Never going to complain about this experience.
Pacifico Mountain is a great ride and I learn something new every time we do this, even under the guise of this being an anniversary ride.
As the title suggests, this is the third anniversary of Gravel Bike California which has been chronicled previously, but our return after missing the last two due to pandemic issues.
A bigger challenge than our first ride was obviously the heat, but I find that starting early enough helps everyone acclimate as the temps rise as was mostly the case.
Our group was twenty-five strong which was more than expected with the weather and remoteness of this ride, but as all would learn was worth the effort.
Heading up Angeles Forest Highway showed everyone was ready to keep a steady pace as the first six and half miles easily chips away at the first third of the day’s 5,196 feet of gain easier than you’d imagine.
Hitting the dirt on Pacifico Mountain Road continues the ascent with an equally long segment, but even steeper and more of a challenge.
The first half features plenty of switchbacks yet today we were lucky not to face the regular level of sandiness typically seen.
With a little reprieve, the final mile and a half was the most technical, but once again this group had a strong handle and after taking in the views the panoramic views at 7,100 feet, we were more than prepped for the technical aspect of this fun descent.
We had another three miles of straight down on Pacifico Mountain Road and was glad conditions have cleared up since our first year of the ride.
After a short paved climb, the group enjoyed more downward motion towards Chilao Campground, while tamer but still offering sweeping views.
Most were surprised reaching water at the fire station that we were only at the midpoint of the ride, but the great part is the second part takes less than half the time to complete.
Exiting briefly onto Angeles Crest Highway, we took the offshoot up to Mount Mooney which only sacrifices a little time, but you gain dirt and the absence of highway traffic.
The group held strong back onto Highway 2 as the road was surprisingly quiet for a weekend (likely the heat) with one punchy climb left.
We came in with speed starting the last nine mile stretch on Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road which because of its downhill prowess, everyone leans toward enjoying the speed after all the vert we’ve put in.
Finishing the loop was quite a contrast as this pause made us realize how remarkable it was to complete this loop now taking in the heat at full blast.
Yes, Pacifico Mountain is that special that you throw all the other factors out the window.