Category Archives: feelmylegs

2010: Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #5

All race-day photos from Shawn Bannon’s amazing Flickr set which I recommend you watch in slide show. While you are at it, check out his great food blog Little Vegan Planet and his fiance’s beautiful Cute and Delicious vegan blog.

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is a 10-stage hill race I have been organizing in Los Angeles for the previous 5 years (see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or my Feel My Legs tag) based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen race in Pittsburgh. It’s simple. Find the hardest/steepest hills in the area and each one is a stage. We meet up, ride as a group to hill one, race up it where the first five people get points. Then we group ride to hill number two, where we do it again! You can see the most recent map of the ten hills here (which somehow has 39,000 views?).

There is no entry fee. No prizes for first. Most years there is an award for everyone who finishes and in 2010 it was this patch:




[Update Saturday Jan 15th, 7:15am, In 2010 all entrants received this spoke card by multi-race finisher and Midnight Ridazz regular, Creative Thing.  The photo is of Jack Lindquist’s piston tattoos. Thanks Creative Thing!!]



Back in 2007 the race was held close to Valentine’s Day and I wanted a design related to love- love for bicycling. My great friend Chris, who is the design force behind much of the Swarm! stuff, and I worked out this one:

Which, minus the cog, I got tattooed on my leg later that year (by my good friend Thomas Hooper).  Since then two close friends have had it tattooed on them, one of which is Jack, who won this race the first 4 years I held it. It’s also where the name of this website comes from! Lacy, in a discussion about what name to use, suggested something that is already important to me. Why not one of my tattoos? And since Out Of Step is obviously not my original concept, I went with True Love.

Eldred Street. So much steeper than it looks.

Enough with the back story! For the first in time in all five years of this race, Jack was not there and therefore obviously could not win. Instead he sent his housemate, a former BMXer and MX racer whose focus now is single-speed cyclocross. Ty (below, on notorious Fargo St) took some early hills, faded briefly, but then with a strong showing on the last few gobbled up enough points to take the win. Could not have gone to a nicer person!

As always we start with more folks than we finish with and a few newer riders are left in awe of the difficulty of this race. The feedback on the MR forum was fantastic. The last climb is in Elysian Park and we ended with a big vegan picnic/bbq. Thanks to everyone who comes out and races and supports! I wouldn’t bother putting this on (I lose money!) if it wasn’t for the stokedness of those who ride it. More photos from Bootykika if you’re interested and the date for 2011 is yet to be announced….I’m working on it!

I’m trying to force out a smile here, on the top of Baxter St.


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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer 2010

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill race (5th year anniversary!) Sunday March 28th, 8am
Meet at Sunset Blvd / Griffith Park Ave (where Silver Lake Farmers Market is)

background and FAQ from 2009

More soon, but wanted to get the hills up so people know! This so exciting. The Finishers patch is so dope. Come get it! The race will be followed by the Crucial Vegan Friendship picnic (Brian Farhy Commemorative edition) where your friends can meet you and you can grub hard. The picnic starts at 1pm and hopefully we’ll be done by then.

1. Mt Washington drive / Self-realization (Mt. Washington)
2. Eldred st (Highland Park)
3. Amethyst st (El Sereno)
4. Thomas st (Lincoln Heights)
5. White Knoll/Marview (Echo Park)
6. Echo Park ave/Baxter (Echo Park)
7. Micheletorena (Silver Lake)
8. Silver Lake blvd/Duane (Silver Lake)
9. Fargo st (Echo Park)
10. Stadium way/Academy/Boylston (Elysian Park),-118.23143&spn=0.068239,0.109863&z=13&output=embed
View Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer 2010 in a larger map


Patch for all finishers!

Spoke card by Creative Thing


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Swarm! events for 2010 is down (as is the Bikerowave site) because the server was hacked, but I didn’t want to wait to get these dates out. I’ll have more specifics for each event up soon. Photos and details of previous years via links.

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill race (5th year anniversary!) Sunday March 28th, 8am
Meet at Silver Lake Farmers Market at Sunset Blvd / Griffith Park Ave
Background (from 2009)
Previous year write-ups:

Thus Climbed Zarathustra, CycloCat AlleyCross race, Sunday March 21, 1pm (exact time may change)
Silver Lake Dog Park

Crucial Vegan Friendship Picnic 2, Sunday March 28th, 1pm
Elysian Park. Exact location tbd.
Info from 2009

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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer

Riding bikes with friends and strangers, sharing my geographical knowledge of this fascinating city and ending it all with a wonderful BBQ/picnic in a beautiful park is a way I’d like to welcome Spring every year. The FML09 route map is here.

(the short sprint of a hill that is #5: Quintero. Echo Park)

FML09 went really well and I thank everyone who put work in:
Morgan, Paul and Jesse scoring, Kiecker running sweep, Max running/rocking the cargo bike, Jenny, Kathryn and Brendan handling the BBQ, Sasha and others for making great food and everyone else who jumped in and helped out when needed. And of course, all of the crazy people who showed up to ride, had a great attitude and showed appreciation. Thank you!

After congregating at the Silver Lake Farmers Market, about 50 us rolled out for the 6-mile cruise to Mt. Washington Dr, pictured above. This is a sweet, 1.4 mile climb with multiple switchbacks. It’s not a taxing grade, but is consistent and gets steeper at the very top.

Unfortunately, not every rider got to experience the complete hill and all of its worthiness. A miscommunication between myself and the scorers put them at the wrong spot. Not the top! The lead pack got there, raced for it, then someone who knew it was not the top told everyone and another ‘race’ broke out for the real top. When I got up there (haha! I wasn’t in the front pack…) we had to figure out how to score it. I made my decision after discussing it with those involved and said that if this hill made a difference in the end (remember there is only a first place) we would have a run-off. Most riders were not that concerned, but one guy threw a temper tantrum and stormed off. It bummed me out. Here is a race with no entry fee and no prizes, put on by volunteers. Is it really worth being a dick about? Multiple people apologized for him and said it is best not to have someone like that along for the ride anyway.

Next up: Eldred St (above). Some argue it is steeper than Fargo. It’s steep, narrow and in poor condition. It took out a number of people. Between hills two and three we stopped at Cycle Way coffeeshop. Note to ride organizers: It takes a long ass time for a group of cyclists to use one restroom.

Hill number three is new for this year as well: Amethyst st in El Sereno. It’s .60 miles and has varying degrees of steepness, width and road quality. It winds tightly through a small neighborhood and at the top looks like rural Central America. The crazy descent reinforces this. At this point the ride leaders are establishing themselves: Jack (who showed up to race despite the rumors), Brian (not on a mtb this year), E-rock (westside cyclocross guy) and Dean (on a sick IF cross bike with tubulars).

After a cruise through Lincoln Heights and Chinatown, we arrive in Echo Park for White Knoll, #4. This has been on FML each and every year. At 11am it was still overcast and the possibility of rain loomed. After this point the rides between hills become shorter and the reality of 10 steep hills in one morning hits.

Quintero is a .20 mile sprint of a hill (also the first photo in this post) and I went for it. Brian teasingly let me take the photo finish for third, which would prove to make a difference in the end.

Another classic climb. We start at the coffee shop on Echo Park before turning left onto this monster with its bricks and unevenness. Usually after we descend, Baxter (where the bus was stuck) is the next hill, but not this year. After descending we roll down Lake Shore to Berkeley into Silver Lake.

Micheletorena St, usually the last hill, is number 7 this year. It’s only 0.60 miles, but it varies in steepness and is visually very intimidating. No turns and only up. It’s like it will never end. No photos from this year, unfortunately. This year I linked up Micheletorena to Duane by going over the ridge to the reservoir. The temperatures are starting to rise, the sun is out and people are ready to be done. Then Duane hits as number 8. That little push up on Silver Lake is tough and then you see the massiveness of Duane. It’s a busy area with the dog park and a line of cars had to wait patiently for the last of the tacking riders, but they were cool and one guy even clapped as he drove by. Sweet.

Thee Fargo as hill number 9 is cruel. But logistics ruled and that’s where it ended up. It’s gotten fame in the cycling world from the LA Wheelman hill climb and is a doozy. 32 percent?! Above the lead group hammers up.

The hammering wouldn’t last as even the strongest riders had to tack near the top. Dean is killing it out in front while everyone else does a coordinated bike dance. It was great to watch these guys battle it out, as the points were still close. From here a short ride lead us to the back of Elysian Park and a 1.6 mile climb up Stadium Way to the glorious finish.

E-rock, Brian and Jack on the slight downhill before it picks up again.

Brian would end up taking the last hill, which left him and Jack in a tie! Oh no, exactly what I was worried about happening. We considered a one-on-one battle up this last hill, going back to Mt. Washington, a banana-eating contest, a dance off…..but it ends up both were too hungry to care and we all went to the BBQ and didn’t think about it again. Awesome.

Kathryn and Brendan grill some big franks and veggie ham/pineapple kabobs.

Other friends arrived bringing food, beer and a kickball. Nothing like a group of adults playing kickball in spandex… It was great (except for the spandex part). I got to spend time with people I wish I saw more often and hang out with people I’ve only seen from a distance or in the internet. I appreciate the feedback I get and I really do feel honored that people come out to ride such a ridiculous event AND they have fun. Looking forward to the 5 year anniversary in 2010!

You can also check out Ingrid’s photos and Gary’s write up.


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Feel My Bus

Life is a lot like this bus that we spotted stuck on Baxter St during Feel My Legs. A bus has almost unlimited potential in how far it can take you and provides seemingly unlimited space to fill with your heart’s desires (not to mention it as a ubiquitous symbol of education/knowledge). But then sometimes you want to go to places you probably should not. Even if you know this, the idea is intoxicating and the potential for growth being in a new, uncomfortable space is huge. Going where we shouldn’t also has its risks. If it did not than it wouldn’t be any different than our everyday lives. And then sometimes you get stuck on a steep incline.

Photo from Ingrid’s Flickr. The bus made it up Baxter, from the steep Fargo St side, but is stuck on the ridge before the descent. In previous years we came up the road from the direction the bus is facing, but in 2009 I pulled this hill in order to include the new one in El Sereno.

What does this have to with a hill race? I’m super busy right now and going through some things I really, really wish I did not have to do, so I’ve been super slack on posting about Feel My Legs this year. Hopefully in the next couple days.


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last FML update for 2009

(main page for Feel My Legs 2009)

Map of the hills for 2009 (blue is route to each hill, which is in red)

Of course if you are on the ride the last hill ends near here. Pass on the map to anyone meeting you for the eating and hanging out session (and ask them to bring vegan food!).

Lastly, I want to pass on some info from the Midnight Ridazz forum:
Westsidazz will be rolling out of Virginia Park (pico and 23rd) at 6.30am. BE ON TIME, we will leave without you.

See you tomorrow morning.

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FML 09: The hills and training rides

Here are the hills for this year’s event. Three new ones!

1. Mt Washington drive / Self-realization* (Mt. Washington)
2. Eldred st (Highland Park)
3. Amethyst st* (El Sereno)
4. White Knoll/Marview -off Sunset (Echo Park)
5. Quintero st. -off Sunset (Echo Park)
6. Echo Park ave/Baxter (Echo Park)
7. Micheletorena st (Silver Lake)
8. Silver Lake blvd/Duane st (Silver Lake)
9. Fargo st (Echo Park)
10. Stadium way/Academy/Boylston* -off Riverside (Elysian Park)
*new hills

And we’ve got a few training rides

Feb 28th- 750am
Leaving from Highland Blvd-south of Franklin (map)
58 miles (8 big climbs) on and around Mulholland Dr. (route looks amazing)
Swarm! is not involved, it’s a regular Caturday Warriors ride. Here is the post on Midnight Ridazz.

Sunday March 1st- 830am
Meet at Cycle Way Coffee in Hermon (map)
We’ll ride hill number one in Mt. Washington and then cruise through Glendale to ride two great climbs near Chevy Chase blvd (Epicer and Catholic School Girl in our lingo).
Probably about two hours. Contact: bikeswarm at gmail.

Saturday March 7th- 9am
Leaving from Ballona Creek Bridge
We’ll do some short, steep, hill intervals on the westside.
2hrs (stages, not riding the entire time)
Mileage to be determined
For info hit up Brian: sellyourcarandgetabike at gmail or here

I’ll try to get a couple more scheduled and will post here. Thanks everyone!

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