The biggest perk of #offseason is that, more or less, I get to do what I want (so long as what “I want” includes swimming at least a few times a week…). I’ve been spending a lot of time with Mo, done a bit of surfing, and??seen family. Most workouts have been very easy and/or social because 1) I don’t get many opportunities for this sort of thing during the season, and 2) I haven’t been motivated to do anything too intense.
While I have this??freedom I thought I should check out the famous “Simi Ride.” Many cyclists and triathletes in the area have told me about this group ride over the last few years, and I’ve been itching to try it. According to this Bicycling Magazine article, the ride is almost 50 years old and attracts some of the best cyclists around.
I rode out from my parents house and met up with the group just as they were starting from the East end of LA Ave in Simi Valley. I knew this was a popular ride, so I was expecting to see a big group, but it was still impressive to me to see maybe 150 cyclists rolling down the road together. I jumped in towards the middle of the group. It took me a little while, but I finally found a friend and former teammate from Royal High School, Matt Gulden, in the bunch. Matt is still fairly new to road cycling, but he’s picked it up quick and it was nice to chat with him off and on over the next few hours.
From LA Ave the group continued onto Tierra Rejada and rode into Moorpark. Left onto Moorpark Rd and followed that up Norwegian Grade. A few cyclists rolled from the front to back up the climb, but the effort was fairly easy most of the way. As we got into Thousand Oaks, the group turned right onto Olsen Rd and continued onto Lynn Rd as we made our way into Newbury Park. Left on Reino Rd and another quick left onto Portrero Rd. The group rode steady until a small attack on some of the steeper sections near the top. The descent down into the flats of Hidden Valley and toward Lake Sherwood was one of the more intense sections of the ride. I got into a nice rotation at the front with about a dozen other guys. It was fun to get a little competitive again.
Once we made it to Westlake Blvd things were pretty relaxed. We made a pit stop at Triunfo Park for water and bathroom. With a group that large, stops take a bit longer, and I was antsy to get back on the road the last few minutes. Matt and I led the group out around Westlake Lake and onto Agoura Rd. This section to Kanan Rd was very chill.
Finally we got onto Cornell Rd and made our way to Mulholland. The faster guys that wanted to ride started to work their way towards the front here. Things slowly crescendoed until a couple miles before “7 Minute Hill” (or Dry Creek Cold Canyon Rd), where a massive attack was thrown down. One guy in a green kit (Canondale?) went off the front here. I led a chase group of a few others riders through the lower sections of 7 Minute Hill. The effort was pretty intense, and I definitely thought that maybe I was going “too hard.”??Fugg it! I do what I want!??I ended up 3rd to the top and a decent time of 6:35 (@ 368W).
I guess the ride more or less ends at the top of this climb, and people roll out in smaller groups whenever they feel recovered. Matt and I continued down Mulholland and made our way north through The Valley via Topanga Canyon and Valley Circle. As the ride time crept toward four hours, my legs became total trash, and I rode Matt’s wheel back home (except when he dropped me up the Santa Susana Pass!).
Though I was smashed by the end, I had a blast! and will hopefully make it out a few more times as training allows. As fall progress into winter, the route gets a little bit longer, a little tougher, and I hear the pace kicks up quite a bit!
Here is a photo album one of the riders took from yesterday (though I’m not in any of them!). I found a video compilation from the 2013-2014 Winter Simi Ride that shows some cool shots of the route.