily fatigued from your climb to the shack. This is another 60-70 minutes for the average rider, making the ride time to the village around 2 hours to 2 hours 20 minutes with no stops.

3) From the "village to the lifts" is the hardest section. 5 mi @ 8-9% average grade, moments of 14% or so. This will take 50-70 minutes for an average rider, depending on how many times they throw up. 9/10 difficulty.

PS, all this info is browseable for free on Strava.

Last edited by jmX; 07-09-12 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 07-09-12, 08:13 PM   #3
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http://socalvelo.com/sub/socalclimbs.htm
This also has information.
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Old 07-09-12, 11:57 PM   #4
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You got the order correct. From the bottom of GMR it goes Shack, then Village, then Lifts.

1) GMR yellow access "gate to the shack" is about 8 mi @ 5% grade. Nice consistent climb, not easy, not hard. It's just right. 6/10 difficulty. Expect it to take 60 minutes for an average rider.
And then there's also the intersection of GMR and GRR (often referred to as just "the intersection", which is about a mile of part level, part downhill past the shack. The segment of road that goes from the intersection down to the East Fork Road is often called "Little GMR" and is part of GMR.

Quote:
2) From the "shack to the village" along Glendora Ridge Road (for GRR don't take the left at the T intersection shortly after the shack) is about 12 mi @ 2% average grade, but that low avg grade is because there's a lot of up and down. Plenty of it is 5-6% uphill. The 12 miles have lots of stretches to take it easy on flat or downhill sections and is the easiest section of the ride. 4/10 difficulty, maybe higher if you are easily fatigued from your climb to the shack. This is another 60-70 minutes for the average rider, making the ride time to the village around 2 hours to 2 hours 20 minutes with no stops.
There's a steepish stretch on GRR from about mile marker 6.5 to marker 8.3. The crest at 8.3 is at about the same elevation as Cow Canyon Saddle, so it's mostly rollers from 8.3 to the saddle. This section gets pretty warm in the summer, and is pretty nice at night when the road is closed.


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3) From the "village to the lifts" is the hardest section. 5 mi @ 8-9% average grade, moments of 14% or so. This will take 50-70 minutes for an average rider, depending on how many times they throw up. 9/10 difficulty.
The stretch from the village to Icehouse Canyon (where the switchbacks start) is deceptive because it looks less steep than it is, partly due to the lack of switchbacks.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:26 AM   #5
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I am a big fan of "little gmr " or the backside of gmr ... on the socalvelo link its the pink part that connects gmr with east fork . You can make a loop out of it by descending down that , to east fork , to 39 , to sierra madre . I usually do the reverse of that route , ascending 39 , east fork , little gmr , then up grr or down gmr depending on time and motivation .
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Old 07-10-12, 07:50 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. This helps a lot.

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.......depending on how many times they throw up.
LOL. This made me laugh.....then cry. Is this a case of "behind all jokes is a shred of truth"?????
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Old 07-10-12, 08:04 AM   #7
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From GMR to the village, I always look at it as first 4 miles, easy, 2nd 4 miles tough, and 3rd 4 miles easy.
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Old 07-10-12, 08:11 AM   #8
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http://socalvelo.com/sub/socalclimbs.htm
This also has information.
Thanks! I had no clue what all these three letter ride acronyms referred to. This is awesome and should be a sticky. Thanks again.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:09 AM   #9
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From GMR to the village, I always look at it as first 4 miles, easy, 2nd 4 miles tough, and 3rd 4 miles easy.
I've been on GRR before, but always had to turn back due to time constraints. Based on my first complete "shack to the village", this past 4th, I have to agree with this assessment. I found that middle section of GRR as difficult as, or maybe more so, than GRM from the gate to the shack. The last third, with only 0% to 3% grades, almost felt like a downhill run after that middle third.

The return trip from the village back to the shack would be classified as easy. And of course, from the shack back down to the gate is what we all suffer for.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:03 AM   #10
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So when are you doing it Joe?

A good first attempt would be to just go to the shack. At this time of year the heat is a bigger obstacle than the hill IMO, and there's no water between the bottom and the village.

Water Info:

When you get into the village there is a fire station on your left hand side a little bit up the road, and there's a water fountain there.

https://maps.google.com/?ll=34.23650...06539&t=h&z=18

Be a little cautious on that last descent - it's steep and there's a stop sign at the bottom. You turn left at the stop sign and about 100 yards up is that water fountain. You can also stop at the little convenience store a little further up on the right if you want a soda or something.

There is basically no water between the base of GMR and the village. I will bring a camelbak if it's going to be hot although you can certainly make it on two bottles.

Last edited by TrojanHorse; 07-31-12 at 05:53 PM. Reason: added water info
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Old 07-11-12, 10:22 AM   #11
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So when are you doing it Joe?

A good first attempt would be to just go to the shack. At this time of year the heat is a bigger obstacle than the hill IMO, and there's no water between the bottom and the village.
Soon? No. SOON! My schedule has just been so busy that I haven't been able to ride. And the heat is sucking all my energy. I'm still less than four months out of chemo and I can feel it. Doc says a good 6 months until I have all my stamina back. I am trying to prove him wrong, though. Hmmmm.....what other excuses can I come up with?

Here's the honest deal: I posted this to get a real idea of what to expect. I now know. And, I think I could do the shack right now, unless the heat kills me. However, I really need more than 19 miles on the new bike to know for sure that I should try this at this point. Plus, I would truly like to have it cool off a little before doing this. Yes, I'm being a woos. My weekend schedules are booked up for the next month, at least, so I'm probably looking at September for this. Plus, I have to make sure Beanz is available on whatever day works for me! He keeps talking about how slow he is, I REALLY need to show him what "slow" really means!

You just did your first trip. What gearing do you have and what are your opinions? I have the compact with 12-25. Beanz says he thinks I'd be fine. I've heard others say they struggled with it. I'm missing a hammy so I'll make a change if I have to.
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Old 07-11-12, 01:04 PM   #12
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Joe, there are plenty of good climbs a lot closer to home than GMR if you want to test yourself climbing.
You could take Sand Canyon to the top and go to Camp 9 if you feel up to it, or drop down toward Little Tujunga and do the second climb, too. You could also make a loop of it going either way.
If you're close to Acton, you could go up Aliso Canyon to Angeles Forest. This, like Sand Canyon, would give the option of an all descend return if you blow up.
You can also climb Bouquet Canyon, San Francisquito, or Lake Hughes road.
All of them can be linked to make loops, as well, and there are numerous other roads out there to climb and I haven't even mentioned the Santa Monicas.
GMR is a nice ride, but to me it's not the ultimate our area has to offer. I like Angeles Crest pretty well myself and the altitude is cooler in the summer.
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Old 07-11-12, 01:26 PM   #13
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Joe, there are plenty of good climbs a lot closer to home than GMR if you want to test yourself climbing.
You could take Sand Canyon to the top and go to Camp 9 if you feel up to it, or drop down toward Little Tujunga and do the second climb, too. You could also make a loop of it going either way.
If you're close to Acton, you could go up Aliso Canyon to Angeles Forest. This, like Sand Canyon, would give the option of an all descend return if you blow up.
You can also climb Bouquet Canyon, San Francisquito, or Lake Hughes road.
All of them can be linked to make loops, as well, and there are numerous other roads out there to climb and I haven't even mentioned the Santa Monicas.
GMR is a nice ride, but to me it's not the ultimate our area has to offer. I like Angeles Crest pretty well myself and the altitude is cooler in the summer.
Thanks John. I have some friends that do Camp 9 fairly regularly and I may tag along with them. I like the "bail out" option, but, then again, I don't want to wimp out, either. You are right - we do have some great climbing options. I'm going to have to go check out Bouquet and San Francisquito. Those are not roads I think of for climbing. It has been a long time since I've headed out that way, though.

To me, GMR is way more symbolic than anything else. There is a lot of climbing to be had in the area, but because throughout my chemo there were all these great discussions about GMR, and many of those people encouraging me through a very tough time in my life, doing GMR will just be a sign to myself that the cancer is behind me and this goal has been accomplished. Hard to explain, but I'm looking forward to checking it off my list....as well as many other rides.

Our schedule has been so crazy for the past couple months that we just celebrated Father's Day last night. My wife bought me a book about cycling the National Parks. I love that she's getting into this, too! Get to add more to the list....so we can check those off, too!
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Old 07-11-12, 01:42 PM   #14
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I think Beanz uses a 39/53 up front and has mighty guads, so take his advice with a grain of salt... I have a mid-compact so that's 36 up front, 28 in the back and that was perfectly doable and I'm definitely no better than an average climber (bottom 20% if you go by Strava... ). I think your easiest gear is roughly the same, maybe a skosh harder.

If you have to stop once or twice on the way up to "admire the view" well, that's fine too.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:00 PM   #15
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If you have to stop once or twice on the way up to "admire the view" well, that's fine too.
Hey....now you've got me thinking. I'm bringing a camera. Yah! I need to...uh.....[wheez, wheez]......take a picture! Yah...that's it! [Hits the oxygen tank] A picture!
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Old 07-11-12, 02:31 PM   #16
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PhotoJoe, you mentioned a compact crank. Does that mean a 50/34? If so, I think you may want to swap out that rear cassette. I run an 11-28, but I also have a 52-39-30 triple. Your 12-25 may be enough to get you to the Village, but heading to the ski lifts or even back the way you came (the climb to Cow Canyon Saddle) may put you into a world of hurt.

I was using the 12-25 at the beginning of the year when I started training for the KOM Challenge. I could make it to the Shack without too much trouble, but anything steeper than that and I was either walking or stopping frequently. I swapped cassettes and never looked back, though I do get the ocassional "pie plate" joke. I was unable to make it up Hwy. 39 to the Crystal Lake Cafe until I swapped cassettes. As always YMMV.

My 5'7" featherweight friend that talked me into KOM is doing the Death Ride this weekend. Even he runs an 11/28 rear, albeit with 53/39 in front. An 11/28 also expands your gear range on both ends. That 11 really makes a big difference between coasting and pedaling on the descents. And pedaling the descents helps your legs recover.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:45 PM   #17
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I forgot to mention that Wayne Stetina, the head of Shimano in the US, runs an 11-32 on his Dura Ace compact. Some mechanics have swapped out the DA cage for a longer triple RD cage. You can find out the details the Velonews website.

If Shimano does not release a Di2 triple, I'll probably switch to 50/34 with an 11/32. That would almost duplicate the range I have on my triple.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:45 PM   #18
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Soon? No. SOON! My schedule has just been so busy that I haven't been able to ride. And the heat is sucking all my energy. I'm still less than four months out of chemo and I can feel it. Doc says a good 6 months until I have all my stamina back. I am trying to prove him wrong, though. Hmmmm.....what other excuses can I come up with?

Here's the honest deal: I posted this to get a real idea of what to expect. I now know. And, I think I could do the shack right now, unless the heat kills me. However, I really need more than 19 miles on the new bike to know for sure that I should try this at this point. Plus, I would truly like to have it cool off a little before doing this. Yes, I'm being a woos. My weekend schedules are booked up for the next month, at least, so I'm probably looking at September for this. Plus, I have to make sure Beanz is available on whatever day works for me! He keeps talking about how slow he is, I REALLY need to show him what "slow" really means!

You just did your first trip. What gearing do you have and what are your opinions? I have the compact with 12-25. Beanz says he thinks I'd be fine. I've heard others say they struggled with it. I'm missing a hammy so I'll make a change if I have to.
If you want to do GMR and get more miles, go up GMR, come down East Fork, and back down through Azusa Canyon (mostly downhill) into Azusa and hang a left on Sierra Madre. It will take you back to the base of GMR. If you start at 6 or earlier, you can beat the heat.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:56 PM   #19
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PhotoJoe, you mentioned a compact crank. Does that mean a 50/34?
Yes, that's exactly what I have. And thank you for your input. MUCH appreciated.

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If you want to do GMR and get more miles, go up GMR, come down East Fork, and back down through Azusa Canyon (mostly downhill) into Azusa and hang a left on Sierra Madre. It will take you back to the base of GMR. If you start at 6 or earlier, you can beat the heat.
Step One: Do GMR
Step Two: Do GMR and get more miles



Thanks for the help. In due time!
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Old 07-11-12, 03:05 PM   #20
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Thanks PJ for starting this thread! I too am wanting to tackle GMR.

My drivetrain set up is 50/34 compact crank up front and 12-30 cassette.

I am still debating swapping out my SRAM Apex drivetrain from my 3.1 as it had a 11-32 on the cassette and I found hills easier (32 compared to 30 when I did my Big Ring ride) and of course a bit more speed on the smaller gear (11 compared to 12)
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Old 07-11-12, 11:20 PM   #21
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There's something to be said for riding more hills and getting stronger too.
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Old 07-12-12, 11:06 AM   #22
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There's something to be said for riding more hills and getting stronger too.
Pfffff!!!!! Whatever!
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Old 07-12-12, 04:49 PM   #23
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I forgot to mention that Wayne Stetina, the head of Shimano in the US, runs an 11-32 on his Dura Ace compact. Some mechanics have swapped out the DA cage for a longer triple RD cage. You can find out the details the Velonews website.

If Shimano does not release a Di2 triple, I'll probably switch to 50/34 with an 11/32. That would almost duplicate the range I have on my triple.
The past two weeks I've been using the new Ultegra 12-30 on my Dura-Ace 7900 bike. The D/A 7900 RD only comes in one cage length. Other than having to re-set the "H" and "L" limit screws, no modification needed to be done, including changing the chain length. Previous to that, I ran a 12-28 and had no problems with GMR/GRR. The 30 was put on for the ski lift assault. I'm running 50-34 on the front.
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Old 07-12-12, 08:13 PM   #24
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OK, so how accurate is Strava? This is one segment in my area.

http://app.strava.com/segments/975870

Not sure this does it justice: Google Map


It is a shear cliff that you have to climb. This claims to be a 6.3% grade. If it is....GMR is going to be FUN!
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Old 07-12-12, 08:46 PM   #25
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OK, so how accurate is Strava? This is one segment in my area.

http://app.strava.com/segments/975870

Not sure this does it justice: Google Map


It is a shear cliff that you have to climb. This claims to be a 6.3% grade. If it is....GMR is going to be FUN!
That's right outside my old house! The one I purchased right after I got married, back in 1976. That Strava segment is only 0.9 miles long ... GMR is 9 miles long from the gate to the shack, (or somewhere around that length). If Whites Canyon is close to where you live, just go up it a few times and see how you do. If you can ride up that segment five times in a row, you will have no problems with GMR.

Don't fret so much. I'm not a fast climber at all, and except for the hottest of days, in the middle of the afternoon, GMR is actually "easy". Just go "slow and steady". It's a drive for us, but if you hit the bottom of GMR by 7 or 8 in the morning, you'll be up and down before it really gets hot. Be sure to take at least two bottles of water, and something to munch on after you get to the top.
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