Christmas in California … Don’t You Wish You Were Here?

The weather forecast for Christmas in LA was going to be a little balmy, with forecasts in the 70s, I knew I would enjoy it.  However, I knew ahead of time I would be on call the weekend after Xmas, and working on New Year’s Day, so I better make the days I am off count.

Ken, Debbie, Ron, Teresa, Victor

Ken, Debbie, Ron, Teresa, Victor

I sent out messages on Facebook inquiring on rides, and my buddies in Torrance suggested PV (Palos Verdes, who know all the local climbs).  Great!  I’ve always enjoyed PV.



We went up in down the same route, probably 3-4 times today … and why not.  How could you not enjoy a view like this.


I’ve ridden with everyone previously except for Debbie. She’s famous for her polka dot ocd, as you can clearly see here. She is one strong hill climber, and fits in well with the climb fest riders.

Of course, when you do PV, you’ve gotta have some fast descents, and we had a few of them. We sped down Hawthorne, with Tiger leading the way. I almost caught up to her, if it weren’t for this one car that inched up, and I had to slow it up.

I was able to get in 50 miles and 5000 feet of climbing this day.

The next day was Christmas dinner, so my day has to be cut short, so I couldn’t spend all day riding. Usually when I have limited time, I do Chantry Flats. I wanted to make good use of time so I drove over to Arcadia Park, then ride up from there. This would be a no nonsense climb, straight up on Santa Anita Road, up to Chantry Flats, with another climb up to the chopper pad.


From the chopper pad, you could see a nice view of the valley.


I also tried out the photosphere feature on my Nexus 5 phone, which gives you a 360 view. However, this only seems to work on Google+, or maybe requires a special plug in. I guess that’s where hosting your own WordPress server would come in handy.

Here’s my climb up to the chopper pad. That was a short, sweet ride, and it was only 18 miles and 2500 feet climbing. It was enough to get a good workout.

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, we had another Christmas meal to go to, at 4 pm, so I had to make it another story day. This time, I decided to park at the Rose Bowl, and climb some hold west of the Rose Bowl. This included Patrician Way, Inverness, St. Katherine, but I didn’t have enough. I wanted to kick my ass, so I did an insanely steep climb up Emerald Isle.


When I got to the top, you get a rest view, and you can see Hwy 2 from here, aka Glendale Fwy.

Here’s the climb up Emerald Isle. And yes, I should have stopped at the stop sign … My bad.


I continued down through a steep descent where I got a view of downtown LA. Still a other haze, but for LA, this is clear.

It was yet another superb day for cycling, 20 miles and 2800 feet of climbing.

That’s my Christmas holiday for 2013. No, I don’t have New Years Day off, so not going to be able to camp out at the Ride Parade. Gotta do that again one of these years. It’s a great way to ring in the new year.

Emerald Isle – Thank god I have a triple

This weekend is my monthly visit to LA, and this month, I decided to bring my Seven with me.  When I visit LA, if I drive down, I usually bring my Seven, that has a triple gearing.  I do have my old Diamond Back, which only has a 53-39.

I emailed Herb, who was leading his “mystery” ride.  I was even thinking about bringing my Diamond Back, but my new wheels are so smooth and such a joy to ride, I decided to bring my Seven.  You’ll find out later why this is significant.

I met up with everyone at “the Hub” … or in other words, Herb’s house.  We had a pretty good turnout for this ride.  Tom showed up, representing SoCal well …


We rolled out about 15 minutes late, but who’s counting.  Rob and I were both not in a hurry, as the later we started, the more likelihood that the sun would come out, and that we wouldn’t be freezing so much.  So what’s wrong with this … me from the Bay Area, and Rob, who is originally from New Hampshire, is complaining about it being so early, and cold???  Pretty ironic, eh?

Half of us had twitchy legs, and proceeded to burn up the road, and went on ahead.  We were supposed to head up La Crescenta, which is a nice climb up to Foothill, but we ended up going straight up Verdugo, then headed over our usual route to Descanso Gardens.  We were wondering what was taking them so long … uh … er … I guess it would help if we followed directions?  Well, it turned out Lisa was having some issues on the climb on Verdugo, and ME hung back with her.  They ended up hanging out at Goldstein’s, so after we regrouped with Tom, and with Herb, we met up with the ladies.

Us guys, went on ahead and proceeded to loop around Lida (screaming downhill past the Art College, which was mucho fun).  After a lap around the Rose Bowl, Tom was getting a little fatigued.  We were hammering up over the Art College, so I guess that took a little out of him.  Tom decided just to go back, and bypass the climb up St. Kat, and Emerald Isle, which was the major highlight of this ride.

I felt really good today, and the climb up St. Kat was really enjoyable.  What I didn’t know was there is a spigot for water at the overcrossing near the top of the girl’s school.  It’s on the left side, and it’s kinda hard to find, but at least I know where it is the next time.



After climbing over St. Augustine, we proceeded to Emerald Isle, and the fun begins!  There was a spattering of discussions of these climbs, but I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  I’ve also heard stories, myths, fables of Emerald Isle, but I guess the only way to verify that is to actually do it.  Oh boy!

Inverness was nothing compared to this.  The max grade was reached was 16%, and I definitely needed my granny gear for this.  I definitely would have been walking if I brought my Diamond Back on this ride.


These climbs remind me a lot of Crestview back home, but these climbs were a little more sustained.  The pitch was pretty constant ranging from 11-16% … in other words, it was tough.  In a way, I think the fixed gear riding has helped me on climbs like this.  Why, do you ask?  I does help me concentrate on just turning the crank, which was key here.

We eventually ended up back on Chevy Chase Dr, and the rest of the ride was pretty flat on the way back to “the Hub”.  Great day for this ride, and I thought I wouldn’t have a hill ride when I came down to LA … NOT.  Thanks Herb for giving me a ride that made me feel back at home.


41.8 miles, 3467 feet climbing, with a maximum grade of 16.2%.