I've given up my hope to ride the Climb to Kaiser - I'm not in shape and I can't seem to get in shape, fast enough. Worse, my wife - she who must be obeyed - wants me to accompany her to a Sierra Club reunion, which is taking place in Yosemite, oh so close to the Climb to Kaiser!
Instead, I have a new plan - the Climb to Tioga. I'm going to ride from the little town of Lee Vining, near Mono Lake, up to Tioga Pass, and then our our Sierra Club group site, at Tuolumne Meadow. I'm not sure of the distance - maybe 30 miles? But I do know the ride starts about 4000 feet and goes up almost to 10,000 feet - then there's some gentle up and mostly down, to Tuolumne.
The last few days I've completed some good rides, keeping pace with last year (but I'm still down because I started training so late). It's been both very warm, and quite humid in Los Angeles that past several days. On Friday, tropical clouds moved in, and I pushed off on my bike as rain drops fell haltingly on the hot pavement. That day, I managed almost 37 miles and 5500 feet, climbing up a number of steep streets in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood Hills (all part of the Santa Monica mountains). My bike jersey felt like a warm, wet cloth on my torso - the humidity wouldn't allow the moisture to evaporate!
On Saturday, I managed 15 miles and more than 2000 feet, climbing up Doheny Dr. and Blue Jay way, both very steep streets.
On Sunday, forgoing another chance to ride with the La Grange group, I rode with the Los Angeles Wheelmen, meet thing group at Olympic and La Cienga - "the corner." I didn't decided to ride until less than ten minutes to 9 a.m., the start time, but because I live just a few blocks away, all I had to do was jump into my bikes clothes, pack some Clif bars (for breakfast) and sprint to the corner - I thought the Wheelmen would just poke along but there were three very fast riders, and I frankly couldn't stay with them whenever they took off. (I think that also helped me decide to forgo the Climb to Kaiser). So I got a good workout. The sun was shining and we rode generally west, through UCLA and down San Vicente Blvd., through Brentwood, to Pacific Palisades and then the ocean, before climbing up to Adalaide Street. I descended and climbed up the famed wooden steeps with my bike before the group headed for "the corner."
Then, in the late afternoon, wanting to match the distance and elevation I'd done the previous year, I went out for one more ride. It just about cooked me - I came home soaked with sweat, and I was exhausted, falling asleep on the couch without wanting to. So, good-bye Kaiser, hello Tioga.