A 51-mile, 7300' climbing loop from Claremont Wilderness Park to Marshall Canyon to Wildwood Motorway to Monroe Truck Trail to Glendora Ridge Road to Evey Canyon. Just under 50% dirt as reported here.
My obsession with playing connect the dots only seems to get worse with time, and yesterday didn't do much to alleviate the symptoms. I'd been wanting to ride Monroe Truck Trail for a while, and since the VQ training ride fell through I decided to stay local and check it out. After pulling out the maps, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and explore the foothills region between Wheeler in La Verne and Valley Central in Glendora. To top it off, since I didn't get enough of Sunset Ridge two weeks ago on the Crossing Gabe ride, I figured I'd end the day exploring it once again.
Most of the idea for this ride was born while drinking coffee at 8:30 yesterday morning, enjoying my warm apartment and half thinking about going back to bed. I'm glad I didn't. With a departure time of 9:52, the temperature was creeping up and already at 46 degrees. The Claremont Park was plenty busy, but despite this I saw a few deer on the way up.
I dropped through Marshall Canyon and ended up on Golden Hills Rd in La Verne. From here I wasn't sure where to go, but my map shows a few dirt roads through the foothills area between Wheeler and Valley Central, so I picked a steep street (Terrebonne Ave) and endured the 14-15% grades until I hit Sycamore Flats Motorway. This took me to Sycamore Canyon Rd, which I took north through a horse ranch until it turned into Wildwood Motorway.
Wildwood Motorway is a scenic 2-track in good condition connecting San Dimas and Glendora. In the interest of time I decided to take Wildwood all the way to Glendora, where it ended on Amelia, but I also passed the junction for Ferguson Motorway which would've taken me further north in Glendora. Other options for exploration exist in this area but involve entering the experimental forest, where it's posted that no entry is allowed without a permit. Along the Motorway stood an isolated bench, overlooking a quiet canyon below.
Once in Glendora, I took Valley Central to Glendora Mountain Road, then entered the singletrack known as Monroe Truck Trail. MTT is nearly 100% climbing and gains 2000' in about 7-8 miles, where it rejoins Glendora Mountain Road on top of the ridge. The first section is rocky with some fun technical climbs, then it mellows out and lets you suffer on smooth, slightly overgrown singletrack before widening to a 2-track at the top. The trail was damp with little mud, all easily rideable. You're provided great views of GMR and the San Gabes to the north throughout most of the way.
Connecting with GMR, I rode east and planned to connect with the west road up to Sunset Ridge, about 8 miles down the pavement. I passed the entrance to the San Dimas Experimental Forest, where several routes to the bottom exist. Too bad it's marked as "No Public Access".
At this point, things got interesting. GMR was closed to vehicles and I was really enjoying the solitude, even thought it was a climb on asphalt with a full suspension, fat-tired bike. Conditions slowly worsened, and eventually GMR was snowy and covered with patches of black ice. I found my home in the ruts on the side of the road.
When I found the west entrance to Sunset Ridge, I knew a change of plans was in order. The road was blanketed in 3-4" of snow and was very soft underneath, not rideable without great effort. Being from Michigan, I found this to be rather annoying and felt no desire to "play" in the snow.
So it was back to the asphalt, where I took a break at Cow Canyon Saddle, then took Baldy Rd. down to Evey Canyon, which I climbed back to the Claremont Park then home. I thought briefly about climbing Potato, then thought about dinner and decided to head home instead.
All in all I ended the day with 51 miles and 7300' climbing. This was my first long ride with my new Garmin 305 (thanks Brian!), so I was able to geek out a little with the software. I'd like to try this or a similar loop with more dirt in the San Dimas-Glendora area, decending down Sunset Ridge or Barrett-Stoddard instead of Baldy Rd. I'm continually amazed by riding in the San Gabes, and I'm only barely scratching the surface.