Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Snooping around South Poway

March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails.   I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.

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The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating  “Trails”.    Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience.    After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.

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Here is a bit of an offical new city of Poway trail that is a  nice singletrack.   Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.  

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The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.   

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According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned.   I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above  it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.

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Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL”  dirt road junk.  Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture.   It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”.    Everytime I have pulled the string on the  “who designed this”  question,  it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources).     People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.

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This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime.   Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it.     The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of  well done social trails.    Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails”  by the city) that had to be dealt with.   I did about 15 miles total that day.  I will be doing some more exploring out here.

Lake Hodges – Benardo Mountain

March 13th, 2013 by MTBBill

On Sunday Jake had hockey practice over at Kit Carson park in Escondido so I took the opportunity to get in some pedal time out at Lake Hodges.

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  I stuck to the North Side trails on this outing.

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Updating the Lake Hodges pages on my website has been on my to-do list for quite some.   Now that there is a pedistrian and bike bridge connecting the north and south side of the lake there are more ride options in the area on a single outing.   Additionally, a few years ago I got a letter from some of the land owners and the western end of the easement road (known as the high road) that did not want anyone using the easement rsload for recreation and asked that I take down that information from my site.   Well obviously I’m a busy guy and have not be able to get to that yet.    It looks like it maybe all figured out by now since new signage has gone up.  Of course that new signage has made things as clear as mud.  Take a look at the picture above.   The easement road sign says “No Trespassing”  yet they installed a people tunstill beside the gate.  New signs were put up telling you it is okay to hike and bike to the right, but no trespassing to the left.    Looking at the sign above at the far western end of the easement road one would think it is okay to go through the gate and ride off to the right vice on the easement road that goes to the left.   That is not the case at all.   What the signs are trying to convey is that when you are on the easement road, everything uphill of the road is private property and everything downhill (towards the lake) is part of the park.   This is also not entirely correct as the private property owners land typically goes some number of feet/yards downhill of the road.  The park has put up private property signs at the bottom of the trails that connect the lower trails to the upper easement road.   I find it odd that some of the land owners don’t want people on the eastern end of the easement road, yet nearly all of them have gates onto the easement road from their backyard.  Presumably so they can use the easement road to get into the park.  Hmmm so it is okay for those land owners to  get onto the little sliver of the easement road they own and then trespass on their various neighbors property and then enter the park through unauthorized trails but it is not okay for the public to do so.    Hmmmm, the best advice I can give is to do your best to make sense of the various “non-truth” signs you see and make your own judgement calls.    Following the predominate and fresh foot and bike tracks is probably a safe bet.  

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The Benardo Mountain trail has no controversy involved with it.   It just a nice trail that will work you over on the climb up to the peak.   There are some tough grade sections and some technical bits as well that will test both skill and fitness.    There was some nice purple blooms going off on the climb.

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The view of the bridge connecting the North side to the South side from the peak. 

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Snow on the mountains to the east.

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After Bernardo Mountain I rode out towards the dam until it was time to turn around and get back to the rink.    I made it back just as Jake was get off the rink so two sweaty Porter Boys to funk of the truck on the drive back to Casa Del Bill.

Florida Canyon in Balboa Park

March 8th, 2013 by MTBBill

So I was tube locked for most of the day on Wednesday, but an appointment near Balboa Park gave me about an hour and half to squeeze in a quick ride in Florida Canyon.   Florida Canyon is part of Balboa Park and the canyon has trails on both sides of Florida Drive which goes down the middle of the canyon.   I have only ridden here once before about 13 years ago.  Besides that there is not much mileage out here I had forgotten my other aversion to this place.  I was obvisously overdue for a refresher.  

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While this place is very short on miles, the fact that it is bascally in downtown gives it huge bonus points.   The place is pretty and has enough ups, downs and turns to keep a beginner excited.

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Most of the trails are about sidewalk wide and while being solidly in the none technical category they do have some character here and there.  These trails are much better than the homogenized decomposed granite sidewalks that are so prevalent among most of the city and county created pathways/roads that they try to pass off as “trails”.

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There are some more narrower singletracks here and there.  The picture above is of one of the trails on the east side of the canyon.   Now I am routinely prone to taking the trail less traveled to try and figure out an area’s trail system and today was one of those days.   While over on the east side of the canyon just south of Morley Field (highlighted in yellow below) I spotted a few exceptionally narrow looking trails that seemed to not see much action so I flicked the handlebars and headed off down the second one I came across.   Turns out I was quite wrong about the whole not seeing much action assessment.  Less than 40 feet down the trail I hear somebody coughing off in the bushes in a manner that seems like they are trying to get someones attention.  I thought it wierd but kept on rolling.   Around the next corner I see some things that well (a) Ought to happen behind closed doors (b) Joe Public should not have to see in a public park  (c)  Just can’t be unseen!    Everybody (Straight, Gay, Trannies, Furries, etc…)  has to get their freak on but come on!  I should have to type in some keystrokes like C: <INSERT> ### into my computer to see some shit like that on an idle Wednesday afternoon.  I was certainly motivated  get out of this section of “social ” trails at this point so I give some extra gusto to the pedals.   These little trails seemed more  like a maze and this point and two turns later I encounter a very stylishly dressed man in surprising uncomfortable looking shoes strolling along this little trail towards me.   (Don’t ask me why I noticed the shoes,  I just did okay.   I have been paying more attention to peoples shoes ever since I saw Shawshank Redemption.  We should all be slightly suspicious of people wearing inappropriate shoes.)    He was a cordial fellow who wanted to chat while I figured out how to get around him with the minium of greetings exchanged.     The guy seemed to pick up on the fact that Homee don’t play that pretty quickly and I was soon on my way again.    A handful of seconds later I popped back onto the main trail to notice another well dressed fellow reading a book while sitting on a log seat and another guy just sort of standing around.   Weird!

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I then remembered why I had not been back over here in over a decade. Morley Field is a “Cruising” spot for gay guys looking to hook up for casual sex in the bushes.   To each his own but the Public Service Announcement for this trail system is

“Stay on the Designated Trails in Florida Canyon”   

Once I was back the main trail and checking out the rest of the trails I could not help but chuckle as dinner plans for the evening had already been made with my girlfriend.

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We had dinner at Hilcrest Brewing Company where they not only have good food but good beers as well.    Their pizzas are awesome and we had a tough time deciding between the “BBQueer Chicken” or the “Meatpacker”.   The Meatpacker won the coin toss and it went well my girlfriends  “Hoppy Endings”  IPA and my “Pearl Necklace” Pale Ale.   It was a very memorable bike ride with plenty of laughs and snickers afterwards.

The Killing of Iron Mountain

February 12th, 2013 by MTBBill

Here is a special contribution from a long time riding friend of my mine.   Iron Mountain is (rapidly heading towards the “was”) a classicly technically challenging hike/ride in San Diego County).   People enjoyed this trail because it was hard.    Once again we have well intended but misguided people in charge listening to the vocal minority of the trail users who want to “say” they did something hard without “doing” something that is hard.   There are plenty of sterile dirt sidewalks being touted as trails in the city of Poway.     The city has plans for additional trails, how about putting the sparse resources they have to making new trails instead of screwing of the ones we already have.     

The Killing of Iron Mountain

by: Steve Gordenker

Mark and I had a chance to get up to Iron Mountain, yesterday. We witnessed firsthand, the latest round of “Trail maintenance”, by Poway parks and recreation trails manager, Bob Hahn. Recall if you will, last year, I spoke in front of Poway’s city council, sat in on parks and trails planning meetings, wrote letters, and emails, and made phone calls to city council members and the Mayor.

 What a complete, colossal waste of my time.

The slow death of Iron mountain continues, at the hand of Bob Hahn.

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This is towards the top, at the “Hemotoma” area. Large swath of granite removed.

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Wheelchair accessable.

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Ironic, no?

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They dismantled the Iron Meatball.

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Two military guys were hiking down Iron from the top. This poor guy slipped on the loose, powdery mess that Bob Hahn’s butchers left when they removed large portions of granite. He rolled his ankle badly and was unable to put any weight on it. With no way to walk out, his buddy had no choice, but to carry him out on his back. They were 2.5 miles up at this point.

 Thank you, again, Bob Hahn, for making Iron Mountain a “safer” outdoor hiking experience, by completely obliterating all of that dangerous grippy granite.

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Another iconic section of trail at the top , sanitized for your protection.

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Yet another switchback section cleaned and smoothed out by Bob Hahn’s wrecking crew.

Aliso and Wood Canyons

June 23rd, 2012 by MTBBill

Bill O’Neil and I met for a cruise through  Aliso and Wood Canyon Park in Laguna Hills of Orange County today.  My last ride out here was cut short due to a mechnical so today was really my first time seeing the majority of the trails in some number of years.   I found it amazingly depressing how bad some of the trails have been widened with go-arounds that seemed to be at nearly every minor obstacle.   The Cholla trail for example is just a complete mess compared to a handful of years ago.  I wish people could just check their ego and get off and walk the stuff they can’t ride instead of making or taking the go-arounds.   (I know preaching to the choir here) 

 

Here is a shot at the top of the Rock-It trail. Plenty of go-arounds here as well.  This was a mighty fun descent (following the original lines).   Once down Rock-It we worked our way over to Mathis.  My memory of the steepness and length of this climb has been dulled over the years.   It was quite vividly refreshed today as it took quite a bit of gruntage to get my Intense UZZI up this climb.

Once up to the top of Mathis we continued up along the ridge fireroad to “Top of the World”   This was a good place to take a breather and enjoy the views of the Pacifc and Laguna Beach.   From here we went back down to Mathis and picked up the “Car Wreck” trail.

This was my first time on this trail and it was quite a bit of fun.  I managed to not get any pictures taken of the technical bits.  The picture above is just after all of the technical bits along with the namesake remains of an old vehicle.  This trail feeds right into the Oak Grove Trail.   A pretty section of trail.

The next trail we hit up was the Dripping Cave trail.   There were some nice tree lined bits as well as some short grunt working climbing in the direction we were going.

We farted around a bit at the at actual dripping cave

Some of it was just downright photo posing.    It was right about this time we thought we heard the sound of tiny bubbles trying to escape from finely crafted brown glass bottled far off in the distance.    We set out to investigate the sound and found the offending bubbles (in my truck).    Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA and Mission Brewing’s Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout were tasty accompaniments to post-ride chit-chat.   Another NON-Bad day to be on a bike.

Daley Ranch Hack-O-Rama Ride

January 2nd, 2012 by MTBBill

Being sick sucks!    I have had a lingering cough/congestion for going on two weeks now they is really getting annoying.   My get well plan is based on schedule of copious amounts of NyQuil, Vitamin C, Cascadian Hops and English Two-Row Barley.     I have found it works quite well for either improving ones symptoms or reducing ones attention to the symptoms. 

I have been getting in some rides but not to either the length or intensity that I would care to do.  I have been feeling better for the last few days so I decided to do a larger loop out at Daley Ranch today.   There is plenty of climbing to do out in this area so there would a good bit of effort-per-mile here.

It was a great day to be out and about and I was not the only one with the idea.   The parking lot was packed and there looked to be lots of folks out who were obvisously trying to keep to thier New Year’s resolutions.     That is all great for people wishing to improve themselves but I think there should be a federal regulation banning the manufacture of Spandex apparel in sizes greater than 18.   Ladies, if  your waist/arse is measured at 325/85R17 or greater then maybe a nice cottton baggie short and fluffy blouse would be a good starting point.    It is like dudes in Speedos (in the US) if you ain’t sporting six-pack abs and could make a living in the adult film industry stick to board shorts cause nobody want to see that kinda stuff!

Post tramatic apparel viewing stress aside I had an alright ride despite not being 100%.  I had plans for doing a 23 mile ride out here, but the hack-o-rama was taking it toll and I snipped off the last segment to make it an 18 miler.   It was still a good day to be on a bike.

La Costa Stroll

December 30th, 2011 by MTBBill

Rancho La Costa Preserve is really close to Casa Del Bill so it is often on the menu you when I only have time for a quick fix of dirt.    Despite its close proximity it had been sometime since I last rode out here.  It seems like Elfin Forest, Lake Calvera or Daley Ranch had been getting more play as of late.

Some nice new trail markers can be found throughout the trail system.

Strolling up the switchbacks trail

Flag at the top.    There was some drama a couple months ago as the flag up here (which was put up with permission of the land manger) kept getting stolen by some unpatriotic Jack Ass.  It is awesome that we live in a country where even the idiots are free to express thier views in any manner they are willing to accept the consequences for.    Too bad the Jack Ass was also a monumental coward as I’m quite certain the general public would have expressed themselves in a manner that he would not enjoyed.  I’m thinking getting your ass whooped with a flag pole is adequeate consequence.   

Dumbassness aside the trails were in fairly good shape and fun as always.    Vista Del Mar Trail goodness above.

Tuesday Spin at PQ

June 29th, 2011 by MTBBill

Tuesday, I opted for spin through Penasquitos Canyon with the hardtail.   After riding the UZZI around for that last while, the hardtail felt like a  flatland rocketsled out a PQ.  It felt really good carry a good grip of speed under your own power without the assistance gravity.   I knew I was going to be riding the following day, but I could not help myself, I rode like I was not going to ride the next month.  

Of course that was all fine and dandy until about 3/4th of the way the ride,  my body reminded me that I’m at least a couple dozen jelly doughnuts and a growler full of Imperial Stout shy of being “In Shape”.    It was just about this time that I ran into one of my friends out on the trail.   There must be some kind of quantum physics formula that shows that if you meet a friend on the trail and your legs are at least medium rare on the “cooked” scale, said friend will be a hammerhead who will crush your punie little girly man legs into jello.  (Make sure to read it with the “Hanz and Franz” accent)

So there was no cool down cruiser back to the trailhead for me.    I was able to hold on (for the most part) and I felt good, good and worked over,  back at the truck.   It good afternoon ride on a bike.

WEBSITE NOTE:  My PQ page is way way out of date.     With all the crap with the “Tunnels”, Del Mar Mesa, and the destruction of “Intestines”, I have opted to staying out of that politically charged mess (at least from the website perspective).   If the dust ever settles I will update will update the page then.

Celebrating the End of the Day

August 2nd, 2010 by MTBBill

There is nothing like a little celebration and the end of an awesome day.  It is great to reflect on day well spent with family and friends. One of my favorites is when there is a bit of great mountain biking in the mix as well.    I have been really fortunate to have lots of those days.    Today the celebration was for different reasons.

The day started off like some of my other work trips that have had some awesome mountainbiking through in as well.   Asunrise communter flight to LAX to catch a connector.  The connector in this case was Seattle and I have plans for a good bit of riding during my month long stay up here.   Once we got about the marine layer I was treated to pretty pictureque scene below.

 

 One of the other guys I will be working with on this project was going to drive up versus fly.  He has plans for some post-work vacation/roadtrip.   He offered to drive my bike up so I was more than happy not have tear in down, put in the bike box and lug it around the airports.   Shortly after getting off the plane in LAX and into the terminal things started turning for the worse.    I got a phone call from by work bud.  My Intense 6.6 had been stolen off the back of his truck.  Somebody in Kelso WA cut the fairly beefy cable lock and took off with my cherished rig.  I did have a long enough of a layover that all the phone calls were taken care of with the Kelso Police Department as well as make a few points online about the event.     Needless to say I was good and bummed.

My Baby when she was new (The shock has seens been replaced with a Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock)    The setup of this bike is fairly unique and considering that “Works” translucent paint allows the unique weldmarks to show through, the underlying marks on this paint is a vittual fingerprint for this bike.

Hopefully this along with frame serial number will help it recovery.  I don’t expect I’ll see the bike again.  

Needless to say that I was not in a good mood when I got on the flight to Seattle.    I was however fairly comfortable in seat 5C.   Short BEFORE take off, the little five or so year old “princess” in row 8 started screaming crying and wailing.      It was freaking blood curdling and I could see the tightening shoulders and clinched jaws of everyone within my view.  Mom made good effort to try and calm the little princess down….for all of about five freaking minutes, then she just became pretty oblivious to her little freaking scream box urchin.    We were given the okay to use the portable electronics you should have seen the mad scramble everyone was making to fire that those things up to try and drowned out that the baby terrorist cell.   The scramble was enough that the flight attendant actually smile and had to hold back some snickers.    Even with the music pumping you could still here the screaming.   Now I know the difference between a kid in pain and a kid being a pain.  There was not ear ache, no upset stomach, this kid was just an urchin.  Come on Mom, do something, NyQuil, Sleeping Pills, Pillow across the face,  sock in the mouth, something!    The descent was pure torture once we had to turn off our electronic mufflers.   I was fit to be tied when I got off the plane,   luckily I have a couple hours of driving to do and was able to chillax a little.

Because of the length of my stay here I was able grab a condo rental for the same price as a hotel stay.   I was pretty freaking stoked with the accommodations and location.  It was well into the afternoon by the time I was finally able to set down and relax for good with a tasty Pacific Northwest cold one.    Somedays you celebrate a day well spent, today I was simply celebrating the END of this day.    The good news about this Monday is there are a lot of people out there who had something truly tragic happen today and I was not one of them.     Thanks everyone who acknowledged the bummage of my day and offered encouragement and help.   You guys Rock!

San Marcos – Its not a F$%)ing Trail!

July 30th, 2010 by MTBBill

Tripe (noun)

  1. Lining of the stomach of a ruminant (especially a bovine) used as food.
  2. A slang term synonymous with rubbish, in the sense of something of little value, or nonsense. 
  3.  (see also San Elijo Trails)

Definition #2 particularlythe “something of little value” is the theme of this rant.

So for the last week or so I have been investigating some of trails not to far from my hood.  The San Elijo Hills area.   I was not expecting much and I was quite underwhelmed.  More than just underwhelmed, I was pissed at what the developer was allowed to get away with calling trails.

 

The Gardens View Tripe – Are you f$%^ing kidding me!  When two trucks can pass one another on it, it is not a trail.   It is a dirt road.

 

I laughed out loud at this sign.  “Give Life A Chance”.     What the sign from the San Elijo Hills Development Company should say is “YOU need to give life a chance, because WE have already bulldozed all the habitat in this area”

 

Take a look at the crap they have on their website.  18 miles of trails.   There is less than one mile of trail in this development.   There are over 17 miles of Dirt Sidewalk Pathway Tripe throughout this development.   Try a little truth in advertising.

The Double Peak Tripe.    The “trail” is the dirt sidewalk on the side of the pavement and then starts up the hill.     Where is the natural outdoor experience here?  You have either pavement or a cement gutter on one side and a wooden rail fence to keep from even contacting nature on the other.   Most of this climb is compacted and absolutely smooth decomposed granite.  It is a nearly sterile outdoor experience where you never escape development.   I have been on treadmills that were only slightly less interesting.   If you can drive a Ferrari or a Prius on it, it is not a trail, it is TRIPE!   

 

Do I even need to say it, “It is not a F$%^ing Trail!    TRIPE, TRIPE, TRIPE!  This is part of the 18 miles that San Elijo is selling as an attraction.

 

The Lake San Marcos Tripe.     PAVED!   I will not buy any blabage about American Disabilites Act Access with this “trail”.   What this picture does not show is how stupidly steep this thing is.  There is no Rascal, Humaround or any other battery powered mobility chair that is going to get up this thing.   The city has a formula for how many miles of trail the community should have for its size and population.   The mileage of this tripe counts towards meeting that trail requirement.  What does that mean?  It could mean less funding for real trails in the future because the city already has its mileage.

 

This is  part of the “Make A Wish Trail”.    I sure did make a wish.  I wish there were more trails like this in the area.   This IS a trail.  Part of it looks to be pre-developement but portions of it are obviously newer.

This is  the “Secret Trail”  aka Trail 90.    While it is fairly short this is good stuff that not only offers a high quality outdoor experience it is substainually less impacting on existing habitat.  This is the best legal and sanctioned trail out here.   It is also a legacy trail from before the develeopment started.  

Okay so maybe I’m being rash and a trail snob but this is some of the worst stuff I have seen in an urban area interfacing  to open space in San Diego County yet.   The dirt pathways have their place down between the homes, but running this crap all the way up into the open space is just dumb.   It does not meet the needs of the users who would venture up that far and it needlessly destroyed even more habitat by making the “trails”  three to five times wider than they need to be.   Arrrrrrrgh, What a nearly complete failure on the part of those charged with the oversight of this development.   I’m not sure if this failure is due to incompetence, ignorance, or just a simple lack of caring but it certainly did occur.  

You can download a map of all this Tripe  here and go see for yourself.   While it is a good workout it is not a high quality outdoor experience.   If you disagree, you need to start looking for some new places to ride as you are missing out on the good stuff elsewhere in the county.