Thank you for joining me in this cause!
June 4th - June 10th, over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies and Virtual Cyclists will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. This year, I’ll be one of them!
The services provided as a result of this event mean the world to those who receive them, and your support means the world to me.
We’re working together to make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past. Will you support me by making a donation today?
My Personal Web Log
Pretty much my favorite ride in LA. The standby. The steady. The one and done.
You weave thru Santa Monica and Rustic Canyon, that magic patch of streets below the Palisades that no one seems to know about still with its old ranch sites and community tennis courts and gazillion dollar cottage and craftsmen homes riffing off old designs into the stratosphere of domestic comfort.
And a nice loud stream which runs more often than most in So Cal. Climb up out of that and somehow you get right to Sunset. Where if you want you do a quick 8th of a mile zig zag and at your pedals is suddenly 40,000 acres of bike riding.
Boom. Like that. One minute you're crossing in front of a bar and an italian restaurant, next minute your climbing past Steven Spielbergs pad and then poof you disappear into miles of mountain nothinness.
It's about two hours my favorite ride. Straight up from sea level to the fire lanes of Dirt Mulholland, I dont know...six mile climb?? Couple pitches are the steepest things I've ever consistently ridden up, views to both sides of a massive ravine and walking park.
On and on, granny gear hell, sun on you face if you climb before noon at the worst parts. It can be brutal. Or it can be more often, magic. The sun setting as you reach the ranger station and WATER! at the top. There's the Pacific one way. There's the valley and the San Gabriel mts in the other. I've gotten to the top and the winds been blowing so hard the power lines moan like a rigged ship.
Strange place. The worst and the best. Pain and joy. The mountains and the over built valley below.
Then you take a couple rights and plunge for even more miles than the climb all the way back down to Sunset where it scrapes thru Santa Monica's northern canyons.
Aint a car that can keep up with you on the descent once you get rolling.
Such a blast.
call it 40 miles.
by David Conrad on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 @ 4:23 PM
There's a place I love in LA.
Between Broadway and Colorado, from 26th to 23rd street.
Awful looking from the outside; a frame of office buildings walling off the street, but inside the nicest little courtyard, with plants and places to sit and a tennis court and underground swimming and even squash, bizarrely enough, a two block wandering garden that for some reason symbolizes peace for me. Takes my heart rate down a few beats walking in.
Usually packed with HBO and techy strivers with their already dated clothes and their "platforms" on the weekends it's nearly empty. A few dog walkers. A mother and her kids. Curious little sparrows with yellow tails and a bird that hunts insects from a pair of trees like a radical trapeez artist. I could sit there for hours.
In one of the bldgs is a tiny gym and in that gym is a room full of stationery bikes that no one uses.
So on one of those days when you just can't get your head out of your ass this is where you go toward sunset to get some saddle time in.
Hour and a half, riding alone in a room feeling my right hip slide in and out of place, watching my sweat gather on the floor, cursing myself for forgetting this new phone doesnt have a headphone jack...but man ....if you have to have music to work out....you might as well quit while you're behind. Or were never in the race.
by David Conrad on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 @ 11:28 AM
Friday the 13th
Rained. Hailed. Almost got wiped out by a Let's Go See Famous People's Houses Van. Left foot slipped out of the cleat and I big-cranked a trail up my calf. Hit the red light at Warner Brothers that's always green. Hit it again on the way back.
Other than that a stellar day.
A weird hilly, gravel strewn trek out to Pasadena.
Up and down Nichols Canyon, up and down Barham, up and down Chevy Chase, up and down the beauty of sinuous Mulholland, that endless avenue named after a Pgher who sold it all and came to LA and made more than a fortune, lost it, built a damn that collapsed and killed a bunch of people and left us with the most unique road in the City.
Huge blue black clouds above the San Gabriels. No light and then blinding sun. How I didn't get a flat I'll never know. Had a paste on my front wheel made it look two-tone. I wanna get back up in those mountains...skirt some snow.
Still a little bushed from the ski week but climbing Chevy Chase I said to myself, Dave you're never gonna be a racer.....just slow down and climb at the pace you can do. Look around. Take it in....
Not a bad lesson.
by David Conrad on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 6:57 PM
Went skiing for 4 days in Colorado. Vail. Which is more like a County than a mountain. Didn't touch a bike but I'm counting the agony in my thighs currently as progress.
Call it cross training. Downhill cross training.
And I met two professional cyclists - one a member of the US national champ track race team. Beast in his 50s. Had those dead cold eyes people have who do a hundred miles before breakfast. Folks whose nerves must have been wired with an internal off switch. He did two and a half hours on a stationary in the hotel before he came out skiing with us.
And then I met Pete Davis who raced for Coors, Spago and some other team back in the late 80s. Again...in monster shape but with a smile in his eyes that he's still doing it and now for fun.
He told me he might know a guy with a steel Derosa the bike of my dreams....
Pouring in LA today and all week. Gonna head into the Santa Monica mts on my mt bike and see the streams that only run once or twice a year after the rains. An LA rarity.
by David Conrad on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 @ 12:24 PM
The great thing about LA is if you like climbing you can climb for hours. And hours. Sometimes you can climb for an entire day.
But you always gotta pay.
Ever had a day out where on the return leg you're actually scanning the roadside for food?
I was looking for gel packs or bonk bars anyone had dropped or half eaten, a candy bar thrown away in spite from one of the open air celebrity house-tour trucks.
I was praying for a yard sale, kids selling lemonade and cake, I was this close to pulling into one of the fire stations that dot Mulholland drive and asking the guys for somebody's wife's brownies. All I had was a 20 and I would have parted with it happily.
I thought,"You know if I was in Japan there'd be a vending machine every couple miles that took plastic. Damn."
What a great feeling.
I live in shite center carmaggedon Hollywood. To get anywhere on a bike you either gotta brave some monster traffic or.....climb.
Luckily I like to climb. For a cyclist I'm a fat bastard, 6-1" 185, I'm a house on a bike. My racing buddies call me Clyde. They call me that in the first 20 miles because after that they're so far ahead of me they'd have to phone.
But I like climbing, sometimes I kinda love it, I have a thing for it....give me the right hill, the right, hidden switch back, wind blown, emendless ascent and I'm in heaven. Just keep freaking going.
So today was all that- back and forth and up and down and up and down some more. You really do get to see all the fantastic, bizarro,infinite variety of LA dream homes as you tick by at 9 mph.
LA sometimes feels like a giant temporary camp where millions of people have set themselves up in their little bungalow hideaways to get "that work" done, whatever it may be before they move on to where they really wanna live.
Or is it the perfect home for all those who strive: those quirky arty folks who just always wanted to stay in their rooms and play guitar, or draw, write. Have mom leave the food by the door.
Whaddya do when you open the door and Mom's long gone?
Watch a cyclist go by and stare dumbly at him.
Did get to descend Laurel Canyon south which is a blast - you pass every car you see and they're mostly terrified of you.
Dangerous. But a good laugh.
Jan 8, 40-ish miles on the Mt bike. 2.5 hours
by David Conrad on Sat, Jan 07, 2017 @ 5:17 PM
Got back West last week. Ankle sprained in Ct pretty darn badly- the kind of pain makes you laugh. Thank the Stars and some angel who continually keeps me from breaking bones when I should be in pieces. So ..that and three days of blessed rain kept me off the bike. LA is such a different land in the winter what with the clouds and the water and ....WEATHER! It's so much calmer, easier, and so dramatic- the big western desert skies coursing over the mts.
Went out finally: Hollywood to Malibu cursing that I have to ride thru west LA instead of my easy old routes right out of Venice but I have to say....it was kinda fun, running up Sunset thru Bev Hills, kicking up Wilshire....a bit like riding in NYC, I liked the adrenaline, the cars and buses and what not right on my ass.
Perfect winds on PCH, sun dropping as I got to Pepperdine, and that lovely tail that takes you all the way home.
As I came back down Wilshire past the Vet center and under the 405 the traffic packed the road, had to head thru two lanes of cars instead of using the shoulder and as I hit Sepulveda the red turned to green. I laughed and said out loud, "Now that's a little blessing." and a guy next to me in his toyota had his window down. Mexican american dude, my age, just looked at me and smiled, "Good to count them."
I laughed, " 405 north huh? Long commute?"
Nah man, not if you don't fight it.
.....words to ponder.
Jan 7. 60ish miles. Under 3 hours. Not bad.
by David Conrad on Sat, Jan 07, 2017 @ 11:34 AM
It's a great mistake to think that HIV/AIDS is a disease that's been conquered. Or "taken care of".
It's a sad mistake to think that now it only affects people in the Third World and developing countries.
More than a million people in the US live with HIV. And although some rates are declining more than 35 thousand people were infected in 2015.
It IS amazing what progress and what triumphs AIDS researchers and the fighting community have achieved.
These are tributes to the incredible limits of human endeavor. What was called a plague, a sure death sentence is now a treatable illness.
I don't usually do these things: wave a flag for something I've not been personally hurt by, embark on a journey for something "Unrelated to me".
And that's my mistake. I live in a neighborhood in Pittsburgh where HIV infections are still a serious problem. I spent the winter and spring of 2016 tutoring young kids in modes of storytelling and acting, learning as much from them and their parents as they did from me and I realized for them HIV is as real as unemployment, or the flu, or the violence that out of nowhere can invade their lives on a daily basis.
So I guess like most things I do: this one's for Pittsburgh.
Help me give back to these kids in the Mon Valley who showed a middle aged actor what a thrill it is to hear out loud once more a lovely tale.
by David Conrad on Sat, Dec 10, 2016 @ 1:45 PM