yes, there is a wallride in the woods in a magical place called mammoth

Just returned from back-to-back trips, one of which was Mammoth for some mountain biking. I’ve got photos, etc from the day we rented big hit bikes and got lift tickets (thanks Stephen!), but couldn’t wait to post this video from us playing around the morning before we left. This is a trail called shotgun that we rode to from our friend’s house. This just exists in the woods! Unbelievable.

While we were ‘sessioning’ this lip to wall these dudes on crazy DH bikes and full gear would come roaring down the trail. Every time we’d start yelling for them to hit the wall ride, but only like 1 out of 4 would. How could you pass this up?

Mt Wilson on dirt

This wknd I’m planning on doing this ride so figured I’d finish this post from 3 months ago(!).

Waaaaay back on Memorial Day wknd I finally rode up to Mt. Wilson on dirt, using the cross bike. I took roads out past the Pasadena Aquatic Center, the Rose Bowl and all those exercising bodies then up through the JPL trailhead. From here it’s a route we utilize often when mountain biking: Brown Mountain fire road -> 3 points -> Millard -> Sunset Ridge (paved and steep!) -> The intersection with the Echo Mountain trail. Normally we’d then shoot down the Sunset Ridge single track -> Millard trail -> El Prieto.

On this journey I continued up, where the grade lessens and you are following the old (19th century!) train route. This page has some photos and a description of the trail. Photo is looking south toward Pasadena. Echo mountain is off to the left.

Not long after this and you are surrounded by pine trees and there is no sight of civilization. Even on a holiday weekend I didnt see anyone for the next few hours.

Mt Lowe tunnel! I knew about this tunnel, but didn’t know exactly where it was. Had no idea about this slide!

I’d come across another ‘closed’ sign from behind later in the day.

Mt Wilson finally comes into view. Less than a mile from the tunnel you hit Mt. Wilson road, which I have ridden on the road bike many times. After some more climbing, sneaking through a closed gate to snatch some water, texting from the top (gonna be late! sorry!), I descended Mt. Wilson toll road, which is unpaved and apparently closed. Have to admit that on the end of a 6-hour ride it was a little tricky and tough on the upper body. Saw two hikers, who were as surprised to see me as I was them. Then rolled through a closed campground. Suddenly you arrive at Eaton Canyon, crawling with day hikers and their bottled water. No bikes? Oops.

Hit the world’s only vegetarian drive-thru on the way back to NELA to grab a recovery peanut butter soymilk shake and then onto the rest of the wknd’s exploits.

the old, the new and the new old

Been awhile! I’ve got a queue of unfinished posts, including my first solo 24-hr mountain bike race, a cycling/yoga camp, the Big Parade walk, a trip to Portland and other mini-adventures. I haven’t been writing much at all.
This has not been the summer I thought it would be and and as September creeps up behind like a storm in the distance in the mid-west, I’m taking in all I can and delighting in the present. My racing schedule (am I a racer?) has changed, the biggest ones being not racing the Vineman full-iron and deciding to race the Furnace Creek 508 solo again this year. Why? I’ve been obsessing over Charles Bukowski and here’s a fitting quote:

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

This past weekend I rode the Cool Breeze Century, which has a fun double metric option through Ojai. Camped the first night, hung out with some friends of friends at a swank beach house the night after (where I ended up sleeping on the floor) and did some trail running and swimming (cliff jumping! Yay!) before riding back to LA from Ventura via Potrero Rd and Westlake Village.

I love waking up at an unexpected new place this much:

Santa Barbara, return

Ever want to just get away? Fortunately my bicycle has been taking me away for 25 years, since I used to sneak off on my BMX to explore bordering neighborhoods. Some people do this with long walks, movies, spas, alcohol, etc, but for me nothing is as effective as a change in environmental space via pedal strokes and rubber on pavement.

This past weekend I tried to organize a big hike that never panned out. Santa Barbara help had already been sorted with an ex-Angeleno , so I figured, why not ride? I rolled out of Los Angeles about 630pm through the misery of Westwood to the glory of the beach. Bumper to bumper traffic on PCH so I was splitting lanes as the sun was going down and the cool breeze was rolling in. What better ‘away’ could there be? It’s not a physical endeavor as much as a spiritual retreat, sometimes. Near McGrath State Beach I stopped to listen to the frogs and along a closed-to-cars road that parallels the 101 I turned off my lights to ride under the stars.

Rode some of the Grand Tour route and the Lonely Planet west coast cycling route, both in reverse. The quiet, rolling hills between Ventura and Santa Barbara at 1230/1am was just the physical space to open up and clear some mental space. Felt fortunate to be healthy and have the time for such an adventure. Rolled up to Stacy’s place (in the hills!) after about 105 miles at 130am. After waking her up we defrosted some brown rice and chickpea patties before I showered and slept for a few hours.

Pedaled away from a coffee shop with 2 bottles of water in my pack, 1 water and 1 Sustained Energy on the bike, some bananas, a clif bar and dried cranberries (and well-caffeinated), with some tail wind, and made it back to LA in 5.5 hours. Riding hard on little sleep is a different type of spiritual experience altogether. Somehow physical exertion combined with mild discomfort and lack of sleep helps me focus? Anyone else experience this?