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 #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.