Signature Run

While recovering from foot surgery a few years ago I came upon a flier for the Glendora Ridge Runners (a local running club) and decided to check them out.  I had completed two marathons but knew that I was still pretty green and could use some coaching.  What an amazing group of people–all different backgrounds and abilities and very helpful!  I have learned a lot from them and made some great friends.  The signature club run is what they call “running the ridge”.  Since I am training to run the Grand Canyon and could use some time running steep hills, I decided to run the ridge with them on Saturday.  If you have never been up on the ridge this post should give you a feel for what it is like.  There is a Garmin link to the trail in the sidebar.

We started off in front of Classic Coffee in old town Glendora and warmed up by running the two miles to Garcia Trail.  Garcia is only 1.2 miles but it climbs 1,100 feet.  One of these days I hope to be strong enough to run it, but for now I walk it.  The sun was rising as we headed up and it was absolutely beautiful.

Sunrise from Garcia Trail

I have found that Garcia Trail always hurts!  Sometimes it hurts less than other times, but it always hurts.

At the top we grouped up and headed east on the fire road across the ridge to “The Wall”–the Ridge Runner name for the steepest climb on the ridge.  The first time I ran this run I thought the serious climbing was over when you got to the top of Garcia.  I was wrong!  The Wall is only 3/4 of a mile but climbs over 500 feet.  It is not as steep as Garcia but it’s pretty hard.  If you look closely at this pic you can see it snake up and to the left side of the hill.  I use to walk a significant portion of The Wall but about a year ago finally got strong enough to run it–if you can call what I do running.  It looks more like a shuffle.

Off to run The Wall

Once you get past the Wall the road becomes a series of rolling hills all the way to Glendora Mountain Road (GMR).  The views on Saturday were amazing.

Looks like a Rave Run from Runner’s World
The Gate at GMR

The fire road takes you to the gate at Glendora Mountain Road (GMR), where we stop to rest, eat and regroup.

The signature route heads down GMR for 3 miles to Colby Trail, which drops you off at the top of Loraine Ave.  From there it is a 2 mile run through Glendora for a total of 12.5 miles.  Some members of the group went back that way but Evelyn, Ed, Wolf and I decided to run back across the ridge and add in a hill repeat of the wall (crazy, I know!).  You would think the run back would be easier, but the ridge feels like it is uphill both ways!  The views of the city and the back range continued to be amazing even with the cloud cover coming in.

If you look at the center of this next pic you can see the road to Crystal Lake climbing the mountain.  Thanks to my friend Amber I have cycled up to the 5,000 foot mark and was sucking air the entire time.  It was awesome!

The view toward Crystal Lake

There were so many people out on the ridge.  On our way back we ran across our friends Veronica and Barbara who were out for a dog run.

This is a view looking down The Wall. (It’s funny to me how the monstrous new Target in Azusa stands out.  Could they have built it any bigger?).  We ran down The Wall and then turned around and ran back up and then ran back down (remember we are training for the Grand Canyon).

Looking down The Wall

From the top we also had a great view of LA.

Before climbing down the mountain we made a stop at the cross.  Someone recently built a bench and repaired the cross which had been chopped down.

We made the climb down Garcia and ran back to the coffee shop for a total of 15.5 miles.  Altogether it was a beautiful (leisurely paced) run with some awesome people.  I could not help but think of how blessed I am to live where I live and have the opportunities that I have.  I have much to be thankful for!

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