Went for a really good ride this weekend off-road for a change in the Santa Monica mountains.
It wasn’t a route that demanded a high level of skill but was just challenging enough for me as my first time offroad for almost a year and for one of our number (J) who only had a hybrid commuter bike – our leader (T) had led me to believe it was going to be mostly fire road so I invited J on that basis; he enjoyed it anyway (I think).
Four of us set off from Caballero Trail head (34.136751, -118.546075) where there was plenty of roadside parking (as well as a car park further up); the single track trail was instantly interesting as we negotiated many twists, turns and bumps.
We knew we had an initial climb and just as we started this, one of our number (N) who had been enjoying post ride drinks the night before (unrelatedly I am sure) lost concentration whilst telling us about the nice beers she had had and took a heavy fall into a deep rut. She wasn’t able to unclip her foot and landed heavily on her elbow. The resulting hole looked deep and she decided to retire from the ride and head home. She later received sutures as the bleed did not cease.
The remaining three continued on.
Due to J’s bike and re-assessment of skill level we decided on an easier route for the rest of the ride and once we had ascended the climb stuck to the ridge and the fire roads. I say ‘fire roads’ these weren’t the roads I was used to in Griffith Park where they are, albeit crumbled and uneven, at least were concreted at some point in the past; these were partially asphalted to begin with but mostly were bedrock and very bumpy. T and myself were fine with this on our mountain bikes but J had to endure every bump unsuppressed with his rigid bike with smaller tyres. None the less he resolved to complete the ride.
Our route took us along Mulholland and onto Temescal Canyon Road to the ‘Hub’ then up the Topanga Fire road to ‘Eagle Rock’ (not the City).
The views were spectacular and even with the poor visibility of Sunday morning we were still able to see out onto the Pacific Ocean. Eagle Rock is an interesting feature; it’s a large rock outcrop which has a number of small caves scattered about. The one we went in had a journal or or notebook in which I think you were meant to note your visit. There were quite a few people around so we didn’t bother.
The ride back to the start was a little faster being mostly downhill towards the bottom there was the option to take the fireroad all the way to the road (avoiding the last technical decent which we had come up and been N’s downfall. J took the less bumpy option and I stayed with T for the ‘fun’ decent – ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ as it were. I mostly kept up with T (he being a more experienced off-roader) though I did have one incident where my bike and I decided to part company; nothing serious I misjudged a corner and had to leap off, landing on my feet.
I can definitely recommend this area for hiking or biking whatever your level though I would recommend a suitable bike.
Here is the route we took (Image from Strava.com)