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.

Postcard Day in Palos Verdes in November

It’s November, and California is being subjected to spring-summer like weather.  We are forced to bake in mid-80’s to lo-90’s weather.  Aw, shouldn’t you feel sad for us?  Since it was going to be a hot one today, I decided to ride with my friends in Palos Verdes (letting them lead the route, being the locals).

My local PV friends, David, Teresa (Tiger), and Ken

Don’t get me wrong, this was a little more than a leisure sight seeing tour of Palos Verdes.  True to form, it was a climbfest, but with a tourist slant to it.  We had many photo ops, as you can probably tell.

Malaga Cove Dive Spot

View from top of Via La Cuesta … Wow!

After a day like this, I had forgotten what amazing views there are in the South Bay.  It’s one area of Southern Cal that I miss … I’ll have to do this more often on my monthly visits.

More pics found at

Stats?  Does it really matter after seeing the shots above?  Well, ok, here it is … 43.4 miles, 4072 feet climbing,  Still, pretty epic ride, for being a sight seeing ride.

Volleyball and Cycling Do Not Sync

Friday, our department at work had a farewell team outing at City Beach in Fremont.  My boss is moving on, so we all got together to bond together … we spent the majority of it playing volleyball … for 3 hours.  Ugh, that is tiring … well, I didn’t realize how tiring until the next day.

Saturday, my plan was to do the LKHC on Dunne Ave (which goes up to Henry Coe Park), which starts in Morgan Hill.  However, combination of wet roads, and volleyball the night before (and subsequently my body being stiff and aching in the morning), made me skip that climb.  So instead, I drove down to LA.  All along, I was not very nimble, and moving very gingerly.

I was originally going to climb the mountains, do Mt. Baldy, but with the condition I’m in, I really was not in condition to do any climbing.  So I went with my friend Lynn, and the Cyclepaths, for a relaxing, leisure recovery ride (even though I didn’t do a ride previously … but still, recovery from volleyball).

We started from Cerritos, and our destination is Palos Verdes.  It was an excellent day, a few days after a rain storm, and the skies cleared up, leaving us with excellent weather conditions.  It’s good we were going flat … well, compared to what I normally do.

At Palos Verdes, we went to Malaga Cove, which is a popular hangout for cyclists.  We stopped by a new bakery, Yellow Vase, and it’s nestled in a corner, and looked a little like a village in Italy.  Okay, maybe not … but it’s a nice exaggeration.  But look how happy everyone is!

We then headed over to do a loop of the peninsula … no, we did not go up PV East …. I think Lynn made sure of that.  However, we did do a nice little detour, doing a pseudo-cyclocross type route, going through parts of Terranea resort and Trump Golf Course, which used to be the old Marineland.  The legend of Orky and Corky lives on.  I’m still reeling from the fact that Sea World bought Marineland, and they renamed Corky to Shamu …

Anyways, Arnold took us through Terranea resort, where we meandered through obstacles (stairs), where we were doing a cyclo-cross tour of sorts.  We were greeted to such amazing views of the Pacific.

In the 30 years I’ve lived in LA, and the countless number of visits, I’ve never seen the Pacific from this vantage point.  It was totally awesome.  But, as you know, where you go down, you definitely have to come up … muscles are still stiff from volleyball on Friday, so this made my climb interesting … it’s not like climbing Welch Creek, but still had to gut it out.

When we finally got back to the cars, we got 61 miles, and roughly 2200 feet climbing.  Not bad for a recovery ride.  I also think it helped loosen my limbs a little bit.  Still a little stiff, but not as bad as on Saturday.  Next time I do volleyball, I think I’ll only go for one game … it’s now Monday, and I’m still moving gingerly.  I’d had to see how everyone else is moving …. but then again, at 47, my recovery is not what it used to be … I’m the old fart in the group.

Beating the Heat – PV

Went down for my monthly visit to LA, and a nice ride with my pals, goofy friends, from SoCal.  It has been hot, really hot the past week, and from the weather reports, it will simply continue through the weekend.  The forecast was for 80 on the beach, and in the 90’s in the valley (where I normally ride when I visit LA).  For that reason, we decided to do a beach ride, from Marina Del Rey to Palos Verdes.

Marina Del Rey Bike Path

We left at 8:30 am, early enough for the temps to be fairly comfortable, yet late enough for everyone to get there.  It was also early enough that there weren’t too many riders on the bike path.  This just meant that by the time we would get back, it would be very crowded, especially being such a hot day.



After having weekends of hardcore climbing, tough training rides, my body needed a nice social ride.  This one was just what the doctor ordered.  It was refreshing to go 20 miles, and not go 2000 feet climbing yet.


There was a little bit of confusion on our route … some missed the turn on Paseo del Mar, before the coffee shop stop.  In fact, they went on ahead, and climbed PV East.  Oh well … it turned out we would catch up with them later on, after regrouping at the top of the climb at the school.



After some smoothies, latte’s, and variety of other pastries and muffins … mmm is that making you hungry?  Anyways, it was onto the climb of the day, Palos Verdes East.  The climb itself is not long … it is about 1.5 miles, and about 500 feet climbing, with elevation grades averaging aroudn 5-6% … not too bad.  Knowing it is not a long climb, I decided to pushing my heart rate going up this climb.  From what I can see, I got up to 177 bpm … that’s about the same time I was panting, houghing and puffing, breathing as hard as I could.

We re-grouped at the college at the top of the hill.  After letting our heartbeats reduce down to a sane level, we went on ahead, down the hill, and continued onto PV North.  We were actually a bit lucky here … normally PV North is pretty busy in this area, but they closed a section of the road (for reasons that I did not know).  Anyhow, they did allow cyclists to go through, which meant not having to worry about car traffic … woohoo.  It was only for about a 1 mile section, but hey, it’s better than nothing.

The return trip was basically as straight a shot back to the start.  However, the main road was a narrow two lane road, with heavy traffic, as this was one main road for the locals to get from point A to point B.  I was tempted in suggested to go along the strand, which would mean encountering beach traffic, as opposed to main street traffic.  Well, since it wasn’t my ride, I decided just to continue on status quo.

I followed the route slip, and was looking for a left turn on Pacific.  So instead of making a left at a particular intersection, I ended up going right, and before we knew it, we passed where the start normally should be.  So I ended up with an extra loop, but I didn’t end up with any more mileage than the original route had anticipated.

Final stats were 54.77 miles, 3020 feet climbing.

For the rest of the pics (and I didn’t take very many), click here