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Old 07-13-08, 06:35 PM   #1
SUBYDELIGHT
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Total Ownage

This morning i rode out from el segundo and up the coast into Malibu, and I tried to get a little froggy up Las Virgenes and could not handle it!!!!! I have gone up this road a hundred times but in my car, I never noticed how inclined the first few miles are! My legs started getting real hot and my heart rate was pretty high, and seeing how i had to make it back i opted to turn around. Anyone go up any of the roads in the area?
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Old 07-13-08, 06:48 PM   #2
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There's this hill up the way from me. It's a 2 mile 6% grade climb. One day I hope to make it up the climb without walking!
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Old 07-13-08, 08:28 PM   #3
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that is tough! by any chance does anyone know how to find out the grade of this road or any road for that matter?
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Old 07-13-08, 09:35 PM   #4
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that is tough! by any chance does anyone know how to find out the grade of this road or any road for that matter?
http://www.bookrags.com/research/gra...ghway-mmat-02/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_(slope)

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bicycles-fa...ection-39.html
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Old 07-15-08, 01:27 PM   #5
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Ahh, Las Flores. Know it well. I live a few clicks from those hills and for the past 9 months or so have made climbing them a regular part of my riding experience. Much, much different from the flat routes I had been riding for years. It took me close to two months of conditioning before I could attempt something as steep as Las Flores. For some reason, I chose one perhaps the steepest of them all to attempt, Tuna Canyon (a sister canyon route alongside Las Flores close to where I live), which is actually a one way route heading down, and technically illegal to drive up, but hey, I'm on a bike, few cars ever use it, it's hard for me to avoid such a nearby challenge...

On a road bike using a 30 front gear and 26 on the rear, it's just barely enough to be able to ride up with tremendous effort. The goal was to ride up without stopping, no matter how slow I'd be pedaling, or how much it hurt. Inititially, I could go maybe halfway up the first major pitch up 2 miles into the ride. I did that for a few weeks, then began going further and further. Eventually, I was able to huff up the entire route. In fact, the first time I did I continued going all the way up to one of the highest elevations in the Santa Monicas - Saddle Peak. That's over 2400 feet of very steep climbing. It was a major accomplishment for this once dedicated flat rider.

So after going up Tuna a few times, then going up Mt Wilson, I began ticking off the list some of the more common climbing routes in the Santa Monicas, including Las Flores. I found Las Flores to be just slightly less on the intensity scale compared with Tuna Canyon. If Tuna is the worst, Las Flores is about 90% as intense. When not going up these routes, my daily workout routes include some of the less intense climbs near me - Topanga Canyon, Old Topanga Canyon, Stunt road.

I tell you all this because after all these months of conditioning, I was recently humbled by Las Flores. While climbing one beautiful day (after plenty of rest the night before, plus a good breakfast), I could only go up halfway, and had to pull over and stop. It was the first time I've had to do that on a climb. I wasn't even pedaling hard. I was just doing my usual standing hard grind. It hurts, sure, but because I've been through it many times before, I know it won't last beyond 2 miles, so it's just something you fight through. But this time my legs, heart and head were screaming at me to STOP! So I pulled over, breathing heavily with my head resting on my arms draped over the handlebars.

Then after resting (my mental excuse was that I needed to take some pictures of the views), I was shocked to find that I couldn't continue riding up the hill. I ended up walking the remaining mile of that steepest section. It was quite a blow to my head actually. It took me quite a while to get over that feeling of having "failed." More than likely, because I had been climbing regularly on lesser grades on the days before that Las Flores attempt, I was probably already fatigued even before beginning the climb. I basically learned the hard way about the importance of rest and recovery. I've since proved that by going on hard climbs after at least a day of rest and climbing with ease.

To answer your question about the steepness of Las Flores, the average grade is 9%, with the steepest sections over 20%. The middle two miles are the worst, probably averaging between 15 to 20%. Here's a chart which lists many of the climbs in that area.

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Old 07-15-08, 02:33 PM   #6
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My Las Flores story: My first attempt was in 1977 and I'd just moved out to Santa Monica from Missouri. I knew I could climb any climb MO threw at me, so was all cocky about climbing Las Flores.

I went up in my usual (for MO) sprint up the hill style. I was still in my 20's then, and not too smart I guess, so as long as Las Flores kept going up, I kept hammering away . . .

Until this dark tunnel started to appear at the edges of my field of vision, . . . and then it kind of closed into a small light spot before it went totally black and I hit the ground.

Some friends were coming up the canyon behind me, so they stopped and waited until I came around. Kind of scary really, and it gave me a new respect for canyons in CA!

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Old 07-15-08, 05:36 PM   #7
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My Las Flores story: My first attempt was in 1977 and I'd just moved out to Santa Monica from Missouri. I knew I could climb any climb MO threw at me, so was all cocky about climbing Las Flores.

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Let's see, that was 1977, which means you may have been breathing A. 70's LA smog, B. second hand pot smoke from countless musicians practicing in the canyon below.
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Old 07-15-08, 05:40 PM   #8
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Let's see, that was 1977, which means you may have been breathing A. 70's LA smog, B. second hand pot smoke from countless musicians practicing in the canyon below.
I borrowed a pair of gloves from Rick on one of the last GMR rides we did together. I thought they smelt kinds funny!
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Old 07-15-08, 09:53 PM   #9
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These are some good Santa Monica mountain stories. I plan to go back and survive Las Flores then up Schuren, down Stunt around Mullholand and cruise to the PCH down kanan dune. This is my goal. What is the general consensus on taking breaks while riding hard? Is it bad to stop then keep going while on a hard ride?
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Old 07-16-08, 01:07 AM   #10
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These are some good Santa Monica mountain stories. I plan to go back and survive Las Flores then up Schuren, down Stunt around Mullholand and cruise to the PCH down kanan dune. This is my goal. What is the general consensus on taking breaks while riding hard? Is it bad to stop then keep going while on a hard ride?
The worst will definitely be Las Flores, and then only that middle 2 mile stretch. The rest is very doable. I've yet to ascend Mulholland up to Kanan, but the elevation at that point is around 1780 feet, which isn't too bad, with the most intense bit of climbing to there on Mulholland at less than 1000 feet. Nothing like the first slog up Las Flores. Unless you're pressed for time, a rest atop Saddle Peak before flying down Stunt and continuing on is a good idea.

What gears do you have? I currently have 34 front with a rear 30. I chose the 30 sprocket specifically for climbs like Las Flores. No way would I be able to do it with anything higher in ratio. If I wanted to make my tough climbs easier, I could change over to a long cage derailleur and get a honking 34 rear sprocket. Believe me, I've thought about it many a time while huffing up those hills.

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Old 07-16-08, 07:45 AM   #11
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Let's see, that was 1977, which means you may have been breathing A. 70's LA smog, B. second hand pot smoke from countless musicians practicing in the canyon below.
True, but still, I was in my 20's then so that should make up for some of the smog and 2nd hand pot

Now that I'm in my late 50's I should try it again (yeah, using my 30 x 27 gears!).

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Old 07-16-08, 08:11 AM   #12
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with all the great roads in the SM mountains, why ride Las Virgenes and Kanan, the two main car routes through? Instead of Kanan, it's a lot nicer either to turn off and take Latigo if you want a south/east route to PCH or Mulholland-Encinal for a more north/west route?

Las Flores is definitely a tough one - I think Deer Creek is tougher, though not as long.
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Old 07-16-08, 11:53 AM   #13
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True, but still, I was in my 20's then so that should make up for some of the smog and 2nd hand pot

Now that I'm in my late 50's I should try it again (yeah, using my 30 x 27 gears!).

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If you've still got kick in the ticker, go for it! And let me know if you will be doing so anytime soon. I'll join for the mashing. It won't be pretty at times, but it's all about completion. Next time I do try LF, I'll give my legs a good rest two days prior. The first time I went up, I found it rather effortless in that I could sit and pedal for stretches during the worst part. It was fun! The last time when I was laid to waste really took me by surprise. It's never fun having to walk your bike up a hill. Here's the funny part - walking up that grade while rolling a 19lb bike was still a serious effort!
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Old 07-16-08, 11:58 AM   #14
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with all the great roads in the SM mountains, why ride Las Virgenes and Kanan, the two main car routes through? Instead of Kanan, it's a lot nicer either to turn off and take Latigo if you want a south/east route to PCH or Mulholland-Encinal for a more north/west route?

Las Flores is definitely a tough one - I think Deer Creek is tougher, though not as long.
Main diff between Latigo and those other two are that Latigo is a bit more technical, where you have to use your brakes a lot, while the others are more of a straight shot. I've yet to go down Kanan, but I have heard it ranks high on the wheeee scale.
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Old 07-16-08, 12:09 PM   #15
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Avoid Kanan unless you like freeways. The canyons to climb are Latigo, Encinal, Yerba Buena, and Mulholland. Las Flores, Decker, Tuna and Deer Creek are to steep for newbies to enjoy.Of the quieter ones, Encinal is the easiest.

Oh, yeah, I strained a knee on Las Flores once. Another guy fell over right in front of me. I wobbled past him, and he got up and caught up to me.

.

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Old 07-16-08, 02:24 PM   #16
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Wow, I've yet to climb Las Flores. I've come down it a few times and my forearms were killing me from braking so long.....

People say Encinal is the easiest, but I though Mulholland was easier (PCH to Decker). KLeep in mind all I have is a tri bike, makes climbing a little more "interesting"

Climbs I've done
Yerba Buena
Mulholland
Latigo
Topanga/Old Topanga
Encinal
Stunt
Latigo
Las Virgenes
Piuma

Climbs I need to do someday
Fernwood
Las Flores
Tuna ??????
Decker
Scheuren
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