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Jan 1, 2010 Mt Wilson ride (with pics)

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Jan 1, 2010 Mt Wilson ride (with pics)

Old 01-02-10, 03:29 PM
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KiddSisko
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Jan 1, 2010 Mt Wilson ride (with pics)

Ever start your day by dreaming that your bike was stolen? And not just once, but three times? Three times I woke myself up after dreaming that my bike was stolen. The first time felt horrible, which was enough to jar myself awake. The following 2 times I can recall thinking mid-dream, "I know this is only a dream, and I know how to end it..." Poof, awake. That's how my day started yesterday. It took me over an hour to fall back asleep after that third time, and then when the alarm went off at 6:45, all I wanted to do was continue sleeping!

The temps were in the high 40's when I drove out of Topanga Canyon, and I assumed the temps would be the same 30 miles away where the ride would begin. According to the weather forecast, temps in Pasadena would be low 60's for the day, so I figured that meant 50's up in the canyons and hills while climbing up to Wilson, plus even colder on the way down. I dressed prepared with leggings under my shorts, plus layered above with a cotton tshirt, long sleeve wick jersey, bike jersey and pullover zipper jersey (that I could remove and stuff in a back pocket).

When I stepped out of my car in Sunland near the start, I was met with a wave of warmth. The air was also clear, so the sun felt extra intense as I stood there considering my options. No way was I about to ride up in all those layers, so I stripped down to just my shorts and jersey, and for added warmth on the way down, the long sleeve wick jersey stuffed in a back pocket. I was dressed as I would be for riding in temps 80 and above.

When I got to the gathering place, several riders were just showing up, most of them way overdressed as well. Two guys were especially distraught at the idea of having to ride up like that, until a friend of theirs showed up in his car, which meant they now had a place to put all their unwanted clothing.

While most were waiting for a larger group from CSUN to arrive, many single and paired riders would arrive, stick around for a brief time, then begin up on their own. Here's some of the gathering group.



As the group began to swell, I had already been there for 30+ minutes by this point, and was getting antsy to begin. I watched as small groups sporadically took off on their own. Then a group of 12 or so took off, and I impulsively latched on. Once settled in with them I began to take notice of who and what they looked like. :gulp: Maybe I should have waited for riders of my own calibre! Most of them had bulging quads and calves of steel and very little body fat from what I could see. One of them was a ringer for Micheal chicken legs Rasmussen. I hung on just fine for the first 2 miles of 2 to 3% gradient, but found myself quickly off the back once the road tilted up further.

Here's the last guy of the group passing me to catch up to the larger group. Notice his physique.



Ultimately, I was fine riding by myself since I mostly ride that way. I had my mp3 player for companionship. Here's a couple of shots on the way up Big Tujunga.





Yes, the fire damage was dramatic, but it was also spotty, which meant some hillsides were left untouched. I wish I took pictures of some of the more dramatic scenes, but this wasn't a stop for photos ride for me. Any shots along the way would have to be taken while riding.

Once settled into my comfortable, just-this-side-of-pain climbing pace, I noticed up ahead some riders from the group that dropped me. They were just beginning the steepest part of Big T, a 2 mile section which lasts to the intersection of Angeles Forest. I managed to keep them within sight, which told me I was no worse at climbing than the worst of the hammer group. Then on the Angeles Forest section that leads up to Clear Creek station, I actually passed them.

The group I left with were already there filling bottles, eating, splashing their faces and so forth, so based on all that activity, I'll guess I arrived 2 minutes behind them. 16.5 miles, 3300 feet of climbing completed in 1 hour and 26 minutes. Not horrible.

A shot of some assembled riders at Clear Creek station.



The artistic interpretation



Here's a view of the distant hills around Clear Creek station, with some visible fire damage on the perimeter fence.



The next 10 miles (5 to Red Box, 5 to the top) is mostly 5 to 6% gradient, and I pretty much felt most of it, but knew I could ride it hard (for me) and consistent to the top. I finished with a guy from the original group who had never been up to the Wilson overlook. He was relieved when I told him that seeing the towers meant the end was near. Just 2 miles to go. The group I started with was already there, eating, drinking and posing for pictures, so they couldn't have been there that long. 26 miles, 5000 feet in 2.5 hours. Again, not horrible.

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Old 01-02-10, 03:30 PM
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Continued...

Here's a view of snow capped Mt baldy in the distance, taken at the beginning of Red Box Rd.



Looking over Los Angeles, with Catalina Island seen on the horizon.



The air was clear enough to see the Santa Monica Mntns in the distance.



I descended with a skinny young guy from the start group named Amir who had plenty of experience mntn biking, but only one week of road biking! We met as he was just coming down from Video Road, which is the utility section around the towers. He didn't realize that wasn't really the finish point, but joked that he didn't want to be cheated by only riding within 40 feet to the very top. He told me his descending skills were crap, but he could climb like a goat. He loved flying down ACH, his first long and fast descent. True to his word, I beat him by nearly a minute to the bottom at Foothill, but then watched him fly during the last lengthy pitch upward heading to the start point.

52 miles, 5300 feet of up, 3 hours, 50 minutes. I finished with an In 'N Out feast including a milkshake and animal style fries. :burp: A great day.
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Old 01-02-10, 03:42 PM
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Nice recap, sweet pics! what program did you use to do the artistic interpretation, was that photoshop, really cool! Way to end off the day with some In n Out, that's why we ride(myself at least.)
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Old 01-02-10, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sdgrannygear View Post
Nice recap, sweet pics! what program did you use to do the artistic interpretation, was that photoshop, really cool! Way to end off the day with some In n Out, that's why we ride(myself at least.)
Photoshop, yes. I think I was using the sharpen feature, where you can set the intensity. It's also a composite picture, joining two shots. The telephone pole splitting near the top is the giveaway.
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Old 01-02-10, 03:56 PM
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Nice pictures. Wish we could have gone; maybe next year.
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Old 01-02-10, 05:01 PM
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great shots!
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Old 01-02-10, 09:14 PM
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I'm officially jealous.
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Old 01-02-10, 11:03 PM
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Was a great day.
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Old 01-03-10, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dolophonic View Post
Was a great day.
When did you begin and what route? While heading down and arriving at Clear Creek station around 1:30, I was surprised I didn't pass more riders heading up to the end. Apparently alot of people turn back down ACH after reaching CC or Red Box road.
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Old 01-03-10, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by GP View Post
Nice pictures. Wish we could have gone; maybe next year.
Reminds me of that old saying, "Wish in one hand and crap in the other..."

Originally Posted by chefxian View Post
great shots!
Appreciato.

Originally Posted by NiMO189 View Post
I'm officially jealous.
I'll accept that reply.
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Old 01-03-10, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KiddSisko View Post
52 miles, 5300 feet of up, 3 hours, 50 minutes. I finished with an In 'N Out feast including a milkshake and animal style fries. :burp: A great day.
I almost went on this ride but I was pretty sure I'd be meat. I've been riding that route (and variations) for years, but I can't do it faster than four and a half hours. Maybe next year. Great pics. Every time I've been to Wilson, it's been too hazy to see Catalina.
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Old 01-04-10, 01:44 AM
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My sister is in town from Ohio (Rose Bowl), and tomorrow we're heading back up the same route as my ride on the 1st. Except we're driving.
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Old 01-04-10, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Curbendo View Post
I almost went on this ride but I was pretty sure I'd be meat. I've been riding that route (and variations) for years, but I can't do it faster than four and a half hours. Maybe next year. Great pics. Every time I've been to Wilson, it's been too hazy to see Catalina.
Ya should have gone. It's not a race and no one will boot you off the mountain for taking your time. And be sure to wave at all the roadies you see. They love that.
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Old 01-04-10, 02:31 PM
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Very cool! Thanks for posting.
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Old 01-05-10, 11:57 PM
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As mentioned, I revisited the Jan 1st route and got some additional photos.

A view heading up Big Tujunga, looking back. This shot illustrates how the fire department allowed everything to burn but specific plots of land and buildings.



The bridge near the dam.



Atop Mt Wilson, looking toward Baldy. Notice the unburnt forest around Wilson, but just across the valley the burned out hills. A ranger told me the fire divided itself around Wilson.



We decided to drive up to Newcomb's Ranch for dinner, and I took this shot of Baldy at a much closer distance.



Newcomb's. Still standing and serving it up fresh and plentiful. My lil sis (wearing her OH State jersey) says hey.


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Old 01-07-10, 11:02 AM
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Loved all those pics! Great shots
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