Biking Mulholland Drive

Sunday, August 14, 2005, at 06:39PM

By Eric Richardson

Biking Mulholland Drive I took a bike ride today, and I think I about died at five or six different points. Every once in a while it's good to take a ride that absolutely just knocks you down a peg, just to keep an honest opinion of your riding abilities. This ride was one of those for me.

Basically Kathy's back in Michigan until the 26th. Normally I ride to church with her, but this week I was on my own to figure out how to get myself there. The problem: I go to Bel Air Presbyterian, which just happens to be on the entire other side of town, and on top of a mountain. It's not too far away, though, so I figured I could probably make it on the bike.

Since seems dead today and I couldn't look up elevation data, some part of my brain convinced the rest of me to ignore logic and think that riding the ridge of the mountains -- ie Mulholland Dr. -- would be a good way to get there. So I left my apartment at 4pm, hopped on the Red Line, got off at Hollywood/Vine at about 4:25, and headed up Cahuenga.

I thought I was done by mile 2. It's a mile and a half of work to get up Cahuenga to Mulholland, and then the real ride starts. It's another 1.7 miles of straight climbing before you get any kind of a downhill. It looks like the climb is about 700 - 800 feet.

Just before I made the crest (at Runyon Canyon Park), an elderly lady walking on the other side of the road yelled at me, "Keep going! You can make it!" I think I probably looked like I needed all the encouragement I could get.

By this point it was a few minutes after 5pm and I thought there was no way I was going to make a 6pm service. The ride sped up dramatically after Runyon, though, and despite having to fight through several more decent climbs I actually made it there right on top. By the time I washed up and sat down it was 6:05pm, well before most of that crowd usually shows up (that's LA for you).

Here you can see a rough GMap Pedometer outline of my way there.

After the service I decided to head down to the valley and ride Ventura back over to Universal to catch the subway there. I took Mulholland back over to Skirball, and then took that down to Sepulveda. Then Sepulveda took me all the way down the hill and to Ventura. From there it's pretty much a straight shot to Universal. Of course my route had a break in the middle, since I took a little pit-stop to get dinner at the Panera Bread on the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon. A chicken caesar salad later I was back on the bike, with lights on this time.

Here's a GMap Pedometer route showing church to Universal. I made a flickr set with the pictures I took, but don't get too excited since it's only 8 shots.

Is this something I'm going to do every week? Absolutely not. Is it something I'm glad to now say I've done? Yes.