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Part 4 - Malibu
As Las Virgines begins to climb in earnest over the last ridge between the valley and the ocean we spread out along the edge of the road in 500 yard intervals. Ira, Cole, me then Ryan. For a mile it’s a loud solitary grind and then the top. The descent is fast and dramatic with speeding cars, a massive tunnel and views of the Pacific. On the way down fresh salty air goes quickly to our heads and causes inspired riding and sprints. We rush past Pepperdine University and skid to a stop at the 101 and the north end of Malibu. Across the street is a park with a Coke machine and a place to assess our situation.
Through the valley and up the last pitch Ryan has cracked. He is getting sicker and his hip, an injury and pain fast becoming chronic, is killing him so he decides to jump in the wagon with Trystan and Brian Vernor. We decide to deal with our lack of food and insistent hunger in the Malibu shopping center at the bottom of the hill. Hermetically sealed sandwiches and lattes, one sugary and salty calorie at a time, return our optimism about the next 30 miles. We sit outside under an umbrella and watch, like a crew of construction workers, as a constant stream of young ladies in Ugg boots, blonde hair and sunglasses get in and out of expensive cars. The setting sun reminds us we’re not home yet.
Highway 1 is mostly flat and easy with a generous shoulder, tail winds and the Pacific inspiring high average speeds and pace lining. Every 20 minutes the day gets nicer, the wind, sun, water, our legs, our bikes and each other start working together in concert for the first time today. We peel off the highway and pick-up the Santa Monica bike path, which runs right through the set of David Hasslehoff and Pamela Anderson’s finest acting achievement. The path is wide and smooth and occasionally covered in sand. We follow it through Santa Monica, past the Pier and the rollerblading windsurfers in the parking lot, into Venice and its markets, street vendors and general weirdness to Lincoln Boulevard.
For the next hour we make our way east and back into the city with the sun setting behind us and traffic at it’s worst. With so many cars on the road and things moving so slowly we easily picked, zigged and zagged our way home–often sprinting and racing to make lights and for hole shots. It was the perfect way to end a 100-mile epic tour of Los Angeles and it’s surrounding towns.