As prend mentioned, LA is a surprisingly good place to be based out of. Depending on what you are looking for, there's a big community based out of the west side or east side (by Pasadena area).
On the west side, you have PCH and a lot of great climbs through SMM. On the east side, there's a plethora of very long climbs through the San Gabriel Mountains. For example, the 39 to the 2 route is a 27mi, 6K foot climb (total elevation for the day will be close to 10K feet.
If you're looking for competitive group training rides, the selection is really hard to beat:
- Montrose (Pasadena area) - 50-100 people each Saturday with a highly competitive group (we average 25-30mph)
- Nichols (Mid-City) - 20-40 people on Sunday duke it out over a 12mi stretch of Mulholland. Probably one of the most difficult rides since there's absolutely no rest for 40 minutes.
- Simi Ride (Thousand Oaks area) - Saturday - Large group of 50+ and attracts a lot of Cat 1's or occaisional pros (ride length increases over off-season to a final length of 60 or 70 miles)
- NOW Ride (Santa Monica) Saturday - 20+ people up PCH to Trancas (basically a 20mi paceline)
- La Tuna Ride (Starts at Griffith Park up through La Tuna Canyon) - Sunday not sure of size
- Angeles Crest Ride (Pasadena) on Wednesday - Group of 5-10 up Angeles crest
I'm sure there's a lot more that I'm missing but there's no shortage of highly competitive group training rides that will challenge most Cat 1's.
Also, as far as racing, I think we are one of the few areas where you are able to choose between at least 6 races each month from January to September (crit heavy, though).
I'm in Downtown, so I'm sort of in the middle of everything. It's a 15mi ride to Santa Monica and about 10 to Pasadena. Getting to either means traveling through the heart of LA, which kind of sucks, but there's streets that are better than others.
New Pier Ride - Twice weekly, world famous competitive crit type riding around LAX
Donut ride - hilly, large group, fast- Palos Verdes
Kettle ride- manhattan beach up to PCH and then some split off into the mountains.
Lots of rides around the west side and south bay
Best reason for LA is that there is some of the top riders in the country here to train with
There is some great riding and weather around LA, but I couldn't advocate most of it as ideal simply because of the abysmal smog in the inland areas. That's a big deal to me.
What smog? I ain't seen no smog
You have to go pretty far inland for that, stick to the coastal mountains and it's a non issue
Can't beat the Bay Area. Lovely riding around Mt. Diablo (I'm from Walnut Creek) and the Oakland hills.
Cool, I am moving to Lafayette in a few weeks