Nichols Canyon Ride
The crown jewel of all of the La Grange rides, Nichols Canyon has been happening long before many of us were even born! A typical turnout for this ride can fluctuate from a minimum of 40 to a high of over 100. The ride proceeds north then turns right on little Santa Monica Blvd. heading east. Pedaling through Century City, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, the pace at this point in the ride is purely conversational. As the ride approaches the base of Nichols, the pace tends to pick up in anticipation of the climb ahead. Here the conversations end and the heavy breathing begins. With approximately two miles of steady climbing, the pack is significantly stretched out with the fastest riders reaching the top in about 10 minutes. "The Wall" is the final 100 meters of the climb where the wrong gear choice can quickly eliminate you from a group. The ride is now on infamous Mulholland Drive where the next 6-8 miles can best be described as fast rollers with a couple of small, yet significant climbs. There is a general regrouping at Sepulveda Blvd. next to the 405 freeway. From here, the ride proceeds down Sepulveda back towards West LA. The pace at this point can vary from moderate to fast. As the ride crosses Montana Ave. and heads towards the VA cemetery there is an increase in pace as the pack approaches the official finish line for the ride. A large pack sprint finish gives one determined rider "sprint bragging rights" for the week. A right turn on Constitution takes the ride into the VA and over to Peet's in Brentwood (San Vicente and Gorham) afterward. Danger! Vehicles descending Nichols Canyon and the intersection at Laurel Canyon. Tips for New Riders Find a group of riders during the climb up Nichols that you can keep pace with; the last thing you want is to find yourself on Mulholland Drive by yourself. Also, if you're not comfortable riding in a large pack at high speed (as is the case descending Sepulveda), it is recommended that you maintain a position at the back of the group until your comfort level increases.