Monday, February 20, 2012

Exploring Yerba Buena Road, Santa Monica Mountains

On this LA trip I have set out to expand my riding into new areas that local riders might use for training.
I had a few clues from last time here, so I spent some time setting up new courses on Garmin Connect that I can upload onto my 800.

Now what a wonderful device is the 800. It is easy enough to follow an uploaded map. As long as you can actually get onto the course, because if you don't, it keeps wanting you to turn back to the start !

I have a North American sim for my 800. It gets shared with the car GPS I bring with me and it is an easy swap. Just don't let it ping out when changing over ...... it is spring loaded ....

So .... I wanted to ride Yerba Buena Rd. I knew it had steep sections and was maybe a bit rough, so I decided to attack it from the top and ride DOWN. So I did.

Little Sycamore, comes off Mulholland and leads to Yerba Buena.This sign indicating a name change was not even anywhere near a junction !
Name changes are confusingly common in the SMM, but with my trusty 800,
navigation is made lot easier. 

I had the map loaded into the 800, drove to the car park (day fee $12.00) on PCH, at the start of Mulholland. This LONG road is my favourite here. It is the only road that runs east-west in the Santa Monica Mountains, and many canyon roads lead into it directly, or link to it via another. 

Mulholland at the western end starts at PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), and is a nice steady climb that expands the wonderful views as you go. But I am not going to describe this part of the ride, or the loop I added on Encinal, that lead me to the top of Yerba Buena. I just want to mention The YB descent.

Here is the map of my ride that included the Yerba Buena descent.
Click HERE for the Garmin Connect detail.
It was a wonderful feeling looking back down onto Mulholland from where I had climbed.  From the very start of Little Sycamore (Yerba Buena) it was obvious this was a back road .... I only passed two cars.
Few trees in the SMM to block the never ending views. No shade in the summer either.
Looking up from the sign, to the top of YB on the ridge.
Looking down into Westlakes, from the YB ridge.
That's the start of another climb on my yet-to-do list.
This is the start of the descent ... looking good. Wondering about those surface cracks though ?
Oh yeah, there were three motorcyles on YB too.
Still wide enough, but a lot of those cracks are DEEP ..... better slow down.
Not my idea of the right surface to speed down.
On the brakes continuously is hard work, especially when some of the pitches are 12% !
It actually got harder and harder, it was past 4.00pm and getting darker in a lot of the corners.
Many cracks were like earth quake cracks .... deep enough to swallow my tyres, rim and all.
And getting COLDER ......
I got down safely and surprisingly enough I actually enjoyed this little road.
Next time though, I will ride it in REVERSE !
Safely back on PCH, where LA life is full of sun, surf and leisure.
Short ride back to the car park ..... better stay well right in the bike lane on though.
PCH is heaps scarier than a few deep road cracks.


  1. Replies
    1. Maybe April '12... to ride the Death Valley Century ?

  2. That looks too tough for me - I doubt I could tackle the up or the down - too scary !!