Pine Mountain Ramble

Day 1 of my post-retirement vacation trip, escape from LA at 6am. Even at that early hour there is more traffic than you would think. I could tell from local congestion before even getting on the 405, so I skipped a stop at Starbucks for my normal decaf Americano and wedged onto the freeway as soon as I could. Jams on the South Bay curve, near the Hughes Center (where my auto hood got crumpled earlier in the summer during another traffic jam), and south of the Santa Monica freeway. But north of that it was open running all the way out of town on I-5, propelled by 50s & 60s Elvis songs on the CD player.

Farther north on I-5 I exited to head west through Frazier Park and on to Pine Mountain Club. My intent was to ride from Pine Mountain Club up to the parking lot at Mt Pinos. The weather was clear and crisp in the morning, looking like a perfect riding day. I pulled my Litespeed road bike out of the car, kitted up and started spinning, heading back east toward Frazier Park on some steep rollers toward the spur road that climbs to Mt Pinos.

Pine Mountain Club start

Pine Mountain Club start

Right away I felt like I was sucking wind, and my legs felt heavy. Maybe due to only 4.5 hours of sleep? How about the fact that Pine Mountain Club is at 4900′ feet and I live at probably 50′ above sea level. Glad I have a granny triple on this bike because I was USING it. Thankfully the road that goes up to Pinos is not as steep, but on the other hand it just keeps elevating, so I spent most of the climb spinning a 39×27. The Pinos parking lot is at 8300′ which made for a slow and steady climb.

Right turn and up

Right turn and up

late summer blooms

late summer blooms

Nordic center on Mt Pinos, closed for the season.

Nordic center on Mt Pinos, closed for the season.

higher than the Col du Tourmalet

higher than the Col du Tourmalet

Coming back down was a different story. Wide road and easy curves that allow full speed descending without braking, just watch out for stray pine cones and pavement divots from the winter snow plows. And on an off-season Wednesday morning, no traffic to speak of. On the way up just 1 passenger car and 3 fully loaded BMW touring motos, on the way down just 1 RV and a pickup truck. 28+ miles and 5420′ of gain, no bears.

down we go

down we go

down we go

down we go

watch for papa bear and sonny

watch for papa bear and sonny

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