Here in Los Angeles, there seems to be a checkpoint race that takes the city by storm each year. This year it’s a bit different in a few ways. Normally it’s a scavenger hunt through the busy streets of downtown but not for 2020. This year it comes in the form of a three-race series, that for the first two races is taking participants deep into the mountains to places many didn’t know were accessible by bike.
On Saturday, February 22 we will try our luck at a route that connects the four recently released checkpoints. Our first stop will be near County of Los Angeles Fire Department Camp 9 (34.353118,-118.418073). Next, we will head to Magic Mountain Communication Tower (34.386916,-118.328826), which is nowhere near the theme park. We will then continue east to Lightning Point Group Campground (34.36730, -118.18356) which is closed indefinitely due to the 2009 Station Fire. The last stop is at Big Tujunga Dam Overlook (34.295426,-118.180155) before heading back into the city and finishing at Golden Saddle Cyclery.
The route we have mapped should put us at about 110 miles with a little over 12,000ft of climbing. From mile 20 to 94 there are no options to stop for food so we will bring everything we need. Water is scarce as well and from mile 29 to 66 there are no opportunities to refill. We will carry three bottles each as this nearly 40-mile section gains over 6,000 feet of elevation and much of that is in just under 20 miles.
Here is the official suggested route for anyone not wanting to build their own.
SoCal rarely gets rain but the forecast says we will be getting wet. With the highest peak at about 6,500ft, we are guessing it will be in the high 20’s and low 30’s up there. With that said, our weather report is rarely correct so let’s hope for the best. Most of the route is paved but the sections that aren’t can be chunky and demanding. We have been back and forth on bikes and tire sizes but due to the rain predicted in the weather report, better safe than sorry and we are going full gravel.
It’s no surprise that Troy has chosen a bike with a Lauf Grit fork but he put it on a Lauf Anywhere, so really it’s now a Lauf True Grit. For wheels he is using the new Boyd Trailblazer 29er XC wheels that double as a robust gravel wheel thanks to their 26mm internal dimension. A set of WTB Nano 40mm tires bulge out to 42mm, and should be a good choice if things are wet. For gears there is a 42t 1x ring up front matched to an Ethirteen 9-44 cassette.
Troy has also decided to keep the pockets empty and instead let the frame do all the heavy lifting. He has the Bontrager Adventure Top Tube Bag filled with easy to access food and Crankbrothers F15 multitool. Just under that is the Pro Discover Compact Framepack Bag where a few extra tubes will hide as well as additional food and gear. In the rear is the Outvi Possm holding tube, Co2, lever, patches and more.
David opted for the Salsa Warbird and its many mounts. Its 103.8 wheelbase provides a stable ride, combine that with the curvy, thin, seat stays and the Warbird’s ride quality is predictable and compliant. He’s sticking to the spec’d Shimano 105 compact drivetrain for an advantage on the road. The Dawn to Dusk bottle cage system is mounted under the down tube, it was a no-brainer to include it due to its ingenious bottle cap cover. A pair of 40mm Maxxis Ramblers were selected due to their high durability and premium grip in case the trails are washed out and extra rocky after the forecast rain.