Friday, January 27, 2012

Searching for the Psycho-lists...

GMR Friday turned out to be that and more, much more in fact than I was planning on. Psycho-lists left just a bit too early for me, but I knew where they were planning to go, what route they would take. That route was supposed to be up GMR - down East Fork - down Highway 39. Assuming that wouldn't change somewhere along the way is what got me into trouble. I figured that if I rode that route backward we would cross paths, probably along Highway 39, maybe the lower portion of East Fork; I could turn around at that point and ride back with them from there. It would be a relatively easy ride, perfect since I had ridden miserably on a short ride yesterday. So much for best laid plans. I kept going along East Fork, further and further, without seeing them, finally realizing their plans had obviously changed and I was going to have to alter mine as well. I could either turn around and still have a relatively easy day, or go ahead and tackle that butt-kicking East Fork climb. If you have guessed that I chose to continue climbing, you guessed correctly. In reality there was really only one way to go once across the East Fork Bridge, and that was up.

Oscar pulling along the East Fork Road, the river on the left, and serious climbing ahead.
just past Williams and Hudsons Bay Camps. not a single vehicle passed from here up to GMR

Fortunately I had been joined further down along Highway 39 by Oscar, who had caught up to me, I am thinking easily, although he said otherwise. Oscar is a strong climber who probably could have left me behind at any time, but rode at a comfortable pace that was doable, even after my back started giving me some grief. The Santa Ana's were forecast to return today, and that they did, hitting the mountains hard. As it was they were at their worst where we made the switchback to begin the steeps of East Fork. One second they were giving us a helping push from behind, the next they turned face, hellaciously pounding us from the front. I swear during one of the sudden transitions from helpful to tormenting I was nearly blown over the side. There is no detracting from the beauty of this route, and the winds not-withstanding, the day was a stunning one up in the mountains. 

And the Psycho-lists? We did eventually cross paths - I was about four miles from home, they, almost back to their start point in LaVerne (after GMR, they did GRR to Baldy, down San Antonio Canyon and back). A fine day either way - for me 56 miles, 4600 feet of climbing, 3.5 hours.

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