Monday, April 5, 2010

To Live and Train in L.A. #13

That, my friends, is Earl Street. If it doesn’t look that steep to you, if it looks like I have employed some fiendish photographic devilment in order to make you believe that the hills in my neighborhood kick the shit out of the hills in your neighborhood, you’re wrong: Earl Street is one steep motherfucker. The photograph actually makes the hill look considerably flatter than it does when you’re standing at the base of it. I’m guessing the grade is approaching 30%, and even though it’s not exactly the longest hill in the world, probably about a couple hundred meters at most, I don’t think many cyclists possess either the moxie or the lack of intelligence to try riding up it. I’m surprised people drive up this bitch, to tell you the truth. I walk up Earl Street on occasion with my dog, just to do a metal wrap-around of what it might be like to ride a bike up it but always, without exception, I conclude that I’ve got better things in life to do other than attempt to break my cranks and give myself a hernia just because, like all steep places are, Earl Street is there.

Okay. I’m going to admit something to you right now if you promise not to tell anybody (and seriously, if you tell, I’m going to be totally pissed): Last week, I did in fact give Earl Street a go on my road bike because work at my desk was going poorly and it struck me that my life would suddenly improve and acquire meaning were I to roll out the door and roll down the street and point my bike up Earl Street and reef on the cranks all the way to the top. I figured I would stand at the crest and lift my bike over my head and shout something on the order of “Are you not entertained?” Then I don’t what I expected would happen: a fancy person would emerge from one of the fancy houses at the top of Earl Street and present me with a bottle of 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape, a backstage access pass to his gorgeous, neglected, out-of-work-actress girlfriend, and a pair of season tickets to the Dodgers games, right behind home plate! Because climbing the big one is all about rewards, right? So there I was, on Glendale Boulevard, spinning happily, and I turned right on to Earl and rose from my saddle and began stamping my way toward my just reward in heaven.

You know what? I think I could have made it but I got a few yards past that black garbage can and something in me snapped, not physically but in my brain, and I effected a smooth dismount and shouldered my bike and walked back down the hill and took a picture.

Do you think I’m a pussy?

I sometimes do. I rolled away from Earl Street and went home and with a strange new angle went back to work:


  1. why the riding and clean air, of course. best of luck.

  2. Pussy Indeed. Ass pussy. You moved to San Fran, didn't you? That explains all the rectal carnage...

    Nah, man, that shit is what a triple and an 11-34 is made for!!! Doing that on normal gearing is asking for some hurt that won't go away and may require surgery.


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