Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween


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.


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.


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.


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.


Lida St and a weird house

Filed under: — stan @ 8:33 pm

Route map

Today at lunchtime I did the regular Lida ride again. I like this one on hot days, since it ends with two miles downhill.

There wasn’t much remarkable along the way, aside from the Edison electric car that passed me in Altadena. It was nice and quiet. I wish there were more like it on the road.

On the way home, I had to stop off to do an errand, and so I ended up taking a slightly different route home. That’s where I saw a very odd house. It looked like it wasn’t quite done yet, since the driveway was dirt, and it looked like there was still construction going on. It’s not quite as odd as Rubel’s Castle in Glendora, but it’s easily a match for the Viking house in Tujunga. But no matter what, it was an odd house. I like it.

18 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.


Green Olive

Filed under: — stan @ 3:59 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was a new route that Gene calls “Green Olive, but no Martini”. As you can see, we went on Green and Olive, so there you have it.

Before we even got out of Pasadena, JJ got a flat. So I got a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

We headed up into La Cañada, where I saw yet another mailbox with hot-rod flames. This makes five now. Pretty soon, I’ll have to make a special photo album just for them.

A little while later, in La Crescenta, I found yet another abandoned couch. So I got a picture for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

After lots of fun riding up and down the hills in La Crescenta, we headed down the hill into Glendale. Then we turned left and went up Mountain Ave. This street is aptly-named. It’s a good climb, and it just keeps on giving. Every time it looks like you’re at the top, there’s a little more. But there was a nice view of downtown Los Angeles from the top. It made a nice backdrop to the pictures of Ben and Gene cresting the hill.

We came down the hill and headed back into Pasadena. Our snack stop was at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. And then we headed home. It was a perfect day and a nice ride.

42 miles.


No Tuna Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 8:37 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was Gene’s “No Tuna for Me” route. This is a ride through Burbank to Sun Valley, and then back by a route that completely avoids La Tuna Canyon. Not that La Tuna Canyon is a bad thing. Some of us like riding up four-mile hills. But Gene’s route is a nice quiet way through the horse territory of Los Angeles, so it’s pretty nice.

We headed out under perfect skies. It was another insufferably nice day in Southern California. We crossed Eagle Rock and into Glendale. That was where I saw the telephone pole that has apparently had a few signs posted on it over the years.

When we got up to Sun Valley, we saw a sight that should strike terror in just about anyone: a bus with “Student Driver” on the back. Apparently, there’s a bus driving school there. Who knew?

Heading up into the hills, we left the garbage dump and auto wrecking yards behind, and entered the place where all the houses have horses. We saw one house with what looked like a sculpture garden in the riding ring.

Coming out on Sunland Blvd, we crossed the 210 freeway and then turned off for the ride through Tujunga. We rode up Apperson, which is a nice quiet street. We thought we’d be able to see the Viking House we saw a few weeks ago. But it was not to be. We turned off on Tujunga Canyon Road to head down to Montrose. That was where we saw a couch apparently abandoned after a hard night of partying.

When we got to Montrose we stopped at Berolina Bakery. The eclair there was quite good, yet not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

Finally, we headed home by the usual route. When I got back to the park, I had 46 miles, so I rode around for a little bit more just because “50″ looks so nice on the bike computer display.

50 miles.


And here’s what I did with it…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:41 pm

So I’ve been writing down my old bike racing stories, and I told the story of how I got my Category 2, back in 1977. But there’s one more piece to the story. After the race in Maine, I sent my license off to the USCF New Jersey representative. A few days later, it came back with a nice little “2″ sticker next to “Category”. I was immensely pleased. So pleased, in fact, that I wanted to use it immediately. And I had a perfect chance.

On Sunday, September 4th, 1977 there was a race in Harrisburg, PA. This was a criterium around the State Capitol building. The course was four corners, flat, and just under 1 mile around. The first picture is a screenshot showing the location of the course. The feature race that day was 40 miles for Category 2 and 3. This was unusual, since 1 and 2 usually rode together. So of course I decided that that was the race I was going to ride.

The 2+3 pack was pretty big. Probably close to 100 riders at the start. I remember that two guys broke away relatively early, and I missed it. But a little later, I took off to try to start a second breakaway. A guy I knew named Clarence came along. He was from New York, and I knew him from racing at Kissena Velodrome, and I knew he was strong. So we were good to go. A third guy joined us, but I didn’t know him. The photo shows when we were first starting the breakaway. I’m on the right, and Clarence is on the left. We got within sight of the front breakaway, but we weren’t able to catch them. But we still got a good lead on the pack, and we held it to the finish.

Coming out of the last corner, I didn’t even try to contest the sprint. I just rolled across in 5th place. I figured that that was a pretty good showing for a Junior rider’s first outing in Cat 2.

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