With Los Angeles and much of the world shut down due to COVID-19, it seemed as though more people were heading outdoors and picking up old hobbies like cycling. For the more ambitious riders among us that meant putting in some seriously big days on the bike, their Strava profiles looking more like a Pro Tour contender and weekend warrior.
Seeing the incredible adventures my fellow cyclists were tackling motivated me to take on a challenge of my own - logging 3048m (10k feet) of climbing in one ride, just like the pros.
With the streets of Los Angeles largely barren, I felt it would be the opportune time to tackle that challenge while hitting as many landmarks and area climbs between the 101 and 405 freeways as possible.
It just so happened that the new Pedal Mafia Pro Bibs I had on order were appropriately named “Elevation,” which I took to be a good sign as I began planning my route.
A few days before the ride my new swag arrived. I tore open the package and was immediately impressed with how lightweight and stylish the kit was. In addition to the Navy Blue Elevation bibs, I also received the new Pro Jersey 2.0 in the Nebulosa colorway.
Closer inspection of the bibs revealed some new features. Most noticeably was the 4-way floating chamois that’s designed to move and form to the position of the rider. Ideally suited for long days of climbing where you’re in and out the saddle. I couldn’t wait to put this to the test.
I’m a big fan of blue kits so the combination of navy bibs and the new Nebulosa (blue-gray) and white Pro Jersey would have me looking and feeling like a pro - the aerodynamic sleeves cutting through the wind and saving me valuable energy throughout my ride!
As I kitted up in the early morning, the craftsmanship of both the jersey and bibs were apparent as body and kit blended seamlessly together. The newly-refined Pro Jersey features a race-inspired cut that provides a good amount of stretch so I probably could have gone down one size and still felt comfortable. Regardless, I was feeling good, ready for the challenge ahead.
I got an early start to try and avoid the afternoon heat, heading due east toward the Griffith Park helipad as my first destination. The sunrise coming up the ridge with downtown off in the distance instantly made the 4 a.m. wakeup call worth it. A few more climbs throughout the Park, a stop at the Observatory and I was en route to the iconic Hollywood sign.
Rising in and out of the saddle as I traversed the steep residential roads I was impressed by the overall fit of the bibs and comfort of the new chamois. Even when the road turned to broken asphalt and dirt, the chamois did its job, moving as I did and quite literally saving my ass from the bumpy tarmac.
The next couple of hours I wove my way up and down various gradients of roads, past some of the most expensive homes and exotic cars in the world, watching the elevation on my Wahoo tick up. Staying on top of my nutrition was going to be key and pulling bars and gels out of the jersey pockets was a breeze. Even with my phone, essentials case, and bars packed into the jersey I was comfortable, never experiencing the dreaded jersey sag or pull on the neck collar sometimes found with other jerseys.
A brief pause to take in the picturesque Franklin Canyon - a hidden gem and easily one of my favorite spots in the city - and it was back up to Mulholland Highway to continue on my way.
With the temperature rising faster than my elevation, it was time to get a feel for how breathable the new kit would be. I always wear a base layer when I ride and donned the White Sleeveless Base Layer on this day. Despite the warm temperature I never felt like I was overheating - every part of the kit working in unison to keep things cool.
As the day wore on and I began creeping up on the 10k mark I realized I wouldn’t be that far off from also hitting a century (100 miles). As many of you can probably relate, getting within a few miles of a full century and not going for it would be crazy so I continued riding well past my climbing goal. I was also able to check off a handful of additional climbs to also complete my objective of ascending virtually every route connecting Sunset Boulevard to Mulholland Highway - a personal trifecta!
When I finally hit stop on my computer I had logged a total of 4040m (13,222 feet) of elevation and 101.49 miles over the course of 8.25 hours. I was proud that I exceeded my goal and pleasantly surprised at how good I still felt. Certainly thanks in part to my new kit.
Since then I have logged many more miles in what has undoubtedly become my go-to bib/jersey combo for any ride. Armed with a kit that’s more than up for the adventure, the question is now what’s next?
Kit for the day: