Alex’s route, which he hoped would take him consistently in one direction, instead had repeatedly drawn him all over LA. Sometimes it was tough to find a place to camp, he admitted, but fortunately the valley is surrounded by mountains and national forests.
I contacted Alex and asked where he was. His roll ended up being North that day, and his route ended up taking him not far from where I was staying. We met up and rode 30 miles to a spot in a canyon that he had camped recently.
Alex is an ultra-marathon runner and accomplished athlete. Me? Not so much.
The stubbornness of my mind manages to convey my body far further than it should go. Yet I kept up with him, and as we rode out of town the buildings and roads faded away. We climbed a steep canyon, passed a reservoir, all the while getting to know each other for the first time. Who was this dark, mustachoed, piston-legged LAer with a drawl in his mouth? Some renegade artist? A bygone from old times, when people had as much character as the rocks, gnarled trees, and narrow valleys of this landscape? His Instagram handle, @moderndaymuir
, truly checked out.
We stopped at a grove of ancient oak trees, bent and dry, their leaves still green in early spring. Live oaks, as I came to know them, covered many of the hillsides in this part of the country. We deadlifted our hundred + pound bikes over the closed and locked gate (take that car drivers!) and began to crawl, in our lowest gear, up a steep two track road. Alex totally left me in the dust at that point. I got off and pushed for a while, but then the road flattened a bit, and we made camp high above the road and valley below.
In the night Alex read a book to me, “On The Loose”, and I recorded him reading it. You can listen to the recording below: