Almost There


Illustration by Bill Brown

My New Year’s resolutions, like most people’s, have been hampered by a persistent lack of resolve. This year I had a great workout on January 1, complete with a weight-lifting circuit and enough time on the bike to wake up my quads. I felt like I always do after I exercise: exhilarated, alive. I made a grand plan to work out every day this year. The next morning I was off and running. The morning after that I was hitting the snooze button.

One of the advantages to living in Los Angeles is that each day holds the promise of a fresh start, no matter the month. Just look outside: This city is a playground, and thanks to our near-perfect weather, that playground is almost always beckoning. You miss a workout, no big deal; tomorrow it will probably be beautiful. Open the door and get moving. In this issue we encourage you to do just that, offering tips on biking and running in L.A. Like the magazine’s earlier stories on hikes or places to walk, this one is as much about exploring the city as it is about getting fit. L.A. looks different when you’re pedaling a road bike or running along an arroyo. You hear the birds; you smell the blooming sage. We scouted mountain trails that will get your heart pumping (and spotted some deer along the way); we also traveled flat stretches in the Valley that are a breeze. In case you’re reluctant to go it alone, we recommend clubs where you can make friends with like-minded folks at your level. I was a runner many years ago, and I’m determined to turn my walks around the Rose Bowl into jogs, aided by advice in this issue.

That was the resolution I came to looking down on the stadium during a recent hike. It was right after a rain, when the sky looks as if it has been scrubbed with a Magic Eraser. That morning the steep San Gabriels were calling. My son has become, at seven, quite the intrepid hiker, so I packed him into the car, along with energy bars, bananas, a solar blanket, and a few gallons of water (read our story in this issue about a man who survived six days in the desert and you’ll understand). We ascended San Gabriel Peak from a trailhead off Mount Wilson Road, my son’s skinny frame leading the charge through pine forests. We encountered mountain bikers and a few fit college girls sprinting past (show-offs). My son learned the word switchback. Charred trunks led to a discussion about fires and a mouse carcass to meditations on death and how long we live. Up we went until we reached the 6,161-foot peak. The 360-degree panorama stretched from the San Jacintos above Palm Springs to a gleaming Catalina Island to the southern tip of the Sierra. L.A. looked different from up there, so big and yet so small, so very quiet. I resolved that my son and I would tackle every peak in L.A. this year. And if it’s left up to him, that may actually happen.