Category Archives: road

Mt. Laguna Bicycle Classic Pre-ride

Our friend Chris from AdventureCORPS, besides putting on the Badwater Ultramarathon and the Furnace Creek 508 (which I’ve written about so often I made a 508 tab), puts on more accessible, less well-known events like the Death Valley CORPScamp and Hell’s Gate 100.

A new ride for 2010 is the Mt. Laguna Bicycle Classic (100 miles and 10,000ft elevation gain) in East San Diego County and back in November he invited a few of us out to pre-ride the course. There are meticulous details on the route, elevation and area on the site. My concern was that I was going to feel like I wasn’t getting anywhere by riding up to the same ridge three times. But I had never been to this part of California and was amazed and stoked on how beautiful and varying the terrain is and never felt that way.


This is looking back down the last climb. This was described as
‘Not like a real road, more like a fire road that has been paved.’

Some steep sections here. The course is entirely paved,
but on two of three climbs it looks like this.
Can you see Jack waving?

Chris’ photos from the day cover a much wider range of the area. Jack, Brian and I were trying to think of accurate descriptors for the area. Alpine desert? When you finally get to the ridge, the far side is open and vast and slightly desert-y, but you are in pine trees. California never quits. The descent was super fast and smooth. Riding with those two guys the descents are always a race of who can go fastest and use their brakes the least..

No true environmentalist travels w/o a foldable bowl and spork


The ride had roving support by Adobo Velo, a Filipino cycling club. They had been teasing us all day about not eating meat, then surprised us with some vegan adobo. I don’t think vegan balut exists yet, but maybe it won’t be too long since vegan veal is already a product. They were super fun. I want to try and jump on one of their club rides these days.

Some friends from the San Diego chapter of Organic Athlete were having a vegan potluck in Ocean Beach, so we made the drive over from Pine Valley (sort of) on our way back to Los Angeles. First we hit the co-op so as to not show up empty handed, then made our way to a vegan bakery for some sweet cinnamon rolls.

Yes, we ate twice before going to a potluck. That’s how vegan cyclists roll!

How fortunate are we to have been able to ride this and hang out with such great people? So fortunate that I’ve almost forgot about the 32 degree weather at the start and the flat I got in the first three miles. April will be warm and it’ll be great to push a little with 300 other riders out there.

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Dont Get Fat ‘training camp’ Days 4 and 5 ahead

*Update for Day 5* Due to Angeles Crest still being closed we’re going to do a flat-ish 100 on PCH. Still meet at Cafe Tropical at 7, ride at 730. Route will be Sunset->Santa Monica blvd ->Federal->San Vicente->Ocean-> the nibble down to PCH->’the rock’->return. Eat at Carousel at Santa Monica and Normandie. I’m ready to fight mapmyride.com so no map! Westside meet-up can be the bathrooms/water at San Vicente/Ocean probably 9ish. Email bikeswarm on gmail if you’re trying to hop on and I’ll be sure to check it.

Michael riding up Epic-er road in
Glendale/La Canada with DTLA in background


Today we met at CycleWay Coffee in Hermon for some chillin and caffeine consumption, rode the hills of Mt Washington, South Pas and some other little-known roads and ate at Hugo’s tacos in Atwater, which included a damn hot habenero salsa. Map of the route for your riding pleasure. More photos and updates over at bikeswarm.org. Thanks to everyone who has come out!

Join us tomorrow:
Dec19 Sat-Meet at 7am for coffee at Peet’s on Larchmont, rolling at 730am to Palos Verdes for a 73-mile route to India Sweets and Spices on Venice Blvd. Here is roughly what the route will look like.

Battery covering 7 Seconds’ Young Till I Die for motivation:

http://www.youtube.com/v/hfuhWEda5NM&hl=en_US&fs=1&

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Don’t Get Fat ‘training camp’ Dec 16-20th

Update 2: Friday Day3 route. Ride to the ride from Sunset blvd and Griffith Park blvd (Silver Lake farmers market location) leaving at 730.

Update:
Day 1 route and join us for a 655-755am yoga class at Urth Yoga on 2809 W. Sunset Blvd. Indoor bike parking and $5 class and $1 mat rental!
Day 2 route

Join Swarm! as we drink coffee, ride in spandex and eat vegan food all over Los Angeles during a 5-day Don’t Get Fat ‘training camp’. Each day we’ll meet at a coffee shop, ride a great route and end at a vegan-friendly restaurant.

photo from AdventureCORPS

Dec16 Wed 8/830am- Intelligensia, riding Beachwood through the Hollywood Hills onto Mulholland (40 miles-route), eat at Flore

Dec17 Thur- 8/830am- Trails Cafe, riding Griffith and Elysian (40- route), eat at Pure Luck
Dec18 Fri- 8/830am- CycleWay Coffee, riding the hills of Mt Washington, South Pas and some other little-known roads (50), eat at Hugo’s tacos in Atwater
Dec19 Sat-7/730am- Peet’s on Larchmont, riding Palos Verdes with two options of difficulty (60/75), eating at India Sweets and Spices on Venice Blvd
Dec20 Sun-7/730am- Cafe Tropical, riding Big Tujunga, Angeles Forest/Crest. (75-100), eating at Carousel
(first time is coffee, second is rolling, estimated mileage in parentheses)

What should I bring?
Snacks, tube; the usual for a self-supported ride. Also money for coffee and food. On the longer rides we’ll have an additional stop for food and water.
Can I keep up?
If you do Wolf Pack Hustle, BiciKillers, Caturday Warriors or something similar, yes.
Will you wait up?
Probably. Though if you show up in jeans on a track bike, probably not. Unless you are Cole or some other monster then you’ll have to wait for us.
Do I have to do everything?
Hanging out is mandatory unless you can’t then that’s cool.
Does it cost anything?
The value of these rides is greater than money; we require your time and stokedness.
What are the percentages for the climbs and what wattage can I expect to put out per hour, on average?
These rides are probably not for you.
Who is putting this on?
A ‘bunch of fucking boring semi-employed geeks’ known as Swarm!. Questions? Get in touch at bikeswarm on gmail.
Swarm! events for 2010
Feb: Dan’s urban cyclocross race, I Got Fat training camp
March: Thus Climbed Zarathustra; Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer (5th year!)

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New Moon Century

My friend, housemate and co-conspirator in many adventures, Sasha, organized a century ride on Sunday Oct 18th: the New Moon Century. It was in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains and utilizes many of the terrific roads on the Mulholland Challenge and the Different Spokes Century (which incidentally is the first bike ride I ever paid for AND where I learned about double centuries way back in 2004). All of the proceeds go to an anti-hunger organization and Sea Shepherd!


Sasha is one of those people that when she gets a good idea, she just plows forward and learns as she goes. I could learn something from her, as I tend to over-think and over-organize before even getting started. It was all a little chaotic, but the best things in life usually are. We had a great team putting this on, including a SAG vehicle driven by Janet Christiansen, who finished Race Across America this year.

About 75 people rode one of the three options- 36, 62 and 100 miles. Outstanding considering the narrow focus: kosher! vegan!

Lunch stop volunteers and riders
For Jacob and Mike, sitting on the left, it was their first century


I helped at the lunch stop and had the honor of explaining to people what the hell tofurky and vegenaise are. Some were not interested and it was funny to watch them make a tomato, avocado, mustard sandwich, which is what I have to do when it’s real deli meat. But most people did try and seemed to enjoy it.

I had a fantastic time hanging out at Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica mountains and helping people accomplish something as demanding as a century. Putting on and helping at events can be as rewarding (and tiring!) as actually doing them. I also got to meet some new people, including a vegan cardiologist who I had only communicated with via the internets. She has a write-up on her great blog.

Thanks to the groups who helped out: Orange 20 Bikes, Clif bar, Tofurky and others:

Mandatory vegan restaurant hang-out post-ride:
Vinh Loi Tofu

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Gibraltar Loop from Mesa Ln in Santa Barbara

Went on a little day trip to beautiful Santa Barbara for some road riding: Gibraltar Loop from Mesa Ln. Unlike my last trip to Santa Barbara, I was with others and we all piled in a car and drove up. Finally able to hang out with Alex, Ron and Ilya, who I have only ridden with occasionally or not at all.

Mountain, ocean, you know.

Not sure how Ron got these colors with his iPhone


After a mechanical and some other delays (if you count coffee as a delay, I count it as a necessity), it was pretty warm for the 9-mile climb. Some sections hit 14 or so percent (or so claim those with the GPS devices rattling off numbers). I was missing having that 27 on my cassette.

This lower area had been hit by a recent fire, but there were finally pines near the top

Sweet descent

On Painted Cave Rd back to SB

Alex has some friends with a house/property above the beach.
This is the view from the hot tub platform!
Watching dogs play on the beach has to be one of the most
smile-inducing activities in the world.

Nice to get out of my normal routine and do this. Other surprises: opportunity for a post-ride outdoor shower on above mentioned property. Also being the only vegan and saying, ‘Yeah I can eat anywhere don’t worry about it’ and ending up at a brew pub with very few options (the beans had meat in them!?).
Thanks Alex for planning the route, Ron for driving/taking photos/drinking excessive amounts of coffee and Ilya for keeping us entertained.

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Mt Shasta CORPScamp

In late July I made the journey to Northern California for CORPScamp Shasta, 5 days of cycling and yoga, hosted by AdventureCORPS. Chris and Elizabeth were fantastic hosts: each night after riding and doing yoga there was either a group meal with delicious vegan options or a film.

Mt Shasta hanging out in the clouds above 14,000 ft.

Each morning we’d meet up, do some stretching and head out for a 50-90 mile ride. My goal was to swim every day. On Thursday’s ride I submerged myself in some cold snow run-off:

On the way back from McCloud there was a bonus climb on an unmaintained road above Mt. Shasta city:

On Friday we rode up to Mumbo summit, which is on the Mt Shasta super century that we’d ride on Sunday. The bonus climb this day went up to Castle Lake:

I jumped into water that was slightly warmer than the day before and swam about 500 yards out to a big rock in the middle. Exhilarating! A rock in the middle of a lake in the mountains is a great place to reflect (what’s important to you? Being in open water in the summer ranks high on my list!).

Sunday was the Mt Shasta Super Century, which I posted about previously, but I only mentioned the food :)

I’m fortunate to have these opportunities in my life and the health and capacity to take advantage of them. Are you?

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oh, fire

http://www.youtube.com/v/0qqxjO5nr8k&hl=en&fs=1&
Those of you in the Los Angeles area need no reminder of the station fire burning just northeast of us. Here are some unbelievable photos from the ever impressive photo journalism of the Boston Globe. Note the helicopter in this one:

This National Forest has been very important to me over the years I’ve spent in Los Angeles. I’ve easily been there hundreds of times road riding, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, running, taking Angeles Crest as a shortcut to the 14….

Recently I was discussing with a friend how we seek out contrast. We were laughing that we had both done hikes in the desert (him in Death Valley, myself in Joshua Tree) to springs to see the greenery that arises from the smallest amount of water. Why go to the desert to see green? We didn’t really come up with an adequate answer, but didn’t feel the need to. There is something magical to experiencing that part of nature that refuses to be like the rest and finds a way to be itself in the harshest circumstances. And this explains what I love about Los Angeles: all of the parks and green space, the surrounding mountains; the places that feel the most un-LA. If I love these parts why not live in Missoula or Portland? Because of the contrast.

This doesn’t have much to do with the fire, and I’m sorry I can’t add anything to those discussions. I’m just taking the time to reflect on the spaces that are so valuable to me. Here are some previous posts from times spent in the Angeles Forest:

Gabrielino trail(mountain biking)

Strawberry peak loop(mountain biking)

Midnight Express ride (over Angeles Crest at night to Acton and back)

The running and road bike mountain bike shuttle trip

LA Bike Coalition article with photo of Echo Mountain

To Mt. Wilson on dirt with the cross bike

Crazy to think it won’t be the same for generations.

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