Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Today I pushed off for a ride sometime after 3 p.m., headed north for more hill climbing. I decided on the rode to tackle Kings Road, which has long stretches of a 14% grade. The homes up there are beautiful and mostly quite large, the views over the city literally worth millions of dollars. At the top, I rode generally east, along curving streets, and turned up Marmot Drive, which travels perhaps a third of a mile, some of the way well with well over a 20% grade! I dropped down to my lower gears and slowly ground out the elevation.

Then I continued to Crescent Heights Blvd. Few people realize that the street continues north of Sunset, as it appears to merge with Laurel Canyon Blvd. But it does continue, high up into the Santa Monicas. I've been on the street many times, now. The first time I used my lowest gears and zig-zagged up the very steep pavement. Now, despite my age, I can pedal straight up in my middle gears. On the way down, I biked up four shorts streets that took off from Crescent Heights.

By now, I had pedaled up about 2000 feet. I wanted more, so I headed east again, now on a short stretch of the hilly and residental portion of Hollywood Blvd. (crossing traffic-choked Laurel Canyon). There are some incredible hills just east of Laurel and north of Hollywood, with steep streets and beautiful homes.

I pushed up a steep hill, thinking it would be my last. At the top I decided to continue onto a dirt road - a rarity here as most streets have been paved and the hills are covered with homes. The dirt road ended a quarter of a mile later - it offered splendid views over the city. At the end of the road there was a little trail, overgrown with grass, the result of our very wet winter. I pushed the bike up the hill, then down the other side, and found the remains of another dirt road. Unfortunately, it ended at a fence. Fortunately, there was a space on one side of the fence, where it pushed up against the steep hillside. I was able to worm my way through the opening and then climb down, with my bike to the driveway of a home under construction. (The other end of the fence ended abruptly at a cliff.) I won't take that route again.

Then I retraced my way back to Hollywood Blvd, crossing Laurel, and making my way west, contouring around the hills. I made another couple of runs up some hills until I reached 2848 feet - I was so close to reaching 3000 feet, which would have been a nice feat. But I'm also rather tired tonight, so if I'm going to conquer Fargo Street 31 times, I need to build up more endurance.

I took Crescent Heights south, back to my home, where I'm recuperating and waiting to see who finishes where in the race for mayor of Los Angeles.

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