Riding up Mt. Lukens with Ornot and Team Dream

If you dance around my instagram account a bit, you’ll notice a few photos of me sporting an Ornot cycling kit here and there.

There’s a lot of jerseys on the market, but their clean, minimalist design speaks to my aesthetic harkening back to my past in architecture studio listening to hours of looping alt music.

When I heard the Ornot crew was coming to town to ride Mt. Lukens, I was able to rope in a few friends because they were looking to score some free swag.

One of them I had been trying to get onto dirt for the longest time, so I leant him my best bike for the climb so he’d have a good first impression.

I instead went with my heaviest bike, but this was a milestone for me too as I had just put a new wheelset on it and this was the first time it was touching dirt. We’ll see.

The ride started out of Team Dream’s Cub House in South Pasadena in one of those rare circumstances where the attendance far outdistanced the RSVPS from the facebook event page.

We had about 35 miles of riding with 4k feet in soaring temperatures ahead of us. Still, many were eager to go.


We started out pretty close to our 9am start time which was a great move to beat the heat. John helped my buddy get his tires to the right pressure, although there was a bit of a mystery figuring out the valve’s adapters. I would have had a tough time if it was my first dealing with it too.



The group started out about forty strong with everything from mountain bikes to fixies. I don’t think it was a leap of faith at this point to believe that not everyone was going to make it up.



If I was riding one of those elliptical devices, I’d definitely would want to know what it feels like to stick myself into the middle of a peloton. Needless to say, she didn’t come up the mountain with us….


The first two miles up the Crest is always the worst. At least it’s early. Then again, we were turning off after mile three.



The crew from Ornot looked pretty slick in this year’s kit. I’m still wearing the earlier versions. They’re still holding up pretty well, so I’m no rush to replace them yet.



Already twelve miles, we all took a break before heading up the trail to Mt. Lukens. Everyone filled up their water bottles, but it was already toasty.



Since it was my friend’s first time on the dirt, he didn’t know what to expect out of this seven mile climb. At least he was better equipped then others.



As soon as we hit the trail, a line or carnage was already taking place. It was almost like the beach landing scene in Saving Private Ryan when they opened the doors.



The elevation gain came quickly as did the views.



No one was in a rush to get up the trail. Everyone knew it was a grind. Already a good portion of riders turned back.



John brought up if I ever gave Mt. Wilson Toll Road a second try after my epic failure. Trust me, I’m building up towards this again.



On our second stop, it was pretty well determined that we’d skip the last two miles to the peak because of the heat. Also, I discovered reason #54,371 why I need to lose weight as Nich chose me as the best source of shade.



Helmets don’t do you a lot of good when you’re climbing at turtle speed as the steepness combined with sand pockets produced some serious grunting.


Hamish did some slight adjustments before the ride which caused his chain to get caught. His hanger bent, but was still able to make it down. Who wants to walk five miles back to the roadway in this heat?


The descent down Grizzly Flats was fun. There were parts that had perfect conditions for pinch flats, but I somehow made it through the worst unscathed.
OrNot22 Anyone who made it to this point on a road tires get a standing “O”.


I never gave much thought to these concrete structures, but someone revealed these were cisterns that held water that helicopters could drain from when fighting fires. Good thing I didn’t insist they were actually bike racks.


Listen for it:

That’s great karma. Somehow a pointy leaflet from an agave snuck underneath my sidewall to ambush my tube. Steven showed off his bike shop ability changing it out super fast, so I was glad to buy him a drink at the bottom.


OrNot24Everyone was pretty ready to rip the descent, probably because we were headed for the 7 Eleven for some much needed hydration.


We all were happy to make it back to the Cub House where there was crappy pizza, terrible conversation and no adult beverages.