CiclaValley Enjoys Getting Dirty at SoCalCross’ LA Roubaix

I talk about a lot of things, but talk is talk.

I’ve been meaning to ride one of SoCalCross’ Gravel Trofees, but scheduling weekend rides is tough with the CiclaFamily, let alone doing an organized one.

If you’ve been following closely, I’ve been increasing my share of rides on dirt and working on the final adjustments of fitting my secret, new gravel bike. Maybe you were not supposed to know about that…

I got a great deal on the bike off of ebay, but the bike came a little large for me. A friend gave me a shorter stem to cut down on the length, but I didn’t finalize my participation for the ride until an even shorter one came in the mail Saturday afternoon.

Excuses aside, I made it plenty early to Golden Road Brewery for the start to realize I didn’t install my new tires correctly. So that happened.

Luckily, Alex from Beeline Bikes rectified that quickly and I was set to go right as ride instructions were being given out.


This map of this LA Roubaix may look like theres a lot of street riding, but the switchbacks make it deceiving. Over two-thirds of the course was on dirt covering 41.7 miles with 4,979 feet of climbing. And a few surprises along the way…


Dorothy Wong who runs the whole SoCalCross series gives ride instructions. She was pretty excited for this one and this energy is appreciated by the riders.


The biggest cheers came from seeing this couple hit the trails. Unfortunately, they did not get a two for one deal on the ride.


There was a variety of bikes out there, from mountain, cyclocross, gravel and even road bikes. Some people were out there to crush it, while others just wanted to take everything in. I wasn’t looking to go race pace, but just enough to feel like I did some work when I got home.

Also, you can tell I didn’t bring my regular camera along because I would of taken a better picture of the Miradero.


I have never taken the Stough Canyon Mountain Way climb before. I noticed someone take the paved channel on the side to avoid the dirt. I obliged on one of the switchbacks until I realized this was supposed to be a dirt ride!


The view down the Verdugo Motorway was a nice reward after pounding up 2.5 miles of dirt. Only a half mile left to go to the top of this climb.


I ended up riding with a new acquaintance Simon as we kept pace the whole way. My valley knowledge helped guide us through the Verdugos, while his resume led as correctly through Pasadena and Glendale. Otherwise, I’d still be riding.


I had never taken this trail under the power polls up to Winery Canyon. Yeah, it was a bit of a grind, but it circumvented that terrible first mile climb up the Angeles Crest Highway. I may consider taking my road bike up here next time.

LARoubaix09We made our way down to the Gabrieleno Trail which had a couple of sections that I dismounted over terrain better suited to mountain bikes. I also paused for the longest train of horses I’ve ever come across. I even got off about ten jokes as they rode by.


We rode through that little trail system that goes in between all those multimillion dollar homes. I didn’t know they were multi-use, although Dorothy labeled the top portion a dismount zone since it was too steep to climb anyways…


Shame on me for poo-pooing the San Rafael Hills because just driving by, there doesn’t appear to be much there. Actually, there are a number of trails that occupy this small space and we saw many hikers take advantage of this open space. As for me, I was really ready for a beer at that point…

Afterwards, we were all treated to food at Golden Road Brewery as part of our registration. It was good to sit down with some new faces, as it’s always fun to talk bikes and how our worlds revolve around it.

All in all, this was a really fun ride. I didn’t think we’d be riding this much dirt, but this was a really well laid out course and didn’t have trouble locating any of the markers.

There’s another Gravel Grinder coming to Calabasas in August. I suggest you start getting your bike set up for the fun.