On today’s ride I previewed a portion of the Tour of California Stage 6. I began my ride from Encanto Park in Duarte. The TOC will start in Palmdale but I didn’t want to drive all the way out there 😉 So my ride started in Duarte which is 617 feet above sea level. I then climbed Hwy 39 to Hwy 2, Angeles Crest Hwy. I then continued on Hwy 2 up to Dawson Saddle 7901 Elevation. From Dawson Saddle I descended towards Wrightwood. Along the way I climbed up to Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation. I rode through Wrightwood and descended until I made the junction with Hwy 138. From there it was basically 20 mile climb back to Dawson Saddle. From Dawson Saddle it is essentially a 35 mile downhill back to Encanto Park in Duarte.
You’ll note the third lap says “3000 to water stream” which stands for from the 3,000 feet elevation sign until the water stream. So let’s talk about nutrition and planning your fluid stops. The key thing you need to know about this ride is that services are VERY LIMITED. Once you leave Encanto Park in Duarte there aren’t any stores until you get to Wrightwood (about 50 miles and 8,400 feet of climbing away). However, about an hour into the ride or 14 miles you reach a gate. From this point forward the road is closed to vehicular traffic except work vehicles and I guess there are a few residents that have access.
I’m not a big fan of camelback hydration systems so I generally won’t use them. On today’s ride I took an extra bottle for a total of three. The weather was fairly cool considering I began my ride at 11am. Later in the year I like to start this ride at first light. It can be really hot at the lower elevations in the summer months.
At about 4,000 elevation there is a stream coming through the wall. I drank one bottle from the start in Duarte to the water stream and refilled ONE bottle. In hindsight, I probably should have taken in more calories by drinking two bottles and then refilling two bottles at the water stream. I left the water stream with three bottles that lasted me until AFTER I had climbed back up from Hwy 138 ( approx 3:47, 6870 feet of climbing, 42.69 miles and 1925 kjs).
Once again the weather was cool but on a hot day you would have to probably take another bottle — total of four OR take a hydration system. Just a personal note– I don’t like to stop at stores when doing epic rides like this. The last water stop was a visitor center with clean restrooms.
In case I’ve thoroughly confused you here are my stops:
1. Water stream about 20 miles into the ride and 4,000 feet of gain (ONE bottle refill)
2. Vistor Center outskirts of Wrightwood 3:47, 6870 feet and 42.69 miles later (THREE bottle refill)
My nutrition consisted of Infinit Nutrition powder mix and a few bars for chewing sake.
No other stops for fluids or food.
The climb from Duarte to Dawson Saddle is almost 8,000 feet of vertical gain in one straight shot. There are a few rollers here and there but essentially you climb for 35 miles and gain 7700 feet.
Living at sea level doesn’t stop me from getting my climb on! You have to love California. I drive 40 minutes from my home and I can climb all the way to 7900 feet from 600 feet.
On my return from Wrightwood I climbed up to Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation for the second time. Only this time it was late in the afternoon and the typical weather pattern for mountain regions made itself known. There were storm clouds and I knew I needed to get off the mountain as soon as possible. I was fortunate not to get rained on. However, once the clouds covered the sun the temps dropped quickly above 7,000 feet. I knew of course that once I got to Dawson Saddle at 7901 Elevation it was “all downhill from there” and the weather would get warmer as I dropped in elevation.
Probably hard to read but this is Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation.