Thursday, March 25, 2010

3/23 Ride Report - GMR Recon

In a major tour, such as the Le Tour de France, the winner often comes out from those that do well in the mountain stages in the Alps or Pyrenees. Riders like Armstrong and Contador often scout these terrain before the race. Three VeloViets were sent to recon GMR. Here is their report.

The GMR climb from the gate to Baldy Village is approximately 21 miles. The ride is often viewed as two stages, from the gate to the East Fork (9-mile mark), and from East Fork to Baldy Vilage. Our recon is to the Edison Building, roughly right before the East Fork.

Photo #1 - GMR Elevation Profile

The VeloViets actually started in San Dimas which is about 10 miles further south of the GMR starting gate. A quick photo and we are off.

Photo #2 - Long, Toan, and Phong at the start.

Easily the steepest part of the ride is the 1/2 mile right before the GMR gate. This is a very short distance though, so put it on your 25 cassette and just rough it out.

Photo #3 - Start of the GMR climb right before the GMR gate.

GMR starts to twist and turn quickly like a snake. We found that a pace of 6-8 mph is a comfortable and maintainable pace. By the way, a tip to our photographer Cuong... taking too much photos will require energy to catch back up with the group. Easier done on flat terrain but much harder to do on a climb as you can see from the picture below.

Photo #4 - Toan and Long leaving Phong in the dust.

Around the 5-mile mark, we stop to let the photographer catch his breath, eat a snack, and to enjoy the scenery a bit.

Photo #5 - Toan and Long at the first rest stop.

Photo #6 - Toan and Phong at the first rest stop.

Off we go again. We can see the road ahead curving back and forth as it climbs up the mountain. Around the 6-mile mark there is a short flat section. For those adventurous and who wants the glory, this is a good mark to attack as most folk tends to relax here to recover a bit.

Photo #7 - VeloViets working it up the climb.

Around the 7-mile mark, we were hit with cross winds and had a hard time keeping the bikes moving in a straight line. Long is extremely familiar with GMR and said that he has never seen the winds this strong up here. This wind stayed with us all the way to the Edison Building, the 9-mile mark and the destination of our recon ride.

Photo #8 - Long and Phong at the Edison Building.

Photo #9 - The view from the top.

For GMR, you will need at least a 25-tooth rear cassette if your bike had a standard crankset. Carbon wheels was okay interms of braking, but the aero rim was really hard for me to control with the wind. I had the 46mm Reynolds. Suggest a lower profile wheelset as the aero wheel will not help on GMR.

Photo #10 - The tools on this climb.

You will need 2 full water bottles on this ride as there is no water until Baldy Village. Bring some food to snack on during the climb. There is a restaurant too at the Village.

See ya,


  1. wow, secxret training. what's up with many breaks? Oh, it was because of the pictures? j/k. Nice pace up to hill. this is a good ride. much easier than palomar.

  2. Cap't, the breaks was for me, the photo guy. It's hard to take pictures then chase back up again.

    Have fun tomorrow @ Tom's Farm!

  3. Cap't. - Phong was humble enough to not let me down by saying to the world that he needed to rest...the rest stop was not for him! was for the rookie me. It was my first long climb of my dear life and my back hurt like hell...I requested to stop on the half way up. Thanks to Long and Phong who did not decide to leave me behind...I could see the fire in their eyes that they all just wanted to sprint off. Especially Long, man this guy got all the patience waited up for the old fellow who kept on counting mile by mile in his head and pedaling along with his heart beat rate kept on rising. On the way down, the cross-wind was brutal... I weighed only 130 lbs and was not enough weight to anchor me & the bike down to the road, at one turn I thought I was about to hang-glide with my bike off the cliff, in front of me Phong was hanging tie with his wobbling dip-wheeled bike. Long was 20-30 yards behind he had also slowed down with his troubled down-hill bike. Boy, we were all glad that we got over with that wind tunnel... . I am telling the true that I could not finished this climb w/o these two buddies. BTW, Ngoc you are awesome! by reached to the Edison building by your self.

  4. Nice work fellas! Always nice to hear you all had a good ride and came home safe.