Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sea Level to See Level

It was Summer Solstice Day + 1, June 22nd. My wife, on her regular Tuesday hike up into the Santa Monica Mountains with her friends, was going to celebrate the summer solstice with a trip to the top of Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign, in Griffith Park. I decided to meet her there, on my bike rather than on foot.

This is Los Angeles, and I'm training for a hard ride next month, so I decided to make this a sea-to-summit adventure. At 4:40 p.m., I left my home and headed, not northeast, toward the sign, but southwest, through Culver City to the Ballona Creek bike path, and from there to the bridge spanning the creek at edge of the Pacific Ocean. I'd come about nine miles, much of into the wind, and it was 5:15 p.m. A quick stop, a sip of water, a photo of the main channel of Marina del Rey, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance, and now the wind filled the sail that was the back of my jersey.

Retracing my way, I stopped long enough at home to give the dog a quick walk. It was pushing 6:00 p.m. and there were ten miles to go to reach the top of the sign. I lost four minutes when I stopped on Melrose Blvd., to help a woman put the collar on her escaped chihuahua. The large woman, dressed somewhat incongruously in a red t-shirt and black bikini bottom, suddenly cursed and shouted, "I'm locked out of my apartment!"

While delay cost me my 7:00 p.m. finish atop Mt. Lee, I did catch Kathy and her group just below the summit, peering at a couple of city photographers who had rappelled down to the base of the 40 ft. tall letters of the Hollywood Sign. It was 7:04, and we spent a few minutes enjoying the views and munching snacks.

Kathy and I said goodbye as I began my long and fast coast, 1500 worth, down the mountain. The ride, coupled with the view down the mountain, is for me like a dream.

Where else can one cycle through life with a ride to the sea, followed with a climb to the top of a mountain less than a couple of hours later?

My ride was over before the sun had set, and my little dog was ready for another walk.

Notes: Camera - iPhone 3Gs; click on pics to see larger view

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