I planned a ride this Sunday morning with a couple of friends; one of them (J) used to ride more and is very fit but hasn’t done anything much more than a mile commute for a year or so the other (N) is a top end cyclist who lives and breathes cycling, I’m in the middle so it’s a bit of a spread in levels.  I planned  this as a social ride which means not fast and plenty of time to stop take photos etc.

The route looks like this (it’s known to many as Lower Big T)

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It’s effectively climbing the mountains in the Angeles National Forest, here’s the profile

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So it’s about 35 miles long and about 4,000ft of climbing.

Unfortunately N cancelled at the last minute and J made his way to mine by bike so he’d already had the longest ride of his year by the time he’s reached me and the planned early start was most of an hour later than hoped.

All of this stress at the beginning was washed quickly away as we set off and immediately the scenery went from city to this

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Apologies on the picture quality of these images, some they were taken with phone and many whilst moving

I do love living 2 minutes away from views like this 🙂

We took it slow and easy and just enjoyed chatting and looking around; despite this being a regular route for many cyclists in the LA area this was the first time for both of us.

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The scenery just gets better and better as you climb.  The only downside is these roads are a popular destination for speed junkies on fast motorbikes and cars so the peace is interrupted by the roar of engines frequently and this was also one of the reasons I didn’t want to ride this alone.

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As J hadn’t ridden properly for a while and his knees were already sore we had (in the absence of N) thought to just do some of the route and see how far we got we kept going though and got to the point where it seemed easier to carry on than to turn back – looking forward to the near ten miles of downhill one we reached the summit.

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We stopped a few times to rest J’s knees  but slowly plodded on in the August heat.  Eventually reaching our high point at the Clear Creek Information Station.  Another cyclist was there topping up his water bottles and after a brief exchange of pleasantries he set off again shouting “see you up there!”.  J and I looked at each other UP there?  we weren’t going any further up and our destination was down the hill and it features cold beer …his knees needed lubrication desperately.

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The down hill was exhilarating; miles of twisting roads with very little need to pedal.

At the bottom we still had a few miles to go via a smaller hill which seemed to go on forever but eventually beer was in hand and German style sausage was being consumed.

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A great ride overall and one I will do again; maybe a little faster next time when knees are in better shape and hopefully N can make it too – maybe I’ll take a long a proper camera too.