Sunday, May 04, 2008

First None'll Come, and Then a Lot'll

Two years ago, before this blog had any rust or age spots, I rode through the streets of downtown Los Angeles one fine Sunday morning and posted some pictures from the excursion.

Last year I was neck-deep in handling paperwork from Mom’s estate, so there was no way I was going to have time to make the ride.

This year I extricated myself from a detailed schedule long enough to roll again, on May 4.

This was the route. (It’s supposed to appear here, but in case the graphic link doesn’t work right, that’s a link that works the old-fashioned way, like hieroglyphs in an Egyptian pyramid.)

We started out at the Police Academy, perched just above Dodger Stadium, and darted south and west through part of Chinatown.

Here we ride past the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the L.A. Performing Arts Center.

I still haven’t been to any performances in the Walt Disney Hall, the most prominent Frank Gehry structure in town. From the outside, I like it already.

Past the Disney Hall again . . .

The mid-route rest stop came after the bulk of the flat riding, before we headed up into the hills. I didn’t take pictures all along the way, but this comes after riding a pretty good stretch up Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards; we’re headed north here, up toward (roughly) Hollywood Bowl.

Part of what makes this ride special is that it’s set up with rolling road closures as the riders pour through the streets, so we don’t have to worry about stoplights and cross traffic—all the riders have to do is ride and get a thrill from the surroundings. Without that, most of these streets would be impassable for cyclists, or at least much more problematic.

It takes a large escort contingent to close the streets: a team riding before, to secure intersections; a team riding alongside the riders, to make sure they stay in the lanes they’ve been given; a mop-up team riding behind. This is a benefit ride; part of the registration fee goes toward road closures and permits and food and so on, but part of the fee goes toward the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

After a spin through Griffith Park and a couple of steep hill climbs, we got back to the Police Academy for a burrito lunch and a welcome chance to take our helmets off and relax. Nice ride.

I had been riding adjacent to this couple for a lot of the course. They said I wasn’t the first one to ask to take pictures of their his-and-hers shirts.

My trusty steed, riding on the back of my other trusty steed, in a Dodger Stadium parking lot that’s as empty as it gets. Wish it were this easy to find parking on game days!

I started the ride just after 8 a.m. and was done before 11, for a total of about 40 miles at about 14.5 m.p.h. For most of the first part of the ride I was stuck behind the front of the escort contingent, which limited our speed, until I got a chance to bridge over to the group of faster riders. All the hills came when I was with the faster riders, which was good: the escort vehicle was farther ahead, so I could set my own pace. I felt in better shape this year than I did the first time I rode this course.

Then again, the second time up any hill is usually easier than the first, when the rise and crest are still unfamiliar.

1 comment:

CaliforniaGirl said...

Since you were on the hybrid route, I assume you were riding your hybrid bike.