Tuning at La Costa

Yesterday I went out for a spin at Rancho La Costa Preserve. It was a pretty sweet day to be out on a bike. In addition to getting in some exercise I was planning on tuning up my suspension.

Climbing up the Vista Del Mar trail

I have been very much an “under-adjuster” when it comes to suspension. I tend to set it once and forget it. The latest bike I have has a cane creek DB Inline Air shock which has both high and low speed compression and rebound adjustments. The Fox Float Air fork also has plenty of adjustments. I had recently had both serviced/overhauled and I going to be more systematic about tuning them and recording the setup.

SDMBA Bike Care station!

My shock actually has a companion app to help you tune and record your settings. On a previous outting I had set the shock up and recorded those settings. My focus on this day was going to be on the fork. I started with using a small digital tire pressure gauge to get accurate readings of my tire pressure. I’m planning on keeping this in my camelbak so I can reliably check my pressure at anytime. I took a shock pump with me and over the course of the first half of the ride I tweaked the pressure of the fork’s air pressure several times. I was a bit surprised what just a little bit of pressure change can do for getting that plush feeling and typical small terrain stuff while not easily bottoming out.

The view from the top.

Plushness was what I was really looking for over handling big hits. I just did not want it to dramatically dive while braking. I have been struggling with tendonitis in my elbows for several years so plushness (or is supple the right term?) on the front of the bike is what I’m looking for.

I went up Vista Del Mar, down the backside to Copper Creek, up to the water tower where I snooped around a bit before dropping back down to Copper Creek. I connected back up with Vista Del Mar and climbed back up to the top. At this point I felt I had the front end dialed for what I wanted. The optest was let things go for the run down the switchbacks trail. I’m pretty happy with the results as does not brake dive to much and the small rock chatter is very well damped. Now that the front is down, I will probably further tweak the rear.

There was a whole lot of geeking out with numbers on this ride, but it was still a great day to be out on a bike.

Bernardo Mountain – Rant

So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.

The guy was making plenty of noise.

Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.

The view of most of the southside trails.

There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.

Looking west from the summit

Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.

Cuyamaca Cruise

Today I went out for a quick spin in the Cuyamaca Mountains which rarely falls into the “This Sucks!” category.

An oak at the bottom of the Green Valley singletrack
An oak at the bottom of the Green Valley singletrack

I started from the East Mesa parking lot and took the East Mesa singletrack up to the visitor center where I connected to the Green Valley fire road.   I took this up to the Green Valley single track and work my way to the La Cima trail.

CRHT
I love this spot along the California Riding and Hiking Trail

The La Cima trail took me to the California Riding and Hiking trail, which I took south where I hooked up with the Stonewall fireroad and then over to the Cold Springs trail.

Great views in the Cuyamaca Mountains
Great views in the Cuyamaca Mountains

At the bottom of the Cold Springs trail I crossed HWY 79 and hooked up with the West Side singletrack and took it south back to the East Mesa staging area.    It was definitely a fun day on the bike!

An old friend gone

It is with a bit of sadness that I must pass on that this beautiful old oak tree has finally moved on from Daley Ranch.

From a year or so ago

On my Sunday morning ride, I found this tree toppled over completely blocking the eastern half of the Jack Meadow loop. Half of this oak had come down a year or so ago, but the other half finally we over as well. Considering that Daley Ranch has a staff to handle this kind of stuff I imagine the tree came down on Saturday. Good bye old friend you were a most welcome shade spot.

Website/Blog Recovery in Progress

I am in the middle of recovering from a webhosting transfer, backup/restore failure.   While the static webpages are back online (with the exception of interactive maps), the blog has issues.     The appearance has to be rewickered and entries from 2013 up to the middle of 2017 have to basically be rebuilt.

UPDATE – 11SEP18:   All of my data and photos have been recovered!!   Some of the external links are not going to work due to database index changes but the content is all there.   I still need to redo the appearance theme of the blog.

UPDATE – 18SEP18:   I now have a new blog theme, tweaked to mesh up with my regular site better.   You will find that it works much better with mobile devices than my previous setup.

McKenzie River Trail

Another trail from “The List” checked off today. The Mckenzie River Trail was simply amazing with pretty much everything I think a singletrack connoisseur would want in a trail. This excursion is in the discussion of the best 25 miles of trail I have ever been on. Props to Nichol for shuttling me to the trail and showing up at end with beer!

The north end of Clear Lake
The south end of Clear Lake
Superb lake-side section of trail
Sahalie Falls is just….WOW!
Koosah Falls is also amazing!
So much of this killer forest stuff!
You get plent of this cool log crossing stuff along the way.

Tomorrow it time to head home but we are most definitely going to be back to Bend!

More Bend Oregon

We were digging the scene in Bend so much that we extended our stay in Bend for a few more days.

We are vacation so no need to rush out too early.
Tumalo Falls
Tumalo creek
Happy bikes waiting for a shuttle up to the base of Mt Bachelor.

We did another super fun ride that included Dutchmans Flat, Flagline, Swampy Lake, Swede Ridge, Area 16, Upper and Lower Whoops, Phils Marvin Gardens and COD. It was a 35 mile day on tasty singletrack. A great day to be on a bike.

I think I can I think I can! Starting up the Flagline trail
Nearing the top of Flagline
Nice spot for snack break
Cool trail art!

Bend Oregon Opener

My work project completed on schedule and Nichol flew up with her bike to start our play project. Saturday we bolted from Washington to Bend Oregon for some MTB fun for a few days before heading to parts further south.

Nichol setup us up with a nice pad for the stay.

Wasting no time hitting the Bend Ale Trail

The opening day ride was a shuttle up to Swampys where we did the Swampy Lake loop to Swede Ridge, Area 16, Upper and Lower Whoops followed by some Phil’s and Bens.

On Swede Ridge
Hmmm I wonder where Nichol came up with the idea to put a beer in her ice filles camelbak bladder?

So I had told Nichol that route was 25 miles long. This was indeed true. At the Phil’s trailhead it was 25 miles. I neglected to mention the ride from the trailhead back to town. So for the last five or six miles Nichol accused me of trying to kill her.

Artwork along the Marvin Gardens trail
Killer trail sign
The girl knows her limits!

I think she did pretty darn well today and I did not hear to much protesting on the last few miles. (I did however ride a little further ahead which maaaay just have been slightly outside of earshot!

Once back in town all was better as we recounted the days awesomeness over tasty beers.

Ape Canyon – Mount Saint Helens

I got up at O-damm early this morning to knock off a long time on “The List” trails. The Mt Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument’s Ape Canyon and Plains of Abraham trails did not disappoint. Mother Nature only allowed partial views of the mountain today which clearly means she wants me to come back. The climb up through the old growth forest spared by the eruption was sublime. Climbing up onto the plains was a WOW moment. It was amazing to see what the mountain did when it decided to give its etch-a-sketch a little shake in 1980. It’s going to take me a few days to process all of the life enrichment I took in today.

Lahar next the trail
Climbing up through old growth spared from the eruption.
Pacfic Northwest trail awesomeness!
Such an aburpt transition from the forest onto the prior devastation
Like an lunar landscape on the Plains of Abraham.
So pretty!
A snapped of tree from the eruption
Nearing Windy Gap