Tag: G10

Chantry Flats Climb

When I was in high school I used to go to Chantry Flats to hike and backpack. My Pops and Aunt introduced me to this area and I enjoyed it for many years. Back then I would always imagine riding my bike up the narrow windy road pretending to be a climber in the Tour de France. I always thought that was crazy though, that I would never be able to do that. Well, I was wrong.

When I read that the group would be heading up to Chantry Flats as their destination I knew I had to try. We met up early in the morning at the base of Sierra Madre Blvd.

We rode straight up Sierra Madre Blvd to the little town of the same name. The town was featured in the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” From here it wasn’t too far to the base of the climb.

The climb started out pretty good, with everyone riding together. After a couple turns though everyone spread out riding at their own pace. The gearing of the Casseroll is different from the LHT and Fargo, and it would’ve been nice to have more options in the rear. Whatever the gearing though, it just came down to keeping my head down and pedalin’. Up and up and up. I hadn’t been on this road for years, so I didn’t remember how long it was. Gary told me the climb was 3.2 miles, but I screwed up and looked at my average speed instead of my odometer at the bottom. Whoops. So I had no idea how far I had left at any part of the climb. Didn’t matter, I knew I’d get to the top eventually. Which I did. And I made it up there fast, second in our group, which was huge for me, being my first time on this climb.

At the top!

We hung around for a couple minutes at the top, and then began the descent. What a fun descent! I think my motorcycle riding helped me to get around the corners pretty fast. Well, fast enough I guess. I didn’t want to push it. I pulled off towards the bottom to managed to get a shot of Ken and Gary descending.

And of course, the trusty Casseroll.

Here’s the stats!

Chantry Flats Climb

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Sunland Loop

This has been a busy week, and so I’ve been laggin’ on posting this report. Last week Bruce and I rode on Saturday and did the Sunland loop. I had ridden part of this loop before, but he took me on a longer version this time. The loop is alot of fun, and the best part is that along the way there is a mountain bike area. I think the next time I’ll ride the Fargo and explore that area.

I wasn’t pedalin’ for long before I had to stop for a picture.

Bruce and I met up on Chevy Chase and then started the climb up to Foothill. Foothill was getting repaved and was pretty nasty for about a 1/2 mile or so. We stopped at a farmers market for some fresh croissants and then rode to a Starbucks, where we ate and topped off our water.

We rode over to La Tuna Canyon and began the downhill. This was my favorite part of the ride. At the bottom I was able to play with the camera a little.


The ride was about only 40 miles, with a quick stop at Gary’s for a back adjustment. After that Bruce headed home through Griffith Park and I headed home through Highland Park. Here’s the stats.

Sunland Loop

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Yosemite for New Years

This year we had planned to spend New Years out in Joshua Tree. We had both been looking forward to it for the entire month and this was to be our first time away from home for the holiday. Over christmas though we go some intel from my Aunt that Yosemite had snow on the valley floor. So we decided to head north instead, in search of snow and adventure.

We got to Yosemite on the 30th and were lucky to find clear skies. Some clouds, but no rain. There was snow everywhere, but the roads were clear so driving was no problem. We had chains in the truck just in case, but we didn’t need them.

Serbrina had no memories of ever experiencing snow, so I was really excited for her to get there and play in it. She was very excited to touch it for the first time, as an adult at least.

Unfortunately for me she figured out what to do pretty quick!

After two failed attempts to get to Bridalveil Falls, we made it this time. There was finally enough parking spots for us. The water was even higher than when we were there in November.

Looking back on where I’ve been.

It was a great trip and we were lucky to have great lighting for some picture taking.

If you want to see the photos larger you can find them here on my smugmug.


Sunday Casseroll Ride

Up early Sunday morning for the group ride. The temp outside is 39 degrees and I’m wondering why I’m doing this. I guess I wasn’t the only one, as only one other rider, Ken, was able to ride. I go inside Starbucks and try to warm up with some tea.

After a brief chat about bikes and such, we take off. Ken suggests doing his Sunland route, which sounds good to me. It sounds like a great loop with a little climbing mixed in. The first part of the route takes us up the Arroyo towards the Rose Bowl. I’m still wearing my full layers at this point. Wool long-sleeve base layer, wool jersey, arm warmers and a jacket. By the time we pass the Rose Bowl I’m overheating and it’s time to shed the jacket. This was a bad call. It wasn’t long before we climb Chevy Chase and begin a 2 mile or so descent. Oh well, now I know.

By the time we get to the bottom my feet are freezing. This was the first time I’ve ever felt that. I managed to get a shot of Ken on his Rambouillet towards the bottom of the hill. This was my view of Ken all day. Not always this close either.

So we finish our loop and get back to South Pasadena. We split up and go our separate ways. As I’m riding home I realize that I’m feeling pretty good, and not ready to head home after all. So I decide to ride out to Arcadia again. Almost the same route as my Saturday ride. Once I get to Arcadia I head south and catch the Rio Hondo Bike Path.

This section of the bike path goes right alongside the runway for El Monte Airport. There’s even a viewing area halfway down the runway.

I took some flying lessons here earlier in the year, so I sat and watched some planes taking off and landing. It’s fun to watch them and think of all the things they are doing in those tense moments. But it made me want to start my lessons again. Better not stay here too long!

Taking Off
Taking Off

Time to get outta here. I need to get home.

By the time I got home I’d logged 55 miles. Here’s the route and the stats.

Alhambra to Arcadia-The Long Way

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The bike and gear are ready for next weekends Brevet, but I’m not so sure that I am. I think I pulled a muscle somewhere in the later part of the ride, and it was bugging me all the next day. I’m not sure if it’s worth pushing it and riding. This week I’ll see how I feel and decide as the ride gets closer.


Saturday Ride

With my first Brevet coming up next week I needed to get out and pedal. I’m still setting up the Casseroll, making adjustments here and there. I’m also refining my gear and fuel intake for longer rides. One of my Christmas gifts was a pair of Ibex Wool Bib shorts. I was anxious try them out and make sure that there were no fit issues. The Brevet will have me riding before sun-up and after sun-down, so I also will need to shed and apply layers as needed. I haven’t installed a bike computer yet, so I mounted my Garmin 60CSx to the stem. The mount is from RAM Mounts. It’s a base that can accept different cradles. So it’s easy to switch to the iPhone if you want. There are some pretty cool iPhone apps for bikes out there. This one is particularly interesting.

So off I go. Just have enough time today for an hour ride. I’ve started carrying the G10 across my shoulder. I have the strap adjusted so that it fits perfectly in one of my jersey pockets. I don’t feel it back there, and I can get the camera out faster. You know, for shots like this!

I only get about 3 miles away when I get a phone call from my wife. She’s going to be at work a little longer, so I get an extra half hour before I need to turn around. So I decide to ride out towards Arcadia. I need to get some Hammer Gel and Helen’s carries it.

Yep, I got a huge bottle of Banana flavored gel and a flask. The Acorn bag holds everything, although the front feels noticeably heavier. They let me top off my water and I’m outta there.

I decided to head up the foothills towards Chantry Flats. Chantry is a climb that I’ve always wanted to do, but never attempted. I think I could do it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have time today. The road up to the base of the climb is actually the steepest part. I made it to the base of the road and look at the time. Damn. 1:59pm, and I have to turn around at 2pm. Oh well, I’ll have to save the climb for another day.

Looking up the road to Chantry Flats.

This tree was kinda creepy.

So I start the descent to Sierra Madre Blvd, and then climb up to the little village of Sierra Made and then to home. Took a couple more shots along the way. They have some cool signs on the roads up there.

This is where the Rose Parade floats will end on 1st of January. The floats will be put on display for people to come see them up close.

And here are the workers getting the bleachers ready for the Rose Parade. Only a few days left now.

The rest of the ride home is pretty uneventful. I need to make time so no more stops for pics. I couldn’t have timed it better. My wife and I got to our street at the same time. What great planning!

Here’s route and the elevation gain. Check in tomorrow for the Sunday ride.

Saturday Ride

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Salsa Casseroll

I’ve started riding with a small group of riders occasionally. These guys are all faster than me and I have to work hard to keep up. They mostly ride fast road bikes, with Carbon and other modern technologies. The first time I rode with them was on the New Moon Metric Century. I rode the LHT on that ride and it became very apparent that the LHT is not the best bike for that type of ride. The LHT is perfect for covering the distance, but it is heavy. I had always held on to that as a “Badge of Honor”, but I left that ride thinking one thing, I need a lighter steel bike.

So for the Solvang Metric Century I rented a Salsa Casseroll from Topanga Creek Bicycles. My LHT in commuter form weighs in at 45lbs. That is including a change of clothes, tools, water etc. The Casseroll is only 25lbs. A noticeable difference. On the Solvang ride I felt like I was flying. The bike felt so light that it was like I was cheating. It comes stock with a triple, fenders and braze-ons for a rear rack. So it’s still keeping with my theme. The only problem I had with the rental bike was a weird feeling while using the drops. I felt cramped and it handled like there was too much weight on the front.

After the Solvang ride I decided that I wanted to keep this rental. The shop did a formal fitting and determined my size. The Casserolls have a sloping top tube, so the sizing is a little different than the LHT. It turned out that the rental bike was one size too small. The shop had a Salsa Podio in my size, so they let me try that bike out for the weekend. The Podio is a scandium frame with Carbon fork. It was superlight, but I was looking for a Century bike and by Salsa’s own description, the Podio was not for me. Not to mention it was more expensive. I would’ve been very interested in the La Raza, but that bike appears to be discontinued.

So I decided on the Casseroll. Unfortunately, the Casseroll Triple was out of stock in my size, so the shop ordered a Casseroll Single, which is a different color than the triple. They changed over the parts from one to the other and now I’ve got a special Casseroll Triple. At first I wasn’t sure about the color, but it works perfectly with the Fargo. They are both weird colors, and that is fine with me.

I’ve set this bike up for some Brevets and Centuries that I hope to ride this year. Brevets require lights, so I will move my Dinottes over as needed. I’ve also added 2 Acorn Bags. The rear is the Acorn Roll Bag, and the front is the Acorn Handlebar Bag. These two bags should allow me to carry everything I need for long rides. The front bag can hold my Gorillapod, a Showers Pass jacket, cell phone, multi-tool, extra fuel and still has lots of room. The Roll Bag has a tube, patch kit, levers, pump/compressed air and the cartridges.

So far I’m very happy with the bike. I’ve only got about 100 miles on it, but it’s very comfortable. I moved the B-17 from the LHT to the Casseroll, so that helps. One thing that I miss are braze-ons for the front fork. Since I plan to use this bike for Brevets, lighting will be necessary. I would like to have a dynamo lighting system, but there are no braze-ons for a light mount. Luckily Peter White has some solutions for this.

Here are a couple pics. More to come soon.


When just a little is too much,

When I was servicing the LHT last weekend, I made some adjustments to the front derailleur. There was some rubbing when I was on the big chainring and the smallest rear cog. No problem, I’ll just adjust it slightly. Sounds easy enough.

So I push off from home and straight into a headwind. Hmmm. Maybe I should’ve drove in? This isn’t very fun. The downhills were like flats, the flats like hills, and the hills, just miserable. After only a mile of this miserable headwind I crest a hill and shift into the big ring for the descent, and hopefully some relief.

Whoops. I guess it was a little too much. I really should’ve drove in today. When does that bike school start up again?



While up in Mariposa we were lucky enough to have a huge bonfire. When they do their yard maintenance it doesn’t go into a trash can like us city folk. Nope, they just burn it. So after our dinner we all went outside and enjoyed the huge fire.

I had my tripod so I tried some long exposure shots. My friend Doug has been teaching me how and when to use the flash. I wish I would’ve known some of the techniques then. I’ll just try again next time. Here are some of the ones that I like.

My Aunt, nephew and her new dog.

Me and my lady.


Rain and The City

Yesterday was a new adventure for me. A commute in the rain!

This has been a long time in the making. Last year, when I bought my Long Haul Trucker, it was to be my rainy day bike. I was commuting via bike/train with my Soma Rush. I didn’t want to ride that bike in the rain, so I knew a bike with fenders was the only way to go. At the time, I didn’t plan on the LHT being my main ride. Things change though and I found myself riding the LHT more frequently, and on longer and longer rides. I don’t even take the train at all anymore, instead I just pedal all the way there and back.

But most of the time our weather here in socal is sunny. Sometimes hot, sometimes cold, but rarely wet. So even though I try to pedal most of the week, I still hadn’t encountered any rain. Granted, there have been days when it was just easier to take the truck to work, but that’s just laziness. Usually not weather related.

This week was different though. I knew it was going to happen. We had rain forecasted all week. I knew I could muster enough energy for at least 2 commutes this week. Right?

Monday brought the first storm. I had to drive that day. Multiple appts after work meant no bike. Nuts. So close. Tuesday the air was crisp and DRY! I rode anyways. Temps were the lowest that I had ever ridden in. 35 degrees at the start of my commute. If that’s not a good reason to drive, then I don’t know what is. Instead though, I pedaled.

Wednesday and Thursday were the same. Cold, but dry. Thursday warmed up to the 50s and I was surprised at how warm that was. It was almost no jacket weather!

Friday morning was a different story though. I woke up to the sound of rain. Could this be the day? Will it stay for the commute in? Yes, and sort of. I got all bundled up in my gear, put the rain cover on the Brooks and prepared myself. My wife was nervous so I threw on some reflector ankle bands. LA drivers aren’t used to rain so she wanted me to be extra cautious.

As I left the driveway there was only a slight drizzle. Enough to remind me that I should’ve treated my glasses with some Rain-X. It felt good to be riding. Just knowing that I could have driven, but chose not to. I had waited a long time for this. In reality, there was nothing to it. I guess I thought it would have been tougher to do, but not really. There was more focus involved with avoiding paint stripes on the street, and there were more accidents on the commute in, but those only made me more aware on what was going on around me.

The rides in and back were pretty uneventful. Drier than I had hoped, but still wet. I was glad though. It just assured me that there is no reason not to ride. In the heat, the cold and the rain. I just need to do it, and more importantly I can do it.

I stopped to take some pics of the bike in DTLA. The rain had cleaned the city and left a sparkle on some of the buildings.

Los Angeles City Hall with Lindbergh Beacon.

The Long Haul Trucker in front of the LA Times building.

An added benefit to riding in the varying temps this week, was that it helped me sort out some gear. Now I know what to wear in varying temps and conditions. Just need to put it on and get on the bike. No time wasted. Just get out and pedal!