Category Archives: city

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer will be Sunday November 9th, 2014

Excited to finally confirm the date for this year’s event. We’ll meet at the normal spot, Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake, at 745am. For some resources see the summary from 2013 or my Feel My Legs category with the 8 years of history. Also trying to put on Thus Climbed Zarathustra (4th one?) on that Saturday. It’s a combination alley cat / stair climb event that utilizes the stairways in the same neighborhoods as Feel My Legs. History of posts about that here.

There is a facebook event page, where I’ll be posting updates.

 

A few points worth reiterating for FML:

While a few cyclists are competing for points, the majority are out there to simply ride up some of the steepest hills in Los Angeles. It is open to everyone.

There are no entry fees or prizes.

Between hills is neutral; we ride together. At the top of each hill we wait for everyone else to make it. If you are fast you will be sitting around a lot.

Please no jock mentality or bad attitudes. If you think cyclocross is too crazy and you wish USAC had more races than this is probably not the event for you.

No spectator or support cars on the hills. We try and keep this low key as it’s busy enough in some of these neighborhoods.  Spectators encouraged to ride bikes. Same with photographers and journalists.

Rain does not cancel. In fact, it has rained a surprising number of times on this day over the years. Check your almanac.

We will group ride from the last hill back to the start.

Please review the write-ups from previous years!

Hill order TBD.

 

Eldred St from the top. Some say it's steeper than Fargo... Photo by @WolfPackHustle

Eldred St from the top. Some say it’s steeper than Fargo…
Photo by @WolfPackHustle

 

 

Thanks for reading, hope to see you there.

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Incredible video of Los Angeles

I love this so much. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to guess where every shot is from! I’ve only watched once, but I saw two streets that have been in Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer. One only a few times in the early years, but another has been a hill each of the 8 years. Can you guess which?

 

 

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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer update for 2014

Usually by this time of year the hill climb event I put on, Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, is already scheduled. Or may have already happened! This year I am pushing it to late summer or maybe even early Fall. I apologize for the delay, but a few things have prevented it from happening as normal. Don’t worry though, it will go on.

Also, I’m starting to prepare for 2015, which will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this event! Hope to do a few extra things next year to really celebrate. Can you believe it has been that long? Long live #BikeLA.

Climbing Los Angeles

Meanwhile, I was very fortunate to have Peloton Magazine cover it as part of their issue on climbing. It includes wonderful photos from my friend Jordan Clark Haggard, some of which you can see at this link, below the excellent photos of my friend Megan Dean of Moth Attack Custom Bicycles. Thanks Jordan and everyone at Peloton!

Also in the issue is my very good friend Steevo. We rode the Great Divide mountain bike route together in 2007 (more famous for the Tour Divide race that uses the route). We’ve been friends for 20 years and bikes have been a part of that equation ever since. He’s the 10x winner of Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen hill race in Pittsburgh, which my event is based on. More interesting than that are the stories on his blog, which you should definitely check out.

When I schedule this year’s event I will post here on this site and on my twitter, @MattRuscigno.

 

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2013 Feel My Legs I’m A Racer

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

The 8th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is now in the books! And by books I mean completed because unlike Danny Chew I do not keep detailed logs of the event. But fortunately a number of people come out and take great photos and videos so we do have documentation- see the entire history here. We had about 55 cyclists start, which is fewer than the previous couple of years, but on the other hand we had one of the lowest rates of attrition.

As always, thank you to all of the Swarm! volunteers who make this happen, especially Jesse and Jessica who ride up every hill and keep score for me. I couldn’t put this on without you two! And of course thank you to all of the riders who came out, had a great attitude and challenged themselves for no reward. The scenery and accomplishment are reward enough?!

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

Final points:

44 Jon Budinoff
41 Seth Britton
25 Ed McGreevy
16 Joseph Griffith
9 Michael Relth

Congrats Jon for not only winning this two years in a row, but for also winning the Swrve race the day before! And Seth for coming out and making him work for it the day after you won a road race.

Thanks Boyz on the Hoods for making this video:

More coverage and photos:

Errin Vasquez / Frontage Roads

Center Line Rule

Thrasher’s photos

Donovan Jenkin’s photos

Michael Wagner’s photos

Thanks everyone, see you next year!

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.

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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #8, Sunday April 28th 2013

[Update Tuesday 4-23-12: Strava data!]
[Update Monday 4-22-13: It's official; we're going backwards. Again. Same map as last year, which I also embedded below]

A lot has changed in the Los Angeles bike world since I first held this event in 2006! Urban riders have become racers with regularity, racers have found the benefits of riding in the city and unsanctioned bike races are the norm. What I love is that these were the original goals of my bike club, Swarm!, way back in 2005 when we put a name to what we are doing- blurring the line between being a commuter and a racer and adding DIY ethics to everything. Bikes are more than exercise machines- they are a medium for exploring the world! Putting yourself on a bike in a city is still an act of rebellion. With that said I present to you the 2013 Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

ShawnBannonMtWash

Sunday April 28th 745am at 3626 W Sunset Blvd / Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake.

Rider meeting at 810am, roll to first hill at 815.  Please be on time!

Yes- fun, rain, shine, any bike, water, snacks, tube, tools, stokedness, riding just to finish, riding for points, waiting at top of each hill
No- bad attitudes, entitlement, car support, jock mentality, entry fee, prizes
See other FAQ on this earlier post and entire event history here. Last year’s info and ride report are fairly comprehensive. It’s a facebook event too.

Send any questions to BikeSwarm [at] gmail. Day-of announcements on twitter: @BikeSwarm
I may need some more day-of volunteers, please let me know if you can help out. Thank you!

Andrew

What exactly is this?

This is a stage ‘race’ on 10 of the hardest hills in Los Angeles that started in 2006. We ride as a group between hills and then each hill is its own event with points awarded for 1st through 5th. We regroup and ride together to the next hill. The rider with the most points after 10 hills wins! It’s based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Most riders are out there just to ride all 10 hills in one day, which is no small feat. It’s also a fun tour of hidden roads in Los Angeles.

Red- hills
Blue- route between hills
Green- route back to start from last hill

And strava data is available.

What are the hills?

Micheltorena
Duane
Fargo
Stadium Way/Boylston
Baxter
Marview
Thomas
Commodore
Eldred
Mt Washington

Do I have to race?

Definitely not! Most people on this ride are not racing, but are there just to ride up single every hill, which is a huge endeavor on its own.

Is there an entry fee?

No!

Are there prizes?

No!

Can I ride fixed gear?

You can try! We ride together from hill to hill and any gear that you could get up these hills with will be too low to stay with the group. You are welcome to come out and prove me wrong though. No automobile support to drive your bike around. I don’t care if you are the Messenger World Champion of the World. Using a flip flop hub is okay.

Will I get lost?

Probably not. We ride as a group from hill to hill at a chill pace. At each hill it will be obvious where to go. At any turns or confusing parts I’ll try to have chalk or a volunteer. We regroup at the top only after the last person has made it up. Either way, please familiarize yourself with the hills and the route.

How can I prepare?

Climb. A lot. Also check out all of the hills beforehand and learn the areas we ride through.  A good gauge is Micheltorena off of Sunset Blvd. It’s long with steep sections and if you can make it up that comfortably I think you can hang on this ride. Another test is Fargo St, which is a monster of a hill.  Most people who come out way underestimate how hard this is. Which is why more than half who start don’t finish.

Do I get a meal or picnic or something out of this?

I wish. In the past we’ve done everything from pancake breakfasts to picnics and from t-shirts to patches, all for a free event! I’m not sure we’ll be doing any of those in 2013, but I’ll see what I can do.

Who puts this on?

My bike club, known as Swarm!. We ride everything from alleycats to international UCI races. Collectively we think that the world would be a better place if people rode bikes and ate vegan food more often.

My friends want to watch, can they drive along the course and stop at the hills?

Absolutely not. We’re going to be on narrow roads in quiet neighborhoods; I don’t want to add to the car traffic. They are welcome to ride bikes along with us and I’ll help navigate the best places to see and how to get around. By the end almost half the people with us are just there to watch and cheer on the other riders! Again, no cars. I will ask you to leave. If multiple people cannot abide by this I will simply cancel this and ride away.

How long is this ride?

Plan to be done around 2pm, hopefully sooner.

Anything I can do to help?

Thanks for asking! I need help getting the word out. Please send this page to your bike club/crew/gang. I also may need some volunteers the day of. Getting up and down the hill may or may not be required. Photography is always appreciated, but again, by bike, not car. Get in touch at bikeswarm [at] gmail.

Thank you for your interest and I hope to see you at Sunset Triangle Park on Sunday the 28th!

GroupThomas

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My Favorite Photos of 2012

I am well aware that it is already Spring and this is a ‘favorite of 2012′ post, but hey, better late than never, right? I take a lot of photos. Some end up on facebook or instagram but most never make it off of my phone/camera. I was looking through all 1400 of them and thought I’d pick some of the ones I like best from last year.

Thanks for reading (and looking!) and thanks to everyone who was a part of this madness!

TourDeFat

Tour De Fat is one of the funnest days of the year. And I don’t even drink!

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of two failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

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California Coast. Many many hours spent here in 2012.

Big dude big dog.

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Aaron Edge’s bag. He’s the dude I tweeted about from #furtherfasterforever who was recently diagnosed with MS.

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CicLAvia plus pupusa. Los Angeles!

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More CicLAvia hangouts. MacArthur Park.

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This tiny bridge connected two bike routes and not only made cyclists’ ride way shorter and easier, but safer. Also called ‘Jesus Bridge’ because google earth hadn’t caught up to Strava and it looked like you rode on water….

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Any dog in my sight is at risk of being picked up. Especially pugs. This is pre Zion 100.

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Can I help you? At the NYC Veggie Pride Parade.

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I love classic East Coast brick buildings with their shady fire escapes. Bethlehem, PA.

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I only went mountain biking a few times in 2012 (wtf?) but this ride with my friend Timoni was a good one. Snake!

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At the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest, where I finished third place in solo single speed. 2am blurry photo with a crooked wheel?

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A pug in a milk crate basket is already great. Another great part is that Paul, who I did the British Columbia bike touring / mountaineering trip with, saw this photo and thought I was taking this bike.

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British Columbia. SO MANY BEARS.

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Mountaineering cabin view. Hell yes.

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Us on the mountain from the previous photo!

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Mountaineering challenged me in many ways. Most of them mental!

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Roped in, on the side of a steep mountain, discussing if it’s safe to be where we are. Why not pull out my phone and shoot a photo?

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Whistler Mountain Bike Park. I had such a blast. One of the best days of the year for sure. Wish I had more photos, but I was too busy getting rad.

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Vancouver. There was a serious race. I ate a veggie dog from a vendor. End of story.

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North Shore, Vancouver. This place is internationally known and changed mountain biking forever. Such a privilege to be there and ride bikes! I saw this the first day, thought it was insane and then rode it the second day. I guess I got use to the bike I was borrowing? Haha.

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Twenty-four hour vegetarian dinner in Vancouver. I love breakfast, in case you didn’t know that.

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Back to Eden vegan bakery in Portland. A treat. And mirrors on the walls.

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This pug was going wild while the owner went shopping. I had just locked up my bike and was on the phone but fortunate enough to capture this.

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Donovan at the Headlands 50/100. He paced me on my first 50 miler. And then ran 50 more miles while I hitch hiked back to SF from Marin County. Beautiful race!

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We fostered kittens for awhile at my house. This one was born with only one eye. Adorable.

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You know it’s an adventure when you are sleeping in a high school gym. This is Christian, my college housemate and close friend who joined me for several hundred miles when I rode cross-country in 2001. Here we are at the Oil Creek 100. He ran the 100k and I DNF’d the 100-miler.

Oil Creek 100. I was planning on quitting at the mile 62 aid station but then somehow still blacked out after I sat down. Not sure what happened! This is me trying to get warm and figure out the meaning of life.

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Excuse me, can I hang out with your pug?

Thor. The pit bull rescue. Maybe the cutest puppy ever?

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Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. Yes, I’m pretty stoked and wearing a wig. Photo by Donovan. Hooliganness by Los Angeles.

Hey dawg.

I love garlic. And have the tattoo to prove it.

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Art.

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by PB Creative.

For the first time every I regularly made pizza from scratch at home.

For the first time ever I regularly made pizza from scratch.

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I'm a Racer. Photo by @Area45

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I’m a Racer. Photo by @Area45

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Day in the Life 9; BMX Photographer Rob Dolecki

BMX riding is one of the most difficult sports to master- it takes crazy skills that are only perfected with great risk. Like skateboarding, there is no safety net and the slightest error can lead to injury. It’s physically and mentally demanding, to say the least. The variety within BMX is also huge- imagine becoming an expert at every single soccer position- most BMXers ride skateparks, street and BMX trails. It’s also a sport with very little recognition- sure there’s the X Games, but that’s not what most BMXers are interested in.  As cliche as it is, those who do it absolutely love it.

And our newest athlete in the series, Rob Dolecki, is a case in point. He simply loves BMX and bike riding.  The man is humble and not quick to talk about himself.  I think the only reason he agreed to this is because of how strongly he feels about veganism and because we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years! Rob is a full-time BMX photographer for magazines like DIG BMX, but that doesn’t mean he has stopped riding- even at 40 years old!

 

I love how Rob is a quiet, positive example of veganism, which is exactly what this project is about. He knows that the best way to influence others is by showing what’s possible in life- whether that’s smiling while jumping a 20 foot gap on a bike or finding food while on the road in the South America. Rob shared his tips for traveling while being vegan:

Road Trip Vegan Food Tips

Be flexible! You may not find your favorite or the healthiest foods on the road, but sometimes you have to just eat what’s available and vegan. What’s most important for your long-term health is the food choices you make most often. Don’t stress over eating eating less than ideally while on the road!

Be prepared.  Learn about the food choices where you are headed.

Plan ahead. Can you carry food with you while you are away from resources?  Some easy choices while traveling-

Fruit- Dried or fresh.
Nuts- High in calories and important nutrients, these are a life saver when spending long periods of time between meals on the road.
Bread and nut butter- Vegan bread is easy to get,  add some peanut butter and you have a filling, tasty meal to hold you over.

Be sure to check out Rob’s exceptional photography at www.twicebmx.com. Thanks Rob for spending your day with us and getting me out on a BMX bike again!

 

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