Oddities found riding Angeles National Forest

ANFTitle

Cycling isn’t just about the bikes.

For me, it’s also good to provide escape and something to look forward to beyond the normal everyday stresses of life.

Of course, if you’re looking to go somewhere really remote to find that solitude, it’s probably good to bring a friend along.

I thought I lost my friend Vic to my style of dirt riding when he sold his ‘cross bike a couple of years ago before reaching its first birthday.

 

 

 

Maybe I had something to do with this, but Vic recently got a Niner RLT 9 RDO making us twinsies and he’s been digging it ever since.

I was yearning a return to Pacifico Mountain and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to make Vic fall in love with gravel riding even more.

For this ride, I was planning on leaving the camera mostly in the pocket, only pulling it out when the opportunity was simple.

You see a lot more moving at the speed of cycling and especially more than drivers because where we were going in the Angeles National Forest, there were mostly no cars:

 

Odd01a

We started out of the fire station at the intersection of Angeles Forest Highway and Upper Big Tujunga for a 38 mile clockwise look which was about half dirt and 5k feet of climbing. It’s tougher than the numbers.

Vic was also lucky I had an extra jacket in my car because I knew it was going to get cold up at 7,000 feet. Fortunately, my jacket fit the rest of his wardrobe.

 

Odd01

From far away on the highway, it was hard to make out what was happening ahead. Was it a film shoot? Someone installing satellite equipment? It looked strange until we got closer.

 

Odd02

Sure enough the driver took this turn way too fast. It must of just happened since we were less than two miles from the responding fire station. Both of the people inside the truck were fine, but have some explaining to do.

 

Odd04

Past the wreckage, we could start to see Pacifico Mountain Road wind up the mountain range. Even from a high speed roadway from afar, it seemed like we were already attached to the tranquilness.

 

Odd03

Oh deer. It is hunting season, but this carcass lay just off to the side of the road. Thank god for my zoom lens because I don’t have words for the stench.

 

Odd05

Before hitting dirt, I filled out the hiker’s log which I missed on the previous trip. I made sure to include my handle in case anyone wanted to tweet me!

 

Odd08

The pitch was steady, but the road was a lot sandier than the ride five months ago. The hot, extended summer probably had a lot to do with that.

 

 

Odd12

Vic was equally overwhelmed by the celestial panoramas Pacifico Mountain provides. It’s enough to make me want to take up camping, but probably not.

 

Odd10

I really hope this isn’t ancient hieroglyphics, otherwise, I really have to rethink humanity.

 

Odd06

I had to include one front facing photo of Vic, since all the rest were #foreverbuttshots. The 1.4 mile climb was harder than before as the increase in sand pushed the limits to what I could handle. I was even more impressed with Vic since he was riding narrower and less knobby tires.

 

Odd11
The ride down is gorgeous, but part of the problem is taking it in. You really need to grip your drops and I even went off-road once. Fortunately, it was the non-ledge side.

 


One thing about approaching Pacifico Mountain from the east: You’re not going to be able to do this in anything with more than two wheels.

 

Odd17

This downed tree completely blocked the road. We were surprised that it was just a small part of a much larger tree.

 


Riding towards Chilao required avoiding a number of obstacles, like downed trees and rocks pushing us to the edge. We passed the only two people of the day on dirt here, but Vic didn’t notice they were brandishing guns.

 

Odd15

 

The final nine mile stretch back on Upper Big Tujunga wasn’t as fun as normal since the headwind was really letting us have it. Still, we had such a great ride that we didn’t feel as bothered as we should.

That’s what rides like these do.

 

 

  • Mike Wilkinson

    Nice write up… thanks!