The mountains surrounding the city would look very pretty if you could see them through the smog/haze. The locals like to convince you it's merely haze that burns off during the day, but us clean air breathers know the real truth!
The mountains pretty much go straight up, so we are getting in some big climbs in preparation for the Sea Otter. Terrain is very different - greener, with bushes and trees in places - wow! Nothing too big, but at least some shade at last! The trade off is higher humidity - we are sticky stinky girls now.
We have also traded the spiky cactus thorns for innocuous looking green shiny leaves, lovingly called 'poison oak' - this is nasty stuff that if you are unfortunate enough to get the oils in contact with your skin you break out in an itchy oozing sores that can last for weeks and spreads to other areas of your body that you touch. Oh Joy. At this time of year the growth is fresh and just encroaching onto the trails. One singletrack trail was so lined with the stuff that we gingerly turned around and got the hell 0ut of there before we turned into one big puss oozing sore.
Riding in the San Gabriel Mountains