Velo Course: The Going to College Loop (Trish's Version)...

Okay, I am calling this Trish's Version because it is the exact route that Psycho-list's very own Trish led a recent Friday morning group around. I don't think it had an official name at the time, and every ride in the Velo course needs a name so, the Going to College Loop it is. Why? Because it passes through, or beside four of the regions' institutions of higher learning: University of La Verne, California Polytechnic University at Pomona, Mt. San Antonio College, and right near the end, the campuses of the Claremont University Consortium. As far as routes go it is a fair tour of portions of each of the small cities immediately to the west of Claremont, throws a series of progressively steeper climbs into your path which will work your lungs and heart as well as it does your legs. On their own none of the short climbs are especially troublesome, but taken in sequence, when attempting to stay ahead of, or catch, the competition, they present a worthy challenge.

The turn by turn specifics: This route starts at the by-now familiar Vons shopping center at the southeast corner of Baseline and Mills for the usual reasons - convenient location, easy access to food and beverage after the ride. Start with the gradual downhill slide heading west along Baseline, up and over the small hill at the edge of town where I saw (and smelled) an animal control officer wrestling with a skunk a while back. This takes you into La Verne, where you will make a left on Fruit, the first light at the bottom of the hill. Continue along Fruit until, just below the Foothill commercial corridor, the street bends first left and then right and, kind of inexplicably, becomes White Avenue. When you reach Bonita Avenue make a right and then, a short distance later a left onto E Street. When you cross Arrow Highway this street becomes Fairplex Drive. Fairplex Drive, you may recall, I refer to as "the Speedway" with great derision. This has nothing to do with the fact that you pass by the AutoClub dragstrip on one side and Brackett Field on the other. Of course you could always use the sidewalk/bike path, but I can never convince myself to surrender that way. At the "T" intersection Fairplex makes a 90º turn to the left; continue that way, then bend to the right and tackle the easy assent alongside the golf course. This short section of climb is my favorite part of the Wednesday Bud's Ride. Pass by the entrance to Bonelli Park, top the climb and make the fast descent down to the 10 Freeway. Use caution at the on and off ramps while crossing the freeway and make a right on Murchison. Ride next to the freeway sound wall then make a sharp left onto Ridgeway, which you take until making a right onto South Campus Drive. Pass under the 57 Freeway, continuing along South Campus, giving a glance to the pastures of the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, and then make a right on Temple Avenue.

Temple can be an ugly street to ride on when classes at the University are in session. Between the cars of students parked along the right, and others speeding by on the left, it is not a pleasant environment. Thankfully it is not like that all the time. You will climb along Temple, passing through both Cal Poly (not the main part of campus) and Mt. SAC, until you reach Grand Avenue where you will make a right. You will start climbing again right off and will quickly realize that this is the biggest climb yet, and can be challenging if you are in a group and trying to get to the top first. The climb of Grand is followed by a nice long descent. Enjoy it, the biggest climb is still to come. At the bottom of the hill, make a right on Holt Ave. At this point you could avoid the toughest climb of the day by simply continuing along Grand, but really, what fun is there in that. If you have decided to tackle the climb continue along Holt, cross under the 10 Freeway once again, then make a right on Via Verde. Via Verde is a deceptive climb; just when you think it is over, it decides to go on some more. And gets steeper in the process. It is a nice street though, with little traffic. You will reach the top just before your legs give out, then descend only as far as the first street, Covina Hills Road, where you make a left. The short upward punch to the pedals is nothing after conquering Via Verde, and then you begin a glorious descent. Covina Hills Road is one of my favorite parts of this ride - shaded, kind of rural looking. Ahh, nice. I just wish it were a little longer. The road bends around a bit, just stay with it and you eventually come out at Grand. The same Grand you were on a short while ago. Turn right on Grand, then right again on Puente, and follow that up with a left onto Glendora Avenue. At this point you will follow the long straight drag up Glendora (not really up, it is flat). Eventually you will pass under the 210 Freeway, cross Route 66, bend left, then right and enter the civic center area of Glendora. A nice little downtown core including the popular Classic Coffee is a good place for a mid-ride refuel break.

When you are ready to hit the road again, continue up (up in fact this time) Glendora Avenue until reaching Sierra Madre Avenue. Be sure to check the houses along the right as you near the top for the one with the Bob's Big Boy sculpture in the front room bay window. Turn right on Sierra Madre, pass the turn off for GMR, and turn right onto Valley Center. A fast descent takes you to Foothill where you make a left at Glendora High School. A gradual rise brings you to Amelia where you make a right; follow Amelia all the way to Gladstone and turn left. Get immediately into the right turn only lane, go that way, and punch it up this little sprinters rise. Love this short stretch of roadway. Go left at 5th Street, cruising along this residential street in San Dimas. When you reach San Dimas Avenue, go right, then left on Bonita. You will take Bonita all the way back through La Verne, passing the University of La Verne, and into Claremont. When you reach Claremont make a left onto Cambridge, then right on Harrison, and left again on Berkeley. Take Berkeley all the way up to Foothill and turn right. Flash a peace sign to Dale and the Velo, or stop and say hey, then continue along to Mills where you make one final left, ascending Mills back to the start point. By the time you get back you will have passed through some seven cities on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, covered almost 41 miles, climbed about 2200 feet, and if you are a fast descender reached speeds of 40 mph (or if you are slow, like me, only 35 mph).