Group rides and dirt are all the words I need to hear to excite my blood pressure a little bit.
Of course, I have trouble making it out to a lot of these because of responsibilities and I do love my family quite a bit.
As it turned out, this was a rare opportunity where I had a babysitter lined up for that morning as a ride that I was supposed to work that got cancelled.
I woke up a bit late, but my timing was compounded once I discovered my ‘cross bike had a flat.
I debated changing the tube, then switching out my slicks on my commuter while settling on my gravel bike which was functional, but needed service.
Of course, this self argument had the proficiency of Cameron questioning to hang out with Ferris, and I probably could have just changed out the original tube in that time.
The group was about twenty five strong and I caught up to James from Specialized who I was emailing with about his team coming down for a screening of the, “Length of Sweden“, a documentary following three riders biking the full 1352 miles in less than six days.
They were all rocking the Sequoia, a steel frame / carbon fork adventure bike that can pretty much handle anything was also used in the film.
James taking his Sequoia “off road”.
It weighs about the same as my steel bike, but I was pretty impressed by the Sequoia’s versatility during the ride.
Riding through Glendale always feels like an assigned chore, but the company made time pass a bit more seamlessly.
Before we hit the dirt, we climbed up the serpentine late 20th century suburban street offering by far the toughest grade of the day.
Sure, the views are spectacular, but how do you make friends with your neighbors when you’re always fearing rolling down the hill?
We regrouped at the gate, got some clear views of Downtown LA and hit the dirt at a casual pace.
Casual stroll up.
The air was incredibly clean which also laid out some pretty incredible views.
As we started angling westward, James asked what were those mountains out in that direction.
I was going to call it Simi Valley, but I was surprised to see the snow capped tops from Los Padres National Park.
That was easily 50 – 60 miles away and I didn’t expect to see snow so close to the ocean.
Pretty awesome California.
Two hands at all times.
The grade felt like a steady 8% which was a comfortable spinning speed although my bike’s squeakiness was starting to even bother me.
I caught a glimpse of the Brand Motorway below, which I’ve previously ridden and looking down at it gave me a new perspective on how painful that climb is.
We stopped at the first peak defined by a concrete platform providing some good camera opportunity and a chance for the lantern rouge to catch up.
You wouldn’t think we still had about a thousand feet left to climb, but we had some exaggerated rollers ahead.
We got to the portion of the Verdugo Motorway where single track parallels and crisscrosses for a couple of miles.
I’m pretty good at watching people do this stuff.
The group split into those were looking to do jumps, tricks and grappling strength braking, and people like me who wanted to get home safe so I wouldn’t be hurt for jury duty.
I’ve posted my friend Austen’s video of the single track before and that tells me this is way out of my skill range.
I could post videos all day, but the point is I was just waiting for the downhill to come. In an ideal world, this would be about four miles of descending you could completely get loose, but the closer you get to the bottom, the more hikers and debris from the recent rain appear.
The last mile (which is also the steepest) regularly features washouts and I chose to be “Dad Safe” and walk my bike over the biggest one blocking us.
Chase, who was right behind me, chose to ride it and not only did he fall over, but he went over the hill.
He was conscious, but was limp like DiCaprio in the Revenant and we just watched how far down he would slide.
Moving the chains…
I guessing he got at least enough distance for a first down and after helping him up, Chase dusted himself off and we were on our way.
The more direct way back would have been back through Glendale, but Griffith Park is way more fun, so I’m glad we went that direction.
We stopped off at the helipad where John snapped a group photo as he was testing out his new camera.
Thanks for showing up for the group ride y’all! – – 30 days with the @sonyalpha A7Rii A photo posted by The Radavist (@theradavist) on
Being that backlit, I didn’t know the shot would come out looking this great. In other words, I have a lot to learn.
I heard that someone was still back on Vista del Valle who got a flat and seeing how I was reaching overtime for babysitting, I figured this was a sign to start heading back and check on the rider on the way.
Group rides on dirt have a great vibe. If you already don’t have a bike that can put on fatter tires, get one!