Archive for the ‘General MTB’ Category

Black Mountain & SYTT

December 3rd, 2016 by MTBBill

Last weekend I managed to get back out to the Santa Ysabel Truck and the Black Mountain near Ramona.

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(Along the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail)

The weather guessers were call in for a storm to hit the area in the afternoon, so I packed up the rain gear before heading out.   Typically I do about a 29 mile loop that includes Santa Ysabel Truck Trail, Black Mountain,  Pamo Valley and a bit dirt road and pavement interconnects.   Today I was going to be doing an out-and-back variant of the ride.

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(A section of the area spared from the 2007 wildfires)

I parked at the east end of the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail near the bridge on Black Canyon Road and headed out west.   The climbing is very mild but considering how much of a slacker I had been as of late I could tell there was some rust in the legs.  The last time I had here was when I did this as a section of the Coast-to-Crest trail.

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(Pamo Valley from the lower parts of the Black Mountain Truck Trail)

Once I hooked up with the Black Mountain Truck Truck, I turned uphill and started the sizable climb.

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(Climbing Climbing Climbing, Pamo Valley getting smaller)

I was not sure if I was going to go all the way to the top or not.   I planned on turning around if the legs cried uncle or if I got caught in a sustained pummeling of rain.

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The weather was starting to deteriorate around me as I continued climbing.   I could see it raining in the distance on either side of me but my little patch of the world was dry.  About 3/4ths of the way up my legs were getting to wank but I was able to keep going.    It was also getting colder and the wind was kicking up.  I was too hot with the wind breaker on and my chest was a bit cold without it and just the short sleeve jersey.   I always keep a bandana in my pack and it came in pretty handy in this case.  I unfolded it about halfway  and stuff inside my jersey as an additional layer in the front.

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Now most of Black Mountain has been covered in scrub in the past put the top of the mountain has some pine trees.  These pines were originally planted as part of the ongoing Penny Pines program that started in California in 1941.   Some of those pines were burned in the 2007 wildfire but a patch of the them at the very top were spared.

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(View from the summit with Lake Sutherland in the background)

It was a bit chilly up on the summit and the wind was whipping pretty good.  I typically enjoying hanging out up here and enjoying lunch but the wind made it pretty uncomfortable so after snapping some shots I made my way over to spot back along the trail that offered some shelter from the wind to have my lunch.   While taking those pictures, it came pretty clear to me that my luck with the rain was going to run out soon.    I hurried up with the snacks and then headed back down the mountain.    It was quick work back down to the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.    There is some climbing to be done on the way back along that truck trail and my legs were pretty shot at this point.     With about 15 minutes left in the ride a steady light rain started.   My windbreaker/raincoat was doing its job quite nicely and I spun my way back to truck.   About 30 seconds after I was all packed up and sitting in my truck the “bottom fell out” and a pounding rain last for most of my drive back into Ramona.    I felt pretty lucky to have snuck in a ride before the storm and was happy to get back out this little corner of the county.   A great day to be out on a bike!

Lower Rock Creek Trail – Fire Damage

August 29th, 2016 by MTBBill

Last week on my way up to Mammoth Mountain for some chairlift-assisted mountain biking I met up with Dave and Michael for a run down the Lower Rock Creek trail on my way into town.    We met up at the lower trailhead and then made our way to the top for some great riding back down the trail.   I had so much fun that I did not take any pictures.   You will have to take a look at last year’s post for some pictures. Michael did snap a few pictures and one of those is below. I was however running a video camera.   A fire came through this area back on August 5th that burned 122 acres.    Now wildfires are pretty common but the cause of this one was interesting.  The USFS has determined that fire was caused by a mountain bike pedal strike against a rock.  I’m not one to argue on this one, plenty of pedals have steel bits that can create a spark if struck against the right stuff in the right way.    Whatever your thoughts here is a clip of us rolling through the burn area.

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Update:

Here are a few links to articles and forum post on this fire.

Cyclist incensed after being blamed for a forest fire.

MTBR’s NORCAL forum thread.   (Be prepared some comedy in the responses here)

SFist Article (Read the comments)

 

Hitting up the SART

August 12th, 2016 by MTBBill

It was mighty nice to get back up in the mountains near Big Bear again.    Outside of the my recent ride in Flagstaff, it has been months since I had been out for a decent ride.  This was just what the doctor ordered.

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Ali, Bill and I started off on the Sugarloaf Trail and I was quickly reminded that the main muscle that I had been working out as of late has been my beer drinking arm.    9,000 feet of elevation and loose semi-chunky climbing soon found me gasping on the side of the trail barely able to see let alone breath.    That kind of punishment was exactly what I needed.   I had been a bad bad lard ass and I deserved to be punished.    While it was not that far, it seemed like a long way before we hooked up  with the loose chunky Sugarloaf connector down to the Wildhorse Trail.

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Ali rolling through the ferns at the upper end of the Wildhorse trail.

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Looking down along a part of the Santa Ana River watershed area from the Wildhorse trail.

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Bill zipping by

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Ali cruising through

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Besides a bit of Where’s Waldo action, you can see a good bit of the impact of last year’s Lake Fire that came through the area.    After finishing off the Wildhorse trail we did a bit of road cruising to the South Fork campground and hooked up with the Santa Ana River Trail for some more single track goodness.   The SART was in just about as good of a shape as I can remember for this time of year.

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Clowning around on the SART.

As usual good post-ride refreshments, grub and general shat talking ensued at the bottom.   A great day to be out in the dirt!

The long way to Flagstaff

July 17th, 2016 by MTBBill

My work projects in Bahrain finally  got to a point to where I could come home for a few weeks.  Combined our schedules have been kinda nuts lately which included Nichol needing to move a vehicle across the country.   I was able to swing my schedules around to allow for a few days at home before getting back on a plane to the east coast.  There I would join Nichol for the country drive that started in Norfolk VA.

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Day 1 was spent taking care of business in Norfolk before heading off to my folks place in North Carolina.   Along with a great visit, my Dad cooked up some of the best pulled pork BBQ I have ever had.  On the evening of Day 2 we pulled into Asheville NC.  We spent the evening enjoying some of the tasty microbrew scene along the Asheville Ale Trail that included Burial Beer and Wicked Weed Brewing.    Not that we had much of a plan to ride here but any thoughts of that were pretty much washed away with all of the thunderstorms they were having with more planned for the following day.   Day 3 we made our way to Little Rock Arkansas where we enjoyed some more tasty beers at Lost Forty Brewing before hopping into a hotel for the evening.    The next day we made our way Albuquerque NM for tastings from Ponderosa Brewing.  Yes, why yes we were making exceptional time! Don’t worry we left no contrails.

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The following day we made a rather quick jaunt over to Flagstaff.   We had made arrangements for some rentals bikes from Cosmic Cycles.  I must stay they some really good rentals at a very reasonable rate for what we got.  If we would have been super on our game we could have gotten out for late afternoon ride, but we somehow managed to find ourselves enjoying some tasty grub and beer at Flagstaff Brewing Co while we planned out what the ride was going to be the following day.

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The route we were going to do was a sampling of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.   I had ridden this section of trail back in summer of 2010 and figured this would be a great intro to the countryside of Flagstaff for Nichol.  We parked at the trailhead along Forest Service Road 418 and took the forest service roads back south along the bottom of Hart Prairie before catching trail that took us up near Aspens Corner and the junction with the Arizona Trail.

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Working our way up to Aspens Corner

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The connector trail up to Aspens Corner passes by a nice little pond.  This views did not suck

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Once on the AZT we were treated to a mix of single track goodness through stands of Aspens

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Views from Hart Prairie

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Stands of Pines

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A ferns that were sometimes head high.  The last few miles along this route were just “La La La La La” singletrack awesomeness that required very little pedaling and very little breaking as you swooped through pines, aspens, ferns, wildflowers etc…. all the way back to the trailhead.

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We enjoyed some tasty Asheville goodness we brought with us for a post-ride refreshment at the trailhead.

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And what a great place to enjoy a tasty post-ride beer.  This was our view next to the truck.    By the end of the day we would make our way to Las Vegas where we delivered and the truck and other move related goods.   The following day made our way back home.

All Work and No Play

June 10th, 2016 by MTBBill

Makes Bill a Dull Boy!

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Since the fall of last year, I have been spending way too much time working in the island country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.  I certainly can’t complain about the accommodations.

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It has been virtually one project right after the other and I am looking forward to getting it all of done.

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The work is certainly rewarding but I am ready to get back home to be with family and friends and back on some dirt.

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Not this kind of dirt.

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This kind of dirt!

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So with all of this time I have had over here to pour through all of the MTB resources over here,  I have boiled down things into my number one tip for planning a mountain biking trip to Bahrain…..

DON’T! This place sucks for mountain biking!

I’m sure you could make some kind of lemonade with the bitter lemons of this place.   Maybe with a Fatbike and riding at night when its only like 95 but really try Death Valley in summer first.

 

Sycamore Canyon Southern Access

January 18th, 2016 by MTBBill

This will not surprise those of you who have been following the ongoing access issue to Sycamore Canyon in the San Diego Area. Access to the Sycamore from the south continues to be problematic Part of the long standing trail network linking the Mast/Media area of the Santee Lakes to the southern entrance of Sycamore Canyon crosses over MCAS Miramar land known as East Elliott. For decades there has been little concern over this access route but in the last couple of years the access has been of more concern for the USMC.     Here is a blog post from the SDMBA on latest round of enforcement that includes the confiscation of bikes.  Below is a map that is been floating around on social media.  I kind of like my bikes so I would recommend avoid those trails that cross onto the USMC land.   There are other option in the area.  Options I can’t post of my site, but a quick strava search should give you some things to think about 😉

Here is a message from the SDMBA president regarding the issue.

Crested Butte’s Doctor Park Trail

January 3rd, 2016 by MTBBill

Okay finally finished up the rest of the Colorado Trip pages with the inclusion of the

Doctor Park Trail and the “Table of Contents” for the trip.

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The Crested Butte 401 Trail

January 2nd, 2016 by MTBBill

Wow, I have been away from the BLOG for way too long.   Between work being….well…WORK and a ton of other life things I have been away from the keyboard.   The 401 trail is thoroughly covered in snow right now but I finally finishing off my pictures and notes from the fall Colorado trip.

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I spent a few days in Crested Butte and got in a couple of great rides.  One of those was the 401 Trail.

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Here is the webpage with all my pictures and some blabbage from the ride.

The Monarch Crest Epic

November 21st, 2015 by MTBBill

I have spent the last month working out of the country and pretty much had no-time and less mental energy to finish up my pictures and thoughts from my Colorado trip.  The Monarch Crest trail was my day six excursion and it did not disappoint.   Much of the route is part of the both Continental Divide and Colorado Trails.  This is certainly a bucket list quality trail that I’m super stoked to have ridden.

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View from along the trail

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Nudging up close to 12,000 feet of elevation.

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Looking down into the Silver Creek drainage that I would soon be riding through.

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Near the bottom of the Silver Creek Trail.

Check out the rest of the pictures and ride description here.

 

Twin Lakes south of Leadville

October 12th, 2015 by MTBBill

Day Five of my fall vacation through Colorado was riding around Twin Lakes between Leadville and Buena Vista.  There was plenty of nice trail and killer views.  Find all the pictures, maps and blabbage here.