Gravel is good.
There isn’t really much to it.
Last month, our Gravel Bike California monthly ride had ballooned to our largest crowd yet, so when February came up being in the Verdugos, I didn’t know what to expect.
These mountains are pretty close to me, so my overlooking them made me think others would overlook meaning attendance could be all over the map.
I love putting on these rides, but the night before I knew my sickness was in the red zone, so I was ready to say I was unready for anything.
The early showing at Coffee Commissary for some pre-ride nourishments showed what a large crowd we were going to have.
By the time I mounted up, we were in the 30s which makes for a different ride dynamic than normal.
Rolling out of Kenneth Village
I tried mitigating that by adding the “smart” route which cut some miles, but more importantly eliminated the long and grinding Chandler Motorway.
When we reached the turnoff, no one took it, although word has it a few went directly up Walnut to Stough on the steep grade I was trying to avoid.
Nonetheless, the main group made our way to Lanark which seems tame at first, but punches you in the stomach the closer you get to the trailhead.
Edmore ain’t no fun either
Once we hit dirt, there is no let up as your have about a kilometer of climbing in the teens.
It’s a bit of a cruel climb as there are pockets of downhills that gives you a brief moments of recovery until more smackdown begins.
The group assembled at the Wisdom Tree which peaks on the motorway which gave some time to reevaluate how the group was doing.
Straight Up more than Paula Abdul
While the people at the front had been there awhile, there were still people making their way up the hill.
There was still a lot of ride ahead, including the next long climb up to Verdugo Peak so I tried keeping the group together as much as I could while keeping up with time.
You’ll find Eric and his crew smiling on the Verdugos on most weekends
The Verdugo Motorway section is another three miles of grinding with the grades being tempered back compared to Chandler, but still wearing on you at this point.
Finding the next checkpoint was evident from far away as it was overloaded by a youth mountain bike team on top of our crew.
Why not? It’s a great view!
From here, the fun beings as there’s a lot of downhill from this portion on.
After some sandy rollers, turning down Beaudry North is a rip roaring descent, but you have to be aware of the ruts and hikers the closer you get to the bottom (I dropped my chain on the front and rear at the same time).
Finally, we hit some pavement in Glendale and while a few answered the call for early beers, the bulk of the leftovers headed east to Cherry Canyon for more fun.
Note to self: Do not take photos riding single track
Circling around Descanso Gardens to get there, after a few “crap, there are still some tough climbs left” climbs, we soon got our reward.
I normally do the switchbacks on the Catalina Verdugo Loop, but the group headed towards the long stretched out single track which is way more fun.
It feels more than 2km worth of descending because of all the turns and bumps, but if I wasn’t carrying all this damn camera equipment, it would have been even more fun.
Emptying off the trail, the talk was about beer and after lengthy deliberations, we ended up meeting at We’re Pouring in Glendale which has a pretty extensive beer selection.
The “Got Beer?” faces showed up earlier than normal…
Once again, this was a great mixture of regulars and newbies in there, but there was still the same mantra of being out for another day of adventure!
Thanks again to all that showed up to this Verdugo Adventure.
I’ll delete this sentence soon, but I’ll be adding video to this post in the coming days.
The rides will keep on coming, as we’ll have a Semi-Sunday and a Send it Saturday ride both in March.
Details coming soon!!