There doesn’t have to be a fire to have our mountains scorched all summer here in Los Angeles. “June Gloom” didn’t come this year, not in June, nor in July and come August, the overbearing warmth cast from afar by our sun has certainly required our vegetation to abstain from hydrating.
It is however the desert. We’re just lucky enough to have the ocean to cool everything down each night. Yet, the lush green mountain tops we had all winter have certainly changed their hue. Yellow flowers made way to yellow plants and those intense purples and greens we had shifted to red, leaving our tracks and trails lined with red, yellow and green. Now if you look out across the landscape, it looks like everything has been anodized Rasta like some MTB skewers from the 90’s.
Speaking of the 90’s, we’ve been having a lot of that. 90º highs in a land where shade is possible, yet scarce means you’ve gotta stay hydrated, sun protected and whatever you do, don’t go into the mountains without either. Especially with a group of 20+ riders.
Our friends from OrNot Cycling wanted to visit their apparel manufacturer in San Luis Obispo so they figured they’d make it a road trip. SLO is just three hours from Los Angeles, with Santa Barbara in between. On the way down the coast, they stopped by Stinner Frameworks, because that’s what you do in SB and then came to LA to see Golden Saddle and the Cub House. The guys figured if they’re in town, might as well see some of the riding LA has to offer. In the past, when the Cub House hosts group rides, we’ve been lucky enough to have clouds and mist cover our mountains.
Not this time. We started around 9:30 (an hour after the supposed roll out time) and began climbing through the neighborhood to the Angeles Crest Highway. It’s a short pedal to the start of Mt. Lukens, the highest point in the City of Los Angeles – 5,066′.
We had aspirations of summiting, but instead, opted to take a piece of singletrack back down after climbing 4,000′.
People were on everything from my 27.5 x 2.2″ monster cross setup to straight up road bikes with 28mm tires. Just about everyone ran out of water on the descent. Needless to say, the 7 Eleven at the base of the mountain became a veritable oasis as we did our best to recover liquids and potassium. Once back at the shop, my camera died before I could document the devouring of pizza and beer.
My ride finished with 35 miles and 4,199′ elevation from the Cub House. Do this ride, just wait for it to cool down a bit.