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  1. #1
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    TR - 2022 Trans Tujunga 100

    I found out a couple months ago about a new underground event called the Trans Tujunga 100 in the San Gabriel Mtns above LA.

    It had a bit of a twist from other events, with 3 loops each starting/ending at a central point that you can do as one big ride or break up into 2 or 3 separate days.

    Given my current fitness level this was a good thing, since even doing all 3 loops over 3 days would be a big push with a combined 110mi and +/-22k feet of vert. I wasn't very interested in the first loop, but the second and third looked cool. The plan was to ride Loop 3 the first day and Loop 2 the second day along with anyone who showed up then.

    Turned out all six of us who showed up the first day were thinking the same thing and doing Loop 3. Three fast racers were going to take off together, the other three of us were normal riders who just wanted to finish.


    A rolling start down a mile down Big Tujunga Canyon Rd brought us to a 2k climb up Gold Canyon Truck Trail. That's Mt Lukens on the right. We'll be heading up there on Loop 2.




    Looking ahead, the road traverses up the canyon, skirts above the cliffs and then climbs over the peak on the left. We'll be climbing back up here the next day too and then dropping down the switchbacks you see in the distance.




    A few miles of ridgeline riding brought us to a network of trails I hadn't heard of previously. Initial drop was 1,500ft of loose, rutted trail and flat switchbacks.




    Nice to have some green grass following recent rains




    A bit of fire road was mixed in. The route tended to climb up roads and descend singletrack. The rest of the trails got nicer after the first descent.




    They get a purple star though, not a gold star. Not destination level riding, but still cool to check out.




    All uphill from here...




    There was a pretty cool singletrack traverse after climbing back to the top of the trail network. Then a 4 mile pavement climb up Little Tujunga Canyon Rd. Fortunately it wasn't busy mid afternoon. Was still happy to get off the pavement and behind a gate on forest road.




    Encountered one rider dropping back down to his car, otherwise I had all of Mendenhall Ridge to myself.




    The whole length of road is very primitive, hasn't been open to vehicles in years




    I was going pretty slow, no chance of finishing with daylight. The hope was to be in a good spot to catch sunset, and was fortunate the route crossed from north side to south side of the ridge at exactly the right time




    Golden hour




    Nice view all the way to Catalina Island




    Into the dark. The last 3 miles seemed to drag on forever. Wasn't steep, but the tread got much softer which had the same effect




    Much of the route was old burn area, fortunately only came across one downed tree and it was easy to pass under




    Had a quick snack before dropping down to Condor Peak Trail. It's a cool trail that local groups finished reconstructing last year. It had been closed since getting obliterated in the 2009 Station Fire and subsequent storms.




    They had to re-cut the trail into sheer cliffs in a few places. Hard to see, but the downslope here has the same pitch as the wall above




    Pretty cool riding it at night. 3k descent was an awesome ending to the ride.





    Fun day on the bike, and was stoked to be able to pull off a big day. I took just over 12 hrs. Even the fast guys finished after dark. 50mi and 10,400ft. The two others didn't finish, bailing before hitting Mendenhall Ridge.

  2. #2
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    Strong to quite strong.

    Your endurance TRs always spark a little inspiration when I’m reading them, but then I realize how much pain I’d be in if I actually tried one of these rides.

  3. #3
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    These seems pretty awesome.
    Could you share the route? I'm interested to see where this is.

  4. #4
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    This looks fantastic. Id love to see the loops link as welll if you have one. Looks like sufferfun

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Even though I'm unlikely to ever ride in LA - It makes me so happy to know that there are big, crazy, adventures nearby.

  7. #7
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    Day 2, Loop 2


    Loop 2 is actually two loops, the first with 2k vert and the second one 4k. Six of us again, but today we'd ride as a group since no racers showed up. I rode with Dave from OC in Arizona last winter. Meg, Peter, Robyn came up from San Diego for the day.


    The first loop was the same initial climb as the day before... up to the end of the canyon, crossing above the cliffs. But instead of going over the peak we'll be dropping down the switchbacks in the distance.




    Fast descent after the pass




    Looking back at the cliffs




    A bit of hike a bike up to the Gold Canyon trail




    Bear prints following the last rain a couple weeks before




    A bit of ridge top riding to start




    Then into the switchbacks




    Lots of recent work done, can imagine this trail was a mess before.




    The trail drops us into a wash with no defined trail. Whatever gets burned in gets rearranged each time there's a storm.




    Fun adventure riding until it started getting overgrown with willows lower down




    With a bonus steep hike a bike back up to the highway at the end




    Cool ride, good to know this trail is there. It's not one I think a lot of people would do twice, but if you combine it with the singletrack loops from the day before, finishing down Gold Canyon would make for a solid ride

    12 mi, +/- 2,400ft

  8. #8
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    Day 2, Loop 1

    Since each loop finishes back at the start we stopped in at the vehicles for lunch and a beverage. It was mid day, and no one was excited about climbing double what we'd just done and then finishing in the dark to complete Loop 2. I don't think everyone had lights. I've done the final descent before and it isn't one I wanted to do in the dark. So we opted to do the Strawberry Peak part of Loop 1 instead. We repositioned vehicles up to Clear Creek summit and started up the Josephine fire road.


    View from part way up the climb. That's downtown LA in the distance




    The singletrack starts at Josephine Saddle and kicks off with exposure right away. Had to walk over some small slides from the recent storms




    Trail was in great shape beyond the slides and we were able to cruise






    On the fire road climb we'd met a rider hiking down who'd gone over the edge and lost his bike. He was able to grab hold of a tree. His bike would require climbing gear to rescue. We never spotted the bike




    There's some nice tech riding on the backside with sharp switchbacks and rollers




    Yuuuge downed tree




    There is a tough 3/4 mile climb up to another saddle, after that its a fun drop back down to the highway. Then another 4 miles of mostly downhill on the Gabrielino Trail.






    One final climb out back to the start, finishing just before sunset.




    Good call on doing this rather than the rest of Loop 2 - we would have just been finishing the climb around this time. Strawberry Peak loop is always a good ride. 16 mi, +/-2,800ft
    Last edited by evdog; 12-06-2022 at 01:03 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by XtrPickels View Post
    Even though I'm unlikely to ever ride in LA - It makes me so happy to know that there are big, crazy, adventures nearby.
    Yeah, but don't tell anyone. #LAsucksforcycling

    Socal is ringed by four national forests full of forest roads and trails. I've been exploring them for years and still have a ton of trail I've not been able to check out. Never been able to figure out why more people don't visit Socal for biking. With a bit of driving I'd put the quality of riding here against anything you can get in CO, UT, etc. And a lot of it is good to go year round.

  10. #10
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    Day 3


    Trans Tujunga was over, but Thanksgiving weekend was not. I found a spot to crash for the night then in the morning headed over to the front range of the San Gabriels above Pasadena to ride with some friends.





    The front side has some awesome trails, gnarly and exposed. If you're not shuttling it's also a solid climb, starting up some neighborhood trails from my friend's house




    We went up Lower Merrill which is a very busy hiker trail, but no big deal when we're all going the same direction




    Lower Merrill is a great climb with some steeps, some stair steps and some technical rock




    At the top of Lower Merrill is at a set of ruins. A tram used to bring people up to this point from the neighborhood where they would hop onto the Mt Lowe railway which would take them further up the mountain.




    We'd be following the old railway line on the next part of our climb. You can see concrete footings for the long-gone rail bridges below. My friends were pointing out each spot where MTBers have gone over the edge requiring heli rescue....or a body bag




    Our next stop was Inspiration Point, another popular hiker stop. Downtown LA and Catalina Island in the distance






    We did a side trip on the Donkey Trail to check out more views (seriously, there used to be a narrow guage railway on this path and donkeys would pull tourists in rail carts since apparently walking a mile on a flat path was too much work). We could see Santiago Peak in OC and Palomar Mountain in San Diego County. And closer in the second pic, was Heninger Flat down below






    No more climbing for us, we headed back to the top of Middle Merrill and started the 3,500ft drop back down MM, Sunset and Horse Trail to tacos.






    Classic Gabes ride. 19mi, +/- 3,600ft



    Drove back up the mountain and had to pull over and nap off the taco-induced food coma. That killed any plans to do more exploring or riding. Headed further up and found a campsite around sunset. Not bad!






    Wasn't hungry yet but was getting cold so I climbed up in the penthouse and tried to read, but soon fell asleep. Woke up around midnight finally hungray. Nice thing about the camper is I can reach down and access the fridge without getting out of my sleeping bag. Wasn't gonna get up and cook, so it was berries, pineapple and some Santa's Little Helper for dinner : )




  11. #11
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    Thanks for the TR. There's something special about the desert. Never really visited SoCal til this year and now I want to bring my bike back. There's also something so special about doing an activity that's sort of on the fringes. When I used to live in Austin the gravel / mtb scene was special because of that. I imagine it feels similar in LA. Here in Seattle, everyone and their brother ride bikes of all kinds. It's cool and not cool all at once.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thejongiest View Post
    Thanks for the TR. There's something special about the desert. Never really visited SoCal til this year and now I want to bring my bike back. There's also something so special about doing an activity that's sort of on the fringes. When I used to live in Austin the gravel / mtb scene was special because of that. I imagine it feels similar in LA. Here in Seattle, everyone and their brother ride bikes of all kinds. It's cool and not cool all at once.
    The cool part is putting together rides likes these… that no one knows about, or no one dares link together. I bet there are a ton of options in the mountains around Seattle.

  13. #13
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    These long bike TRs are excellent. Thank you for sharing.

    Also, anyone else have Trans Tujunga Express going through their head? Kraftwerk soundtrack?
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  14. #14
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    Awesome stuff as always. How's the poison oak situation in the overgrown areas?

  15. #15
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    Wow. Really awesome report and amazing photos. I just love the mountain ranges in that area, so beautiful and different then what I have in my backyard ( Rockies)


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  16. #16
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    Had a bit of time the last day and decided to climb up to Mt Gleason and beyond



    Pavement climb had some lingering snow/ice. Pics I'd seen showed it fully covered, fortunately much of that had melted




    Wall of cloud over LA blocked out by the front range




    Looking south to the desert




    Got pretty close to this crow, think it didn't want to take off and fight the wind




    Upping my balloon score for the weekend




    Clouds finally broke over the range and were moving in




    Climbing up to the summit of Gleason. The north/east side of the mountain didn't burn and still hosts some big trees




    Doubletrack leads beyond the end of the old paved road




    And a bit of singletrack when that ends




    Was planning to poke around a bit further, but it was cold with winds kicking the clouds around




    Brrrrrr.................




    Dropping back down to the truck was the coldest part. 22mi, +/-3,200ft

  17. #17
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    Thanks guys! Fun weekend for sure...
    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Awesome stuff as always. How's the poison oak situation in the overgrown areas?
    There is a lot of PO in this range in places (same with all of Socal). It was pretty minimal for this weekend's rides which were mostly on dry ridgelines. But when you get under tree cover in canyons it can be really bad, especially above streams. The section of Gabrielino Trail we rode on the Strawberry Peak loop on day 2 has plenty, though it's been beaten back by now. In spring when you get some rain followed by high temps the PO can grow 2-3 feet in a week so you have to watch out. Pants and long sleeves recommended.

    There's a 10 mile section of Gabrielino east of what we rode that was covered in PO. That whole area burned a couple years ago. The fire will get rid of the PO for a few years, but in exchange we get copious amounts of Poodle Dog Bush growing back in which is almost worse. It's more toxic than PO and grows right out of disturbed ground - in this case the trail tread. By the time its 7-10 year life cycle is done the PO will be back in full force.


    PDB:


  18. #18
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    Looks fun! Jealous of all that sun

  19. #19
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    Awesome ride and pics.

    I just did a deep dive into the Mt Lowe Railway history. Crazy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lowe_Railway

    http://mountlowe.altadenahistoricals...alpine-tavern/

    San Gabriel's have always had a strange, what-if allure for touring too - https://freeskier.com/stories/los-an...eeper-ski-town

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    The cool part is putting together rides likes these… that no one knows about, or no one dares link together. I bet there are a ton of options in the mountains around Seattle.
    Yeah the problem is there's too many! So it becomes hard to sort out...still learning about the different areas after 3 years.

  21. #21
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    Sick


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    However many are in a shit ton.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Thanks guys! Fun weekend for sure...

    There is a lot of PO in this range in places (same with all of Socal). It was pretty minimal for this weekend's rides which were mostly on dry ridgelines. But when you get under tree cover in canyons it can be really bad, especially above streams. The section of Gabrielino Trail we rode on the Strawberry Peak loop on day 2 has plenty, though it's been beaten back by now. In spring when you get some rain followed by high temps the PO can grow 2-3 feet in a week so you have to watch out. Pants and long sleeves recommended.

    There's a 10 mile section of Gabrielino east of what we rode that was covered in PO. That whole area burned a couple years ago. The fire will get rid of the PO for a few years, but in exchange we get copious amounts of Poodle Dog Bush growing back in which is almost worse. It's more toxic than PO and grows right out of disturbed ground - in this case the trail tread. By the time its 7-10 year life cycle is done the PO will be back in full force.


    PDB:

    Yeah, I lived in SLO for 5 years so I know all about the PO situation. That's why I was surprised to see the bushwacking in that wash area. Never heard of Poodle Dog Bush before, sounds like some gnarly stuff!

  23. #23
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    A lot of people have stronger reactions to poodle dog than PO. I've never had a rash from it, it's easier to spot than PO and not as widespread. Mostly grows in the San Gabriels and a few other Socal ranges on disturbed ground (like trails) for about 10 yrs following fires.

    I usually don't see PO in sandy wash areas. There was some where the wash emptied into a canyon below the highway, but there was real dirt there not just sand.

  24. #24
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    Nice work and TR.

    First few times with poodle dog I just got bad rash. Last time needed steroids, have avoided it since.

    Tons of good skiing in the Gabe's when conditions are right. Crazy easy access to, like sit on tailgate to put crampons on to start booting( although been bike to last few years). But not many other skiers. Funny part is topping out to a bunch of PCT hikers who are surprised to see skiers in the spring. They have been hiking for days in the snow, but I'm the crazy one for dragging up skies ��

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    Funny part is topping out to a bunch of PCT hikers who are surprised to see skiers in the spring. They have been hiking for days in the snow, but I'm the crazy one for dragging up skies ��
    They were probably pissed at you for ruining their feeling of solitude and isolation

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