Sunday, August 23, 2009


Since earlier this year, I have been climbing this hill every so often on my bicycle. It’s a chore. But the other side is steeper. Yesterday, for the first time, I clambered up the other side instead and came down this side. I’d never had the pleasure of seeing it from this angle.

Today I did it again.

(The hill is Hawthorne Blvd. on Palos Verdes Peninsula.)

I won’t pretend to look anywhere near as cool as this guy (note shaved legs), but this gives you some sense of the uphillness of it all.

Once you get down to the bottom, there’s a mighty scenic road all along the south rim of the peninsula. Birds, bluffs, boats: You name it, you can watch it.

I rode 70 miles yesterday, with 2,200 feet of climbing in it. Today I rode 50 miles, with 3,300 feet of climbing. A lot of times I ride right past all this scenery, too much in a hurry to stop and take a picture. I do enjoy it. Today was I stopping because I decided finally to capture these vistas while the light was perfect? Sure, that’s it. I wasn’t taking pictures just to give my legs a rest after some long hauls in the saddle. No, sir.

Hey, those look kinda interesting! Let’s go see them.

This is how far away they are.

(At home, which is on the far side of that ridge, I can see them from my balcony. That’s from more than 10 miles away. This is maybe five miles away, probably a bit less. Where I’m standing is more than 1,000 feet below the radomes.)

This section of Palos Verdes Peninsula is slowly, inexorably, sliding into the sea, even as the bulk of the peninsula shoves itself further inland. The big scar marks a major shear line, but the soil above there is eventually going to slide downhill too.

Normally I see these signs on my way downhill. This was the second time I had taken the back way up. Some climbing is involved.

Ah. So that’s what a radome looks like.

This one has an intriguing tesselation. The other one is a more recognizable geodesic sphere. But yes, now I’m close enough to see the rivets.

1,447 feet above sea level. This was the high point of the ride. The other climb was steeper but didn’t come so high.

From here, on a clear day, you can see the famous Hollywood sign in Griffith Park. No such luck today. It was also too hazy to see Catalina from most points onshore today, though when I got this high I did see the backbone of the island sticking up above the mists.

Angel’s Gate light marks the entrance to Los Angeles harbor.

As I came back down Palos Verdes Drive East, the light and clouds had shifted. Fog was starting to blow in.

As I climbed back up and over Hawthorne Hill, the setting sun splashed everything in gold.

If you’re paying attention, you can see the radomes in this picture too.

That was three decent climbs in one afternoon, after a longish ride yesterday, and I was content with what I’d done. If the light had lasted, I was ready to take on one more biggish hill, an old familiar, but with the sun dropping I decided to make the best of it and call it a day.

I’m building toward riding 100 miles in a day with 6,500 feet of climbing, and this was a good step in that direction, but I don’t want to peak too early either. No point being all primed to do the big ride three weeks before it happens and then watching your fitness drop before the event itself.


CaliforniaGirl said...

It looks like you are ready, if it is a two day event.

Papa Bradstein said...

Nicely done, sir. A rule of thumb I was given is that you're good for a one-day ride of twice the distance of your longest training ride. Don't know how elevation figures in there. Me, I like to know that I'm ready, so I aim for a training ride of about 80% of my event distance, over similar terrain. Seems like you're there. Don't know how the elevation figures in there, however. I'm sure you'll figure that out.

CaliforniaGirl said...

I hope that cool looking guy looks just as cool in the ER after he crashes without his helmet on.