Little Tujunga Climb

This weekend was a busy one, I’m guessing for everyone. Serbrina and I spent Saturday with both of our families, and since she had to work on Sunday, I took advantage and planned to ride. I met the group at a new spot early Sunday, but because of Mother’s Day, there was only the 3 of us. I figured that I’d ride with them for a while, and then split off on my own ride. We met above the Art Center in Pasadena. I hadn’t been up this climb before, but it wasn’t bad at all. In fact I got there early so I was able to get a picture of the Casseroll looking back towards Pasadena.

There was a little park up there, and while I was waiting I could hear some rustling coming from the hillside, where a couple of rabbits were checking things out. I was able to get a quick shot of one of them before they ran off.

Once we were all together I let them know my crazy plan to head out to Little Tujunga. They agreed to ride with me up to the Starbucks and then would decide there to continue or not. We continued the short climb and then the descent to Descanso Gardens, and then resumed climbing all the way up to Foothill. The sky was gray and cloudy and I was hoping that the sun would make an appearance at some point. It ended up being a cool and dreary day. Not great for taking pictures, but there is always something to share.

We discussed the options and the guys followed me for another couple of miles before splitting off. My plan was to ride up Little Tujunga, at least to the top of the first pass. Little Tujunga is a 2 lane road that goes over the San Gabriel mountains. It’s not as crowded as Angeles Crest Highway, and is a favorite for motorcylists. I’ve ridden it many times on my moto, but never pedaled it. There are 2 passes to climb to make it all the way to the other side. My goal for today was just to get to the top of the first one. Here’s the elevation gain from the bottom of the climb. (Click to Enlarge) Note: this is the profile of the ride that I did, not of the 2 passes.

I was doing pretty good. My legs felt good. I was able to stay out of the triple for the 1st part of the climb. Once the road really kicked up though I sure was glad I had that “granny gear”. The road snakes up the canyon, passing the Wildlife Waystation. Too bad it was an ugly day. It’s usually very scenic up there.

Up at the top it was very cold. I thought the clouds were going to burn off so I didn’t bring a jacket or knee warmers. I ate a PB&J quickly and then started the descent. I noticed earlier that my tires were low so I took my time on the downhill. If I went to fast I could feel the rear end moving around. I just watched my speed and was careful in the turns. Part way down the mountain I rounded a corner and a truck was pulling off. There was a horse loose on the road and the truck was from one of the local ranches. I slowed down as I passed the horse, but he came towards me. The rancher asked for my help to guide the horse. So I stopped and stood in the road. The horse continued towards me and I guided the horse to the side of the road and then down a driveway. It was kinda scary, but it felt good to help get the horse off the road. Karma points for sure.

Back down the mountain I topped of my air pressure and filled up my bottles. Then it was time to head for home.

I wanted to add some miles so instead of turning left, I turned right and took the long way around Hansen Dam. I took Glenoaks, which has a bike lane, but it’s the worst bike lane I’ve ever ridden. It was full of bumps and debris all through Sunland. I did spot this awesome van though. I guess this guy bought too many bikes and his wife must’ve given him a choice. The bikes or the wife. Guess which one he chose.

This was the one section where the bike lane was better than the car lanes.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I saw this cool bridge will riding through Glendale.

Instead of taking the easy route home I opted for some more climbing. From Glendale I went up Chevy Chase and then up Linda Vista to the park that we had met at in the morning. I wanted to see how tough of a climb it was. This was the tougher side for sure. It was only about a 600 foot climb, but it got steep in parts.

Today was a great day of riding with 64 miles ridden and 4700 feet of new climbs discovered and conquered. I can feel myself getting stronger and next time I’ll plan on climbing both passes on Little Tujunga.

Little Tujunga Climb 5-09-10

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  • Hah! Finally got out there and did that climb. Isn’t it great in there? It is such beautiful land, and the climbing is pretty fun. Gets a little steep in a couple spots, but I always have a good time riding it. Stoked to see that you got out and did it. Next time I will gladly join you.

  • Wow, looks like an awesome ride! I’ve really been enjoying your reports and photos lately. I personally like dreary day photos, and the ones you posted look good, so not sure why you’re down on them.

    How’s the Casseroll working for you as a faster/lighter road bike? I’m still mulling over options, I am hoping to add a faster bike to my stable as my LHT is just too heavy. Is the Casseroll noticeably sportier?

    • I didn’t mean to be down on the photos. The more I look at them, the more I like them. It would’ve been nice to have more light though.

      The Casseroll is a great bike. It’s lighter than the LHT for sure, but the way I have it outfitted (bags, fenders) it’s not as light as I’d like it to be. It weighs in at about 30lbs minus water. So I do still dream of a lighter bike. It is sportier though than the LHT and is my bike of choice for long “faster” rides. Have you read the BipedFred blog? He and I have the same bikes, and now he has the Podio. I test rode the Podio when I was considering the Casseroll, but I liked the steel frame of the Casseroll better. If I were to do it over again, I’d consider the Pistola instead. It’s made of the lighter steel that Salsa uses.

      Hope that helps.

      • Hey, thanks a lot for that info! I think I’m going to look for something lighter still than the Casseroll, especially based on your comments. It looks like a great bike, just not exactly what I’m after.

        The Pistola looks absolutely awesome. Out of my price range, though … unless I decide to put off the purchase for a while.

        Thanks again for your input.

  • rod

    dude, nice photos of my commute. glenoaks blvd…that’s my jam!

  • Ken Wallace

    Great ride! Thanks for sharing.

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