More Black Mountain

Time to get in some more Black Mountain.   I continue to be impressed with the improvements that been made and the progress on the trails out here.

The Black Widow trail going down the west slope of the mountain continues to see love from the trail crews.

Word is there are future plans for access to the East Rim from the east side as well. That would be pretty awesome as all of the current access point are both social trails and brutally steep hike-a-bikes.   I’m so excited about this place is coming along from standpoint of how advocacy groups and willing community governments can actually make things happen.

Post HO HO HO Daley

After partaking in all of traditional Christmas time feasting it was time to try to knock a little of the growing HO HO HO off of my belly with some miles and some climbing.   Daley Ranch offers plenty of that.   I decided to switch my routes some on my two rides out here this week.  I decided to start out with a climb up the boulder loop which I have not done it quite some time.   While on the climb I came upon a Kangaroo Rat.

Ain’t he cute?

So I have seen plenty of Kangaroo rats out on the trail when night riding. This was my first time seeing one during the daylight and certainly catching one. I actually caught this little critter several times while trying to get the photos. Other than a couple ticks on its under side it seems to be healthy. I’m pretty sure its behavior is going have it being a coyote or hawk snack very soon.

Blue skies, green grass

It was has been really pretty out here lately with the winter storms bringing in some much needed moisture.

The Pacific Ocean in the distance

It was pretty nice to do some of this area in the opposite direction than what I normally take.   Seeing things from a different perspective as well as at a different speeds put a nice “new” twist on things.

Snow on Palomar Mountain

I  always think it is a treat to see and visit snow without snow coming to visit me.

 

Return to Black Mountain (RB)

It has been quiet some time since I have been over to the east side of Black Mountain in Rancho Bernardo.    Man I have been missing out.    There has been some really good contouring single tracks built on “Little Black Mountain” that are replacing the stupidly steep old jeep routes that were previously most of your options out there.

The great thing is these are fully above board legal trails.     The local community and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association working  with the City of San Diego have a good thing going out there.

The route I have been kinda digging as of late has me starting from the Black Mountain Open Space Park and head south along west base of the mountain to connect to the main fire road climb where I head up to the peak.   After the peak  I drop down the Black Widow Trail.    I climb back up the main fire road where I then cut over to Little Black Mountain and ride the loops out and then connection up to the Nighhawk trail to Miner Ridge Loop.   From there I do the eastern half of that loop to Lilac and then to the Ahwee that takes me back to the park.   Here is a link to that route.  The end of the Ahwee is cut off due to my GPS watch running out of juice so your distance should be slightly longer.  (I need to update my website page on this trail system)

 

Cowboy Trails Redux

So I managed to get back to the Cowboy trails for another crack and making it up to the ridge without getting snowed out.

What a bunch of asses out running a muck off trail
I took the Bunny and Fossil Canyon Trails first bit of climbing

After that I took the outer loop which I had never done before.   It was some nice bit of single track

The snow capped red-rocks. So cool.

 

Looking back down the Fossil Canyon Trail

From Outer Loop I hooked up with Midas and SARS.   It was nice to be able to feel my toes at this stage of the ride compared to my last time our here.

 

Cool view of the strip from along the ridge

After that I took Radio Tower.   (Next time I will take Little , The uppermost bit of Bomb Voyage, Little Jimmy Switchbacks up to the Ridge Trail

More views from the top
I bet the night view would be really awesome from here

The views from the ridge line was just as cool as I remember   Once off I the ridge trail, I hooked up with the Bomb Voyage trail.   I got turned turned around just a bit at the top on some hiker spurs but there is no mistaking the trail once it turns downhill.  Oh man is the trail burly!   I had to walk more that a couple of sections.    Pretty close to the bottom, the Bob Gnarly trail merges with Bomb Voyage.    During my next visit out here I’m going to give Bob Gnarly a shot.    The numbers are a lot less than the fun (and work) factor out here.   I’m already looking forward to a return to here on the next visit to Vegas.

La Costa to Elfin

I recently revisited the connector route between and the La Costa trail system and the Elfin Forest recreation reserve as well as little bit of exploration along the way. Here are few thoughts and pictures from along the way.

This crap is why it is important for groups like SDMBA to engage with developer that are tasked with putting trails as part of the development. Wither you agree or disagree with a development, these home and road builder needs to be educated on what a trail is and is not. This tripe is not a trail!
This part of the route was mighty zippy down and a real grunt on the way up!
The Escondido Creek singletrack.

I had not been on the Escondido Creek single track in a really long time. When I was helping with the early phase of constructing this trail, I got my worst case of poison oak I have ever had. There was some PO along this trail on this ride but it was not really encroaching into the trail.

Cruising through the Harmony Grove area. This used to be an old trailer/RV park and you will ride through some of those remnants.
The creek crossing just after the trail enters Elfin Forest Recreation Preserve

I tinkered with a few offshoot trails as long the way. When I got to Elfin I thought about putting together a loop using a series of trails a dirt roads to the north. I opted to check out a few more along the route I came out on. All together I put in 21 miles and change along with 3,000 feet of climbing. If you rode all of the Elfin and La Costa trails along with the connector you could pile up about 40 miles. I am going to tinker here some more for sure.

Laguna Mountains Trailfest

I had a really nice time up in the Laguna Mountains this past weekend.    The San Diego Mountain Biking Association was putting on the 2nd Annual Laguana Trailfest.    It was a Friday-Sunday event that included lots of organized rides, demo, food, music clinics and much more.   You know, A Festival!   The event was being held and the El Prado group tent camping sites and I wanted to have the comforts of our traveler trail.   So I went up on Wednesday and got spot in the adjacent Meadow Loop campsites.

Casa Del Bill and Nichol for the weekend

With the campsite acquired and setup it was time for a late afternoon spin through the area.  I had a good time and I used up all of the day.

Big Laguna Meadow. Hmmmmm I’m thinking Arbys
I might have gone a hike as well
Trail Goodness!
I caught this guy eyeballing up the compressor line!

I ended up spending the night up in the trailer and headed off to work the next morning and was back on Friday for a weekend of festival.

Bacon cooked in a cast iron skillet over a campfire. Yummo!

Trailfest was an exceptionally well put on event and I had a great time.  I’m already looking forward to it again next year.  One thing I did not manage to do was take any pictures.  Instead take a look at the SDMBA Photo Album of Trail fest.

On the way to Red Tail Roost

I ran into Bengt with whom I worked with for a period of time in Bahrain.  We did the bulk of the Poker Ride together.  Here is his video that as well as some bonus footage of the upper section of Noble Canyon.

On the way to Redtail Roost

I got the campsite through Sunday night so we I would not feel rushed to get out of there on Sunday, so as the festival wound down I went out for another loop that included a climb up to Red Tail Roost down to and then up Aqua Dulce, a run down Gatos and a loop around the meadow with a diversion up to the kiosk.

After a post-ride refreshment it was time to pack up and move on out.   It was a nice weekend to be out on a bike!

San Juan Trail

Okay it has been quite a few moons since I last rode the San Juan Trail. This past Monday I made a return trip. The trail is the trail over course but I was a little taken back by the condition of those bottom 10 switchbacks that you open up with.

Those switchbacks have always had thier troubles with errosion and they were pprobably the more maintenance intensive bits. That being said these switchbacks have damn near been replaced with lollipop turns. Here is an older picture of that section.

Take a look at the switchbacks now.

They are all rounded out. WTF? People were making those turns on downright arcane MTB rigs. With all of the modern bike tech that is out there right now why is this happening?

I have my theories. Most of them involve some type of rider/tech with “tard” or “hole” added to the end of it.

After mentally grumbling about how much easier and less rewarding these switchbacks now are to clean I realized another fact. This trail still goes freaking uphill. Its good stuff. This was my first “epic” trail and still a classic in my book.

I did not do the lollipop on this day. I was plenty fine with heading back down after chillaxing at Cocktail Rock for a bit.

The descent rocked

Black Mountain – RB

My day job was been rather pesky by infringing on my Saturday so I only had to time to squeak in a short ride.   I had not been out to Black Mountain in Rancho Bernardino.    In had been at three years and change since I last rode here.

Looking west from Black Mountain

I knew some development was in the works in the area but I was a little surprised at how much at been developed since I was last our there.    I will definitely need to update  my page on this area as there home where some trails used to be.       The good news is the open space park is under good stewardship and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) have a good relationship with the management of this area.   Some new trails are in the works and in progress.

Miners Ridge Loop

I did a counter-clockwise loop from the baseball fields along the service roads to the summit, night hawk, miners ridge and the lilac trail.    All of it was in pretty good shape.    I am going to make a more concerted effort to update things with the latest on this area.   More to follow on that.

BLT, Daley & Gears

MTB Life has mostly been about getting out on the local goods as of late.     Recently I back out in the Laguna Mountains.    We spent sometime playing on a few few rocks around the meadow.   Later in the ride, while trying a tight little squeeze I managed to crunch up my derailleur a bit.   I was able to get the thing aligned back enough to get the shifting back in order.    Later on on the same trail, I have a rock kick up in a pretty freakish manner and get caught between my spokes, frame, cassette and derailleur.    While I was able to get the bike back rolling again, I was pretty much stuck with a few gears in the middle of the cassettes range.    Basically it was really easy to spin out on the flats and painful work on the climbs.    The climb up Wooded Hills was brutal.

We have named this roller “Compressor”

After that ride it was shopping time.    I was running a   one by 11 speed setup with a 11-46 tooth cassette in the rear and a 32 tooth cog in the front.   With that setup there were two compromises I dealt with.   The first was that the easiest gear was not as easy as the 2×10 setup I have on another bike.   The other was the jump between the two largest cogs in the rear.   The old cassette went from 46 to 37 and I often found myself in the one is to easy and the other is too hard situation.

New Parts!

The new setup is still an 11 speed setup with an 11-50 cassette and a 30 tooth chain ring in the front.  It was a bit finicky to get setup on the bench but things came together.

One of my favorite spots out at Daley Ranch

To flesh things out on the trail, I decided Daley Ranch would be the proving grounds.    There is plenty of varying degrees of climbing to see how the new gearing feels.    I had to do some very slight tweaking on the trail to get things fully dialed when under load.  I certainly enjoy the easier gearing and the better stepping of the gears through the larger cogs.

Surprised to see so much water in the ponds out at Daley.

Surprised to see so much water in the ponds out at Daley.

Playtime in Santee

I was long overdue for a ride with Steve and Brian so Wednesday, I met them out in Santee for  some play time on the “Mel Brooks” trails.   The loop we did was only about nine miles but the trail was a beater.   This trail is all about the play not the distance.  With names like Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, Mongo and Spaceballs how can you not have some fun.