It was 38°F at Wilson when we arrived at about 8:15am Sunday, December 7th. Foggy, a light drizzle, the ground soaked and the creeks running from a couple of days of El Niño rain, it promised to be a great ride. Martin "El Presidente" Gomez, Tony "The Peck" Quiroz, and Jon "Seldom-Seen" Adams made up the contingent of hardened, ultra-pro downhillers (yeah, right) who would make this annual journey.
The elevation at the top of the Toll Road at Wilson is 5600' - the elevation at Pasadena Cyclery(PC), the end of the line, is about 800'. Total horizontal distance is about 12 miles, with most of the drop in the first 6. We met at about 7:40 at Pasadena Cyclery, the starting point for many of our rides. Today, since it was going to be a one-way ride, I left my truck at PC and we loaded the bikes up into Martin's truck for the run up the mountain. Once we finished the ride and had returned to PC, I'd then ferry Martin back up the hill to grab his truck.
In the image above, the San Gabriels are in the background, about 3 miles away, and Mt Wilson, the immediate goal, is the flat ridge on the skyline right where the telephone pole is. From PC, it'd be a 9 mile drive up the 210 Freeway to La Cañada and the Angeles Crest Hwy, then 20 miles up that to Red Box at about 4500', then a final 5 miles of twisty-turny narrow two-lane in the clouds to the 5600' elevation of Mt Wilson.
Today I was borrowing PC's new Klein Mantra Pro bike - $2400 of really cool, ultasuspended aluminum alloy that promised a wild ride. With a sweet paint job and top of the line components, it was going to be a far cry from my old warhorse. I was more than a little concerned with crashing the bike and destroying it...
When we arrived at Wilson, we were in the midst of a cloud, the temp around 40F, and a light drizzle. In expectation of cold, I had purchased the day before some Izumi winter gloves, and had heavily layered myself for the ride down the hill. There wasn't gonna be much heat generation on a downhill dive bomb, and in fact there'd be the windchill to deal with.