Getting a Free Pass to Ride the Santa Monica Mountains

In order for me to have enough time to get a big ride in, three things have to happen simultaneously:

1. No work
2. Wife works
3. Child works(or is at school)

Monday, was the nexus of these three occurrences colliding and who am I to argue with fate or that cold I’m still getting over? I’m going to ride!

I don’t normally let my followers in behind the looking glass for my rides, but this was such a rare occasion that I figured it should be documented.

While I’m #valleystrong, I chose to do a route out to PCH to take advantage of some of the cooler temps while the 818 reached supernova status. I didn’t quite know which roads I’d take, but the Santa Monica Mountains is such a wealth of opportunity that you could explore until the sun goes down.



The VA is an essential short cut for all cyclists

I headed over Coldwater Canyon to see what effect my article published forty minutes earlier that day would have on the flow of cyclists. Results still pending.

After rolling down Franklin Canyon, I merged with the drivers who I passed on Coldwater Canyon who seem eager to floor it on every opportunity. Getting through Beverly Hills is always harrowing, but I always feel better traveling through there knowing I didn’t spend any money within city limits.


Ahhh…take in that breeze…

Going through Century City, Westwood and West LA is a simple ride before avoiding all the yoga pants in Brentwood. Before I knew it, I was down on PCH within the hour.

I always enjoy setting my eyes on the ocean and taking in the sea faring breeze. That blissful feeling can instantly be negated once you continue onto the highway as it appears the barricades narrowed down parts of the shoulder leading to getting buzzed by large truck who knew what he was doing.


The Case of the Disappearing Shoulder

After a quick little pit stop, I continued a couple more miles before turning up Topanga Canyon. I forgot that it was a regular workday for most others and just marveled at the number of cars backed up to turn onto PCH. This is really better than being on the 405?

The joy of driving…
Coming off of sickness, I took Lower Topanga fairly easy before trying to blast up Fernwood Pacific. Not a good idea. After five minutes of trying to hold a CiclaValley pace, I knew I was done for the day, but damn it I was going to finish the climb!

One of the saving graces with Fernwood is that it is a fairly shaded street, but I always get distracted halfway up asking why does it turn into Tuna Canyon? This should be an Ask Chris question.


 The rolling neverendness of Saddle Peak

At the fork in the road, I continued right up Saddle Peak through the next generation of homes planted among the celestial rock formations. This three mile section opens up to expansive views of the ocean and valley, but you also get a solid greeting to some desert heat.


Always some funky artwork off of Topanga

I made it to the top of the confluence of Stunt Road which normally is occupied by Fast and the Furious inspired sports cars on the weekend, but today had a small grouping of endurance runners. How refreshing.

For unreasonable reasons, I stuck to my original plans of heading down Schueren road to Piuma thinking I’d have the energy to come back up Stunt. I didn’t want to give hope on having a miraculous second wind!


Top of Stunt minus blazing sports cars

Making the turn onto Piuma pretty much settled that. Because of the blind right turn, its always worth super honoring that stop sign for the cars that might barrel through. The downside being you have no momentum going up this steep section.

In this small stretch, you see some amazing views of rocks that were formed from the ruggedness of the San Andres fault, but also a number of stylistic, modern homes that dare to be perched on them. My guess is there’s a high probability of doomsdayers living in this area.


Ugghhh…another climb?

Coming down Piuma was unusual reaching the halfway point around the massive hairpin turn shifting you from west to east released a massive headwind cutting my speeds down 15mph while I was still descending at the same grade. Still, I had enough speed to catch the truck in front of me.

I started my return homeward cutting up Cold Canyon road, which seems friendly enough that slowly pitches up until you start screaming, “where’s Mulholland”. Go through the motions about 20 times and you’re finally there.

I passed Stunt Road thankfully low on water that ended entertaining any thoughts of climbing it and instead cruised Seven-Minute hill with my tail between my legs.

At the end of the day, I came home exhausted, dehydrated and feeling like my cold was on an upswing. Still though, I felt great. Anytime you can get a ride in that takes you away, you come out ahead.