Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ballona Creek Bike Path

I can now say that I have ridden the Ballona Creek Bike Path from one end to the other.  In the past, however, I have always just gone west once I got onto the path and went a short distance to cross the bridge and then down onto the other side.  However, today I decided to take on the adventure of doing the bulk of the bike path which heads east, almost to La Cienega, but you can't access La Cienega from it.  I mapped this out on MapMyRide to be about 25-26 miles.

I headed west on Santa Monica Blvd. so that I could access the bank, and yes, once again I took my bike in.  It's never a problem.

Then I headed south on Doheney until I came to Cashio, which 2 blocks below Pico.  Turned left on Pico and went down to Shenandoah and turned right, staying on Shenandoah until Cadillac where I turned right.  Two blocks to Robertson, left on Robertson and down to National.  Right on National and up a few blocks to Bagley, left on Bagley and down to Venice Blvd. where I made a right and headed towards the beach.

I made one other stop on the way, dropping off 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, which was part of the reason for the trip anyhow.  The cookie drop off was west of the 405 freeway, so when you're that far down, you might as well just keep going.  One very interesting/dangerous stunt I saw was a cyclist going up the incline just west of the 405, and he grabbed onto the back corner of a pickup and hitched a free ride up the hill.  Very dangerous.  The truck may not have even known he was there, and how lazy was that, btw?

After the cookie delivery I continued west on Venice to Abbot Kinney, then took a left to Washington.  I turned right on Washington and went about a long block down to where the Martin Braude Bike path picks up on the south side of the street.  From there it was an easy ride down and around the marina.  I always find it fascinating that the bike path goes right through the parking areas of the marina.

The Braude bike path dumps you onto Fiji Way where you continue around until you join up with it again.  From there it's only a few feet to the Ballona Creek Bike path.  Go right and you head towards the bridge and the continuation of the Martin Braude Bike path on the beaches south of that, but go left and you head east almost back to La Cienega.  I had studied the bike path very carefully and knew that it dead-ended into a park.  In fact, the map showed a hairpin turn to get back into the park, so I sort of knew what to expect.  Or so I thought.

Beginning the journey east. 6 miles to go.
I was told today that there were "hills" on the bike path, but I kept thinking, what hills?  It's flat and runs along the creek.  Well, it was wonderfully flat for the first couple of miles.  So lovely that I got the bike up to a sustained 16-18 mph, and I got the sensation for a few wonderful moments of what it could possibly be like to be on an open stretch of road.  Just sailing along.  Then the first overpass appeared, and the bike path took a steep down under it and a steep up on the other side.  The first one wasn't so bad, and I tackled it with ease.  The second was a little harder, but the one under Sawtelle nearly forced me off the bike it was so steep.  There were at least a half dozen of these along the bike path.  I lost count as I just began to grit through them, my enthusiasm and speed starting to wane.

I wanted to take more pictures but I encountered a problem.  I was on my menstrual cycle, and although i was prepared, the flow became increasingly heavy and there was no place to stop, nothing.  I just kept hoping a praying that maybe there was a public restroom at the park.  When I finally reached that hairpin turn at the end, I was met with another surprise:  after the turn, you had to dismount because there was a very steep ramp to get up to the park.  Now this compounded my problem because now I felt like I was hemorrhaging uncontrollably, so every step reinforced that feeling.  I kept thinking, well, if I have to get back on the bike and I'm flooding, oh well.  I'll clean up the mess when I get home, but that would have been a miserable several miles.  I couldn't stop for water.  Nothing.  Well, there really was no place to stop anyhow.

Thankfully, there was a large community building for the park with accessible bathrooms.  I went in the handicapped stall and pulled the bike in with me, and I discovered the problem wasn't as severe as I thought.  Praise the Lord!  So then it was back onto the bike and an uneventful ride home.

I stopped a couple of times on the way home to take in as much water as possible, but the damage was done.  I got home exhausted and dehydrated, but I was also elated to have done a new adventure.  One thing for sure, I can't wait to be done with menopause!!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on another successful and spectacularly beautiful ride! As you know, I ride too but soooo wish I'd taken it up BEFORE leaving Monterey! I took for granted the beautiful bike trail that runs from Monterey, through Seaside, past the former Ft. Ord, (now UCMB campus) and into Marina. I'd give anything to be on my bike on that very trail today!

    Sorry about the upset - I wish you a smooth transition through menopause. I cannot explain it (and neither can my doctors) but I suddenly stopped having periods nearly 4 years ago and even with medication to induce one I can't have one... Doctors say I am peri-menopausal and while I enjoy not having a period any more, I still worry that it's too soon. I am only (ha!) 46. Hum...

    Anyway, great post - wishing you always happy and safe peddling! xo