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Southern California Climbs

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Southern California Climbs

Old 06-10-06, 03:46 PM
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Southern California Climbs

I will be arriving in So California (Huntington Beach) on Friday, June 16th to start my (one week) vacation. Rather than bring my own bike, my plan is to rent a road bike from a local bike shop on Saturday, June 17th.

I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, so there really aren't any climbs in the area. However, I am looking for a challenge. If anyone can recommend some challenging climbs, I would greatly appreciate it. Before the search feature was removed, I was reading a post about Mt Baldy. Is Mt Baldy a challenging climb?

Also, I'm assuming there are many good rides in the area. If there are any group rides that don't mind a guy from the midwest tagging along, please let me know. I am pretty flexible on the days/times since I will be on vacation. I'm not sure that I will be able to hang with guys/gals that ride 365 days a year (it seems like we get about 11 months of snow here), but I'm willing to give it a try.

Thank you for any/all suggestions.

Mike
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Old 06-10-06, 04:42 PM
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check here for group that ride in the area. You can easily join in with any of them without hassle. OC Rebels are somewhat close, but I am sure that there is a group that starts in HB, but they might be racers instead of more causal riders.

I also host a ride on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (5 PM) starting at 3333 Michelson that lasts for about 20 - 30 miles (PM me for more info)

Baldy is a great climb, so is Palomar to the south. If you want cool repeats, check out Newport Coast Drive with Vista Ridge.
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Old 06-10-06, 04:51 PM
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Yes, Mt. Baldy is a challenging climb, but not too steep unless you go up to the ski area. You will be in the Orange County area, there are lots of BF members there who can give you the scoop on local climbs. Some of my favorite roads are in the Santa Monica Mountains, near Malibu. Nothing very high, but lots of beautiful climbs. The San Gabriel range, (the range with Baldy), has many outstanding roads going up as high as 8000 feet, including Angeles Crest Highway. You could ride here for years and not see all the good climbing rides. I'm sure you are welcome at many local club rides like ours, http://www.sfvbc.org/ . I don't know what we might be doing when you are here, but you can come along if you don't mind a long drive from H.B. You might start a thread asking about Orange County rides, too.
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Old 06-10-06, 05:12 PM
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Mt Baldy from Claremont, CA up Mt Baldy road is quite a climb. And if you go all the way up to the ski resort (ie go all the way on the road), it gets quite steep in portions. For your amusement, my ride report from my first ever successful climb of Baldy is here. I really like the climb even though it really beats me up. In fact, I'm planning on climbing it the next two weekends.
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Old 06-10-06, 05:30 PM
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Hop aboard the Catalina Express and take a little cruise on over to the island. Costs about $50 per person and maybe a little less. Rent a bike there and ride around a part of Los Angeles County that isn't like any other part of Los Angeles County. Santa Monica Mts./Point Magu are a MTBiking destination but the entire area offers wonderful scenery and nice roads with some hills. Malibu/Santa Monica Canyon is a nice ride. Griffith Park, too. You have to ride the bike trails on the beach -not hilly or challenging but ya just gotta do some riding on the beach. Somewhat hilly at Palos Verdes but I've never been on a ride there. I'd hit that area hard.

Team Bicycle rents. They're at 8964 Indianapolis (at Magnolia), Huntington Beach, (714) 969-5480.
I had to look that one up.

Observe the laws governing cycling on the streets. I have seen tickets given.

The best part of cycling around southern cali isn't the terrain -as for the most part it is quite flat till you get outside the cities or go more north- but the ocean view. I have not been back to Los Angeles in 7 years but I lived in and was born in Santa Monica and every ride was beautiful. There is so much to see your rides never seem long enough out there ..and I was just get into cycling then as a teenager.
I'm SURE that once I get out there again my rides will be no less than centuries.
I wonder if you can take a bike along with you on Amtrak somehow as I just love that method of travel. San Diego County is on average much more hilly than the LA area but a little far away.

I'm cycling vicariously now.
Have a nice vacation.
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Old 06-10-06, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sunofsand
Hop aboard the Catalina Express and take a little cruise on over to the island. Costs about $50 per person and maybe a little less. Rent a bike there and ride around a part of Los Angeles County that isn't like any other part of Los Angeles County.
Ehh, I'm not sure I'd second that recommendation unless the OP likes that "cooped up feeling". It is a total tourist trap over there. Can you say, "captive audience?". It's more fun for a day out with your Special Lady (Or Man), if "fun" includes "spending a lot of money" -- but the cycling did not strike me as being all that great. Much more to choose from on the mainland.
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Old 06-10-06, 08:36 PM
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That's true but there isn't much like Catalina on the mainland. I only mentioned it because it's a nice place and eventhough may be considered a tourist trap is nothing like the usual tourist trap of Southern California, IMO. If in cali for a week I doubt the OP is going to choose to cycle each of those days and forego visiting some local attractions. That being said I've only been there once (three times but was young -parents had honeymooned there) and more than a decade ago. Things may have changed since then but it's one of the main places I want to hit once I get back to photograph extensively. For me, cruising the pacific on a ferry and arriving at a picturesque island and sailing harbor would be like an entire vacation within a vacation. I don't mind tourist traps, anyways. All that designation means is that there is enough to see and do to warrant a visit.
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Old 06-10-06, 08:43 PM
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GMR is a nice climb.

http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/gmr.htm

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Old 06-10-06, 08:43 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the replies. It sounds like there are plenty of options. A couple of you mentioned the Santa Monica mountains (Malibu area). That might be worth a try.

Extort, I clicked on the link to bike clubs in the area. I couldn't believe how many there were. I wasn't really sure where to start.

jschen, what gearing did you use when you climbed Mt Baldy?

Big John, I might take your suggestion regarding a post about Orange County rides. It would probably be a good way to find out what type of rides they are (recreational vs racing). Since I'm not really familiar with the terrain, it might be difficult to gauge which ride(s) to join. The average pace of the rides where I live, which is virtually flat, may be considerably different than the pace of rides in So Cal. Most of our rides average in the low 20's with "spurts" of mid to upper 20's during the ride.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.
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Old 06-10-06, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wf_mike
The average pace of the rides where I live, which is virtually flat, may be considerably different than the pace of rides in So Cal. Most of our rides average in the low 20's with "spurts" of mid to upper 20's during the ride.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.
What club do you ride with there? I lived on the west side of Cleveland from 1994 - 2002 and did a lot of riding during that time. Rode with a bike shop group out of Westlake/Rocky River mostly. I miss the area truth be known.

I live in the South Bay area of LA now and ride mostly around the Palos Verdes area; lots of hills but nothing too serious. That Glendora Mountain road route is one of the best since it's closed to driving (at least is was last time I rode there). Of course, the gold standard mountain ride in LA has to be up Angles Crest Hwy - have to hit that one early though because traffic builds up quite a bit. Good stuff.

I'm rehabing a knee injury right now or I'd love to join up and ride with someone from back there.

Good luck.

Ed

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Old 06-10-06, 09:06 PM
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I just took Topanga Canyon from PCH, commute home. 1600 ft of altitude gain, with a fast twisty downhill as a reward at the end. If your coming from Huntington, that's quite a way to travel with some bad traffic.
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Old 06-10-06, 09:28 PM
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sorry to butt in but can someone give me directions to the bottom of Mt. Baldy climb? I'd be coming from the Lake Elsinore area.

Thanks,

Tracy
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Old 06-10-06, 10:08 PM
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Tracy, there are actually 3 ways to go up Baldy. I would suggest the first time to go up Glendora Mountain Road, GMR. Take the 5 to 57 to 210 to Grand exit, I think. Grand north to Sierra Madre, right to GMR. Park around here and go up through the gate. Follow the other cyclists.
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Old 06-10-06, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tprevost
sorry to butt in but can someone give me directions to the bottom of Mt. Baldy climb? I'd be coming from the Lake Elsinore area.

Thanks,

Tracy
Get to the 210 West, probably by taking the 15 north. Exit Baseline and make a right (check a map to make sure it's a right). About a half mile later, make a right on Mills Rd. There's a parking lot at the corner on Mills and Mt Baldy Rd.

Edit: didn't see Jonh's post, that's good advice to start by doing GMR. It's also more scenic and has some fun switchbacks.
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Old 06-10-06, 10:32 PM
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lol! tracy... "I" haven't even done baldy yet!!!!!!!!!! you are quite ambitious! you go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-10-06, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Extort
check here for group that ride in the area. You can easily join in with any of them without hassle. OC Rebels are somewhat close, but I am sure that there is a group that starts in HB, but they might be racers instead of more causal riders.

I also host a ride on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (5 PM) starting at 3333 Michelson that lasts for about 20 - 30 miles (PM me for more info)

Baldy is a great climb, so is Palomar to the south. If you want cool repeats, check out Newport Coast Drive with Vista Ridge.
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Old 06-10-06, 11:55 PM
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wf_mike, I proudly use my triple going up Baldy. 30/25 low gear, only because I'm too lazy to get an even bigger cog on my cassette. I certainly wouldn't mind a few lower gears. (That said, I'm pretty slow. I don't average 20 on flat ground.)

tprevost, from the Lake Elsinore area, I do not recommend OC Roadie's directions, which take you to the 210. The 210 runs too much NE/SW, so you detour too far out of the way. Instead, go north to the 10 west, then--if headed to the Claremont terminus of Mt Baldy Rd--exit Monte Vista (right after the Montclair mall) and head north. At Baseline, turn left. Turn right at Mills. Parking lot is at the end of Mills.
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Old 06-11-06, 12:35 AM
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don't forget angeles crest highway there's tons and tons of climbing there.

for someone new to the area i'd suggest skipping topanga, too much traffic- especially on the mile and a half steep section along the cliff. that might be to much for someone who's not used to it.

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Old 06-11-06, 04:30 AM
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TCR, thanks for the link. I followed the link, which provided the details for a number of great climbs in the area.

jschen, nothing wrong with a triple. Since we don't have any climbs that long where I live, I was just curious what gearing someone used for such a long climb.

Nessism, I don't ride with a club. I generally just meet up with a bunch of guys on the weekend. Many of the guys ride with clubs (PDQ, Snake Bite Racing, October Lake Effect). The main reason I don't join a club is because I'm not really into racing even though I like to ride with the guys that do race. I live in Strongsville, so I probably ride with some of the same people you used to ride with. We log a lot of miles in the Metroparks.

A number of people have mentioned the traffic, and Nessism mentioned that one of the climbs might be closed to driving. Most of the routes where I am do not have too much traffic, so I didn't really think about that. Which climbs, if any, have minimal to no traffic? Are there good/better/bad times of the day to be riding?

Are most of the good climbs/routes generally populated with other cyclists? On weekdays or just weekends?
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Old 06-11-06, 06:48 AM
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Socal velo has a nice listing of the climbs we are talking about:

http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/socalclimbs.htm

I live in Claremont and ride Baldy often.. I have never once finished that ride and said boy that was easy.. GMR is a little more gradual but longer climb.. Baldy to the ski lifts is a very challenging climb..
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Old 06-12-06, 05:09 PM
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A number of people have mentioned the traffic, and Nessism mentioned that one of the climbs might be closed to driving. Most of the routes where I am do not have too much traffic, so I didn't really think about that. Which climbs, if any, have minimal to no traffic? Are there good/better/bad times of the day to be riding?

Are most of the good climbs/routes generally populated with other cyclists? On weekdays or just weekends?
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Old 06-12-06, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by wf_mike
A number of people have mentioned the traffic, and Nessism mentioned that one of the climbs might be closed to driving. Most of the routes where I am do not have too much traffic, so I didn't really think about that. Which climbs, if any, have minimal to no traffic? Are there good/better/bad times of the day to be riding?

Are most of the good climbs/routes generally populated with other cyclists? On weekdays or just weekends?
GMR is closed to traffic, it does get busy with cyclists, and you need to watch out for each other (don't take both lanes on the downhill switchbacks). Mt Baldy is open to traffic, I normally do this climb early morning on weekdays, and see very few cars. This climb is about as tough as they get. I would suggest GMR, if you want to go longer, you can take Glendora Ridge Road to Mt Baldy Village. GMR is more a little tamer and a lot more scenic.
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Old 06-12-06, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jschen
. . .
tprevost, from the Lake Elsinore area, I do not recommend OC Roadie's directions, which take you to the 210. The 210 runs too much NE/SW, so you detour too far out of the way. Instead, go north to the 10 west, then--if headed to the Claremont terminus of Mt Baldy Rd--exit Monte Vista (right after the Montclair mall) and head north. At Baseline, turn left. Turn right at Mills. Parking lot is at the end of Mills.
Awww, come on, the 10 freeway is frequently pretty suckalicious, due to the heavy traffic and the wear and tear on the road itself. We never run the 10 if we can take the 210 and 15; the 2102/15 combo is faste, has less traffic.

If you wanted to you could park at the Ralphs a couple of miles east of the 15 on Baseline and Haven and ride to Euclid avenue, go up euclid, take the Euclid's left branch (at 24th St.), go up a "nice" hill and continue on that road, up past the dam, the first ranger station and hang right when you come to the stop sign at the intersection (it's the only stop i can remember after the dam). Keep cruising on up to baldy village and take lunch at the Baldy lodge which had pretty decent food (burgers, sandwiches, fries and the like) and beer the last time I was up there. From the village you can go on up past the trout ponds, Ice House canyon and then hit the switchbacks up to the ski lifts (you'll really be climbin' there).

Coming back down you can go straight at where you came in at the stop sign (on the way up) and you will go down rapidly to get to the parking lot at the Mills. You can then take downhill to Baseline and then go left on Baseline and eventually get back to the Ralph's Market.

Originally Posted by OC Roadie
Get to the 210 West, probably by taking the 15 north. Exit Baseline and make a right (check a map to make sure it's a right). About a half mile later, make a right on Mills Rd. There's a parking lot at the corner on Mills and Mt Baldy Rd.

. . .

The hill up from this parking area, IMHO, is steep-- not at very first, right from the parking lot, but it gets pretty dang steep shortly thereafter and just when you think it is going to ease off a little, it keeps going up. Not forever though; once you get past the big earthen dam, it's not as bad.
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Old 06-12-06, 05:33 PM
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Hi. I live in the Orange County area. I sometimes ride on the weekends with one of OC's largest Clubs - Bicycle Club of Irvine. They also have group rides (through the summer) on Tuesday and Thursday nights). For more informaton go to bikeirvine.org. Membership is not required to ride and in fact, they welcome visitors. This is not a racing group but in fact for serious recreational riders. All skills levels ride from newbie to hard core.

The BCI website will list rides and routes slips. Look for some of the hillier routes. Elevation climb is posted. Good climbs include Newport Coast Dr./San Joaquin or most anything in Mission or Aliso Viejo. For Newport Coast... who can beat a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean if you descent from the East to West side!
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Old 06-12-06, 05:39 PM
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The hill up from this parking area, IMHO, is steep-- not at very first, right from the parking lot, but it gets pretty dang steep shortly thereafter and just when you think it is going to ease off a little, it keeps going up. Not forever though; once you get past the big earthen dam, it's not as bad.
Your're correct, from the parking lot to Paudau (sp??) isn't bad, it's actually good for a warm up pace. Shortly after that signal (the only traffic stop on the entire ride), it kicks up very steep, mellows out around the dam, and then becomes hell after the tunnels. I don't know why I always come back for more . As far as the the driving directions from Temecula, I guess now there's two posted routes, listen to the traffic report and pick the best option.
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