Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Newton’s Nemesis

Filed under: — stan @ 7:19 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was the “Newton’s Nemesis” route. This is the one that travels from Pasadena to Duarte, going up each steep canyon hill along the way. It’s got something like 3,200 feet of climbing. We’ve done this ride before. And it never fails to please. Or to hurt, for that matter.

We headed out from Victory Park and rode up the first canyon in Sierra Madre. Then we went down the hill all the way to Foothill, and then back up Santa Anita to get to the canyon in Arcadia. This is the steepest hill on the route, and it’s the only one where I had to say ‘uncle’ and shift. We were pretty high up. When I got to the top, I saw a house for sale with a sign promising “View! View! View!” And yes, there was a view.

Gene and Karen had skipped the Arcadia canyon hill, and when we came down, we found them fixing a flat on Karen’s bike. So I took the requisite picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

When we got to Monrovia, we rode up a couple more steep canyons. We saw some deer munching on someone’s front-yard garden. Then we came back down and started the flat portion of the ride.

We rode out to Duarte and then got on the San Gabriel River bike path and rode down to Santa Fe Dam. Randy and Newton took off and decided that they wanted to go fast. So I just got behind them and drafted all the way around the top of the Dam. I told them I wasn’t going to pull, but I just stayed on their wheels and enjoyed a nice fast ride.

Our snack stop was at Planet Cookies in Monrovia. They had run out of orange juice, so I got an enormous piece of carrot cake instead. For some reason, it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

On the way home, we passed a little drive-in dairy in Monrovia. It has new owners, and they now have a big fiberglass cow wearing a lei out front. So of course I had to get a picture of it. Maybe next time I’ll get my picture taken with it, too.

It was a fun ride.

42 miles.


Riding to Claremont

Filed under: — stan @ 6:09 pm

Today’s club ride was out to Claremont, which I wanted to go on , since Claremont is a sentimental favorite place for me. It was where I first spent time away from home, and it was also where some of my best bike racing memories come from.

We met at Arcadia Park and headed out. The route was pretty much straight east, and it was pretty flat. About the only unusual thing that happened was when I got a flat in Azusa. We were riding down Foothill Blvd when I noticed that my front tire was going soft. It was odd, since it wasn’t leaking very fast. So we rode a bit more until we turned off on onto a quieter street, where I sat down to fix it. That was when I saw the nail in the tire. At least it wasn’t a mystery. I put in a new tube, and Gene took the obligatory picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

When we got to Claremont, we went to a bagel place the Gene knew. The town looked pretty much the same as it did back in 1978, which is pretty remarkable. We had our bagels and then we started back.

The route back went down Gladstone, which is a nice street for riding. It’s about 1% downhill. Not enough to see, but enough that you can ride really fast and feel like a champ. Gene set the pace, and he towed us all the way back to Irwindale at high speed. I said he was riding like he’d just remembered that he left the iron on at home.

We rode into the Santa Fe Dam area and then up the bike path to get back to Duarte. Then it was straight west to home. When I got home, I had 58.5 miles, so I rode around the neighborhood a bit just so I could see “60″ on my odometer.

60 miles.


Art in a vacant storefront

Filed under: — stan @ 6:27 pm

There’s a vacant former furniture store on Colorado Blvd here, and the windows have been given over to local artists. Cathy and I were walking by there recently, and we both liked this one. I can’t really explain why.


The Cone Release Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 9:43 pm

Route map

Last weekend we went to the “Cone Migration” art show at Bandini Art in Culver City. This was a show of art made by Lana Shuttleworth, using orange traffic cones that she released on city streets and later collected. It was also sort of an interactive art show in that visitors were encouraged to take a cone to “release into the wild”. Of course I thought this would make for an interesting and amusing bike ride with the regular Sunday group.

I strapped the 8-pound cone on my back, using a Jansport pack, a belt, and some packing tape. The trick was to get it to stay point-down. Once I figured that out, it was fine. I rode down to Victory Park to meet the group.

As it turned out, there were a lot of people on the ride this week who had not been there last week when I had suggested this activity. So I had to tell them the story of the the cone migration and art and all that. They all thought it sounded funny, so we were off.

Riding with the cone wasn’t too bad, aside from the weight of it. It was attached pretty close to my center of gravity, so it didn’t throw my balance off. I was even able to trackstand normally at traffic lights. I also could not feel any difference in wind resistance, even though it certainly looked like it had to be adding a lot of drag.

We rode out of Pasadena, across Eagle Rock and into Glendale. At one point, a guy who wasn’t with our group passed us. I couldn’t resist chasing him, and I was able to settle into a fast pace line with no problem. The cone didn’t cause any problems with drafting.

We rode into Griffith Park and then down to Los Feliz. We had to stop for a bit to fix a flat, but that gave me some time to take a sightseeing picture with the cone in front of the Mulholland Fountain.

Next, we headed up into Elysian Park. We were going to make a sightseeing stop and release the cone at the Los Angeles Fire Department training center and the World Trade Center memorial there. When we got there, the gate was closed, but then some of the other riders found another gate that was open. So we all went in and looked at the steel column and plaque there. Then we placed the cone just outside the gate, recording the location and date on the cone label, and also taking a picture of the GPS unit to show the actual coordinates of the release.

After the release, I felt much lighter. We continued down the hill into Chinatown. We stopped for a shack at Philippe’s on Alameda. Then we headed home by the direct route. Up Main to Mission, and then Huntington all the way back to San Marino. Then straight up Sierra Madre Blvd back to the park.

It was a perfect day for riding, and it was a fun ride and fun to participate in an art project.

Because this was a special ride, I made a separate gallery for the photos. They are here:

42 miles.


The Last Lunch

Filed under: — stan @ 6:38 pm

Today was the Last Lunchtime Ride. Or at least the last the Vikki will be on. She’s moving back to Canada next week. So Eric and I went riding with her today to give her a good send-off.

We did a slightly different route today. It was similar to the Lida Loop that we do, but climbs the hill on Inverness and St Katherine. But the rest of the ride was the same. It was a perfect day, and we had a nice time.

18 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.


The leopard in our living room

Filed under: — stan @ 8:46 pm

We got new carpet today. After 12 years in this house, the carpet was pretty well worn out. We went looking at the beginning of the summer, and nothing really impressed us. But then we saw a sample of leopard-print carpet. That one spoke to us. Everyone who knows us will say something like, “Stan and Cathy got leopard carpet? Yeah, that fits.” And Lucinda likes it, too. You know what they say about the fruit and the tree.

So here it is, in all its glory.


Riding through and to Monrovia

Filed under: — stan @ 8:07 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was a flat one. Out to the east through Monrovia, then out to Gendora and Covina. And then back to Monrovia for a stop at Planet Cookies. The route map above is accurate, except for the part where we took the bike path from Duarte to Azusa. Google Maps doesn’t know about bike paths.

When I was on my way down to the park to meet the group, I saw a bunch of Marines running down the road. I’d heard them going by my house and chanting earlier.

The ride was very flat and we went pretty fast. One odd thing that happened was when Don got his chain wedged in the front derailleur, and the cage got bent a little bit. So we stopped and he used the hook on the end of his prosthetic arm to bend it back into place. We were wondering if he had a vise-grip attachment for it.

When we got to Planet Cookies, we managed to get Vikki to tell her story about the geology field trip to the Yukon and the bear. And once again, it was a good story, complete with pointy sticks, guns, and trying to make a bear carcass ‘disappear’ Mob-style.

After the stop, we headed home. It was a nice ride, and we did it quite fast. I was home quite a bit earlier than normal. But this was good, since I had to get cleaned up so we could go see “In the Shadow of the Moon” today. And yes, the movie was very good.

46 miles.



Filed under: — stan @ 11:16 pm

Our afternoon art adventure was a trip out to Culver City to Bandini Art to see the “Cone Migration” show. This show is all art made from traffic cones. Lana Shuttleworth placed cones all over Los Angeles and let them get beat up by traffic. Then she collected them and made art out of them. It’s an interesting idea, and the art she made was very nice.

It’s also an interactive art in a way. They had a pile of cones in front of the gallery, and visitors are encouraged to take one and ‘release it’ somewhere. So of course, we had to do this. I thought it would make for an interesting piece of performance art to take the cone along on a bike ride and place it somewhere. When we were leaving, we picked out a cone to take along.

Since we were out on the West Side, I wanted to go see the Museum of Jurassic Technology. This is sort of an art project museum on Venice Blvd. It’s kind of like entering the world of “Eraserhead“, which I thought was amusing, but Cathy found somewhat disturbing. It’s filled with lots of strange things, including an entire room devoted to memorializing the dogs of the Soviet Space program. They had large oil portraits of the dogs, including a special shrine for Laika with a little candle and a quote from Tsiolkovsky.

We all enjoyed the cone exhibit. And I liked the Jurassic Technology. It was all very deeply weird, but I like stuff like that.

Where’s Waldo?

Filed under: — stan @ 10:57 pm

I didn’t have time to do a long ride today, since we are heading out to some art galleries later. So I went for a short ride.

I saw a couple of abandoned couches. I rode up and over a nice steep hill in Glendale. I stopped in at Forest Lawn to look for Joe Besser’s grave. I wasn’t able to find it, largely because I didn’t have my reading glasses and I couldn’t read the tiny names on the map. But on the way home, I found Waldo. So I did accomplish something today..

29 miles.


Arcadia at lunchtime

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Route map

Since Vikki is going to be moving back to Canada soon, we’re not going to get to go on our lunchtime rides for much longer. So we did one today. It was the usual ‘flat’ route out to Monrovia and back.

On 5th Ave in Arcadia I got a flat. So of course, we had to get a picture.

There is a little mouse-hole of a tunnel under the railroad tracks in Arcadia, and we take that to continue north on 5th Ave. Today, there was an actual train on the tracks there. In 12 years living in this area, this is first time I’ve seen a train on those tracks. It wasn’t much of a train. Three locomotives and no cars. But it was still interesting, since I like trains, and I didn’t even know they still ran on those tracks.

And that was it. It was a nice ride.

19 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.

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