Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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12/31/2004

It’s madness I tells ye!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:27 pm

It’s been raining all week here, so I haven’t been able to go bike riding, and today was no exception. I even got so desperate that I brought my bike inside and hooked it up to Cathy’s air trainer thingy and rode stationary for about 45 minutes. I hate riding indoors. It’s work. I just keep looking at the clock and thinking, “am I done yet?”

But then, this afternoon, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. It was still cold, but I decided to go for a ride anyway. Then I noticed an aneurism on my back tire. It was going to blow out at any moment. I still went riding, but I made sure that my first stop was the bike shop.

I got a new tire, and then I set out. I went down Colorado Boulevard to check out all the people camping out for the Rose Parade tomorrow. So, as I promised Grace, here is my report from the butt end of the Rose Parade. This is the first of two parts.

First off, I noticed the that the Pasadena Christian Church had staked out a big chunk of the sidewalk – directly in front of our neighborhood gay bar. Was this a coincidence? Traveling down the parade route, I saw lots of stores with temporary chain-link fences over their storefronts. Office Depot was boarded up, and we aren’t even expecting a hurricane. In Old Town, there were several board-up companies doing a brisk business covering up the storefronts there. And the traffic was horrendous.

After that fun, I did a regular ride. This was a slightly shortened version of Gene’s “Just One Hill” ride. And, as always, there was just one hill. But it’s a big one, and the route goes up and down it several times on different streets. There was still a lot of water on the roads, but up in the hills it was quiet, and there were very few cars out. I noodled about in the hills for a while before coming down into La Cañada. From there, I went past JPL and back into Pasadena for the ride home.

22 miles.

12/26/2004

Sunday bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:06 pm

Today’s ride was Gene’s “Horizontal Bomp” ride again. Good for a chilly day. We went east into Monrovia, then south to Temple City and back through San Gabriel and San Marino. We stopped for a snack at Il Fornaio in Old Town. Then we went down past the Rose Bowl for the trip home. The bleachers are set up for the Rose Parade next weekend. Down by the Rose Bowl we saw some sort of old-car meet going on, as well as the big tents where they are building the floats for the parade. Then we went up the hill to Altadena Drive for the trip home.

40 miles.

12/19/2004

Just One Hill

Filed under: — stan @ 8:09 pm
the car fit

Today’s ride was Gene’s “Just One Hill” ride. And there was just one hill. But it was big and steep. It wasn’t nine miles uphill like last week, but it was still a good climb. It was another picture-postcard day, so when we got to the top, we were able to see all the way out to the ocean. On the way down, I had to stop to do a brake adjustment on my bike. While I was doing that, Newton’s front tire just decided to go flat. So we had a little break sitting there on the side of the hill.

When we got to the bottom, we stopped at the Starbuck’s in La Cañada. I had a bagel and orange juice. Easy to digest for glycogen and all that. Then we headed back into Pasadena. We took the side trip up to Loma Alta and came back through the foothills of Altadena. The view from the top of Lake Avenue was impressive. The ride was kind of short by our standards, so we just sort of noodled around Pasadena and Sierra Madre to pad the ride out a bit.

40 miles.

12/11/2004

I can see for miles and miles…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

Today was one of those days when they take postcard pictures. It was exceptionally clear, and pleasantly warm. And today’s club ride was up Glendora Mountain Road. This is a nice 9-mile climb up the front range of the San Gabriels. We started out full of energy and smiling. And some of us were even still smiling when we got to the top…

There was a fire there two years ago, and there are still a lot of burned trees on the side of the mountain. But we’ve had some rain recently, so the hillsides were all green. And I had to stop and take a picture when I saw the towers of downtown L.A. in the distance. They are about 25 miles away from where I’m standing, and it’s pretty rare for the air to be clear enough to see that far.

When we got to the top, I had to take a picture looking back down to where we started. If you look carefully, you can see the road winding up the ridge in the photo. We also were marveling that not only could we see Catalina Island, but we could even see San Clemente Island, which is just to the left of Catalina, and about 100 miles away.

Then we went down into the East Fork of San Gabriel Canyon. It was a very warm day, but there were some very cold air pockets in shady spots on the way down. It was kind of startling to ride through them. We stopped for a snack at Camp Williams before continuing down the canyon. Right after we left Camp Williams, Gene got a flat. So we got to spend a bit more time admiring the scenery. Finally, we got down the bridge at the junction of Highway 39. Then we went down 39 the rest of the way back to Azusa. From there it was the standard route home through Duarte, Monrovia, Arcadia and Sierra Madre.

It was a fun ride. 52 miles.

12/4/2004

Greek Theater and Mt Hollywood

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:57 pm

Once again, the weather forecast for Sunday looks grim. So I went riding today instead. I started out going west, and immediately ran into the traffic jam of people trying to get to the Rose Bowl for the USC/UCLA football game. I had no idea people would be going there that early. After that, I went past the bleachers already set up for the Rose Parade, and then down across the Arroyo.

Next, I went into Eagle Rock, where I went up Nolden St, which is the ridiculously steep hill. This time, I actually incorporated it into the route, traveling down the other side to get to Stratford St, which I took over to Occidental College and then onto Eagle Rock Blvd.

I then went south, over the L.A. River and into Los Feliz. I saw that the Shakespeare Bridge is decorated for the holidays. I went over the bridge and then up Hillhurst into Griffith Park. That’s where I saw the sign warning me that the park has rattlesnakes and mountain lions. No tigers and bears, though. Oh my! Still, the park is a nice pleasant place. I rode up past the Greek Theater and then through the tunnel to Toontown. Then I continued up over Mt. Hollywood, where I got a nice sideways view of the Hollywood sign. Then it was down the other side, which is a nice descent with hairpin turns, broken pavement, and big holes in the road.

At the bottom of the hill, I took the road past Forest Lawn and made a loop around Warner Bros and back past Disney and the L.A. Equestrian Center. Then it was back into Glendale for the trip home.

When I was riding up the last part of Glenoaks, I was briefly harassed by a middle-aged woman in a green BMW (CA license 4LSP584). She was honking obnoxiously and acting like she thought my presence on the road was a major imposition. Now I can understand why people sometimes get frustrated and vent when they’re on the road. What I don’t understand is why someone would go off and harass me when they’re about to stop. She harassed me and then turned into a parking lot. So I took out my camera and took her picture. Smile, you’re on the Internet, bitch. Later, she caught up with me again and she apologized, which I thought was actually very nice of her. In over 30 years of cycling, this is the first time that’s ever happened. And I’m sure that my taking her picture had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

From there, I did the obligatory trip up “Hospital Hill”, where I saw the ABC Sports mobile TV unit. I have no idea what it was doing there. Then I went down through La Cañada and back into the traffic for the Rose Bowl. I thought that would be done by the time I was coming back, but apparently I was wrong. After getting through that, I came home by way of Mendocino Ave, which has the little stretch that looks just like Beverly Hills, and probably plays it on TV.

45 miles.

11/27/2004

Another bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:23 pm

Since the weather forecast for Sunday morning doesn’t look too good, I went riding today instead.

I started off going west, into Eagle Rock. I took a short side trip just to ride up Nolden Street and the terrifyingly steep hill. Then I continued west into Glendale, where I managed to take my picture reflected in a plate glass window. Then I turned south and went by the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and on into Burbank. I went past Disney headquarters. You can tell it’s them because of the wrought-iron Mickey Mouse heads on the fence. Then past Warner Bros and the Oakwood Apartments, which is the boot camp for child actors.

From there, I headed back home. I went past Travel Town and the L.A. Live Steamers in Griffith Park, and then back into Glendale. I took the long climb up Verdugo and the obligatory trip up “Hospital Hill”. Then back down through La Cañada and Altadena. It started to rain just as I got back into Pasadena, so the timing was just about perfect. 40 miles.

11/26/2004

Turkey Atonement

Filed under: — stan @ 2:54 pm

Today I went for a short bike ride just to shake the after-gorging blahs. I went up into La Cañada and then up and over on Chevy Chase. I rode down the hill into Glendale and then took Glenoaks up and over a little hill with a nice view of downtown Glendale, Mt. Hollywood and Griffith Park. Then turned up Verdugo for the trip home. That was where I saw a little decorated tree all by itself on the side of the road. I thought this was a bit odd, so I took a picture of it. Then I went up “Hospital Hill” and back home through La Cañada and Altadena. 25 miles.

11/21/2004

Chilly

Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

Went riding today with the Foothill group again today. It was chilly by So Cal standards when we left, but the sky was clear and the sun was up, so we all thought it was going to get warm later. As it turned out, we were sadly mistaken.

The ride was Gene’s ‘Horizontal Bomp’ route, which goes east for a bit, then south, and back west for a big, flat loop. The whole time we were riding, the clouds were getting thicker, and it felt colder and colder. Our stop was in Old Town at Il Fornaio. When we got there, we saw lots of people milling about in Old Town, and we realized that today is the Doo Dah Parade. So perhaps today was not the best day to be riding a bike around there. But we were already there, so we stopped at Il Fornaio and had a snack. Of course we also cooled off, so we didn’t really enjoy it all that much, sitting shivering on the patio. And then we saw dozens of idling buses on the street there and we realized that they were there to bring thousands of people to the Rose Bowl for the Billy Graham crusade today. So we thought that perhaps we should skip the part of the ride that goes past the Rose Bowl and just go around it to get home. So we skirted around the Rose Bowl and headed up towards the mountains. That was when we noticed that there was a little bit of snow on top of Mt. Lowe. The snow doesn’t usually come down that low unless it’s very cold around here. And as we headed up the hill, it got colder and windier. The last part of the ride was down a three-mile hill, with gusty crosswinds, dodging around fallen tree branches. I’d like to say it was fun, but it really wasn’t. We’d all had enough of being cold by then, and I was quite happy to finally get home and get inside the warm house. 35 miles.

11/14/2004

Toluca Lake Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 1:40 pm

Today’s ride was the ‘Toluca Lake Inverse’. We rode through South Pasadena and Highland Park to the L.A. River, then north along the river past the Zoo, Travel Town, and Forest Lawn to Burbank. We stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s, and then came home through Glendale, and over “Hospital Hill”. 46 miles.

11/7/2004

Sunday fun

Filed under: — stan @ 5:21 pm

Today’s bike ride was conducted under threat of rain. We rode a big loop through Arcadia, San Marino, and Highland Park to end up by the Rose Bowl. We were going to do some more riding in the hills there, but it started to rain a bit. So we headed for home. Then the rain stopped, so we rode a bit more out to Arcadia Wilderness Park and back. 42 miles.

The fun after I got home was to replace the overhead light in our dining room. The complication was that since we got the new hutch, we had to move the table over, and the light was no longer centered over the table. So I had to go up in the attic and uncover the box for the chandelier and then branch some wire off of it and put a new box a little ways over. Then I installed the new light below the new box. The new light is a lot brighter than the old one, and it uses only about 1/4 the electricity. So that makes up for its lack of funky-vintage charm. Next weekend I will have to go back in the attic and move the original box so that I can patch the hole in the ceiling.

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