Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday morning Time Trial

9am sharp, we leave from the big yellow gate on Glendora Mountain Road that marks the beginning of the national forest. We see exactly how quickly we can get up to the maintenance shed that is approximately 7.5 miles up the road. Yesterday I was 23 seconds faster than two weeks prior.

We call it a "time trial" but if you want to ride a wheel, feel free. It's not like there are staggered starts, trophies or anything else. Just a personal knowlege of how fast you are...

New guy in the lead...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunset Ridge

Just a couple pictures for you to enjoy. These are from the Sunset Ridge fireroad that connects Cow Canyon Saddle above Mt Baldy Village to La Verne. I was riding for hours and I only saw two women, two dogs, a baby, and a deer. The mountains were playing peek-a-boo behinds clouds. I guess I was too.

I live for this stuff...

Your humble narrator

I'll be riding into those clouds...

Only one slide forced a dismount...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MorYork Gallery

Lots of Stuff
I recently discovered a unique gallery in Los Angeles. MorYork Gallery at Ave. 50 and York is open on the second Saturday each month. In the front is a space that acts like a gallery, filled with works by the currently featured artist. Behind is the gallery owner's workspace and stuff. When I was there, I was able to explore the stuff. Even if I had more than my camera-phone camera, I doubt I could have captured anything that would do justice to my experience or the vision of Clare Graham.

This is just a tiny slice of the collections/constructions/assemblages that overwhelmed my senses. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beautiful Weather

Yesterday was summer weather in winter. The temperature before dawn was a comfortable riding temp, and if you climbed into the mountains, it stayed comfortable all day long. I had the opportunity to ride with some talented and adventurous riders. It was an 8,000ft day.

Don't ride with these guys...
...unless you want to punish your legs!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photos From The Castle Green

If you don't recognize the photo above as the Hotel Green, you haven't spent that much time in Pasadena. Which is a shame, as Pasadena is a great town to bike in, through, or mountainbike above. In the 1900's and thereabouts, it was an artists' colony, a tourist destination, and generally a far-flung place quite a distance from  Los Angeles. Today, I know Pasadena as home of the nearest Performance Bike store and the Academy, the 99¢ store of movies theaters.

If you know the Hotel Green, you may recognize it from the above feature, "the bridge" which extends to the Raymond St. sidewalk. Probably not from the pictured angle, however. I took that picture from someone's balcony during the twice annual Castle Green Tour. The Castle Green is the half of the building that is owned as condos. The other half remains apartments, I believe. With separate ownership, you can actually tell where the Castle ends and the Hotel begins, because of the color of the paint. One was repainted more recently...

Lots of statues...
The Buddha above is in the bridge, which actually houses a bookstore. Besides the books, there were many posters and pictures and sculptures...

Seems like everyone was shooting...
The roof had many wonderful views. Why did I take a picture of people taking pictures? Seemed funny at the time... The next few photos are from peoples' apartments.
The most impressive light I saw...

A kitchen full of kitchens...

Not the most spacious of digs...

Just a friendly reminder that I have less taste than some...
The next few photos are from common spaces. 

Taken from the roof...
In the basement...
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Wait, that's a peacock... In a christmas tree...

Victorian dancers...
All in all, I was very happy to have the opportunity to see inside an historic building I've known most of my life. The tour was quite crowded. But quite worth it. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Conventional wisdom holds that one should get their bike in tip-top shape for any competition.

WBBC suggests another tactic: Leave it alone. You might bust something.

See the head of that bolt...
Of course, if you are riding the latest, lightest, most-aero equipment, follow the conventional wisdom. If your ride is busted down already, you may want to leave well enough alone.

Castle Green in Pasadena

I'm in Pasadena, having taken the tour of Castle Green.  This is just a teaser. There will be pictures from the inside later...

View from the roof
View from the ground
This was on a wall in the hall.
Imagine what folks have in their rooms!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkeys Ride

There is an annual tradition around here called the Turkey Ride. Every Thanksgiving, a big swarm of mountain bikers descend the Sunset Ridge Fireroad. "Descend" is sometimes used as a technical term to mean "haul buns." I don't own a downhill bike. (You know, those beasts with 7 inches of suspension travel that look like a motocycle without an engine) But what my bikes lack in technology, I make up with poor handling skills. The result is that I prefer to "ride down" rather than "descend."

I know of one guy who rides up Sunset Ridge each year, just to show the "shuttle-monkeys" what they're missing. But I didn't hear from him. So I called my so-called "friend" who often rides with me. "Friend" and I are what you could call "uphill suttle-monkeys." We'll climb just about anything, provided you have a jeep parked at the top to get us down safely. Neither of us had the time to climb Sunset because we had out-of-town turkey feasting plans. So we made plans to do the "pavement shuttle."

The whole premise behind the "pavement shuttle" is the fact that road miles are easier than dirt miles. Some will go so far as to say that one should disconnect their computer (odometer) before riding on pavement. Because ROAD MILES DON'T COUNT.

These miles don't count for MTBers. And roadies don't sag.

The climb from Mt Baldy Village to Cow Canyon Saddle
 As my "friend" and I found out, we were not the only ones riding to the ride. A lot of the folks we saw on Mt Baldy Rd were dressed in club kits. Or at least they were dressed like they knew what they were doing. I really should have handed my camera to someone for a shot of me, because I looked more absurd than usual. I had my Kona "technical pants" on for the snowy climb. Then when we got to the sun-exposed descent, I stripped down to my lycra. Fortunately, the bike fashion police were nowhere to be seen.

A well-dressed cyclist

We are developing frostbite...
 and this guy is complaining that his jacket is making him sweat.
So, we had a great ride. We got cold and hot and muddy and sweaty. I was late for a family obligation, but that is just like a mountainbiker. I arrived before dinner was served, so all ended well.

We're just trying to work off our dinner.
Wait, we didn't eat yet...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I finally made it to the TdF!

Ever since I was a wee lad, I've wanted to ride in the Tour de France. Well, not exactly. More like "since I was old enough to be someone's grandfather, but still in posession of my childish energy and abandon" And I've never wanted to ride in the Tour because that would hurt a great deal.

So it's quite fortunate for me that the Tour de Foothills has the same initials as le Tour.

Lots of tandems today!

Le Foothills, that I was touring today, ranged from Irwindale to Fontana. The ride also included some nice climbs in the San Jose Hills. The other riders were some excellent people. I chatted with quite a few, because what else are you going to do on a bike for seven hours? The volunteers were very supportive, telling us "You're doing great; keep it up," etc. One guy at Fontana Park (about the 85 miles mark) was walking through the riders asking if he could take our banana peels and empty bottles. Can't say I blame him. We probably didn't look like we could make it to the trash cans by ourselves at that point in the ride.

Oh that reminds me. The one negative thing I can think of was the wind. Out in Fontana it can get bad, and today was the worst I have ever seen it. I would easily trade a couple extra reps up Mt Baldy Rd for the stretch to Lytle Creek Rd and Sierra Ave. I was going slower on flat ground than I had on the "tough climb" of the course! Even worse were the gusts that blew me sideways.

That was all Mother Nature's doing. If I were making the route, I would have included that wretched section, myself. It's a classic stretch for cycling. It's just the weather that ruined it. In fact, the whole route was classic. As I rode along Baseline to Mills and up Mt Baldy Rd with some new friend from the westside, I felt a local pride. As if I were showing him the best riding we have in my town. And in an indirect way, I was.

Maybe a massage will help...

This year was the first time the organizers included a full century. Other routes were the metric century and the metric half century. I couldn't go the whole day without cracking wise about the riders doing "just" 31 miles. But that's simply because I was afraid they'd eat all the food before I got a chance to finish. My fears were unfounded.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mt SAC Fat Tire Classic

We have changed back from Daylight Saving Time which means that the days have been getting short enough to be mildly depressing. And with the change, we will have no evening. Go straight from work to night. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Fortunately, this blow is softened each year by one of the most fun MTB races around. The Mt SAC Fat Tire Classic. A nice mix of fireroad and singletrack that is grueling at times, fun at others, but offers plenty of places to recover or pass. There are unique metal trophies made by the welding class. There is the fact that you can't ride the course any other time of year because it goes through gates that are locked to keep the cows in. You can even be late and still race, if you forgot to reset your clock!

Not very flowy except on race day...

So cute!

This year, it was a disappointing day at the races for me. I rode my rigid singlespeed against the Cat 2 "Sport" racers of my age group. I came in 7th place. Had I been racing in the Singlespeed category, I would have been 4th. Doesn't matter, trophies went to the top three. The disappointing part was the fact that my camera had no memory card in it.

My friend, Quinn, was racing alongside this 14 year old girl who was racing MTB for the first time. That is always neat to see. First times are special. Looking at her face afterwards, you couldn't see the supercharged emotions that (I'm guessing) she was not about to let Mom see. All I know is that my first race made me a giant exposed nerve to my emotions.

Maybe it was different for this racer. She races crits and track. Track, like at the velodrome, fer cryin' out loud! I didn't know what a track bike was when I was 40, let alone 14. She also has a mother that will not only pace her, but reply to "Mom, I can't breathe!" with "You can talk; you can breathe."

What a different life than the one I had! I hope she likes it.

I must say, if you are female and considering racing, do it. 14 year old newbie, her mother, and Quinn all got trophies. I saw my friend Sue after the race. She had won as usual, but she told me with a grin, "...and I beat someone this time." The trophy to competitor ratio is wild. Go and get some!

Some things just don't make any sense if your not a racer:

You might understand how arriving early, being excited and nervous, and having to wait for the scheduled start can make one want to pee. Quinn wanted to know if she had time to go to the bathroom. Of course there's time, I told her. Then she wanted to know if she should go to the bathroom. I'm still not sure what distinction she was drawing, but I said that pissing would make her lighter. End of discussion. She went.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Over the River and Through the Hoods... Grandmother's house I go.

This is my twice-a-month commute, and I really enjoy the opportuntity to see so much of Los Angeles and its metropolitan area. I doubt I could ride my bike from Pomona to Culver City and back, but with the help of light rail trains, I do just that. Plus I get to make a loop of it (and ride 10 miles along the beach as well)!

Unfortunately, I don't like to get up early. So I have only one picture from my outbound trip. I had to get there on time for lunch which is served promptly at noon. Fortunately, I was planning a little extra time. So I was able to suffer a flat tire and still live up to my reputation (always being on time to a free meal)!


I wasn't expecting to see this array of antennae in Culver City.
I just had to snap a shot...

On the way home, I took Venice Blvd towards downtown. My Grandmother talks about the Helms Bakery trucks that used to deliver to people's homes. So I thought I'd get her a picture of the bakery now.

I didn't know what to make of "H D Buttercup" so I looked closer. Turns out the whole place is a furniture bazaar. I asked my buddy H.G. Wells what he thought "manutailer" meant (zoom in on the sign above). He said something about "adspeak double plus ungood."

Not like Grandma remembers...

Union Station has its share of  "adspeak" going on.

I don't remember the billboards on the collumns.

When I step outside to the garden, the station's charm seems intact.

From Union Station, I rode the train to Pasadena. From Pasadena, I rode my bike home. A nice leisurely Sunday with the riding broken up with train rides and a lunch-visit. Like it says, I crossed the river (San Gabriel or Ballona Creek, take your pick) on my bike. But "through the hoods" refers to the communities from Norwalk to El Segundo when I was merely looking out a train window...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Photos...

One of the cool things about races is that they bring out good photographers. Folks with good equipment and skills and a love of cycling. The down side of course, is that now all my photos will look a little crummy by comparison.

I guess it's the same thing that happened with my racing abilities. They looked a little crummy by comparison. Guess I have work to do before Mt SAC...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Incycle XC Challenge 10/17/10

I've got some pix to share with you. I wish I had a tale of victory. In fact, I was planning on temporarily changing the name of this blog to "White Boy Be Crazy-Fast!" But I came in 5th. Not even a podium spot.

However, I can claim a minor victory: I got the announcer to say, "Number 456. That's Brian Grimm riding for Team Sisyphus," or something to that effect. Last year, I was on the podium representing "Mashed Potato." And earlier this year I rode a double-century for Cutters. Even if nobody gets the joke, I slay myself.

At the Line

This is the Life
Grinding Away

Tinker and the Pros' Race

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well, I was looking for some content that truly belongs here. Something that may well make you shake your head in disbelief and exclaim, "White boy be crazy!" It just so happens that my Sunday outing qualifies.

Sunday, the high in Pomona was 95. I don't like 95. So I planned to ride my bike up above the heat. Stay up there for a while. And then come down when the coast was clear.

Yours Truly
My riding buddy, who shall remain Nameless, asked me, "What are we going to do up there till it cools off?" There were some attempts at witty banter, but the upshot was that we'd ride our bikes around up there.

Let's be clear. "Up there" means at the midpoint of a 100 mile ride. A 100 mile ride designed to get us as high (and therefore, as cool) as possible. So what we are really talking about is riding 50 miles and gaining 6,000 feet of elevation to get to the ride.

And here is where Nameless really upped the ante... "Let's explore the trails"

Nameless mountain bike rider
If you're not a cyclist, you may have missed the significance of that statement. It means mountain bikes, not road. Those fat knobby tires on mountain bikes have great traction which they get at the expense of efficiency. Think of it this way: they grip the road. Like "grip and don't let go, not even to let you move forward." Try that for 50 miles!

Well we did try that, starting just after 7am. The main strategy seemed to work. The temperature never got very hot. We, however, did. Fortunately, there was a nice cooling headwind. I'm pretty bad at judging wind speed, but I can tell you the forecast was for "gusts up to 25mph."

That swiss cheese is petrified
After about 35 miles, the scenery was looking pretty good. Freeways and traintracks had given way to strange rock formations. The sky above was much bluer. Life was just about as good as it can get. And then we hit Lone Pine Canyon Road.

Makes me thirsty just looking at it
Lone Pine Canyon Road stretched out in front of us like, I don't know, something bad. Six and a half miles of bad. I don't know how much cycling you've done, but it's pretty rare for a car to honk at a cyclist in order to flash a thumbs-up or other encouraging gesture. But that's what happened...

It just keeps going

The rest of the way to Wrightwood was a breeze. There is a nice little park in town where I dined on peanuts and dried fruit. My buddy gave me a cupcake for desert. Then he proceded to look strange.

This guy is always doing this
I was relieved to find that Nameless had not crushed the local flora with his odd ritual.

This little mushroom survived!

After all the epicurian delights that can fit in a handlebar bag, we proceded to climb out of Wrightwood. First comes the 6,000ft sign, then the Entering Los Angeles County sign, then a Visitor Center complete with drinking fountain and bathroom (both of which came in handy). And then some climbing.

Nameless thinks it's funny that I'm pointing in two different directions!
He wants you to see that he is taller than Mt Baden-Powell!
Inspiration Point is apropriately named. All the best views are between this lookout (circa 7300') and Dawson Saddle (circa 7900'). The only problem is that first we have to lose 800'. I don't have any pictures from that stretch because all the best riding is there too. Okay, maybe I was getting a bit tired by then, too.

I got cold descending from here.
Here I am at the top. Unfortunately, it's around 4pm. No time for dirt. Gots to bail.

Here is a picture of a sign or two
If you are familiar with the local roads, you'll know that those fat tires we had been lugging around really came in handy getting us down to this sign. I suppose we could have made it on road bikes by slowing down. But nobody wants that.

Odd way to end the post, I know, but I had to snap a picture of the first tarantula I've seen this year. Must be the start of the season. This guy was on Glendora Mountain Road. I don't know if he was climbing up from East Fork, but I sure was. Nameless knew a shortcut to Upland through Baldy Village. Gotta love that in a riding buddy.

All in all, it was a great ride. The worst that happened was I lost the little rubber thing from one of my earbuds. And I had set my pack down on some ants, but fortunately I noticed and got them all off. Or at least, none of them bit me. We also got to experience a little bit of night riding at the end.