Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scouting Ride for the August TDF PALMDALE to BIG PINES

Scouting Ride Aug 9 2009 (Photos by Juliet Agrezor)

SUMMARY: In the grand tradition of the Tour de Francis, this route is challenging! Total elevation gain is 6,400 feet in the first 41 miles. (The return trip back to the starting line is slightly different to make it mostly a downhill trip). Total distance is only 80 miles. It’s scenic and mostly free of cars and motorcycles.

Putting on makeup and shoes at the starting line. (Francis and Ricky)

Desert plants dominate the scenery at the start of the ride.

Cactus & Tumbleweed (the vegetation, not the cyclists) at 106th Street. (Jess & Mandy)

Gradually the scenery is replaced by pine trees and ski trails. (Manny & Jess)

The first 10 miles are easy. Enjoy it. It gets "funner" after that.

Heading toward destiny (Gerald in front; Ricky and Jess follow)

Peloton together for the last time at Fort Tejon Road. When the climbing starts, the group will break up. (Manny, Jess, Mandy, Alan, Gerald, Ricky)

At MILE # 17 you will start the 3-mile climb toward DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL, an ascent of 1000 feet, with a continuous 9% pitch in the last 2 miles. It's a popular rock-climbing spot, elevation 4700 feet. There’s a porto-potty at the summit, so anyone who didn't get their "morning business" done yet, can do it here.

Devil’s Punchbowl (Alan, Mandy, Jess, Ricky, Gerald, Manny)

While coasting downhill on Valyermo road at MILE MARKER # 25 or so, you will cross the SAN ANDREAS FAULT earthquake line. If you are willing to stop along this downhill to have your photo taken, it’s worth it.

"Don't blame me, not my fault" says Francis

Then you will start climbing BIG PINES HWY, a 15 mile climb leading to the junction of Angeles Crest Hwy where the elevation is 6,700 feet;

Big Pine Hwy with view of Palmdale below (Alan suffering)

Much needed Rest stop along Big Pines Hwy

The final hill leading to the corner or Angeles Crest Hwy features 12% gradient.

The last mile to the lunch stop, a SKI-JUMP parking lot, features gradients of 6% - 12%. The final elevation is 7100 feet.

Last mile is always hard

You will climb to a height of 7,100 feet at the SKI JUMP parking lot on Mile # 41.

The scouting ride was made possible by the following contributions: Juliet and Francis for SAG'ing and donating provisions. Ricky for lending his truck (while he rode on his bike). Gerald (a Palmdale resident) for collaborating with Francis on planning the route. Thanks to the gullible cyclists who agreed to scout the route: Gerald, Allan, Manny, Jess, Ricky, and Mandy. Oh, and you can blame Manny for letting Francis know, at the last moment, about the existence of a SKI JUMP. The mad scientist Francis rubbed his hands with glee as that hill became a last-minute addition to the route.