Riding The Face Of L.A.’s Asphalt Tsunami

March 23, 2006 at 7:10 am in Uncategorized

dwfshc.jpgIn the annals of Los Angeles cycling lore there is a slice of street that merits special distinction: Echo Park’s Fargo Street, considered to be the steepest in the city. Launching ridiculously at a purported 33% grade, Fargo gains more than 150 feet in elevation over a distance of some 630 feet traveled between Allesandro at the bottom and Alvarado at the top, which basically translates to a foot in elevation gained for less than every four feet of forward progress, which basically translates into holyfuckingshit.

Traversing up this thing on foot is arduous enough, but since time immemorial or the mid/late 1970s (same thing) cyclists have been making an annnual pilgrimage to this place to put pedals to their mettle in what’s known as the Fargo Street Hill Climb. And if you think summiting this monster just once is an achievement, — which it most definitely is — there are diehards out there who do it multiple times, like 57-year-old Dave Wyman pictured at right, whose 13-year record of 26 climbs was broken in 2004 by Sean Bartilet’s 30. Last year both he and Sean went head to head and crested the asphalt tsunami an outrageous 33 times each, with Sean adding one more for yet a new record of 34. Read all about it via Wyman’s account, here.

This year’s event , hosted and organized by the L.A. Wheelmen, takes place Sunday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to noon. I’ll be leaving The Phoenix at home and oiling up the granny gear of my dormant mountain bike to make my first attempt at reaching the top — once is way more than enough for me! — and the rest of the time I’ll be cheering on Dave and Sean and whoever else is brave/crazy enough to do this thing, be it one time or perhaps 35?

Photo by Dan Wyman.
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