Today’s ride was up and over Turnbull Canyon, which is a nice hill between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. To ride up it is to challenge Newton and beat the force of gravity. And today, I also beat Newton, who is the star hill-climber of our group. This is one of the very few times I’ve beaten him to the top of a big hill. So it was an exciting day.
It was cool and threatening to rain today, so I thought the ride might get cut short. So I left a few minutes early and took the long way down to the park. Along the way, I saw the first abandoned couch of the day, on Orange Grove Blvd. Then I headed over to Victory Park to meet the group.
We had a small group today. I suppose the weather may have scared some away. We headed out to Arcadia and then directly south through El Monte, where I saw the second abandoned couch. Then we crossed into Whittier and headed up to Turnbull Canyon.
The road up Turnbull Canyon is a nice bit of the country in the middle of the city. It’s a steady, winding climb. Jon, Newton, and I led the way. I made sure to stay with Newton, even when he put on some bursts of speed to try to shake me. I knew that no matter how much it hurt, I had to stay close. If I lost contact, it would hurt twice as much to try and catch up later. It also helped that it’s been a while since we did this ride, and I’d forgotten just how long the climb is. Several times I thought we were almost at the top, only to go around a bend and see yet another switchback. But in the end, I managed to hang on to the top, which was a remarkable thing. I usually can’t hang with Newton on a tough climb. So maybe all this riding is actually making me stronger. Or maybe I’m just learning how to hurt and make more effort. Whatever. And being first to the top made up for the fact that I’d said ‘uncle’ and shifted on the way up. To commemorate the occasion, I got a souvenir picture at the top.
The ride down is nice. It reminds me of riding a steel roller coaster. For some reason, the road gives the feeling of flying, even though we stay firmly on the ground. It’s a fun downhill, and I don’t even find it terrifying for some reason.
At the bottom, we headed back by way of La Puente and Industry. Amid all the warehouses in Industry, we saw some people riding horses, which looked kind of strange. We also saw a Metrolink commuter train go by, which is a rare sight on a weekend.
Our snack stop was at Planet Cookies in Monrovia. The whole Old Town Monrovia area has already been decorated for the holidays. It seems a bit soon, but that’s not unusual these days.
By this time, it was getting colder again, and starting to look more like rain. So we headed straight home.
It was a fun, if slightly chilly ride.