A route to avoid

I’m not a complete idiot. Some pieces are missing.

Whatever you do, DON’T follow this route (Garmin ride data and map). When I took off this morning I didn’t have a route in mind other than riding up Sepulveda pass and then dropping down to Sherman Oaks. While climbing Sepulveda I felt really good and I thought “wouldn’t it be fun riding over to Woodland Hills and then use Topanga Canyon to cut over the mountains and return via the Pacific Coast Highway?” Easy, right?

Wrong! In order to get from the Valley base of Sepulveda Pass to the base of Topanga Canyon I used Ventura Boulevard. What a terrible road for a cyclist! About 11 miles of dodging cars, avoiding pot holes the size of small craters, road cracks wide and deep enough to swallow wheels – just a terrible stretch of road to be on.

Climbing Topanga from the valley side was easy and enjoyable – I thought it would be a lot harder, but before I knew I was already at the top. In my memory it was a long climb, but it is only 3 miles and about 600 feet of elevation gain (from the coast the climb to the top is about 1500 feet over 9 miles).

Cruising down the canyon towards the Pacific is a blast and about halfway down I came across a bicycle shop – TCB (Topanga Creek Bicycles). It seems they carry mostly BMC, Surly and Jamis and I think I will pay them a visit in the near future.

I finished the ride via PCH and Santa Monica, stopped at my LBS to see if the bearings for my front wheel are in (which they are not) and then stopped for a cup of coffee about a mile shy from home. Like a complete idiot I failed to pay attention just for a fraction of a section when crossing from the street to a slightly raised pathway leading to the coffee shop and approached it too shallow of angle. The result: the front wheel slipped out from under me and I go down – fast! Luckily the thing bruised most is my ego – some scrapes and bruises on my elbow and a small raspberry on my hip, but nothing to worry about.


About GT in LA

Road cycling enthusiast
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4 Responses to A route to avoid

  1. Pingback: Santa Monica mountains training ride « GT in LA

  2. Pingback: A new route and a bee « GT in LA

  3. gtinla says:

    tubetone – yes is does suck! 🙂
    As far as climbing: for me it was/is a mental thing first and foremost. Approaching a hill or mountain with the attitude of “man, can’t wait to climb that thing” vs. “oh, man another hill” – makes a huge difference. Second: I started on smaller hills and did the repeats, up and down, up and down. Third: since I am no spring chicken, I chose to use a triple up front with a 12/28 cassette in the back and it helps. Last: Jeff from @BikeCrave (check him out on Twitter) said it best: “One thing I enjoy about cycling is the near-zero tolerance for fakery. You either climb the mountain, or you go back and reach a fitness level that will power you up the mountain. Or you pick a smaller mountain, also known as a “hill.” The point is, you’ve got to start somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where as long as you reach the goal, and you enjoy the journey.” – that statement helped me most!

  4. tubetone says:

    *laughs* I went down the same way last week. Sucks, doesn’t it?

    Man, you do some serious climbing. I’ve gotten pretty decent at grinding away on the flats – I like that tempo zen thing, but I’m terrible at climbing. Working on the hills in Griffith and slowly getting better. Any tips for a wannabe climber?

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