Friday, May 15, 2009

Sullivan Canyon/Backbone MTB Ride

One of our favorite local rides is out in the Santa Monica Mountains. They're really only hills, topping out at 3300ft, but they're taller and more rugged than anything Ohio's got, so I shouldn't complain. Besides, they're plenty burly for mountain biking and reasonably pretty.

The Santa Monica Mountains: very nice hills for mountain biking, kinda boring for hiking

The ride we did today is a 24 mile loop that climbs up to the ridge that follows the crest of the Santa Monicas. It's 80% singletrack, even on the climbs, and while it's got some mean switchbacks, frightening exposure (like every ride in SoCal), and baby-heads galore, it doesn't have any big drops. Overall it does almost 3000ft of climbing, some of it very steep, so it gets the ol' heart pumping well enough. It is a wonderful, challenging trail for a tough XCer. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the best parts because I was either out of the saddle panting up climbs or hanging on for dear life bombing down descents. I got a few on some of the crests, though:

Goofing around with the camera while rolling through an easy section

That sign tells bicyclists to dismount because there are some tight switchbacks and stairs coming up. Needless to say, we stayed on the bikes.

Training is coming along. My legs are dead all the time such that it's work to go up stairs, but I am getting noticeably faster on the bike. Got a race in Santa Barbara coming up in a couple weeks. I'll probably get creamed, but I'm just looking for experience and starting points for now.

Todd, my riding buddy and teammate (or the other half of USC's mtb team, I should say) is a badass. Many people beat me on the descents, but Todd is one of few who can kill me on the climbs as well. It's good to ride with him; struggling to keep up makes me a better rider. Sadly he'll be spending his summer in Reno doing a clinical session (he's a PT grad student) and Virginia's back east for the summer, so I don't have many offroad riding buddies for the summer. I can ride with roadies, but they're weird. I guess I'll be riding a lot with Bon Jovi this summer. It's still fun to be on the bike, no matter what.


  1. well the downhill part sounded fun....

    3000ft of gain on a mtb though? FTS.

  2. 3000ft isn't too bad, really. It's much easier to ride uphill on a mtb than to walk. Plus, we're XCers; if we want to ride down it, we have to ride up it first.