Monday, May 18, 2009

Rough Riding the Santa Monica Mountains, May 17, 2009

Above (L-R): Ken, Gary, Matt, Chris, Jennifer

Five illustrious Rough Riders turned out for a 40-mile excursion in the Santa Monica Mountains on May 17, 2009, including Matt "Desert Locust" Ruscigno on a Bianchi 'cross bike, Ken Kistinger on a suspension-less Cannondale Killer V, Gary on a Bianchi single-speed 'cross bike, Chris Kostman on a 1984 Holdsworth road bike with 32mm 'cross tyres, and Jennifer Klausner on a suspended mountain bike. Jenn is the head of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, an organization primarily associated with promoting cycling on streets for commuting and such. But as a Santa Monica native and local resident who has been cycling in all manner of styles for many, many years, she impressed all of us with her knowledge of names and geography of the trails.

The route was 40 miles with 4850' of elevation gain, though 4500' of the elevation gain was in the first 25 miles. Here are the essentials of the route for those who are curious:

• Start: 26th and San Vicente, 90049
• Take streets - Mandeville Canyon, Chalon, etc - to enter the bottom of Sullivan Canyon
• Ascend Sullivan Canyon (AKA Farmers Fire Road on maps) to Sullivan Ridge
• Ascend Sullivan Ridge to Dirt Mulholland (AKA Mulholland Drive on maps)
• West on Dirt Mulholland
• Temescal Fire Road south to "The Hub"
• Topanga Fire Road to Trippett Ranch (state park parking lot area) - water stop
• Streets down to Topanga Canyon Blvd, then south briefly on Topanga Canyon Blvd
• Right on Topanga School Rd to end and through the cul-de-sac / front of the school.
• Enter the south end of Henry Ridge Motorway (dirt road, gravel road, paved road)
• Left / West on Summit to Summit Motorway
• Cross the summit of Old Topanga Road (go up drive and follow "Trail" signs)
• Continue south on Calabasas Peak Motorway (a dirt road)
Option 1: Continue straight / right and drop onto Stunt Road, then take Stunt to Saddle Peak and beyond.
Option 2 (What we did because it was nearly 100 degrees out and we were almost out of water): Go left at the fork onto Red Rock Road
• Turn right on Old Topanga Canyon Road
• Turn Right on Topanga Canyon Blvd
• Turn left on PCH back to Brentwood

All of these trails and roads can be found in the Thomas Bros. Guide for Los Angeles on pages 591, 590, and 589 (in that order).
Above: Jennifer at "The Hub"Above: Matt (L) and Chris on Calabasas Peak Mtwy
with Stunt Road and Saddle Peak in the background.


Mary Elizabeth (MErider) said...

Nice report and good job, buys! I love those mountains and that trail.

cyclotourist said...

Did Ken tell you he rode a 35 miler mixed-terrain on Sat, plus another 10 miles to/from the start???

That's him in the Rivendell jersey!Y'all are great!!!

ny said...

Thanks for posting this ride. For a while I've tried to find a way to attach Mandeville to Mullholland - on my road bike that is. Looks like I'll have to get some knobby tires and try this out - I can't wait!

Chris Kostman said...

Hi Niki:

Actually, there are two other ways to connect Mandeville to Mulholland, both most of the ways up Mandeville, almost to the top:

On the right is Hollyhock trail which climbs to Canyonback Trail. When you hit that T at the top, right connects to the top of Mountaingate; you can ride down Mountaingate, then resume the southern end of Canyonback to drop back down to Kenter / Bundy in Brentwood. Or go left at the T at the top of Hollyhock and you'll end up on the eastern end of Dirt Mulholland.

The other option is just a but further up Mandeville beyond Hollyhock: Go left on Gardenland (and left almost immediately onto the fireroad, not right up the steep paved driveway) and you will eventually merge onto Westridge: when you hit Westridge, go right / straight and you'll end up on Dirt Mulholland. (Left takes you back down Westridge.) These are both great routes!

- Chris

noflyzone_allstars said...

Just stumbled across Rough Riders - great to see there are others doing the all-terrain one-bike thing around here.

Some more nice variations to this great loop:

To climb from Palisades/Brentwood to Mullholland try Sullivan Ridge Road from the end of Capri Drive (less cars, more dirt than Mandeville options, less technical, better views than Sullivan Canyon)

Try descending the Kenter Coaster Whoops - close to 100? smooth rollable dirt jumps - detour off of Kenter fire road.

Great smooth singletrack descends to Mullholland from Calabasas Pk fireroad before the top of that climb. From there you can cross over up into the Calabasas groomed singletracks, on into Malibu Creek and on and on...

Maybe I'll see you out there! Tall guy on a green surly cross check.

ny said...

Done and done! I immediately got my mountain bike tuned and set out and found the connecting trails. Despite all the hours I spend on Google maps I feel silly not having completed that route. You've inspired me to get back out on the dirt, such a nice break from the road. Thanks so much again Chris! See you out there!

Chris Kostman said...

That's awesome, Niki! Very cool! Can you join us on June 14 for Mt. Palomar? Also, be sure to subscribe to the email, or RSS, feed of the blog so that you stay in the loop. We'll be doing more rides in the Saint Monicas this summer. I hope you will be part of the group! - Chris

Chris Kostman said...

noflyzon: I know the first two of those very well and have done them a million times. The third I don't quite know what you mean. You'll have to show me some time. Can you join us on June 14 for Mt. Palomar?

Billy said...

Wow, I am really, really tempted to join you guys on the November 22nd ride. Only thing is as a relative noob, I haven't gone on a mtn bike ride over 15+ miles and am a slow downhiller. Pretty decent on the climbs however.

We'll see...I love the Santa Monica Mtns + the Backbone Trail so this will be hard to pass up!