This ride puts my other ride to shame.
After driving down from Big Bear, Spencer and Karol-Ann and I parted ways, with me doing my own ride. I planned on riding up highway 330, which is closed to traffic due to a landslide taking out a huge section of road earlier this fall. I’ve been hearing rumors that you can ride up it for a peaceful, car-less 10 miles or so until you reach highway 18. From there I would ride the rest of the way back up to Big Bear, about another 15 miles of climbing with some flat and descending sections too. Nothing too bad. Here’s what that ride would have looked like:
I also had 3×12 minute intervals to do, which was the most important part of the day. These weren’t just any old 12′ threshold intervals, no sir. They were a combination of zones 4, 5, and even 6! These bad boys hurt your legs reeeaaal good.
Of course, from the way I said “planned” earlier, you can tell that things did not go as I planned. I rode over to highway 330, looked for cops, and quickly jumped over the cement barricade blocking the onramp. I had a whole freeway to myself, though I was pretty worried about someone calling the cops on me, so the serene feeling I had been hoping for from the lack of traffic wasn’t present. Instead I constantly looked over my shoulder, waiting for a cement truck to come screaming by, blaring its horn at me or a cop to come stop me mid-interval (there’s no way I would have stopped mid-interval, so a slow-motion police chase would have ensued. Anyways, I rode up as quietly and inconspicuously as I could. I thought mouse-like thoughts, and either averted my eyes hoping to be invisible, or waved friendlily at the few construction vehicles that passed in the other lane going down the mountain. If I couldn’t be invisible, I’d at least look friendly so maybe they wouldn’t call the cops.
Unfortunately, I was stopped before I even got to the land slide area, where there’s a little lip of pavement left that I heard on the internet and also from word of mouth that you might be able to skirt by on. There was no chance of this, since there were way too many construction workers up there.
On another note, here’s some pictures of the snow melt down in Redlands from the mountain up above.
You can’t tell from the pictures, but these rapids are all at least 60 feet high.
And now for the highway 330 pictures:
Easily hop-able barricade.
Extreme caution as in “we’re sorry if a speeding truck hits you.”
If you look closely you can see a back-hoe on the hill. I think this is where the landslide is. There’s a helicopter up above for some reason, most likely for ambiance to give everything a feeling of legitimacy.
And legitimacy is exactly what was needed too. These are the guys that told me I couldn’t go any farther. So I took some pictures of them. The guy standing up scrambled to put his vest and helmet on and pleaded with me to delete the pictures of him where he wasn’t wearing either. In his angst, he forgot to put his boots on.
Here’s what the damage supposedly looks like. There’s obviously plenty of room on the left to get by on a bike.
Anyways, I turned around and did my intervals on the lower slopes. They were hard. Listen to these three songs while you look at the picture of agony on my face, and you can get an idea of what the intervals were like (you know they hurt because I took this picture about 15 minutes after I was finished).
You might be wondering how I tote all my extra warm clothes and food around. After all, it was 70 degrees down in the valley and just above freezing up above on the mountain (in the evening). So here’s the answer: a tote bag! These shoe bags are completely kick butt. Thanks to Ryan Gielow, I’m now the proud owner of not one, not two, but THREE of these Shimano shoe bags. My goal is to have one for every day of the week. (Note: sandwich placement is not optimal, especially after a sweaty three hours in the saddle).
From there I got off the desolate highway 330 and began heading back to highway 38, which was my alternative route. There was no backing out and getting a ride up the mountain, since Spencer had driven to LA for the night. If I was going to get home to my precious stock pile of bananas and watermelon, there’d be another 50 miles of climbing to do. But before I got there somehow I managed to get lost while riding through a neighborhood and ended up on dead end col-d-sac. I saw a little path next to an orange orchard so I went down it to see if it lead out to another street, since I didn’t want to ride up the steep-ass hill I had just gone down. Instead of an outlet I found this:
And you know what that means:
It was fun for a few laps, but it didn’t quite compare with last year’s Tucson recovery rides.
Afterwards, I found my way back to highway 38 and located a Circle K (just had to look in any direction; they’re on every block) and loaded up. Snickers, bag of gummy worms and of course, an apple pie.
The rest of the ride was pretty similar to last time, except I rode for about 2 hours in the dark this time. Here’s the route:
Note the elevation gain down at the right hand corner. I felt like I was climbing forever, especially since it was pitch black out and I couldn’t see a thing except for the stars and the reflectors on the road. There was very little traffic during the last hour of climbing, and the flashing of my front strobe light (which Spencer loaned me just in case highway 330 didn’t work) kept me in a rave-like trance. Despite the cold mountain air and snow on the sides of the road, I stayed warm. After all, I’d eaten about 3,000 calories of almost pure sugar at that point. But with just a little bit of climbing to go, the apple pie in my backpack began calling to me. It had been smashed in my bag, and its gooey, sweet, sweet inards had been released from the delicate flakey crust, coating the inside of the package and making it super sticky to eat. I devoured it, eyes closed in the dark night, and licked the package and my gloves clean of the apple filling goodness in such bliss, two shooting stars up above stopped to gaze in awe. Dear Lord of the packaged pie, please give me the strength to continue to ride hard and ride long, for my human body does not poses the greatness which the task at hand demands. Please, oh Heavenly Apple Pie Father, bless upon me the courage to climb these last 1,400 feet and then firmly grip the brakes during my half hour descent into town, so that I may live to ride another day. The pie prayer saved me once again and gave me super-human strength to climb the last little bit of the mountain and ride home without even the slightest inkling of a bonk. Without the pie, though, the last hour of the ride would have been slightly miserable, since all I had left at that point was a small package of sour gummy bears. Sour gummy bears, though delicious, can never take the place of a Hostess Apple Pie. In fact, the pie was so fulfilling, I didn’t even need those damn gummy bears. I got home at 8:10 PM after six hours and forty-five minutes of riding, having burned 5,700 kilojouls. I downed a big fruit smoothie while I sat in an ice bath, then made a huge bowl of oats and cooked fruit to take in the bath (this time a hot bath). There’s no better way to end a ride like this than soaking in a hot bath with a huge bowl of oatmeal. Except, maybe if that oatmeal was cheese cake or pizza instead of oats and fruit. Or if the bath water was chocolate creme instead of water. But that’s only for the pros (so I’ve heard), us amateurs have to be happy with regular old bath water and oatmeal.
Goodbye, sun. Hello, getting run over by a car in the dark. And hello, unavoidable since they’re now un-see-able, patches of slush and gravel.
Getting into Big Bear at last. I tried to get a picture of the ski slopes, but it wouldn’t show up on camera. It took all my remaining will power to refrain from stopping at one of the hundreds of thousands of fast food restaurants I had to pass to get home to the hostel.
It’s a much larger bowl of food than it appears on camera. I swear.
3/4 cups of oat bran
1 handful of grapes
1/2 cup of raisins
1 dollop of fake maple syrup