Los Angeles has become a destination point for “underground” racing or as we like to think of it, having fun competitively. No entry fees or licenses just show up on whatever bike you have and go. Race it, ride it or just be part of the before and after party, it doesn’t matter.
Well as it turns out one of our last races in 2020 was the LA Tourist and as you can guess, it had to make some changes for 2021. Mike, the brains behind the fun has also made some changes with the purchase of his very own shop and the new home of the race in Burbank, Ca. What was once Bicycle John’s is now Let’s Ride Cyclery on Hollywood way between the Chandler bike path and Magnolia Blvd., about half a block from the famous Porto’s Bakery.
THE NEW FORMAT
Temporarily on hold is the original scavenger hunt style of the race, but Mike has figured out a way to get as many people involved in a safe way as possible. Instead, LA Tourist has leveraged gpsrace.cc to allow people to participate in the event when they feel safe.
To keep contact low there are no books and checkpoints, instead, a specific route that you must follow. On March 6th there will be an official 8 am rollout for anyone that wants to have a bit more of the traditional feel. For those that are uncomfortable with that, you have till March 20 to ride the route and upload to be qualified.
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Just as before the route takes participants deep into the mountains, to places many didn’t know were accessible by bike. Since the route is set there is less stress on picking roads and trails that are open to each checkpoint as riders had to do in the past. But in return, we have received what might be one of the toughest challenges to date.
It’s not long at just under 75 miles but it packs about 10,000ft of elevation gain. The climbing is front-loaded and is nearly over at mile 42 with only a few easy rollers after that. But the real hidden gem in the all but abandoned Burma Road descent off of Mendenhall ridge. It’s only 2-miles long but for many will be a downhill hike-a-bike over its extent.
On the front end, the ride climbs a deceiving access road, that on Strava is an average grade of 5.3% over 11 miles with about 3200ft of elevation gain. In reality, there is about 3.5 miles of “flat” and many of the pitches that follow are between 9-16% grade with the entire thing taking over 2 hours for most. At the top of that, you still have another 2-miles of solid climbing till the ride peaks at 6500ft elevation near Mt. Gleason.
Did we mention that from mile 11 to mile 64 there is no water or supplies? Around mile 28, there is a stream crossing but I wouldn’t drink from it if I was paid to. There is also the very real chance that the descent from Gleason for the first 5-10 miles could be covered in snow still as the ridgeline is shaded from the sun. Most likely not nice soft snow but hardened ice from being repeatedly warmed and then frozen over and over.
Here is the official suggested route uploaded to Strava. If you sign up, gpsrace.cc will give you the official GPX file.
It’s no surprise that Troy has chosen a bike with a Lauf Grit fork but he put it on a Lauf Anywhere, so really it’s now a Lauf True Grit. For wheels, he is using a set of Enve 3.4AR hoops. A set of Kenda Booster Pro tires in size 40mm bulge out to 42mm, and should be a good all-around choice. Inside the tires is a Vittoria tire insert up front and a Cushcore insert in the rear. For gears this year he has switched from the 1x drivetrain from last year to a 2x system. There is a 43/30 crankset matched with a 10-36t cassette.
Troy has also decided to keep the pockets empty and instead let the frame do all the heavy lifting same as last year. He has the Bontrager Adventure Top Tube Bag filled with easy to access food and Crankbrothers F15 multitool. Just under that is the Pro Discover Compact Framepack Bag where a few extra tubes will hide as well as additional food and gear. In the rear is the Pro Discovery saddle bag holding tube, Co2, lever, patches and more.
David opted for the Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon with its massive gearing and Future Shock 2.0. The short 100.4cm wheelbase provides quick, sharp handling, ideal for the narrow, rocky trails. Combined with the nearly maxed-out seat post, the Diverge remains compliant by keeping the rider suspended up front and smothering bumps in the rear. The stock SRAM mullet will be an edge on the climbs thanks to the wide gear range of the 42t chainring and the 10-50 12-speed cassette. Roval’s Terra CL rims are mounted with fast Specialized Pathfinder Pro tubeless tires.