Since I received a message from @M2Tiguy in his best Schwarzenegger imitation (he is a natural at that) stating: “WE WILL RIDE HILLS, NO WHINING!!! – YOU CHOOSE!!” – I figured, what the heck, it may as well be my nemesis Los Flores again. The original plan was Santa Monica, Los Flores, Schueren, Stunt, Mulholland, Old Topanga, Santa Monica.
I am not going to do a ride description, since I just posted one last week. However, since this is my first serious ride with Arnold a.k.a Kurt a.k.a @M2Tiguy, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell the story.
The story is really about Kurt. You see, when you don’t see someone for about a year you find out that many things change. In Kurt’s case, his fitness has dramatically improved. When I saw him for the first time last week I was struck by how much weight he took off. You can’t call him lean, because that is not his body type. He is a big guy, but he is a very fit big guy. According to him he is not yet done with his goals and plans to take off a little more weight. By the way, I am not exaggerating and for those who don’t believe open the gallery to see a side by side comparison and what 14 months of training and sensible eating can do.
Back to our ride, Kurt rode from Manhattan Beach to meet me in Santa Monica and we continued from there up the coast. Sadly on the first downhill he lost his “One good Earbud“, but luckily this was the only casualty for the day. Besides, he gets to upgrade to the latest version!
To warm up the legs we decided to ride up Chautauqua road to Pacific Palisades and use Sunset to get to PCH. This road is not long (about a mile) but steep (12% to 15%). Seeing Kurt just leisurely cruise away from me put my own pathetic fitness level into perspective, and it will take a long time for me to catch up with him, if ever. You see, he takes it to the next level, i.e. cross training, weight lifting, cycle trainers etc. I don’t think I am that motivated, I just want to return to a strong fitness level which allows me to say with confidence: “let’s ride a 100” without having to doubt my ability to finish.
Back to our ride, Los Flores as usual was/is a hard climb. I can’t even imagine riding with Kurt’s setup, i.e. a 24 in the back, but he was grinding big gears all the way up, disappearing out of my sight ever so often. I am not sure if he got bored at one time or just took pity on me and said this was too steep for his gearing and he rather turn back (this was his first time up this canyon). But he selected a bad spot for that statement, because I knew that just after the next hairpin the grade will come down from the high double digits to low double digits. By the time I reached the top, his sweat was already dried and he had a nice nap.
I bailed out of the Stunt/Mulholland/Old Topanga route continuation, and we took Fernwood instead. Kurt also has a new toy – a great outdoor HD camera, which mounts on his stem and the following movie is a section of the Topanga downhill ride. The movie is about 9 minutes long and fun to watch, with the exception of a segment around the 8 minute 17 second mark, where a car almost takes him out. You will see how close this driver buzzed him – very scary!
We rolled back into Santa Monica on a stunningly beautiful Christmas Eve day. Time on two wheels well spend with a good friend!
Merry Christmas everyone!!