Somewhere in the Santa Monicas

There has been some confusion (mostly on my part) about where exactly in California I went back in March. There has also been some confusion (again on my part) about where the Pacific Ocean is and which way is North, but I never claimed to be perfect, and sometimes directions can be open to interpretation.

If you’ll direct you attention to the attractive map I created above, you’ll see some pointy things South of Oxnard (and yes JP, Oxnard is like Bull Testicles). Those pointy things are the Santa Monica Mountains, which stretch from Bull Testicles clear south to Los Angeles, offering Barbie and the other rich and famous residents of Malibu lavish views of the ocean.

Leaving Oxnard by car, we drove through a stretch of ugly, quasi-industrial farmland and then parked on the side of the road. Normally this would make me uneasy, but the California highways seem to be occupied by three distinct groups: hippies, surfers, and the aforementioned idle rich, none of whom seem to have the energy or inclination to steal stuff from parked cars.IMG_4504Around this bend, after riding through the cleavage of a couple of enormous rocks, the Pacific Coast Highway opens up to the most spectacular ocean views you can imagine.IMG_3538

IMG_4508Perhaps it is some hard-wired primordial instinct that harkens back to our invertebrate forefathers, but there is just something about the ocean that makes my little amoeba heart skip a beat. Riding…uh… south along the ocean you eventually hit the outskirts of Malibu, much of which is nestled in the ample (and no doubt surgically enhanced) bosom of the Santa Monicas. It’s here you start to get a little taste of what your life might have been like if you had pursued your dream of quitting high school and hitchhiking to California to become a professional beach bum.

IMG_4513Minus the catfood dinners and venereal diseases of course.

Back in Roman times, before the proliferation of indoor plumbing and hand sanitizers, living higher than your neighbours was desirable due to the unfortunate habit sewage has of flowing downhill. Ever since, living high on a hilltop has been considered a sign of wealth and prestige. As such, the Santa Monicas are infested with the idle rich, each living larger, higher, and more sanitary than their lesser famous and and moderately less rich neighbours.IMG_4525IMG_4529In addition to celebrities and the many vintners who keep them inebriated, here in the Santa Monicas you will also find some of the most bitchin’ riding on this side of the Altlantic Ocean. And yes, I know that one is the other way. IMG_3561IMG_4527IMG_4549Being in the mountains means you are treated to sweeping vistas that stretch for miles, something you don’t see very often when you live on the prairies. For me, being in the mountains is as foreign and wonder inspiring as being on the moon. Of course being in the mountains also means you need to do a shit ton of climbing.

Cyclists like Ben who posses both the slight build and strength of natural born climbers delight in the challenge of using their strength and agility to power up steep and relentless inclines.IMG_4531Cyclists like me will suffer through a torturous slog up to the top of a climb merely to enjoy the descent. Gravity is both the curse and reward for every extra pound of ass we haul to get to the top.Calabasas-20130312-00539Fucking gravity.

There are any number of routes you can take into the mountains from the PCH that will bring you up to the Mulholland Highway, which runs across the top of the range from just before Malibu all the way to Los Angeles. The fat line is Mulholland, and the skinny ones are all the different roads you can take up and down to the PCH. Even I would have trouble getting lost.Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.42.50 PMHaha! Just kidding. If Ben didn’t wait for me at the top of the climbs, I’d be arriving in North Carolina right about now.

After a hard day of riding in the mountains, Ben and I returned to the cycling house back in Bull Testicles to find Team Canada preparing for a post ride dip in Big Blue.IMG_4535IMG_4538Ah, the life of a beach bum. When life is this good, who cares which way is north?