OVER THE HUMP: OFF ROAD COMMUTE UP SULLIVAN FIRE ROAD
It’s “Hump Day” so it’s time to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
Sullivan Fire Road is a mountain biking fixture in Los Angeles.
Take Capri road north of Sunset Blvd. in Brentwood/Pacific Palisades until it ends and turns into this fire road. About 5.5 miles of climbing takes you up and up and up until you hit Dirt Mulholland. It’s dusty, hot, exposed, steep and usually thought of as a way to get to other, more interesting trails. I used it for 15 years in this capacity.
Then I started occasionally commuting off road to the Santa Monica and this climb changed for me.
It wasn’t easy to do on my already-heavy, steel ‘cross/touring bike, laden with work bags. But once I began this long, slow climb I knew I was leaving the West Side, and work, behind. It felt like I was on vacation. I could just take my time and escape the man-made madness below.
It felt like a true escape.
It felt better than any post-work cocktail – but that didn’t stop me from pausing under the Sullivan Oak for a sunset nip of Bushmills from my Surly Flask from time to time.
Once at the top, it was usually time to flick on the lights, turn west and take the rolling ride along Dirt Mulholland back to Woodland Hills.
Somehow, when it became part of my commute, it entered my heart.
It got more special.
It took the addition of work to make this climb feel like play.