LA Wheelmen Grand Tour Lite 200k

In early September, we moved to Los Angeles. (Kathy works 3 month positions as a nurse in hospitals, and we were previously in Puyallup and Olympia, WA this year). LA has been harder to find rides, oddly enough. Few randos, but I get the impression that race teams are popular, but not my thing.

I had emailed a few clubs and caught wind of this Grand Tour ride. There were 70, 100, and 125 mile options. I got up at 5:15am and rolled out half an hour later, 20 miles to the start in Malibu. They didn’t have maps (either online or at the start, though I had an idea of the route from past Strava data), but I was told that the 2 shorter versions stuck to the coast and had little climbing. What’s the point of riding with no climbing?! So I was left with a 200k, plus 40 miles to get there and home on the ends.

IMG_3541The whole weekend was an annoying mess of bike maintenance. I new I was long overdue for a chain, and when I swapped out the chain and cassette, it became clear that my little chainring wasn’t happy with this. I swapped bottom brackets and finally put on my little 30/46t crankset. Then on my way to the ride, the rear derailleur stopped springing back. I asked around and got some lube to coat the cable, and this solved that problem at least for the day. I should probably just put new housing and a cable in there soon…

The route starts with an amazing climb up Latigo Canyon. It’s got switchbacks, great views of the coast, mountains, & canyons, and it was still a reasonable temperature for a morning climb. I passed a few riders here, and also rode with a guy in full Rapha Sky kit from the UK, but was not on the team. I never quite found anyone my pace though, everyone was either a bit slower on the climbs, or hammering on the flats.

Latigo Canyon

Latigo Canyon

I missed the first rest stop, as another ride had a stop very nearby that I mistakenly stopped at and must have zoned out when the real stop came up. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to miss it though. There was a pack of people at the lunch stop another 20 or 30 miles later. I thought I’d roll out with them, but of about 8 people, 4 noticed flats from thorns in the grass as they were about to roll out. I didn’t have one though, and just left on my own, sure to get caught in no time by this Hot Wheels race team. Surprisingly, I made it about 20 miles before 3 guys caught me. I latched on for dear life for a few hours, but approaching the next stop I veered off because their fearless leader was hammering more than I could handle at that point, but it was fun while it lasted!


Most of the route after 60mi was fairly forgettable. Way too hot for me, and with lots of flat roads with headwinds. The last portion of the ride looks dead flat on the profile, but it was awful. What I thought should be an awesome 20mph TT down the Pacific Coast Highway was actually rollers. At 140+ miles for the day so far, I found myself climbing up slowly and coasting down the back, and then watching the next roller come up. To make it worse, there’s intermittent parking along the highway, with much of it forcing cyclists to ride in the lane. I had caught a few more people, but couldn’t stay with them because they just rode the door zone and I didn’t care to be a witness to the door prize.

Strava link: 161 miles, 7,900ft climbing

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