Stan’s Obligatory Blog

11/3/2007

Tuna and No Tuna

Filed under: — stan @ 7:58 pm

Today’s ride was a combination of the regular La Tuna Canyon ride, coupled with Gene’s “No Tuna for Me” return route. It was a bit chilly in the morning, but warmed up nicely once we got going.

We went out by the regular route up through La Cañada and Montrose. That was where we saw The Cone. Ever since going to the “Cone Migration” art show, I look at every cone to see if it’s part of the project. And today, it was. It was Cone number 6. The label said that it was released into the wild on September 8th. And now it’s sitting in front of the Montrose Village Newsstand at 2329 Honolulu Ave. I took some pictures to document the location and condition of the cone, and I logged the sighting on Lana Shuttleworth’s web site.

We regrouped at the top of La Tuna Canyon. By then, it was quite warm, so nobody was cold on the four-mile downhill into Sun Valley. Then we rode up past the dump and took the back streets back to Sunland Blvd.

We rode a short distance on Sunland Blvd before turning off to take Apperson, which is a nice, quiet street that parallels it. Along the way, I saw a truck parked in front of a house. It looked like another family was getting leopard-print carpet like ours.

Our snack stop was listed on the route slip as being at Oven Fresh in Montrose. But we like Berolina better, so we went there. It’s just down the block. I got a big fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is a nice treat.

From there, we headed back the way we went out. Back up Hospital Hill and then down past Descanso Gardens and back into Pasadena.

It was a fun ride.

45 miles.
cycling

10/28/2007

Down for the Count

Filed under: — stan @ 3:41 pm

Today’s ride was one that I’ve been thinking about for several years. And since this is the weekend before Halloween, the time was right for a trip out to Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City to visit the grave of Bela Lugosi.

(If you want, you can cue the song by Bauhaus.)

The route out there was basically the same as when we rode to visit Moe Howard’s grave, and also when we went to the bike race at West L.A. College.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed down Huntington Drive and Mission Road into downtown L.A. Then south almost to USC before we turned on Adams for the ride out to the west side. That was where we saw the somewhat odd-looking house. It was reminiscent of the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills, and also the Viking house we saw in Tujunga.

When we got to the cemetery, I got out the map I’d downloaded and we went looking. Bela Lugosi’s grave is pretty easy to find. He’s in The Grotto, and not far away, we found Bing Crosby, too. The next stop was Barney Oldfield. He’s best remembered as the first great race-car driver, but not many people know that he was a professional bicycle racer in the 1890s.

We went over by the big crucifixion statue to fine Eadie and Elena Del Rubio. Years ago, we saw the Del Rubio Triplets in the Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood. Today, Eadie and Elena are buried right near each other, with one more space between them, presumably for Milly when the time comes.

The last stop was to see Darby Crash from the seminal punk band, The Germs. Be sure to go read the story of the band. They had a lot of influence and really made their mark, even though they were only active for a short time.

Heading back, we went up to Venice Blvd. I got a flat. We stopped at a little French bakery in the Helms Bakery complex. The eclair there was pretty good, but we were kind of annoyed by the fact that they wouldn’t let us sit at the outside tables unless we ordered from the menu.

The rest of the ride was pretty straightforward. We took Venice all the way back into downtown, and then north on San Pedro and Alameda to get to North Main. Then back home the way we’d gone out in the morning.

It was a fairly nice ride, although the traffic on Venice was kind of heavy on the way back.

As always, I put the pictures in my Graves photo album. And yes, so far I’m quite happy with my new camera.

55 miles.
cycling

10/27/2007

I got my new camera

Filed under: — stan @ 2:07 pm

My new camera came yesterday. I took it for a short ride today, just to try it out. I didn’t feel up to doing the full club ride today. I was sick this week, so I’m trying to rest a bit.

I rode over to Arcadia to meet the group. Then, from there, we all rode over to the Elks Lodge in Pasadena to see if anyone was there for the ride. At that point, I turned off and went up past the Rose Bowl and back home across Altadena.

I stopped at the curve overlooking JPL. There is a trail there, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the ‘Fire Danger’ sign say anything but ‘Extreme’, but this week I can actually believe it.

There was an empty house on Ventura St that had a big ‘Auction’ sign in front of it. This is the first one I’ve seen, but I don’t think it will be the last.

I saw the people on “Christmas Tree Lane” putting up the lights for their big display. I didn’t know that they started on it so early. We’ve lived here for 12 years and never gone to see their big show.

I also saw a yard sale with a strange sign in front. I kind of liked the touch of the flowers with the half-a-mannequin.

27 miles.
cycling

10/21/2007

Sunday’s ride with no pictures

Filed under: — stan @ 10:37 pm

If we rode our bikes to Glendora and back, but I didn’t take any pictures, did we really go anywhere?

After yesterday’s little disaster I was camera-less today. So right up front, I told everyone that nobody was allowed to get a flat today, since I wouldn’t be able to take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

So we rode out to Glendora. It’s mostly flat land going there, since we did mountains yesterday. It was a nice time. We even averaged over 17mph for the trip, which is pretty good. When I was racing, I used to average about 18mph on my 42-mile ‘off-day training ride’. So to be going almost that fast 30 years later is not bad at all.

We stopped at the little French bakery in Glendora. It was pleasantly warm by then, so it was nice to sit outside in the sun.

Overall, it was a nice time. And we have something special planned for next weekend. For a long time, I’ve been wanting to go visit Bela Lugosi’s grave. We’re probably going to do that next Sunday. I even came up with a snappy name for the ride: “Down for the Count”

I hope my new camera comes before next weekend.

40 miles.
cycling

10/20/2007

A nice day in the mountains, but a minor disaster

Filed under: — stan @ 7:19 pm

Today’s ride was one of my favorites. Up San Gabriel Canyon, right on East Fork, and then up the back of Glendora Mountain. I met Gene at the park in Pasadena, and we rode out to Encanto Park in Duarte to meet the rest of the group for the ride. My little GPS said that I started at 825 feet at Victory Park. At Encanto, it said about 600.

We headed up the bike path to get to the bottom of the canyon. Then we started up the mountain. It’s a nice climb. There were more up-and-down sections than I remembered, but it was still a nice climb up to the turnoff for East Fork.

A little ways up East Fork, there was a turnoff for Shoemaker Road. I’d read about this before, and since I was a couple minutes ahead of the main group, I turned off to do some sightseeing. I rode up a short distance to a nice overlook. I thought it would be a nice photo location, so I propped the camera up on the stone wall by the side of the road. I set the timer. But when I went to go sit in front of it, the velcro on my glove caught the camera strap and pulled it off the wall. It fell on the ground, hitting lens-first. The lens got knocked crooked, and when it tried to move, it just made pathetic little electric motor noises.

I rode back down the hill and into Camp Williams. While we waited for the rest of the group to arrive, I got the camera to boot up. But the lens was out of alignment and couldn’t focus properly. So that’s about it for my trusty old Canon A70.

The GPS read 1711 feet at Camp Williams. Then we started up the main hill. There were a lot of motorcycles out on the road. The noise was pretty annoying. But on the good side, they tend to travel in packs, so it’s quiet for fairly long stretches between groups. It was a nice, steady climb up the back of the mountain. At the top, I stopped an talked with a couple of other riders for a few minutes. The GPS read 3423 at the top. We’d climbed about 2,800 feet (about 850m) on the ride. When Gene got to the top, he just kept going, so we headed down after him.

The ride down the front side of Glendora Mountain Road is very nice. The road surface is good, with nice sweeping turns and good views. The last time we were up there the road was closed, and the time before that it was cold and raining. This time it was just perfect.

When we got to the bottom, we all decided that we were done for the day, and we headed straight for home by the most direct route.

Aside from the broken camera, it was a very nice day.

64 miles.
cycling

10/18/2007

Lida Classic

Filed under: — stan @ 7:02 pm

I was supposed to go riding with Eric today, but he forgot his bike. So I went riding by myself. And, as always, when I’m going alone, I always do the Lida Loop.

It was a perfect day for riding. Nothing much happened, aside from seeing a deer when I was going up the hill right by the Art Center College. I rode right past it before I even noticed that it was there. And it paid me no mind until I slowed down to take its picture. The deer seem to not care if we get very close to them, as long as we’re not looking at them. But as soon as we look at them, they get spooked.

Anyway, it was a very pleasant ride.

18 miles at lunch, 26 for the day.
cycling

10/14/2007

Glendale hills and a pirate ship, too

Filed under: — stan @ 8:01 pm

Route map

Last week, I saw an item on Curbed L.A. about a house in Burbank with a pirate ship in the back yard. So I mailed Gene and said we should go see it. So today we did the Glendale hills route, which goes right by there. We’ve done this ride before, and it’s always great fun.

It was a bit chilly when we started out in the morning, but it turned into a very nice day. And there was a lot of climbing on this route, so we warmed up pretty fast. And the sheet of bubble wrap I was wearing helped, too. I recently read that it’s the 50th anniversary of the invention of bubble wrap. It’s an amazing thing. Besides cushioning, it’s also a great insulator, and it even has other (Not Safe For Work) uses.

We had to pass through the part of Altadena Drive where they have the road closed for sewer repairs, so it was a bit of a bushwhack. But then we got past that and headed up the hill. Then Ben got a flat. I circled back to get a picture, but some moisture had gotten in the camera, and the picture was just a purple smear. So he missed his chance to be in the Flat Tire Gallery this time.

On the way up the hill, Om led the charge. I recently have been remembering my racing days, and I’ve been trying to again be King of the Hill. So we had some fun racing up the hill. Then we regrouped at the top and headed down the big hill on Mountain Ave. I find this downhill to be frankly terrifying. I guess I’m getting old.

At the bottom, we crossed Verdugo Wash and headed up the hills on the other side. More nice climbing, with some pitches up to 12%. We rambled through the hills and looked at the views before coming down into Glendale.

We rode out into Burbank a bit and then doubled back on Kenneth. Then we turned off on Angeleno to see the pirate ship. And it was impressive. Sort of like a playhouse gone mad.

Our stop was at Paradise Bakery. I had my usual chocolate éclair. And when we left, I saw two different abandoned couches right around the corner.

The route back went up and over the Lida hill back to Pasadena. By this time, I was pretty tired. Newton beat all of us to the top. Then we rode down to the Rose Bowl and up Washington to Arroyo.

We took a small detour to see the house with the cone in front. There is a house on Arroyo where the owner has apparently decided that he doesn’t like bikes riding in the bike lane. The city has gone to the trouble of painting and signing a bike lane on that street, and this particular homeowner places a traffic cone out at the bike lane line and wants us to go around it. It is unclear why he thinks we should not be riding in the space that the city has provided for us. The man in front of the house claimed to know nothing about the cone, but it was pretty obvious that it was his. So perhaps a letter to the city street department is in order.

By the time I got home, I was pretty tired and moving slowly. But it was a fun time.

42 miles.
cycling

10/13/2007

San Dimas and Bonelli Park

Filed under: — stan @ 8:58 pm

The route out

The route back

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas, with a loop around Bonelli Park, and then straight home. It rained last night, so it was cool and still kind of wet in the morning.

On the way out to Arcadia to meet the group, I saw something going on at a church along the way. I don’t know what that character in the costume was supposed to be.

The route out was pretty straightforward. When we got to San Dimas, the crossing gates were down at the railroad crossing. But there was no train. So I went to the tracks to see, and I saw that it was just a maintenance crew working. So we went across and kept going.

We did the circuit around Brackett Field and into Bonelli Park by the back way. That was where we saw the airplane boneyard. Then we headed up the hill and out the main entrance to the park.

Whenever it’s wet, my bike computer gets flakey. And today was no exception. When we went down the big hill on Via Verde, I looked at it, and it said we were going 12.9. I know we were going faster than that. Susan said hers read 36, and I know I’ve seen 40 on that hill before.

On the way back, I ran over something that got stuck in my tire. I could feel it thumping on the ground, so I stopped. I figured I’d have to fix a flat, but when I pulled it out, it hadn’t gone through. I even dunked the tire in a nearby puddle to check, but it was fine. So we continued on.

Our stop was at Panera in West Covina. I had a blueberry muffin and some orange juice. I’m looking for a good recipe for blueberry muffins, so I wanted to sample theirs just to see what it was like. It was pretty good.

After the stop, we headed home by the most efficient route. I had to be home by 12:30 to take Lucinda to Science Saturday at Caltech at 2:00.

It was a very pleasant ride.

56 miles.
cycling

10/7/2007

La Tuna Canyon on an autumn day

Filed under: — stan @ 10:09 pm

It’s fall now. The mornings are getting cooler, and today we saw the first pumpkin stand setting up for business. Today’s ride was through La Tuna Canyon to Sun Valley, and then back by way of Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

We rode up through La Cañada and La Crescenta to get to La Tuna Canyon. Then we did the short climb to the top, followed by the fast four-mile downhill into Sun Valley. Along the way, I had one sightseeing stop. I just finished reading Sue Hough’s biography of Charles Richter. Part of the story involved Charles and Lillian’s involvement in nudism, and made mention that they belonged to a club called Fraternity Elysia, which was at 9804 La Tuna Canyon Road. When I got there, there was just a small side street and some new houses, so I guess the land was sold and subdivided. Another piece of Southern California history plowed under.

At the stop, I got a bottle of orange juice and one chocolate eclair. We were going home over Hospital Hill, so I didn’t want to eat too much.

The ride back was very nice. It warmed up very nicely, and we had a pleasant time. The only mishap was when Don got a flat right at the end of the ride. Of course I had to take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

50 miles.
cycling

10/6/2007

A day at the races

Filed under: — stan @ 8:38 pm

This afternoon, Lucinda and I went down to Carson to see the last day’s races at the Elite National Championships at the ADT Center velodrome. We went this last year, and we liked it enough to go back this time, even though nobody we know was racing this time.

We got there just as they were starting. For some reason, we had to go through metal detectors at the door. I’m not sure what they were trying to prevent there.

The events we saw were the team sprint, keirin, team pursuit, and the Madison. They were all fun to watch, although the Madison is the best of the bunch. It has lots of action, and it lasts long enough that you won’t miss the whole thing if you go to the bathroom.

There were a few crashes in the Madison, including one that made a little gouge in the wood surface of the track. They ‘repaired’ this by putting some tape over it.

I also found it amusing that there were at least two riders competing there whose fathers were champions back in the ’70s when I raced.

The final event was an exhibition race. They have a track racing program for kids, and they had a short kids race at the end of the day. Lucinda wanted to try track racing, but when she tried getting on the bike they had there, it was just a bit too big for her. So she needs to grow about another inch or two before she can do it.

We got to see some good racing, and I got to tell a bunch of old ‘war stories’. Overall, it was a fun afternoon.

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