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A few Noob GMR questions

Old 02-03-19, 10:43 AM
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TakingMyTime
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A few Noob GMR questions

I have decided that this year is going to be the year I break out of my rut. That rut being... flat and level roads.

I'm intrigued and a bit envious when I read about everyone's experiences up and down the GMR. I love the idea and location of this ride and would like to begin the challenge. My training plan is to begin slowly and build up to a level that would eventually get me to the top. Granted, this will take some time. I would plan on training mile to mile. If I was only able to get up the road 1 or 2 miles during the first week of practice I would consider that an excellent start. My Trek 5200 has a triple front and I'm sure the 30 tooth gear is going to get a hell of a workout. The goal is to eventually get to the top. I don't need to be the fastest.

OK, enough with the statement about my fitness level and workout plans. Those things I can take care of myself and are only mentioned as a bit of a background.

With that said...

1. Is the road open year round? I believe I've seen pictures posted here of a gate being closed. Does that mean that it is still ok for bikes and that only cars are prohibited? Obviously there may be weather restrictions that would prevent one from safely making the trip.

2. Is there a location where most people begin this ride? There appears to be parking at the Dalton Camp fire station. I would just like to ensure I'm am parked legally without the fear of being towed.

3. Water? I plan on taking 2 large bottles. I'm not too worried about it in the beginning since I don't plan on making it too far up the road. But eventually, where are the water stops?

4. Traffic? I plan on doing my rides on weekdays and beginning (7,8 or 9 am) before the sun gets too hot. Still... that road looks very narrow. Anything in particular to look out for? I will be riding with front and rear flashing lights.

5. What is Cell coverage like?
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Old 02-03-19, 12:06 PM
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1. It can get snowed or set on fire and they close off the road to everyone. Or in the summer they close it off to automobiles when the fire danger is high or on major holidays.

2. I would start at Encanto Park, the Glendora High School when school is not in session, or park on Boulder Springs, in that order.

3. There is water at Camp Williams if going up the backside and at the Baldy Lodge. Once you get to the lodge you are probably done with 70% of your climbing anyways unless you are oging to the lifts.

4. You should be fine on the weekday mornings. Look out for dirt/rocks.

5. Scant but there are some spots with occasional coverage. Just make sure you keep the rubber side down.
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Old 02-03-19, 12:21 PM
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Elvo,

Thanks. I think that covers it. If I can think of anything else I'll be sure to post it up.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:25 PM
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Sierra Madre to Baldy Village is 3,500ft over 22 miles. It's not exactly the toughest hill around. I don't know anything about your climbing history or ability, but I do know that I'm not the strongest climber out there (not by a long shot)-- and last 4th of July I rode 40 miles from home, climbed GMR, and rode 40 miles home. About half of GRR is rollers, so it's a bit easier than other local climbs of similar length.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:27 PM
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Bookmark this website, if the road is closed it will be listed here. There is not a lot of traffic anyway, but if the road is closed to motor vehicles, so much the better.

https://dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures/
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Old 02-03-19, 10:11 PM
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DrIsotope, Thanks for the words of encouragement. Once the rain blows away I plan on getting back up to my 30-40 flat land rides and then start trying out the GMR. My hill climbing ability leaves a lot to be desired. You're talking to a guy who hates freeway overpasses. Those overpasses can be brutal, lol.
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Old 02-03-19, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
DrIsotope, Thanks for the words of encouragement. Once the rain blows away I plan on getting back up to my 30-40 flat land rides and then start trying out the GMR. My hill climbing ability leaves a lot to be desired. You're talking to a guy who hates freeway overpasses. Those overpasses can be brutal, lol.
You're overthinking it. There are plenty of places to stop and rest for a bit or even longer if you have to. And if you're simply unable to continue just turn around. It's all downhill back to your car.
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Old 02-04-19, 12:21 AM
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getting up to the “shack” about 6 miles up features the steepest parts but it’s never ramps/walls. just a few switchbacks. for me, the toughest part is the last third
to cow saddle where the road descends to
mt. baldy village. if you didn’t hydrate or fuel up enough, this is where you will feel it. eat and drink plenty beforehand and since it’s your first time, start
early and carry two water bottles along with a clif or powerbar.

do not count on cell service on any stretch of gmr/grr. at all.

i usually park at either either pioneer park (where there is a restroom) about a five mile warmup east along sierra madre blvd from azusa to the start. or, i just park at the base (gmr/sierra madre) and go

in the warmer months-april thru nov-the lower part of the climb can warm up uncomfortably quickly. a < 8am start is advised.

traffic on on weekdays is super minimal. weekends tend to bring out the inexperienced and deathwish drivers/motorcyclists.
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Old 02-04-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tunavic View Post
You're overthinking it.
The story of my life. Anytime I venture off on a new trail or road I seem to have an obsession to quantify as much about it as possible. You should see me the week before the wife and I go on a driving vacation. I'm consulting maps, creating itineraries, calculating drive times. But the good thing is usually once I'm out on the road I'm able to toss all that planning aside and really enjoy myself.

Because really when you think about it, all that this involves is me driving up the 605 fwy, finding a parking spot and riding up a hill.
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Old 02-04-19, 09:11 PM
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There are basically two parts to going up GMR. At the 9 mile mark there's a ranger maintenance shed (the shack), then the road turns into mostly rollers for another 6 miles or so and then you have another 3-4 mile climb, ending with a steep descent to Baldy Village.
If you're nervous, just set a goal of making it to the shack the first time. As tunavic says, you can turn around at about any time and have nothing but down hills back to your car.
The main concern for me is weather. It can get cold and icy up there in the winter months and it can get hot as blazes in the summer sun. Spring and fall are usually awesome times of year to ride up there.
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Old 02-05-19, 11:12 AM
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Old 02-25-19, 11:02 PM
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The main concern should be crazy drivers and motorcyclists. I would love to attempt to cycle GMR, but after seeing it from a driver's/motorcyclist's perspective I'll avoid it for the dangers it presents. Same goes for ACH. I bet they're both lovely roads to enjoy on a bicycle.
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Old 02-26-19, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
The main concern should be crazy drivers and motorcyclists. I would love to attempt to cycle GMR, but after seeing it from a driver's/motorcyclist's perspective I'll avoid it for the dangers it presents. Same goes for ACH. I bet they're both lovely roads to enjoy on a bicycle.
they are.
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Old 02-26-19, 07:49 AM
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Whenever I do begin attempting this ride I will only be doing it on weekdays in order to encounter the least amount of traffic possible.
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Old 02-26-19, 08:38 AM
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sounds good. enjoy. you may surprise yourself with your performance. the scenery markedly improves once past the "shack."
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Old 02-26-19, 12:35 PM
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There's something to be said for doing it on a Saturday when there is plenty of other bicycle traffic on the road.
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Old 02-26-19, 01:27 PM
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Just do it in mid-December. Nobody out there. No cars, no bikes either. Because on holidays when the road is closed to cars, it’s overflowing with so-called cyclists that need the whole width of the road to take a turn. They’re scarier than the cars.
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