Time for my third ride with the guys for the Southern California Rivendell Appreciation society, this time in the hills above Santa Monica, Ca. Once again I packed my Rivendell Roadeo, a “Road Bike”, for this adventure. Yes, it is possible to get a 63cm road bike into a VW Golf with only removing the front wheel, but that is another post.
The weather was absolutely perfect with partly cloudy skies, 70 degree temps, low humidity and a steady breeze. Once again, a hard day to leave the mountains near home behind.
About 10 of us gathered at the Pete’s on 14th and Montana to talk bike, meet faces previously only known through the web or catch up with old friends.
Around 10:30AM we headed across town to the west, up Westridge Road to the Fire roads along Wesridge, Temescal Canyon and then back along the top of Topanga Canyon down to the ocean and back along PCH to Santa Monica. Here is a map of the approximate route:
The climb up Westridge is pretty challenging, almost 2000 feet of gain in the first 8 miles, this spread the group out quite a bit.
There was a pitch at the end where I decided it was time to walk. At some point on the ride when you can walk faster than pedal you just have to take a break, still moving forward and up, but a break none the less. Regrouping at the trailhead, we all were able to take a much-needed breather. Once the group was back together we headed off onto the fire roads, while still climbing the grade was much more manageable. The views were incredible, Starting with classic Southern California canyons,
and then the ridgeline above the San Fernando Valley,
Even with the early season rains we have been having, the trails were in prime condition. Hardpack with a little loose gravel and rock. There were a few erosion rutted sections and washboard, but nothing you could not manage on a road bike.
This ride had plenty of breaks for rest and to let the stragglers catch up. As always on our group rides no one is left behind. This time it was Jon who had a knee going out, thought he could pull it off, but I think he had the longest day out of all of us. Next time I will make sure to have some vitamin I in the kit for the time it is needed more than a spare tube.
The transition from Mulholland to Temascal was a great time for the group shot under the NO STOPPING sign in the middle of wilderness
Now heading south back to the ocean it felt like the home stretch but there was still a fair amount of climbing left. Again, it was hard to believe the weather and the trail conditions for the beginning of December,
Temescal Canyon gave way to the east ridgeline above Topanga Canyon as we now had views of Santa Monica and the Ocean back in our sights.
At this point the day was running long, and there was one more hard climb still ahead. Almost half of the group took a bailout route down Topanga Canyon Rd to PCH and home. While narrow and loaded with cars it was paves and downhill the whole way. From our vantage a little further down the trail we were able to catch Esteban and John holding up their fair share of traffic. You can just make them out in the turn behind the while pickup truck.
The last climb was a bear and I decided to hike it again. The break right before this was a long one, and all the sitting did me no good right before a 15% grade. On the way up we kept crossing paths with a couple of future recruits on full squish mtn bikes. As most we ran across on the trails, they were shocked to see road bike in what they considered the trails. The final drop back down to the coast was incredible.
And then the dive back into the reality, multiple lanes of traffic, doors and all that goes with it after hours out in the hills,
Another fantastic ride in the bag with great company. My legs were fried. I split off from the remains of the group who were heading to Bay Cities Deli to get home. The drive down the coast was a treat unto itself, the display of color during and after the sunset. The range of color and level of contrast was one of the best I have ever seen,