Sunday, July 18, 2010

Triple Peaks

I wanted to get some longer hours on the bike this weekend, so planned on doing a 5-hour ride. Five hours is very easy to do along our normal Duarte river trail route, but it's a 20-mile drive each way and so there's a lot of overhead doing that. Instead, I thought I'd just ride locally, and coming up with 5-hours of riding in Glendale is tricky. There are some great 1-2 hour rides in Griffith Park, or in Pasadena, but you have to deal with actually getting to the nice sections which means lots of intersections and traffic lights and 4-wheeled vehicles.

Since I was going for time not distance, I figured the best way to slow me down would be to do some climbing. I came up with a route which I'm calling the "Triple Peaks" - here's the elevation:

I started in Glendale and went up to Montrose which is a nice steady climb to Peak 1 and you get a great downhill returning via La Tuna Canyon road. (Normally I climb up La Tuna Canyon and back the other side, but I reversed it this time.) The only problem is once you get to the bottom you pretty much have to cross downtown Burbank. There's just no easy way around it, and I snaked my way over to Griffith Park.

Peak 2 was the climb up to the Griffith Park Observatory (via Travel Town). You get some great views of the Hollywood sign along the way, and although I have seen a few snakes along this path all the reptiles were thankfully hiding this weekend. There are good restrooms and water fountains at the Observatory, so it's a good destination.

I tried some place new for Peak #3. Now I know what you're thinking, that third "peak" around mile 35 is nothing more than a bump, right? There's no climbing involved whatsoever. Well the chart doesn't tell the entire story because it's averaging out all the elevation data. Peak 3 is Dodger Stadium, which is surprisingly close to Griffith Park. Here is a close-up of the data entering Elysian Park, home of Dodger Stadium:

The stadium is on a plateau which is not very high but is surrounded by steep climbs from every angle. 20% climb in that one short section, not too shabby. And I did not just climb up to the stadium just once. I followed signs to what looked like the main entrance, where I was stopped by a very nice but passive-aggressive toll booth lady. I asked her if I could just ride up to do a loop around the stadium. She told me "well, a lot of the roads are closed because they're setting up for a flea market." I told her I didn't need to do a full loop, I could just go up to the stadium and back. "Well, there's a lot of construction going on, it's not really open." We went back and forth a few times, but eventually I just said "sounds like you'd rather I just turn around and leave." She smiled. (I crumble before any type of authority figure.)

I don't know the Dodger Stadium area at all, but I knew there were multiple entrances so I rode down the hill, then back up another road to try to get in. Fenced off. Back down, up another street, same blockade. These hills are not big but they are steep, especially if you've already been out in the heat for 3 hours.

I gave up trying to get into the actual stadium parking area, but I'm hoping to be able to get up there another time. It's only 3 miles from Griffith Park and would make for a great evening ride after work.

Have I mentioned L.A. has been going through a heat wave? The heat training is actually good preparation for Hawaii, but after 4 hours or so I was just "done." It was an interesting dilemma: I wanted to get home as soon as possible, but I wanted to make sure I got my time in on the bike. That's the problem with training for time rather than distance; there's little incentive to ride faster. And even heading back home at an easy pace I knew it was too early to finish up so I forced myself to do an extra 5-mile Travel-Town loop. Still wasn't enough, so when I got within 4 blocks of my condo I took a 2-mile detour just to pad the ride a bit. Miserable.

Later that afternoon I noticed this:

Yes, I DID put on sunscreen before I left. Not only that, but I brought extra sunscreen with me and re-applied at the observatory. Obviously it was not enough. I think I was able to get aloe on it quickly enough so I was spared most of the pain, but I suspect I'll be peeling and itching like crazy in a few days.


Blogger Paulie said...

So where is the MapMyRide link? I want to try this route out. ;)

4:42 PM  
Blogger JillyG said...

Yes, I agree with Paulie -- would love to try this ride out!

8:47 AM  

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