I had a big ride to do yesterday--6.5 hours of steady riding with lots of climbing to simulate the France course. Palomar is the one climb in the area that is long enough, but it's about a 2 hour ride to the base and getting people to commit to riding long this weekend was--to quote my friend Ben "like herding cats". I'm gonna blame the weird weather we've been having. On Wednesday there was real thunder and lightening accompanied by actual hail. This just does not happen in San Diego; it lasted all of 5 minutes, but people were traumatized. So, it didn't help my cause that the Saturday forecast was for thunderstorms.
So, I called my friend Holger (German through and through, as you might guess from his name) who has been leading an organized Saturday morning ride up in LA for at least as many years as I've been a triathlete. He assured me that this week's route was quite challenging, and I would not be disappointed. Let's just say that I wasn't.
Contrary to what you might expect, the riding in LA is fantastic. After a painfully short warm up along PCH, we began a painfully long climb up into the Santa Monica mountains along Las Flores. I promised Coach Canada that I wouldn't get carried away chasing the boys--no crazy heart rates early on, strong all day just like Ironman, don't blow up. . .you get the drift. Unfortunately, this climb was so steep that for most of the first hour, I found it physically impossible to keep my HR below 175 and not tip over. Here's a view from the top, which does not do justice to the pain it required to get there.
I would have snapped a pic of the helicopter one of the guys noticed flying around below us, but couldn't manage to stay upright without both hands on the bars.
Anyway, we capped off the rest of the day with another 5.5 hours of good climbs, twisty descents, minimal traffic. When I finally made it back to the car, my legs were baked! I had just enough left for a 30' T run along the boardwalk with views of the beach, rollerbladers, and street performers to keep me entertained.