It's not every weekend you get to convince a few of your friends to undertake a 80 mile ride with close to 10,000 ft. of vertical ascent up into Onyx Summit. Located in the San Bernardino Mountains in the southwestern part of San Bernardino County, California, its the highest highway point in Southern California. The weather forecast predicted winds of up to 30 mph for that day. It raised alarm, and cut the number of potential riding buddies in half. The wind, a formidable foe of the cyclist goes to great lengths to make your ride impossibly fun by cutting your average pace in half, blowing dirt and debris in your face, and making attempts to topple you over on the side of the road. It quite possibly is a roadie's worst enemy and the biggest troll aside from goat heads, impatient hot headed motorists, and hairy legs. With this threat over our heads we still managed to get out of the safety of our homes and head out to meet up at the local coffee spot. After fueling up and taking roll call we headed out for an experience not many are more than willing to undertake. And so, the journey began!!
It seemed as if the wind gods had taken upon a slumber since we managed to get to our first rest stop 2 and a half hours into the ride without being blown off the road. I had my own battles going on throughout that time, and acquired two flats within half an hour. My ride was jeopardized and the threat of it coming to an early end was a reality I could not bring myself to accept. Four of us set off, but after Angelus Oaks, 3 would continue with the task at hand. Onyx summit had to be claimed by our group that day, and we were not going to back down. The winds suddenly picked up, and the intensity of the ride doubled. By the time we reached Jenks Lake we were engulfed by the forest, and it served as our protector from the gusts. The scenery made all the suffering up that point so worth it. We were taken care of, and I couldn’t ask for a better time to catch my breath . After taking in the sights we got spat back out to the bare road, and had only 7 miles of ahead of us to reach the summit. 7 miles doesn't sound like much, unless they are at 5% avg grade and you have a persistent headwind to battle all the way to the top, then they feel like 20. After digging in deep and putting ourselves inside the pain cave we conquered Onyx. I fell over and felt like kissing the warm ground, but laying on it seemed adequate enough. We shared joy of conquering a giant, and gained a new appreciation for cycling. Anyone can drive up to the summit of a mountain, but riding up it provides it's own unique set of experiences, hardships, and great memories. Cycling will forever hold a special place in my life, specially after locking myself in the hurt locker with my friends up the mountain, and only wish it does so in yours as well. On to the next adventure!