And now... The Sullivan Canyon Bike Path Story
A few months ago, my wife was getting her hair cut and I was watching our baby. In the salon they had magazines, and one of them was Los Angeles's "Bike" issue. "Well," I thought, "as a person who lives in LA and rides a bike, this is perfect."
The magazine had suggested journeys for different skill levels. I eyed "Mandeville Fire Road" for "Intermediate" (because obviously I'm not "Beginner"). I asked the lady at the salon if I could rip it out of the magazine.
"Of course you can," she said. "Nobody ever asks."
Whenever I rip things out of magazines I feel compelled to follow up on them. So the Fire Road clipping stayed tacked in my office, taunting me, as I got a new job on the amazing show Last Resort (coming to ABC this fall!) with offices that are too far from my house to bike to.
On July 1, I decided to do it.
I didn't care that I hadn't been on a bike in two months. I didn't care that the trail was "Intermediate." I didn't care that it was 82 degrees. I didn't care that I forgot to bring water.
I immediately made a wrong turn. Instead of Mandeville Fire Road I got on Sullivan Fire Road. Sullivan Fire Road isn't paved. It's a road that the LA Fire Department uses when they need to drive to brush fires. But that's not so bad. What's bad are these tempting paths that branch off from the main road.
I mean, if you're biking on a gravel road, and a trail opens up that looks like it leads to the summit of a mountain, it's tough to stay on the road.
I should've stayed on the road.
Every time I got off it, the trail quickly became a BMX NES exercise. They had mounds of dirt to do tricks off of. I hadn't been on my bike on months, and I didn't have monster-truck tires (although I do have Kevlar tires -- KEVLAR), and I basically was falling down a mountain at 27.9 mph (my GPS says so) in fear of my life. At one point I flew of the bike like Superman. Somehow all I did was get a bug bite.
Here is how my time was allotted on the bike trip:
- bicylcing - 33%
- walking my bike up hills - 33%
- EEEEEEEEEE NOOOOOOOOOO - 34%
I planned on making a 10-mile trip. After five my heart started beating really fast and I had to lie down. I kept thinking about Quentin Tarantino's editor who died of heatstroke in a Hollywood canyon. Or about snapping my ankle and getting eaten by mountain lions. Or about falling into the canyon.
In the end, I lived, and I came out with photos of the trip and a GPS report (elevation loss, 1,418 ft?!). That's the thing about Los Angeles: you have all the comforts of a major metropolitan area, but minutes away is feral, natural death.