Descender ToC Stage 7 Ride, May 21, 2011

Hi Guys,

The journey of the Mt Baldy ride was totally epic.  Voris did a fantastic job of organizing and orchestrating the event.  We met early at the middle school near Guido’s house and car pooled up towards San Dimas.  There were two cars in our caravan with Hodges chasing us up I-15 as he had to go back home to pick up his knee warmers.  We passed Bernie and his group who drove up from RB.  Guido took us on a short cut adventure across the 91 freeway and almost back to the 405 before we all made it to the meeting spot.  A dozen riders got ready to start the climbing.  Voris mapped out some early flat mileage that we extended due to missing the correct turns.  Bernie got a flat and Guido fixed a side wall issue so John motored out well ahead of us.  Most of the group made it together to Glendora Mountain Road.  Guido was telling me he did not feel great and his legs felt heavy so he fell back a bit.  I did my few acceleration pulls to take some early photos on the climb and then fell behind.   The group got mostly back together 10 miles later at the KOM intersection.  Bob, Guido and I wisely decided to only descend halfway down the 5 miles that the rest of the group went in the canyon before turning back around to regroup once again at the KOM spot.  At the bottom of our partial descent Guido got off his bike and spun his rear wheel to learn that when he fixed his tire sidewall he had his brakes severely rubbing his wheel–this is why he felt sluggish on the early climb!

The cops started to close the roads so we had to hustle to get to the top of Glendora so we could see the ToC race go by on their way down the Glendora ridge.  This 10 mile trek was mostly up hill for us and took plenty out of our legs.  We found a great viewing location overlooking the Mt Baldy road.  We put our bikes along one side of the road and had our picnic lunch in the sun while waiting for the race to come by us.  The lead breakaway group had nine riders followed about two minutes later by a large group of riders.  The pro race started climbing from the start in Claremont so there were riders spread out along the course by mile 12 when they rode by our viewing spot.   The scene was busy, crowded and full of excitement.  There were hundreds of bike and riders strewn along the road watching the racers fly by, faces in pain as they climbed to the top.  There were the usual interesting characters who proceeded to run alongside the racers, including the Oregon jersey guy from Mt Palomar, fun stuff to watch.

After the racers and support cars went by, we headed down to Baldy Village for water and prepared to ride the 4 miles to the top of Mt Baldy.  The group quickly scattered and the pace was slow as we climbed the steep grades towards the top.  It was much warmer than planned.  Each curve rose up and showed another climb ahead.  It took me the better part of an hour to get to the top.  We mostly all regrouped at the top, found Bill Wood and John, who were ahead of us to the top.  After some indecision on where to park ourselves by descending 1 km to a retail area set up on the side of the road, we climbed back again to the top to watch the race on the large jumbo tron television.  We had lots of time to relax in the sun and watch the riders race over the same Glendora Mountain roads we climbed early in the morning.  The chase group was caught and Team Radioshack pulled hard to support and protect the yellow jersey of Chris Horner.  At less than 3 km from the top, only Leipheimer and Horner were left as they rode away from the rest of the chasers.  Great finish.

We watched many of the other racers finish at the top before we decided to try to descend back down the mountain.  It was more hectic than Palomar since most of the road at the top was blocked for the last of the racers to finish the stage.  The crowds of riders, walkers and even some of the racers going back down Mt Baldy all hit the road.  Bernie has two flats near the top so we left him in the able care of Ernst while Guido, Oleg and I tried to catch the rest of the group who were well ahead of us by that time.  Oleg and I were able to descend most of Baldy with a few pro riders, motorcycles and support vehicles.  After the village we continued down the mountain and regrouped near the bottom.  We were flying, hitting almost 50 mph down Baldy on the open roads.  The group rode back to our cars, having ridden more than 60 miles and over 7,600 feet of elevation.  Awesome day to be a Descender.

Here are a few photos.  Voris is writing up a trip report.   I will put all the photos on the shutterfly shared album.

Ride on-



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