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A Snowy Ride up CA-39 to Crystal Lake

Old 03-18-12, 10:43 PM
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rallison
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A Snowy Ride up CA-39 to Crystal Lake

Weather was gorgeous and sunny along the coast today so, since I was having none of that, I headed over to 39 for a climb up to Crystal Lake.

Started out a couple of miles above West Fork. Lots of threatening clouds part way up:



Snow was occasionally falling as low as ~2800ft.

Wet roads the whole way:



Pretty decent flurry at around 3500ft:









Yucca + Snow - always a cool sight:



Getting closer to 5000ft and lots of whiter than usual vegetation:





The turnoff to Crystal Lake - a true winter scene:

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Old 03-18-12, 10:43 PM
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Before taking the turnoff, I figured I might as well ride up to the closure gate. A number of drivers had the same idea:



As far as I could see (which was not that far, given the clouds), it looked like they plowed beyond the gate (just fyi for those looking to ride that stretch in the near future).

On up to the lake:





Snow picking up again - what a beautiful sight:



Almost there:



The top (~5800ft):





The awesome Crystal Lake Cafe:



Nothing better than a hot bowl of chili on a day like this:



As for the descent.. Cold. Wet. Definitely not nearly as awesome as the climb. Bibtights, wool baselayer, wool socks, jersey, warm arm warmers, jacket, full finger gloves, cap under the helment - still not enough. Was expecting that though, so it was still more than worth a little suffering to get in a climb like that.

And, finally, the clouds started breaking open while descending down:



Nice finish to the ride.

Rest of the pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/1110041...eat=directlink

Oh yeah, for some reason, I didn't see one other cyclist on the whole ride. I did, however, get a number of reactions from drivers - one pulled over to take photos, some gave a wave or thumbs up, one gave an approving double tap of the horn (appreciated the sentiment, but the horn is not my top preference for expressing that sentiment), and a catcall (from a guy, driving a massively lifted truck..).

I never get tired of 39. Such a great climb.

Cheers!
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Old 03-18-12, 11:18 PM
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Way to go man, I'm jealous of that climb but the descent would have scared me off.

Anyway, next time I'm wussing out of a training ride because its 55 degrees out, I'll try to remember your photos and story. Inspiring.
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Old 03-18-12, 11:40 PM
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Thanks for the pics. I'm going to head up for some snow tomorrow.
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Old 03-19-12, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jmX View Post
Way to go man, I'm jealous of that climb but the descent would have scared me off.

Anyway, next time I'm wussing out of a training ride because its 55 degrees out, I'll try to remember your photos and story. Inspiring.
Thanks. And yeah, that descent. Would definitely have preferred a ride down. But hey, it made for quite an experience.

Originally Posted by rooftest View Post
Thanks for the pics. I'm going to head up for some snow tomorrow.
Thanks. Heading up on bike? Where?
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Old 03-19-12, 07:47 AM
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Awesome ride!
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Old 03-19-12, 09:05 AM
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Nice job taking it up a notch!
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Old 03-19-12, 11:51 AM
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Crazy! I didn't even want to go out in the wind on Sunday. BTW, thanks for the blog. Its been a big help for me.
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Old 03-19-12, 12:22 PM
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great post! will hafta bookmark it for those 90 degree + days this summer. beautiful pics.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:05 PM
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Haven't seen or heard from you since we saw you near the top of the Bristlecone Forest last summer. Remember the years when we would be stopped by 10' of snow on the upper part of 39 and AC
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Old 03-19-12, 01:22 PM
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That's just plain crazy! You're hardcore.
Great pictures.
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Old 03-19-12, 04:28 PM
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Awesome - I feel bad for complaining about it being too cold to ride down off the mountain... I'm sure the drivers you came across probably looked like they had seen a unicorn when you rode past.
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Old 03-19-12, 05:04 PM
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@rallison I haven't seen one of your posts in a while. Then you throw up a nice snowy one!! Thanks!!
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Old 03-19-12, 09:02 PM
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Glad you all enjoyed the report and pictures!

Originally Posted by JSMaxwell View Post
Crazy! I didn't even want to go out in the wind on Sunday. BTW, thanks for the blog. Its been a big help for me.
Surprisingly, there was very little wind in the mountains. Was way windier along the coast.

Originally Posted by vertical bob View Post
Haven't seen or heard from you since we saw you near the top of the Bristlecone Forest last summer. Remember the years when we would be stopped by 10' of snow on the upper part of 39 and AC
That Bristlecone ride was quite the ride. One of my favorites and was very cool running into you. One day I want to get a mountain bike and ride all the way to the summit. One day.

And yeah, it has been a while since I posted here. Work, etc hasn't left much time for ride reports sadly (especially on ToughAscent, long overdue).

And those walls of snow on 39. I remember them well. Still one of my favorite shots (back in 2009 - seems like so long ago):



Originally Posted by jimxyz View Post
Awesome - I feel bad for complaining about it being too cold to ride down off the mountain... I'm sure the drivers you came across probably looked like they had seen a unicorn when you rode past.
I'm pretty sure they would have been less surprised to see an actual unicorn.

Originally Posted by allroy71 View Post
@rallison I haven't seen one of your posts in a while. Then you throw up a nice snowy one!! Thanks!!
It had been too long since I posted a ride report - had to make sure it was a good one!
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Old 03-25-12, 12:32 AM
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Well, less than a week and basically all the snow is gone along 39. A few pictures from the much sunnier climb today:









That one section of 39 with the very tall, very steep rock wall on your right (and a steep drop off on your left) had a pretty decent rock slide:







Angeles Crest above Islip was closed but looked pretty clear of snow:



The impending storm was making itself known (looking back down on 39):



Aside from the rock debris along the closed section of 39, it was quite a nice ride today.

Full pictures set from today
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