Thursday, March 25, 2010

LA story.

So I got here Tuesday the 9th. I am at the point now where I can navigate LA without a map. I have ridden a lot of the good rides. I have seen the crazies, eaten good food, checked out the ACA club champion's childhood home, seen somebody famous (maebe from arrested development!).

Today was my last ride in LA.
I was here for 16 full days. I rode 16 days. I rode 990 miles. 63 hours and 30 minutes on my bike. I got a killer tan. It rained 0 days. I like riding bikes a lot. I also like riding bikes a lot. Get it?

Tomorrow I drive to San Diego. I will hang out there with the in laws for a bit over a week before driving a car home.


-The wealth disparity in LA is unlike any I have experienced. Everyday I see tons of poor people working really hard up keeping the other end's lifestyle.

- There are lots of people on "life tours." It is something we dont have on the east coast because of the weather. I have seen about a dozen people who totally live off their bikes. I dont think they are any different than your standard homeless person, but it is rad none the less.

- Everybody in LA drives drives like a jerk. Where I am from, if somebody is riding on you, hitting their gas and their brakes at the same time while speeding uphill at a stop sign, they are jerk. LA it is totally normal. Driving is like a bike race, if there is an empty spot, it gets taken right away. People are constantly fighting for position.

San Diego = spring break 010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Internet diary. Diaries dont have photos they have pictures.

march 21 2010

Today was good. I woke up and baked granola for an hour or so while drinking my coffee. I flipped through a CrimethInc book while waiting for a friend to show up, but ended up bailing. Solo flight.

I hit the road around 11:30, heading west towards Santa Monica. There is like 40 minutes of sprawl (exact same time it takes me to get to Guys run from my house) before I hit the ocean. Once I reached the ocean, I filmed a video where I pretended the ocean was speaking to Amy and said "This is the ocean speaking, I cant wait to see you... bring Ramazani."

Then I headed north. I took PCH 25 miles up to The Mulholland Highway. Despite it's name, it is not a highway at all. I rode for 45 minutes before I saw a car. The climb switched back over itself like a million times (see drawing). When I turned off of PCH I was nervous that it looked overcast in the mountains, but after a few miles I was above the clouds I had seen.

I rolled Mulholland for a long time. I stopped at a fruit stand and bought 2 oranges and what I believed to be a tangelo. There was a communication barrier between me and the fellow selling them, but I do think it was a tangelo.

Then I turned on Old Topenga Rd and climbed up to the town of Topenga. Topenga sounds like it used to be neat. Neil Young, Charles Manson, Woodie Guthrie and a few of the Beach Boys have all lived there. It used to be an artist colony. Now its just rich people who pass cyclists too closely in their cars!

Back on PCH to Santa Monica and through Brentwood (think OJ simpson). I was kind of thirsty and hungry cause I was at mile 90 and had only taken in 2 bottles and 450 calories when I saw my new best friend. She was 4 and had just set up her business selling lemon aid. The lemons were apparently fresh squeezed and it had watermelon mixed in. I talked her into filling up my bottle for a dollar. Im really not sure who won out on that deal because the cups she was selling for a quarter were kind of big.

I rode back to my residence, stopping at the bakery for a coke and a cookie.

Then I rode back and forth in the driveway for .1 miles (5 times) to get the full 100 miles in.

Then Matt and I walked to the Thai restaurant. The woman working tried to talk me out of buying the food I wanted because it had durian fruit in it, which apparently smells like battery acid and vomit mixed with diesel fuel. It tasted ok though.

Then we went to Jons, which is the poor man's Vons. Vons is like Ralphs, which is like giant eagle. Get it? Matt's neighborhood is nuts. It is where Thai town meets Little Armenia. The grocery store has so much crazy food and crazy people. There are always peppers there that I have never seen, and today they had mini eggplants. Also had a pack of trannies and one of them had a bluetooth in, which was just kind of funny. Sorry if that is insensitive.

Then I made juice in the juicer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The state of cycling.

My take on cycling in LA, and what is possibly a national trend.

Velonews had an article yesterday where they cover what can only be described as an alleycat race. "Alleycats" started out as messenger races, and have morphed into something bigger it seems. There are entire calendars of races, racers, and a race culture that has very little to do with shaved legs, USA Cycling, the UCI, etc. (Sidenote: velonews, there are other races happening, maybe you should cover some of the East Coast racing that happens every weekend?)

Sunday was the LA marathon. This means closed streets right? Why not throw a bike race on the streets of the marathon before it starts? At 4 am, close to 400 people showed up to race the marathon course. A bicycle messenger world champion (yes seriously) flew in from New York to race it. 400 people at 4am. No permits, no insurance, no permission. Just doing it.

It seems events like this are becoming more popular. Rapha is known for their gentlemen's rides. It is like a brevet but shorter and faster. Levi has been putting on a gran fondo series that draws THOUSANDS of people. You dont need a license, but it has insurance, there is a winner, it is a bike race.

There are very few people out there who are willing to bust their ass to put on insured, sanctioned races. So when promoters stop promoting, and insurance, cops, and lawyers prevent other races from happening, they will still happen. Kind of. But is it racing if it doesnt show up on bikereg or

Friday, March 19, 2010

Routines and the internet.

So this past week I found myself getting up, eating a bunch of food, drinking a bunch of coffee, and then setting out for the Santa Monica Mountains. After just a few days of this, I found myself already in a routine. How do I know? Well, in a city of just under 10 million people, I ran into the same Brinks truck driver leaving the same bank two days in a row. Coincidence right? Then six miles later, I ran into the same commuter on a recumbent as the day before. Weird. If you are going to have a groundhogs day like routine, you might as well get in good rides in the mountains.

Some dudes have blogs where they just take pictures of themselves riding. I am above that, so I have hired a camera crew to document my epic riding.

Oh speaking of epic riding, I was doing some SLOW riding in Griffith park and saw a rapha condor dude. I gave him the wave, and he ignored me. Well, I was on the loop, and made a point the second time to say "HELLO" with a wave. Still denied. The dude was super pro looking. Dope kit, dope matching bike, the whole deal.

So I was enamored, and wondered why this super epic PRO dude was in LA. I know barely anything about the team, except for what I learn while watching English races on the internerd.

Anyway, I did some googling and realized that he may have been on the Rapha Condor Club Team. I hope he paid the extra 1500 pounds to have a pink striped jersey to snub me in the local park. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

earthquake. fargo st.

I felt my first earthquake last night. Being jet lagged and only getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep caught up to me finally and I crashed hard. I fell asleep at like 9pm. I woke up in the dark to the house shaking. I thought it could have been a dream, but there is a drum set in the living room, and the cymbals were ringing pretty good. 4.4 magnitude. I thought it was kind of rare, but then I saw this list. Chile seems to have 5 a day.

I happened to be here, and we happened to be riding past the Fargo St hill climb. For the yinzers out there, I was pretty impressed with the hill. It was very much like Logan St out of Millvalle.

I got a patch!

Week 1 was 5 days (arrived on Tuesday, so only rode weds-sun)
Ending Duration Distance TSS
3/14/2010 22:10:33 350.69 1117

Monday, March 15, 2010

The hype on California is real...

So my vacation has been awesome. I headed out to visit my buddy Matt, and get some fun riding in.

Highlights so far:
-A Lamborghini with a trunk rack, and a bling BMC on the rack. Seriously
-Multiple 7 - 10 mile climbs.
-Back to back 6 hour days in the saddle.
-More Latin Americans in LAX than possibly all of the Pittsburgh region.

I realized that it has been over 5 years since I have lived in a "group living situation".. .aka a punkhouse. Matt is still holding it down pretty tight. 5 people under one roof. I forgot what it was like to always have people around. I forgot how much I used to hang out in the kitchen of all the houses (for some reason congregation always happens in the kitchen). Fun times the past few days for sure.

knucks at 4500'

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poor house guest? Or awesome one?

Found this in the house where I am staying.

I fixed it.

Going out to Malibu for some 20 - 30 minute climbs today. Sweet.

Went to The Silver Lake intelligenstia coffee shop yesterday. I swear it is the exact place where David Cross was when he wrote the bit about LA being the land of the deluded.

Friday, March 05, 2010

I am the crazy one? Seriously?

Google maps cannot keep up with the sprawl that is Cranberry Township.
I rode past this gem of a street, and vomited in my mouth a little. Its not even on google maps yet.

"Walden Pond Lane"

Here is the MLS listing. For non Pittsburgh people, 700k is like 4 billion dollars elsewhere.

So the house has 4.5 bathrooms, goes for a huge amount of money, replaced farmland with sprawl and is in a subdivision named "Walden Pond" on a road named "Walden Pond Ln."

Should I be offended? Or should I laugh at how ridiculous it is?

I picture some super bitter group of people who are responsible for these housing plots. They are probably trained urban planners or architect who were forced to replace their idealism with a decent paycheck. I picture them having office polls about who can come up with the most ironic, meaningless name. Maybe they have like a big presentation at the end of the year and give out awards. I hope this one wins.

For those of you like Bob, please read at least the wiki page on walden.

Also a great man, and lifelong cyclist Ken Kifer who was struck by a car while riding and died a few years ago, has great notes on Walden.