Well I've been mostly in the Alps and Dolomites with occasional forays to Northern Europe, the UK and Thailand, and they are shite. I can say this because I ride in mountainous terrain daily. I might ask where have you been if I were to be impolite.
I ride daily, 4 days a week (business day rides) in the Hollywood Hills / Bel Air area. My typical route is about 25mi with 4,000ft' ascent. The descents are typically steep, tight turns with blind corners. The max gradient on my daily routine, which I do often but alternate because I get bored with too much repetition, has a quarter mile at around 17%. That's on the 2nd climb of that route, and it follows an earlier (and much more precarious) descent of around 14-16% (with vehicular traffic on a single lane road). These are highly populated residential areas with drivers of very expensive vehicles and an invalid sense of entitlement - which means emergency braking when they decide to emerge from their driveways suddenly, or when they decide to switch into the on-coming lane of traffic around a corner that you are descending, and so on. It's surprising how quickly you want to stop when you realize that hitting a Zonda or 458 Italia will be much more expensive than the medical bills alone.
Sometimes, mid week, I'll sneak off for a longer ride in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Weekends are spent doing long days in the saddle, usually focused around climbing. Santa Monica Mountains (sometimes steep, but typically technical descents with off-camber turns and inconsistent radii) are the easiest playground because I ride from my door to them, just like the Hollywood Hills / Bel Air area. I also do plenty of riding in the San Gabriel Mountains and the higher and lower Sierras (it's well worth the travel time). Plenty of climbing, plenty of descending at high speeds, at high elevations, rough roads, smooth roads, wet roads, snowy days, hot days. Carbon clinchers, no issues to speak of.
Hope that helped, even if you didn't ask. Los Angeles is a massive metropolis that, by county, covers more than 88 cities and unincorporated areas. For some people who live in the 'basins' or at certain parts of the coast the riding can be flat. For many, however, there are considerable climbing hills in nearly every direction. It isn't surprising that many pro teams choose to spend their time holding training camps in this area. It provides a nice alternate to Mallorca if the budget allows.
These are not the European Alps, clearly. The Sierras might compare though.
|| Other projects in the works.