We start off with, I am once again slacking a bit on BLOG posts. I will try to catch up at some point, but for today I have to talk about the Condor Peak Trail in the northern bits of the San Gabriel mountains. I first rode this trail in in 2007 and thought it was a fantastic trail. I was quite saddened in 2009 when the station fire tore that area and the trail up. After thousands of volunteer hours put in by the dedicated folks of the Lowelifes Respectable Citizens’ Club the trail was officially reopened back in July.
Those folks did an amazing job of rebuilding that trail. It is in fantastic shape and they did not sacrifice any of the narrow twisty exposed nature of trail which make it such treasure to a single track connoisseur .
My buddy Bill and I revisited a point-to-point ride we did that included a 12 mile climb up Mendenhall Ridge and a connection over to the top of the Condor Peak Trail. Condor Peak can also been done as an out and back, but I don’t like the idea of trying to climb some of those narrow exposed sections when you are momentum deprived. No matter what method you take to get to the top of Condor Peak you are going to put in some work.
I had a great time yesterday with Sean McNew and Bill O’Neil checking out the goods around Wrightwood. Sean was a tour guide extraordinaire! My prior experience in this area has predominantly been the Blue Ridge D route. Sean has spent a large deal of time working in the high desert not far from here and he has the good on this area figured out. I’m already ready for a return visit!
This weekend I got up at O-damn early and I traveled up to the Los Angeles area to catch up with an old friend. What better way to catch up on things than during a bike ride. After swinging by his place we continued northward to spend some time on the Golden Eagle Trail. What a nice chunk of trail.
The lower portion of the trail was scorched by a wildfire in the last couple of years but the recovery process is well underway. The climb was a good punch to the cardio system. The two McDonalds sausage biscuits that I had just recently polished off for breakfast and were now sitting like a couple of bricks in my gut also helped with the challenge. I should know better by now, clearly I’m a slow learner.
Sausage sweats aside, once we got a little further up on Liebre Mountain we cleared the burn area and things got back to how I remembered them. (Both for my stomach and the trail!) There are some seriously nice ribbons on dirt on this mountain with incredible flow across both grassy hillsides and through forests of oak trees.
Now Bill and I have done many a road trip together over the years and somewhere along the way, Bill got me sucked into the pursuit of tasty bourbons and scotch. So in addition to enjoying some awesome single track on the mountain we both brought some spirit samples from the home cabinets to share. I’m pretty sure bourdon taste better outdoors and adds a little something to the flavor of a Clif Bar
After tooling around on the Liebre Mountain ridgelines the descent down the Golden Eagle trail was quite a rip. It was the awesome kind of situation where all your sensory systems are fully engaged to help produce the required muscle/body action and your brain seems to shift from conscious controlling to supervising. That wonderful state of being fully in the moment. While I did not notice it on the climb, the fire damage near the bottom had made the usable trail’s usable tread even narrower than normal in spots which required some high speed precision in spots. It was a great day to be on a bike.
I’ll be tweaking the route description on my page in the coming days to reflect my latest understanding of the place.
I first talked about this area in my San Gabriel Mountains Teaser Pics post back in the middle of December. I finally got around to putting the rest of the pictures, maps and descriptions together into a trail review. The San Gabs are a haul for a day ride for me, but the more I venture up to there, the less the drive seems. I’m sure some physics/math geek could incorporate the variables of space, time, trail conditions and blah blah blah into a theory of relative enjoyment. Either way I have been digging my excursions into the San Gabriel Mountains, and I think you will as well.
Friday I made a rather long drive up through LA to get in some San Gabriel Mountain goodness with my long time riding bud, Bill O’neil. He is better known as “MrMountainHop” online. Bill also has a real knack for putting together some awesome routes that often includes trails off the beaten path. When arranging this ride with Bill my main theme was “I’m driving a long way, lets use all of the day.” Boy did Bill and the San Gabriel Mountains deliver on that. We did a good chunk of the Silver Moccasin trail as well as Mount Hillyer and some other goodies. Look for the the full report, pictures and maps in the weeks to come. Here a few quick pics from the day.
The weather forecasts are calling for more snow in the next week, but we found plenty.
Not too many tracks in this area.
Riding on evening minor technical bits is interesting with a bit of snow and ice added to the mix.
Some were challenging enough without the snow.
Trail Math – 15 minutes to the bottom – 5 minutes to change a tire – Maybe 17 minutes of twilight left.
Well this is not a real recent ride, but it is new page on the site. With all the tinkering with getting the new version of the site put together, this ride just sort of got pushed to the side for awhile. There was a bit of research I had to do with this ride as the trails were not well marked and various map sources had conflicting information. Eitherway, I finally got around to putting this one together. With all of the rains when have been having as fo late this trail would be really good when it has some moisture on it.