Category Archives: off-road

French fry salad

Inagural ride on the new mountain bike! Shocks. Something else. Also amazing? Four pounds lighter. A smooth, fast bike that fits. Wow!

Aidan is still in town post-Tour Divide, all 4th place finish, 1st single-speed (10 hours off the course record?!), 1st rookie. Took him for a spin in the Verdugos. June gloom (still) in effect on this side, but the climb up from La Tuna was HOT. The opposite of his next adventure, which is the 1100-mile Alaska Iditarod Invitational early next year. Nothing like perspective on what is possible.

Post-ride Indian buffet. Duh. A spot I had heard about in Pasadena near Lake and Colorado. The food was good, weren’t a ton of vegan options, but there was this:

We thought maybe it was compost. Delicious compost. Beans, curried broccoli and…..french fry….salad? Whaaa? We asked what was up with it and our server just told us it was a mixed-vegetable salad. Okay. I’m down no matter what you call it.

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Filed under off-road, vegan

Santa Monica 100

The Santa Monica 100 map from my June 12th ride on single-speed. Turn by turn directions at the bottom. More info on this post.

How was it? I’m not sure. I was 15 minutes late and chased the entire way. It started chaotically when I got to Wilshire/Western in Koreatown to hop on the Rapid bus to Santa Monica. I was even early. If you know me well, you know this is rare. It was chaotic because Korea was playing in some international sporting event involving kicking a ball around. This being Koreatown, the street was flooded with fans watching live on a giant screen. I definitely support public gatherings. Especially the folks who looked like they had stayed out all night to catch the 430am start.

So I had forgotten about the valuable space that is the bike rack on the 720 bus. No fewer than four dudes with bikes waiting at the stop in front of me. Then the first bus’ bike rack is full. And then the second. Then one dude decides to ride to wherever he was going. Three more buses later I have a spot.

the bus at 630am. Good thing they come every 6 minutes.

I missed the start by minutes. Though a whole cast of characters made it an exciting day on the mountain bike.

The exerciser
He said I was close enough to try and cut off the group by running down a giant staircase that’s main function is for exercise. Nope.

The LA County Bicycle Coalition crew
They got me to the trail head and on the route. Thanks! I’d later see them about 8 miles back from my turnaround point.

Back of the pack dudes
On the big climb up Sullivan Ridge I caught a dude who said he was on the ride. Sweet. At the top three more dudes said ‘five minutes ahead’. I think I’m now in the ride. I’m not.

Mountain bikers at the Hub
They said, ‘oh 20 minutes ago’ (maybe I lost time by riding Broken Arrow on the way? I figured they’d hit all the single track, but I guess not).

Trippet Ranch hiker
saw my perplexed look and said, ’10 minutes ago a big group left….’

Helen’s dudes
Saw me riding up Old Topanga Canyon rd and turned around. We were right near Red Rock Canyon Park where’d we figure out later the main group went. Rode with me all the way to the top of the road climb to the route I knew from the Rough Riders ride I had done last year to Calabasas peak and then down to Stunt road. One dude drops. Added a bunch of miles and a huge climb.

My friend Mark riding Cross
He had gotten dropped (‘Dude, they are fucking flying! I couldn’t hold on at all). Met up with him on Mulholland.

Malibu Creek State Park meet-up dudes
They see us and get all amped. They think we are off the front. ‘No, sorry. You know where to go?’ Now there are 5 of us. We do Bulldog Climb. Mark drops and head to the beach. I have to push on four different occasions. We descend to the Corral Canyon Backbone trailhead, which I have ridden before. It’s awesome to have pedal-powered from a usual riding spot to one I have driven an hour to.

One of the meet-up dudes handling a snake

This trail rules. There are only three of us now and it has been hours since we’ve heard anything about any of the original riders. Finally some single track.

Original Riders!
Past Latigo, just before Kanan some dudes come ripping by. Holy shit! A few minutes later my friend Cole Maness. We stop and chat. I love Cole. He’s got that Southern friendliness and stokedness. He does epic shit and has no ego. We were chatting once about his Rapha trip to Nepal and he says to me, ‘Really, I should thank you. Because you won’t wear wool I get to do all of this traveling!’ (I was asked to be on the Rapha Continental team but declined cause of all the wool. Oh well)
He tells us there are only 9 riders left.

Al on single-speed
He was pushing up from Kanan. He tells me to hurry up and do the rest and catch him so we can ride together. I raced Al last year at the 24 hours of Boggs. I chased him all night. He slept at 930am and I thought I could make up the difference and pass him, but he had ridden fast enough and held me off, while sleeping, for a podium finish!

At Kanan, Helen’s dude heads to the beach. ‘I’m so done. I can’t ride anymore.’ The meet-up dude and I decide to turn around and not do the last 5-mile out and back. He’s already hours late.
At Malibu Creek State Park (again) he gets in his car and offers me a ride. I decline. I decide to ride road all the way back to dirt Mulholland and skip the route through Red Rock. I had never entered dirt Mulholland from the west. Rad.
I cruise it the whole length. It’s hot as shit. It turns to pavement again, I bomb down Sepulveda, splitting lanes in traffic, back to the 720 in Westwood. Eleven hours bus to bus time. Maybe 100 miles?

Thanks to the folks who made the route. I’ve a new appreciation for the Santa Monicas and what connects to what. Next time I hope to ride with the regulars. I heard 8 of 40 finished.

4th & Adelaide
down Adelaide
R to Ocean up Amalfi
L to Capri
L to Sullivan fireroad
L to Mulholland
L to Fireroad 30
R to Eagle Rock
R to Trippet
down Entrada
L to Topanga
R to Old Topanga
L to Red Rock Road
L to Calabasas Peak
R to Stunt
L to Mulholland
L to Las Virgenes
R to Craggs
L to Bulldog
L to Castro
R to Kanan backbone
turn-around @ Zuma Ridge FR

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Filed under off-road, public trans

Tour Divide Update

The 2700 mile Tour Divide mountain bike race is well underway and my friend Aidan is fourth overall, 14 days into the race- first place single speed and first rookie! here are some photos, there’s a good one of him at the bottom.

Here’s a video interview:

Aidan Harding – 2010 Tour Divide from Juicy Fruita on Vimeo.

Though It is all overshadowed by a racer being killed from a head-on collision with a vehicle:

It’s hard to process this. Someone doing a race I want to do was killed while racing, on a road I have been on. He leaves behind his wife and young daughter.

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Single-speed specific, belt-drive ready, ritchey breakaway custom 29er

By Trystan Cobbett.
Photos of complete bike soonish. Trying to figure a way around Fox
voiding warranty if you paint your fork. Black electrical tape?


Filed under off-road

Not enough hours this weekend to do it all

Well, It’s not quite officially summer, but there are a number of summer-like events this weekend. It’s overwhelming, almost. The price of being involved in so much. Let’s see if I can get it covered.

Saturday I was planning on racing the second edition of the 12 hours of Temecula series. I raced the first one back in January and actually got around to writing about it. But, along came tangible proof of the existence of a mystical ride called the Santa Monica 100, a ride linking up 100 miles of mostly single track in the Santa Monica mountains. So drive over an hour, pay $85 and ride in circles or do a free, DIY, local event? Duh. Since there isn’t much info on the site here’s their page on everyone’s favorite vegan-owned social networking site: facebook. I think I’ve ridden most of these independently, linking them up should rule. Anyone else on single-speed? Will Dave Zabriskie be there again? I heard about this ride last year, but missed it and I just kept hearing about Zabriskie riding it on a 29er with drop bars. And since I know very little about professional road racing I used this lone fact to root for him for the Tour of California.

Burritos on a roof in San Diego back in April.

If you aren’t coming mountain biking with me, you should be walking stairs as Saturday and Sunday is the second edition of the Big Parade, a 2-day, 35-mile walk covering over 100 stairways from downtown LA to the Hollywood sign including urban camping. You can do all of it, which I did last year and it was a blast, or pop in and out and do sections that interest you. It’s a slice of LA most people have no idea exists. Get out to this! The website is a wealth of info. You can follow on twitter to catch them.

If deep down you feel that walking and clothing are inhibiting, you can skip out and head over to the World Naked Bike Ride. Seriously. The LA ride leaves around 4pm from Echo Park after a popular sporting event ends. Social network with fellow naked cyclists here.

Los Angeles’ first bicycle cooperative the Bicycle Kitchen is having their closing fundraiser party at a spot on ‘the block’. Check out their blog for the details.

Also Saturday night vegan MMA fighter Mac Danzig has a fight and some friends are organizing a vegan potluck to view it. Why not?

While all this is happening here, I’ll be thinking about my friend Aidan who was on my support crew in Norway when I raced Norseman, possibly the only triathlon that requires a crew, because he’s on a race that explicitly does not allow a crew or any outside help at all- the Tour Divide. Starts today at noon in Banff and ends 2745 miles later at the Mexican border. One stage, no entry fee, no prizes. My kind of race! I wish I was there, actually. I wrote about the race a bit in 2008, including info from when I rode the Canada to (almost) Mexico section in 2006. Aidan is racing single-speed, but I’ve confidence in anyone who has finished the Alaska Iditarod Invitational. Crush it Aidan!

Lastly, I’ve a half dozen unfinished posts from previous events I’d like to get up soon. Too busy doing to write about the past! This is my public commitment to get them up!

From this year:
Cool 24 hour mountain bike race
Mt. Laguna Bicycle Classic
LA County Bicycle Coalition LA River century

Last year:
Boggs 24hr mountain bike race
To/from Mt. Whitney Summit from Los Angeles via public transit (seriously!).

Have fun in the world this weekend.


Filed under city, hike, off-road, political

Night Riding in the Verdugos

The Verdugo Mountains are so close to urban LA, I cannot believe how infrequently I’ve been. They are a decent sized range that sits just 10 miles from East Hollywood, behind Griffith Park. From a distance they look to be part of the San Gabriels, but they are a distinct range and a valley exists between the two, home to Tujunga and Sunland. I was up here a few months ago on my cross bike and wrote a short post about it. Here is a more detailed description of the area, with photos:

The other night four of us headed out, hitting the trailhead about 9pm. It’s good practice as we’ve been racing at night, but not really riding at night. Which is sort of the Swarm! way. Also true of my swimming…
Halfway through the single-track back down to La Tuna Canyon is a sketchy, hip-high seesaw with missing boards. I love to play on stuff when riding, so really there was no question about trying it. Can I point out that we live in the future? The lights on our bikes are bright enough for Max to film with his phone! Then uploaded to the internet…

Weekend nights in Los Angeles are so exciting!

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Bring May Powers

And just like that Saturday is May 1st. The crew from September's
Bromamce Slaycation has piled into the Adventure Van (at 31 yrs old
I've no qualm that the vehicle I've spent the most time in in the
previous five yrs is my friend's mom's minivan) and is heading north
to Cool, CA. Married couple brodozer vehicle left the South Bay
earlier and this afternoon we'll combine forces. 24 hours of Cool
Saturday noon to Sunday noon.
We've got:
4-person Swarm! team- Max, Brian (both Bonobo team veterans), Mike Sz
(raced Tucson 24hr) and Nicolas (from the HooDoo 500 team in 07)
Jenny and McCall on support and hang-out duty.
They should kill it. Podium?

I'm racing solo single-speed. No crazy expectations as my fitness is
still meh. Also had hoped to have my new (custom!) bike w an actual
shock fork, but alas it wasn't done in time. Because there's no better
first ride for a new bike than a 24 hour one.

While Swarm! team M is in the woods off-roading in the north, Swarm!
team F will be in central coast at the Wildflower 'woodstock of
triathlons' triathlon. Molly (vegan baker extraordinaire) is racing
her first Olympic distance and Sasha (508 documentarian) is doing the
same, her very first tri. I've been working closely with her on
nutrition/training so I'll be thinking about her while I'm racing.

Keep up with the races at if that
sort of thing interests you.

Playlist thus far:
Propagandhi Less Talk More Rock
Integrity Systems Overloaded
Converge Petitioning the Empty Sky

And if you're in LA for May Day check this out:

Demand the impossible! Of yourself and the world.

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Filed under off-road, travel

Between the mountains and the clouds: the ocean

Cyclocross adventuring in the Verdugos scouting Moi's upcoming
'(dirty) Gentlemen's race'.

Dirt was sticky luckily, as I hadn't bothered to change my slicks, or
remove my fenders.

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Worlds colide on the reg

New fork for the soon-to-be new 29er picked up with the trusty (and
delightfully squeeky) Ross Eurotour.
'What a life' indeed.


Filed under bike, city, off-road

December SF trip: Supermarket Sweep and Prestige Cross

Looking for any excuse to head back to San Francisco after my super awesome October trip, I found the Supermarket Sweep Alleycat race. Basically you start near the Embarcadero, head to the first, predetermined grocery store and then to four others in any order you choose to pick up the required food on the manifest. It all ends at the SF Food Bank. Since riding a bike around a city and food shopping makes up the majority of my existence, I thought it ‘d be a great race to do.

My track bike with Ritchey break-away system packed up for the plane (no charge!)

My good friend Trystan, who built my track bike, now works for Chrome Bags, my Friday afternoon post-flight destination.

Ready to ride

Over 200 people raced! First hill was brutal. I should have known, right? Since my SF geographical knowledge is pretty basic so I utilized a few skills to get around: asking people in line if they knew which store on the manifest was closest and how to get there, pulling up a map on my phone, and making friends with a local and jumping on. The last of these was the most effective. Till we bombed some seriously steep hills and I’m the only one on a brakeless track bike. Definitely slightly more danger than I’m usually into to, but hey, that’s part of the experience.

Pro photos of all finishers!

We ended up covering over twenty miles! And people say Los Angeles is spread out…I rode with a number of friendly (and fast!) folks. Ended up 11th or something in the fixed category. Ex-Angeleno Swarm! rider Paul Barclay got 5th in the geared division and current Angeleno (and sxe BMXer) Hern got 4th in fixed. The organizers were unbelievable and hooked up dozens of sponsors and a banging after-party. Thanks!

That night Trystan and his bike racing housemates decided that I was going to do the Cyclocross race the next day in Coyote Point on Dan’s ‘spare’ cross bike that is nicer than any bike I’ve ever owned.

Cross is hard. So is using Campy shifters.

The course had some sweet technical sections, long straights and tight turns on pavement. Seemed my road skills came in most handy as I railed them as fast as I could. Think I ended top third in a field of 60.

Also ate a ton of food, dranks lots of coffee and was often cold; the usual SF happenings. And hung out with this amazing guy:

Thanks Trystan, Dan and Maria!


Filed under city, off-road, race, travel