No, not the amusement park version. This is the real mountain. Along the Santa Clara Divide Rd, which runs a long ways across the San Gabriel Mtns, there is a prominent peak adorned with the typical array of antennas, microwave dishes, etc. All last year I had planned on riding to it by extending a very popular hillclimb, riding past the typical summit and continuing east for another couple of hours.
I never made that ride. It bugged me. It felt like an un-done thing left hanging, a dangling carrot if you will.
So, one week after VQ, I figured I would chase the carrot a bit. And, since I had no good reason not to, I decided to take the SS. Ever since I had begun riding single speed, the first part of this ride, a 1800' climb up from San Fernando Rd, had teased me as an SS-able challenge. I takes me an hour on the geared bike, give or take a few minutes depending on how I am feeling that day. This day it took me an hour, just a bit less, actually, so once again I find the SS is very comparable to riding the geary time wise. Effort wise, it was harder. I walked a few places rather than put the hurt on my legs/knees, but rode most of it. The thing about climbing on an SS is this: if you are moving well, actually close to or on top of the gear, you are moving pretty fast. Faster than a typical rider spinning a much smaller gear. Not too many guys ride that hill in a 32/20 combo. But, if you are under the gear or walking, you are moving pretty slowly. For me, it averages out as I usually have a blend of both. I can see how a very strong rider can really crush it on a light SS.
Looking west, the fog was laying heavy over the San Fernando Valley.
Anyway, I continued on past the first summit, past the second summit, and continued to the third summit, the highest point of the day. Magic Mountain is no place you would go out of your way to be, but I sure enjoyed that carrot I had been chasing. The arrow in the one pic shows the second summit way back in the distance.
From here I retraced my steps and ended up with five hours of riding, 35 miles under the wheels and 6200' feet of climbing. It got me thinking that this was approx 2/3s of what VQ was in both mileage and elevation gain. Based on today, could I do VQ SS? Well, I was pretty blasted in the last climbs as I worked my way back over the second summit section. I could not have done a full VQ distance this day. Maybe a 32/21 combo and a lot of training would do it. Not sure. It is a year away and who knows?
"Please don't let me die."
8 months ago