Thursday, 6:30AM departs from 26th St. and San Vicente Blvd. in Santa Monica
Two words: hill intervals. Add three more: pain and suffering. The Riviera Ride is easily one of the week's most challenging club rides. But you're up to it. After the usual warm-up lap around the Brentwood Country Club, riders dash down San Vincente towards Ocean Avenue and the sprint line at about 9th Street. After a right turn down Ocean and a left onto Entrada, the descent leads you to the base of a climb up Mesa Road and Amalfi Drive. The narrow roads wind skyward, turning and twisting and getting steeper all the while. Did we mention that you'd be going up this climb at race pace? No rest for the best, so after the road levels off, go right on Napoli Drive and an easy descent takes you to one of the two chain-break hills you'll have to power over. Keep the tempo high and hard as the riders, usually desperately gasping for O2, keep the legs pumping on the straightaway and eventually wait for the rest of the strung-out field of riders to regroup near the entrance to the Riviera Country Club (at Corsica Drive & Capri Drive). Right turn down Sunset Boulevard and right onto Allenford Avenue (which turns into 26th Street) and another fast track up and over a chain-break hill leads you back to the start at San Vincente. And that's just the first lap. Three more to go. For laps two through four, ride tempo on San Vincente before taking a right turn on 7th (becomes West Channel on the rapid descent)l. Hairpin right turn on East Channel at the light. Take a left up Amalfi Drive. The European-like road crests and then the rest of the loop is the same as the first lap. Although the last lap is ridden at an easy tempo, there is a final sprint line to contest on San Vincente, this time while heading east towards Peet's in Brentwood, where the piping hot beverages are awaiting.
Danger! As the ride progresses, traffic begins to build and back up on Sunset Boulevard and near Revere Middle School on Allenford Avenue. Take it easy. This is no place to attack.
Tips for New Riders: Don't even think about leading the peloton unless you've done this ride several times. There are far too many fast turns and corners that could easily take you off the ride route.