Out the door, at the bottom of my winding, single-lane-for-two-cars road, we intersect with Topanga Canyon Boulevard. With a closer look, you can see the dusty, earth-tone metal weavings over the canyonside. Plants climb through, disguising the iron that holds the mountain in place. Too many forest fires, too many rock slides and too many mudslides before the powers-that-be finally figured out a semi-permanent solution. The canyon was always doing its best to collapse onto itself. I once overheard a cantankerous neighbor yelling at someone recording YouTube videos at 7 a.m. about canyon decorum: “Topanga! It means don’t come here!” And sometimes, it feels like the canyon is saying that itself. As if natural disasters were Mother Nature’s way of saying, “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Or canyon.
The climbing feels similar. If you’re not comfortable climbing Topanga, don’t even bother with the side streets. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself on a rutted road that is somehow both well-loved and deeply neglected, your front wheel popping off the ground in desperation, surrounded by peace signs made of twigs on fences made of metal scraps, wondering if you’re actually on someone’s driveway.
It’s the weekend, and I’m avoiding beach traffic by riding the ridge roads. Up here, we’re high above the crowds of people holding their phones aloft to capture their personal square of the Pacific. Instead, it’s the road enthusiasts. The motos, the sports cars, the cyclists, all hugging the curves and glimpsing the vistas only briefly. The roads are beautiful and fast. It helps to have a snug kit, your bits and bobs and belongings neatly secured against your back. No flapping, no accidental flotation devices. The ASSOS DYORA RS jersey has an easy zipper, and I pull it all the way up for the descents. It’s wildflower season, and I’ve already learned my lesson regarding sports bras, bees, and too much speed.
I just want to feel fast and go even faster. I don’t want to think about my kit. I want my kit to perform and function, and let me focus entirely on what lies ahead. And this Assos kit does that.