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