Friday, October 21, 2011

Day Three Ride: Las Flores-Saddle Peak-Fernwood-Topanga

Halloween Road
Again today, I had only two hours ride time, and I wanted to get high up into the Santa Monica Mountains to Saddle Peak, where the arms of the SMM Crucifix meet.

I chose Las Flores Canyon Rd as the climb to get me there - 6.5km long, 8.3% average climb with 12 - 20% pitches. 

On the drive along Pacific Coast Highway to my starting point, I was reminded just how important Halloween yard decorations are, not only in suburban USA, but here in LA as well. I drove past something that I had always wanted to see ..... a lot full of thousands of bright orange pumpkins, ripe for carving into jack-o-lanterns. But I had to wait until the return leg of my my ride to get this photo. First I had to get myself up Las Flores.

Where to park .... ? All the other times I have only ever parked in proper car parks for fear of being towed, but this time I decided to minimise the part along PCH by finding a spot midway between Las Flores & the return down Topanga Canyon. Even then it would be a 4km ride along PCH.
Parked safely for two hours on PCH, and ready to set off.
Las Flores goes pretty much straight into climbing, but the steep section starts after about 500m, where the houses start to thin out. Right there I made the realisation why there is never any glass on the LA roads, or any rubbish of any kind for that matter. Not only is it against the law, it appears well policed and with a hefty fine of $500 for littering, that is probably good enough reason.
The reason why glass punctures are so rare in LA ?
 In the list below you can see why Las Flores is so well respected by the locals & visitors alike. With pitches in the corners up to 21% why wouldn't it be. But I am always well prepared ...... with 34 - 50 compact on the front and 11 - 28 on the back, who wouldn't be.
Notable Climbs, curtesy of La Grange Cycling Club
This map (click on the title to enlarge) shows where I am actually headed ...... the Santa Monica Crucifix is formed by Las Flores Canyon Rd - Piuma Rd - Stunt Rd - Topanga Canyon Rd, with Schueren Rd and Saddle Peak Rd making the junction between them. Tuna Creek Rd is a possible variation that I have not ridden yet. Maybe on my next trip I will give it a go ......
Map Enlargement
Yes, descending is tough. It is near impossible to stop when you drop into a corner that is 20%
On Schueren Rd, approaching Saddle Peak with Stunt Rd going off to the left just up ahead.
Schueren Rd left,  Stunt Rd Right, Saddle Peak Rd behind.
Bikers & riders alike love these roads. The sign says "Grooved Centerline", a reminder that to be safe you must stay on your side, descending or climbing ....... 
A view starting down Fernwood Rd .... and it gets even nicer.
Local traffic is minimal. Notice the timber side panels that are common on all size trucks. Lovely  new, smooth road surface too.
At the bottom of Fernwood Rd, where it joins Topanga Canyon Rd

Topanga Canyon Rd ..... turned out to be a safe descent, nowhere near as busy or as steep as I was expecting.
Back on PCH
Here are those pumpkins again .... the end of another wonderful ride in the santa Monica Mountains.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you meant there would be real crucifix like at Mt Macedon, and then I looked for a photo of it!