Route map – going out
Route map – coming back
Today’s ride was out to Culver City to see the West L.A. Grand Prix bicycle race. Philippe, who usually rides with us, was going to be racing.
We headed downtown by way of Huntington Drive and Mission Road. Along the way, Ben got a flat. Because we were on a strict timetable, we had to work fast. Like a NASCAR pit crew. Steve held the bike, Ben took off the tire, Gene got the new tube ready, and I took pictures. We got that flat fixed in just a few minutes and we were on our way again. Then we rode straight through downtown L.A. on Main St all the way down to Adams Ave.
After a right turn on Adams, we were heading west. Back in the late ’80s, we used to read about how the West Adams neighborhood was an up-and-coming hip area for people to buy and renovate the decrepit old mansions there. We didn’t see any evidence of this today, but we weren’t really looking around. The only picture I took there was the “Louisiana Fried Chicken and Chinese Food” place. That was an odd combination.
We took a left on Vineyard Ave, which took us to Farmdale, which is one of the few non-major streets that cross the old railroad tracks there. Those tracks had obviously not been used in a long time, but they are planned as the route of the new Metro Expo Line. Then we took a right on Rodeo Road, which later merged into Jefferson for the last few miles into Culver City.
When we got to the race, the Category 5 men were lined up and ready to go. I saw Philippe in the “A” group. Apparently, there is a rule that they are not allowed to have more than 50 Category 5 riders in a single group. This race got so many entries that they split it into two groups, which started a half-lap apart. I went up to the stand to see about donating a prime for them, but they said that there was a rule that Category 5 races could not have any sort of prizes. So that was out. And the other races were completely full of primes. So oh well. I saved my $20 to fight another day.
The race was pretty good. A breakaway formed pretty early on. Then the two strongest riders dropped the rest of the breakaway. Philippe finished the race, but he was one of the last finishers. Still, it was a good effort for a first-time racer.
We saw Vikki there, but we couldn’t stay for her race. When we were leaving, she was just getting on her trainer to start warming up.
The ride back went up Venice Blvd. Along the way, we passed the old Helms Bakery, which was a big piece of L.A. history. The building sat empty for many years before it was turned into stores some years ago.
When we got near downtown, I saw the mini-mall with “Donuts” and “Fat Away” right next to each other. That was a funny one. Then we turned left on Hoover and headed north. On one of the side streets, we saw an abandoned couch. When I went to get a close look at it, I noticed another couch up the block.
When we got to Wilshire, I realized we’d missed a turn. We were supposed to turn off on Benton Way, but it turned out to have a different name that far south. So we went up the street that was to become Benton Way, and in a few blocks, it did. That was where I saw the third couch.
Benton Way is a good street for riding because it is nice and quiet, but it still has a bridge to cross the Hollywood Freeway. Then it goes up a short but steep hill and we come out on Silver Lake Blvd at the top of the hill. From there, we rode down to Glendale Blvd and over to Fletcher to get back to Eagle Rock.
At the north end of Eagle Rock, we took Yosemite across and then up the Colorado Hill. Then straight home on Orange Grove. Just before we got back to the park, the sun finally came out. It was a nice ride.
*Addendum: I heard from Vikki that she got 3rd place in her race. There’s a small picture here: womenscyclingchallenge.org/blog/index.php/news