Commitment is scary, but exciting

Hello and congratulations!

You have been selected to compete in the 27th Anniversary Furnace Creek 508 on October 2-4, 2010, “The Toughest 48 hours in Sport.” You are part of a select group who will participate in this world-famous spiritual odyssey through Death Valley and the Mojave Desert. We look forward to sharing the experience with you!


I’m a regular reader of Jill Homer’s blog, Who isn’t, really? She mentioned that her close friend Geoff (who makes an appearance in her book) ran the Western States 100 and since I just finished Born To Run and am all stoked on running I thought I’d read up on it. The dude set a course record besting Scott Jurek’s fastest time! When asked about it, Geoff had this to say, 

“Somewhere around mile 70 or 75, it started to feel good. I finally got warmed up, I guess.”

Awesome. Some lessons in that statement for amateurs such as myself. I recommend the entire article:

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

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.

LAPD poster parody

Sarcasm is such a great political tool. This poster mocks the one put out by the LAPD after they invited themselves to Critical Mass. There is some background here.

You can see the video of LAPD kicking and assaulting cyclists on last month’s Critical Mass. The double standard is amazing.

If any cyclists break the law = cyclists break laws.
If the police beat people = it was an isolated incident.

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.