Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Sunset Plaza

Filed under: — stan @ 5:52 pm

Today I did ride in the Hollywood Hills with Gene. It was Sunset Plaza, which is a place I used to ride a lot back in the late ’80s, when Cathy and I lived in Hollywood. So today I brought Gene over to see how much fun the hills can be.

We started out with the usual ride across Eagle Rock. Gene declined to go up the terrifyingly steep hill, but we still went past it just to look. Then we headed across the L.A. River into Los Feliz. We crossed the Shakespeare Bridge, and then headed south into Hollywood. We took Fountain Ave across Hollywood, which was the epitome of the gritty urban cycling experience. We even passed L. Ron Hubbard Way, which the L.A. City Council renamed for the late charlatan some years ago.

We then went into West Hollywood, and then up onto the Sunset Strip. We saw the restaurant from the final scene of “Annie Hall”. Riding a bike down the Sunset Strip always seems a bit odd to me, and it’s really not a lot of fun. There is a lot of traffic, and the road is kind of rough. But all was forgiven when we turned on Sunset Plaza and headed up the hill.

The funny thing about bike riding in Hollywood is that it gets really quiet and pleasant as soon as you go up a hill. Once we turned off Sunset, it was very nice. Just a quiet winding street with lots of very large houses perched on the hillside. There was one house in particular that was really impressive. It was huge, and it just dominated the hill. Anyway, it was a nice ride up the hill there, and from the crest, we got a nice view of Century City and the winter smog.

From the top of the hill on Sunset Plaza, we headed down into Laurel Canyon, passing near Wonderland Ave, which was the scene of the Wonderland Murders. Then we crossed over Laurel Canyon, passing by Houdini’s old house and headed up Willow Glen Rd, which climbs up the side of Laurel Canyon to Mt. Olympus and then down into Nichols Canyon.

When we got down into Nichols Canyon, we took a left and went up Nichols Canyon Rd, which brought us up another big hill, ultimately coming out on Mulholland Drive. From there, we headed east, taking the long downhill into Cahuenga Pass, and then down into Burbank. We had a short stop at Priscilla’s for a drink, and then we headed home.

The essential question was whether to take the northern route home up Hospital Hill, or the southern route through Eagle Rock. Gene suggested the middle route up Mountain Ave in Glendale. We’ve passed this hill many times on the regular Sunday rides and never gone up it, so I figured it was worth a try. Yow. It turned out to be a much harder climb than I’d anticipated. I finally had to say ‘uncle’ and shift to a lower gear to make the last bit to the top. But the view was nice. The road was closed, since it had some damage from the rains, so it was nice and quiet.

Finally, we headed down the big hill back into Pasadena. It was a fun ride.

54 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


Toluca Lake

Filed under: — stan @ 4:24 pm

Todays ride was “Toluca Lake”. We started out going straight west, over the historic Colorado Street Bridge into Eagle Rock and then on into Glendale. Then we went south a bit through the L.A. Equestrian Center and into Burbank. Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s in Burbank. After that, we continued west just a bit into Toluca Lake just to pass by Bob Hope’s old house. Then we came back by Forest Lawn and onto the L.A. River bike path. Apparently, something had happened along the part where the bike path runs along the freeway, as there was a fire truck, an ambulance, and a couple of Highway Patrol cars there. And also, one of the light poles was knocked over. Finally, we headed home through Eagle Rock. When we crossed into South Pasadena, we got a nice view of Mt. Baldy, complete with snow. Overall, it was a very pleasant ride.

43 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


La Tuna Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 1:26 pm

Today was another chilly day, threatening to rain. The general plan for today’s ride was to get as far away from the remnants of the Rose Parade as possible. So we went west to La Tuna Canyon. Gene said that today is the one-year anniversary of the Sunday Moderate Ride. We had the one obligatory flat tire on the ride up through La Crescenta, but aside from that, the climb up the canyon was pretty uneventful. At the top, I put on my jacket so as not to freeze on the way down. At the bottom of the big hill, we turned left on Glenoaks and headed back down through Sunland and Burbank. The snack stop was in Glendale at Paradise Bakery, where I had two chocolate eclairs. They make the best eclairs there. After that, we headed back on Kenneth to Mountain Ave, where I saw the nativity scene with signs pleading for the return of the baby Jesus. Then we turned left on Verdugo and headed back up Hospital Hill. From there, we took the standard route back through La Cañada.

42 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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