Mt Baldy, USA
It has not snowed like this for 30 years. It has not rained like this for 10 years. To see snow on the foothills of Los Angeles was wild. It was concerning also. Would it be possible to ride? Only one way to find out.
On this adventure, I’d be riding solo. My setup? The Bright As Day 3000 lamp was my primary, which was mounted on my GPS mount and to compliment, the Bright As Day 2000 on my helmet. The 3000 on its brightest setting would flood the road with light, which was handy as there were multiple sections with rockfall. The 2000 provided light where I was directly looking (great for looking around bends). The 2000 lamp itself is super light. A cable linking to a battery in the back of my gilet. You barely know you have it on.
Mt Baldy, a classic climb in Los Angeles, with it has featured in the Tour of California until the race finished in 2019. A climb which had been on my bucket list for ages, with the route taking me up to 1387m above sea level. 1224m of climbing in 32km.
It is 5 pm and I see the gate at the bottom of Glendora Mountain road, it’s shut. I speak to a local, and they say there is lots of snow at the top and landslides. The road is closed. My heart sank, but then maybe this is a glorious opportunity to ride a closed road and experience the climb not only at night but with no cars and snow! Onwards.
Up through the first set of switchbacks, climbing away from the city with the sun starting to lower. My plan for this ride was to climb up during the day and begin my descent once the sun had set. The best of both worlds!
The gradient in this section is not too steep, around 6 per cent. It’s my kind of climb, not too steep that it starts to mess with my cadence. I can set a tempo pace and keep my regular cadence. It was good to go fast, for the fun aspect, but also to keep my body temperature up. As I climb it gets cooler and to my disappointment, the road to Mt Baldy Village was closed due to snow. However, I did manage to climb to the East Fork with spectacular views.
Lights on, it’s time to make the descent. The mountain tops a glorious pink, with the final light hitting them. My word!
That hour or so was magical, but then it was equally fun for the light to have completely disappeared. Amazed by just how bright my light setup was, I could ride at any speed I wanted, well within my rider abilities anyway! such as the effective brightness, I felt no reduction in sight compared to riding during the day.
Downwards I rode and with every vertical meter of descent the air temp got a fraction warmer and the lights of Los Angeles in the background got closer. A very surreal experience, with all the senses, heightened. No wind, no sounds. Just me and my bike.
The final few bends, a bitter-sweet moment. Happy to be back in warmer temperatures, saddened by this mini adventure is over. I had experienced Mt Baldy in such a unique and special way. Hope you can too.
- Moonlight Bright as Day 3000 (primary on bike lamp)
- Moonlight Bright As Day 2000 (Helmet mounted lamp)