Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer 2009

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer
Sat March 14, 2009
10 hills, 10 stages, 1 morning
A race for some, an epic adventure for others

A tour of the less traveled streets and neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
There is no entry fee and limited support. No cars please, spectators welcome on bikes (you won’t have to ride all the hills).
Just riding up any one of these hills is an accomplishment. Ten in one day is seriously hard. Come prepared.

Sunset Blvd and EdgeCliffe Dr.
(Silver Lake Farmers Market)
Sign-up at 745am, leave at 815

A Swarm! event. Tell others.

(This race is based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Thanks to Swarm!, Danny Chew, Steevo, Chris Moeller and Dave Clymer)

Hills? Los Angeles? How hard could it be?
Fargo St, one of the steepest paved roads in the world, is only one of ten. Yearly the LA Wheelmen do a hill climb here with lots of hoopla for just riding up this one hill. For you it will only be hill number five. Are the others equally hard? No, but they will feel like it.

Do I have to race?
No. Only a few of the people out there are racing for points. Most are there just to attempt every hill.

I want to race and am totally going to win. How does it work?

Each place, five deep, is worth points starting with 1st place and five points. Each new hill is treated as a separate stage with a group ride between hills.

What does the winner get?

Recognition and bragging rights.

How should I prepare?

Climbing is a unique cycling skill. You may be fast and strong, but being both on these steep climbs requires a lot of training in the hills. This year I want to have a few training rides leading up to the 14th and will post them at nowhip.blogspot.com.

Why so early?

If you can ride these 10 hills in one morning then you can be out of bed and at the market by 745am. If you show up without having slept I’ll buy you a cup of Coffee Cellar coffee at the market. Most of these hills are in quiet neighborhoods with narrow streets. I want us to be in and out with as little impact as possible. The earlier the better.

What should I bring?

Water, some snacks, a tube, the ability to fix minor mechanicals and rain gear. It’s rained all three years so far.

How long will this take?

Expect to be out well past noon. We only do about 30 miles, but getting to the hills, getting set up, etc takes longer than you would think.

Do I get a t-shirt and brunch?
In the past we’ve had one or both, but I can’t promise either for 2009. Hopefully we’ll have a ‘Bryan Farhy Commemorative’ vegan brunch somewhere.

Who puts on Feel My Legs?

“A bunch of fucking boring semi-employed geeks” also known as Swarm! Hit us up via bikeswarm at gmail.

Will this be more fun than being stuck in an elevator in Newark?


LA urban double start this morning

This should be called the urban-escape double! Why am I not riding it? I went out to the start this morning to help Shaun, who so far is doing a bang up job on organizing this, and that was the thought I had. As you can see a hardy crew set out at 9am (!!) to get in 200 miles almost literally around Los Angeles.

Here is a map of the pit stops. The lines are obviously as the crow flies (no riding in the ocean or on freeways on this ride). I rode out to the first stop in Rosemead and turned around there for a sweet 40 mile ride.

Los Angeles: Get your eat on

Los Angeles has a ton of spots to eat; it’s obvious every time visitors arrive with lists. But ‘LA’ to people who don’t live here (and unfortunately plenty who do) is anywhere in Southern CA within 50 miles of downtown. I’ve always treated LA like I would NYC or Philly: Keep it within 5 miles. Work, school, shopping, eating, hanging out. 5 mile radius from home. That’s where I live. I found this map over on Militant Angeleno’s blog and it works for me. My 5 straddles the Eastside/Center divide and stays mostly east of the 101.

Back to eating. Two new veg spots opened up in Los Angeles and both are definitely worth your time and money. And I don’t say that often! Before even talking about food quality, I give a head nod to creative effort, large portions and politeness. These go a long way. Both these places get major points here AND the food is very good.

Doomie’s in Chinatown (N. Spring/Ord) is mostly vegan (everything except dairy cheese option) and does sandwiches: philly cheesesteak, pulled pork, spicy breaded chicken, etc that come with your choice of fried: potatoes or onion rings. Also entrees like potroast, country fried steak, chicken parmigiana with sides and soup or salad. All of the dishes I have had are well-seasoned and prepared just right. Unlike the Vegan Express rip-offs (Truly, California Vegan, Green Leaves, Vegan House, etc) it’s not just some heated fake meat on a bun you can prepare at home. Imagine! They also have Mac & Cheese that is above average and not too ‘nutritional yeast-y’.
The restaurant is upstairs, shares space with a bar (lots of alcohol choices) and has outside seating. Open Tues-Sun, 11am-8pm. Sorry I don’t have any photos from here!

Chicken noodle soup, potato salad and chicken salad
at Taste of Life

A Taste of Life is the vegan soul food from the Hollywood Farmers Market. I’ve been raving about it for five years and now it is available 6 days a week! It’s unbelievable. It’s only two guys who own and run this spot and they know their food. An entree is $15, but check this out. You get soup (I had chicken noodle), salad (potato is def good), cornbread, greens and your choice of three mains (I did mac & cheese, BBQ tofu and battered loaf). It’s so much food and all highly-seasoned and cooked well. Battered and fried roast, wtf? And the mac & cheese is some of the best I have ever had, next to the one I make, of course. They also have a huge selection of ginger drinks and a raw menu. You know a place is good when the menu has both a ‘battered’ section and a ‘raw’ section. Yeah.

My meal at Taste of Life

They are on the SW corner of Fountain/Vermont and open 9am-2am (for real!) Tues-Sun. Located upstairs and have outside seating as well. Couple potential negatives I have to mention: Be sure to know what you are ordering and what comes with what. Definite potential for confusion here. Also, the food does not come quick. If you just want to grab some food and bounce, this is not the place for you.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Can’t stop, won’t have an extra $381

I got a red light ticket today! On Boyle and Olympic right in front of the Sears Building. Bummer.
It’s such an easy light to go right on red because:

1. You have a clear line of cross traffic, 2. You are going slightly downhill, 3. the Westbound lane of Olympic is really wide.

It’s totally safe!

I don’t know what is worse: The usual jerk cop or the one that is super friendly and almost apologetic. There was not much disagreement about what happened (unlike my taking the lane ticket three years ago) and he said because I was in such a rush he would write quickly so that I’d be on my way. His biggest concern seemed to be about the ‘danger’ of splitting lanes (riding in the space between two lanes of traffic) and hitting the intersection at about 15 MPH. I guess a warning was not a possibility.

Punch fear in the face

Two great articles came out this week addressing fear and cycling.:
De-car-ing: The idea of cars as safety devices is a post in the LA Times ‘environmental’ blog, Emerald City. She answers the questions: Why do we feel so safe in our cars? Is cycling in the street dangerous? It’s written well and will help with those inevitable conversations with co-workers.
The second is from the legendary Bike Snob NYC, Get Over It: Surmounting the Obstacles to Cycling. If you’ve never read Bike Snob NYC let me be the first to say: Welcome to the internet. A lot of people have a lot to say. But most people who you would like to hear a lot from, say very little. Then there is Bike Snob NYC. He’s like the smartest person you know combined with the funniest person you know and, this is the best part, bothers to share both qualities with everyone else. Usually there is an indirect relationship with the amount of useless information you know about bicycles and sense of humor but thankfully there are exceptions.

Lastly, here are my two favorite quotes that mention getting punched in the face:
‘Never buy a bike from someone you can’t punch in the face.’ -A disgruntled eBay auction winner
‘Everyone has a plan till you get punched in the face.’ -Mike Tyson

If you stare into the abyss long enough the abyss stares back at you.

Our friend Stephen Krcmar, who obviously has an advanced degree in English or some other field where you read a lot, organized, again, Thus Climbed Zarathustra, the cyclocat alleycross. What a great concept for a race: you ride to staircases, you hoist (Stephen says ‘portage’) your bike, run to the top, then get back on your bike and fly through the neighborhood to the next set of stairs. There were nine in total throughout Echo Park and Silver Lake. About 20 of us raced; everyone else missed out.
To me, an event like this symbolizes so many of the things I love. Out on my bike on a beautiful day with some friends, exploring areas of the world I’ve never seen, even though they are in my own backyard. There is also the physical aspect where being somewhat fit increases your enjoyment and your experience: everything is better when you are slightly out of breath and sweating. When the flowers of spring are odiferous and friendly competition keeps you all a little sharper while dodging cars and reading a route slip. But really, everyone just wants to know who won. It was Morgan. I caught him between stair set 7 and 8, we rode together a bit, then I blew up trying to beat him on the last set while he drank the complimentary sangria. He scuttled past me onto the glorious win.

The South Bay crew ran into this guy while they were riding to Silver Lake. He asked where they were going and then he came along to the race! He finished 7th or 8th and won some Patagonia underwear.