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I love LA (ride report)(4 posts)

I love LA (ride report)mohair_chair
Nov 30, 2002 4:12 PM
Just got back from Thanksgiving in Burbank (which is not actually Los Angeles) and a couple of days of amazing riding.

The first day, I did a very short ride in Griffith Park, just to stretch the legs after a five-hour drive. I started at Travel Town, rode to Los Feliz and back again, then up Griffith Park Drive and the closed road (whatever it's called) to the top. That's a decent climb, the kind I really like, and the views of the valley along the way were fantastic. I came over the top of the hill and got a pretty good view of LA, all the way out to the ocean. I was about level with the Hollywood sign, and so close, only the D was visible as it curves around the hill. I wasn't looking for much more on this day, so I turned around and went home.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and the weather was glorious. It was in the 70s and absolutely clear in all directions. I rode from my brother's house just off Riverside, into the park again, down past the zoo to the other end of Griffith Park Drive, then up the hill to the same closed road as the day before. At the top, I took the road to the left, Vista del Valle, which goes around the park in a mostly shallow descent. The views were incredible from here--Glendale, East LA, the Verdugo mountains, the San Gabriel mountains, Mt. Wilson. As the road curved around the park towards downtown LA, the whole LA basin became visible. All the way to Palos Verdes and even Catalina Island, 22 miles offshore. Amazing. I never appreciated Griffith Park until that moment. Now it is this incredible wilderness smack in the middle of the second largest city in the USA. Anyway, I continued down to the end of the road, behind the golf course and over to the Griffith Observatory Road (Vermont?), up and through the tunnel, then up the steep road to the observatory, which turned out to be closed. From there I took Mt. Hollywood Drive back to the top of the hill where I was the day before, then back home via Travel Town. The ride was only about 20 miles, but it was a memorable 20 miles. Clouds came in a few hours later so I'm sure I got the best views of the day.

The next day, there were storm clouds in the sky, with ocassional light rain. This was the day I was going to ride to Mt. Wilson, 5710 feet high, which coincidentally, also has an observatory, as well as transmitters for every TV and radio station in LA. It wasn't looking like a good day to be in the mountains, but I really wanted to do the ride. I checked the radar and satellite and figured I had at least a four-hour window, so I got in my car and drove over. My original plan was to do a loop by riding up Big Tujunga Road as suggested by mickey-mac, but because of the unstable weather, I decided to convert it to an out and back by starting at the bottom of Angeles Crest Highway, just off 210. It was warmer than I thought--I started with shorts and a short sleeve jersey. It wasn't as steep as I thought, either. I did the first nine miles in a 39x23 or better. At that point, where Big Tujunga Road comes in, the wind was howling in my face. I had to put on a vest, and I dropped to a 39x25 for the upwind legs. Finally I got to Red Box Road, the road that leads to the peak. Here I started to get some drops of rain, and it was a lot colder and a lot wetter, which led to inevitable thoughts of turning around. But at this point it was only another five miles. I sucked it up and ground it out to the top. So far the ride was 17+ miles and at least 4,000 feet, taking 1:37. (I have no idea if that is a good time or not.) The view wasn't great because of the weather, and I wasn't interested in staying very long because it was roughly 40 degrees! I put on my jacket over my vest, switched to full-finger gloves, and kicked myself for forgetting toe covers. The descent wasn't great because Red Box Road was wet, and the roads were pretty bumpy beyond that. Plus, the wind was really howling now. I was getting tossed around quite a bit. At th
Nov 30, 2002 4:13 PM
...At the nine mile point where I had put on my vest, the road smoothed out and it became a lot more fun. Still, I was very happy to be done when I got to my car because I could barely feel my toes! Riding time was 2:22, which means a 45-minute descent! (That seems very slow to me, but conditions were hardly ideal.) On the way back to Burbank, I passed through a heavy rain cell. Ha ha! I beat the weather!

I figure that calorie-wise, all the stuff I ate over the holidays was negated by all the riding I did. Does it get any better than that?
San Gabriel mountains is great indeed.PeterRider
Nov 30, 2002 10:50 PM
I would propose to go ride together in mountains, but it seems that you are too fast...

From where to where did it take you 1:37 ? From Foothill, ie where the 210 crosses the Angeles crest highway, to the top of Wilson ? This is 19 miles with elevation gain approx 4500ft. And if you did it in 1:37, this is better than any of the people who passed me in the past on this road (I did it about 10 times this year, my best time is 2:18 - OK, this includes about 15 minutes of resting at the ranger stations :-) ). Once 2 people passed me at about 12mph, I thought they were going crazy fast.

San Gabriel mountains is great indeed.mohair_chair
Dec 2, 2002 7:14 AM
I started from about 1/2 mile up the highway from 210. The only stop I made was very brief, just long enough to put on my vest.