Archive for the ‘General MTB’ Category

Pre-Typhoon ride in Sasebo

August 7th, 2014 by MTBBill

Earlier this week, work has taken me back to Sasebo in the southern part of Japan.  I’ll be here for about a month and change.  I had debated about shipping/bringing one of my own bikes over here for the duration but between the cost and hassle, I decided to take my chances with getting a rental.    I’m thinking I maybe should have went with shipping one of my own bikes over as the pickings were slim at the rental place.

IMG_5179

The steed for this trip is a total Throw “Way The Hell” Back rig complete with canti-brakes.   Brakes is a bit of an optimistic term in this case, slowers is more appropriate.  On the plus side, I’ll soon have hands that can grip like a bear trap and I should not be accused of skidding up the trails around here.

IMG_5191

The weather guessers were calling for a typhoon to come through the area the following day so getting a ride in before that was a priority.   The outdoor adventure center were I rented the bike is more centered on scuba and deep sea fishing than biking so I had to spend quite a bit of time get the bike setup and tuned before heading off for the late afternoon ride.   I’m fairly certain that the clipless pedal I put on the bike doubles its value.

IMG_5198

When I started out from my hotel room, a nearby thermometer read 90 degrees with the humidity being around 85%.  I was sweating and I was barely moving.   The climb up Mount Yumihari is on narrow paved roads.  The plan was to take the pavement up and a couple of different trails down and then back into town.

IMG_5201

The climb is fairly steep and it was good workout.   I have done this climb numerous times so I knew what to expect which helped with the climb but I was still getting worked. Once I got to the top I realized that all the pre-ride tinkering had eaten up my daylight margin.   I was pretty certain that taking the trails back down would end up being a night ride.   A night ride I was not really prepared for.  So I went with plan B and enjoyed the views from the top for a leisurely bit before taking the roads back down the mountain.  This should help with the jet lag.   This is not my first time MTBing in Sasebo so you can find other Sasebo related blog posts here.

 

Another Cruise in Cuyamaca

July 9th, 2014 by MTBBill

Nichol and I went back up to Cuyamaca State Park this past weekend for another ride.  We started at the staging area by the San Diego River and went up the west-side connector trail to the Visitor Center

IMG_4470

From there we took the Green Valley fire road up through the valley to the bottom of Soapstone Grade.

IMG_4505

Instead of making the left hander and going up Soapstone Grade fire road which is part of the Cuyamaca Grand Loop,  we continued straight onto the Upper Green Valley Trail and climbed up to the La Cima trail that roughly parallels Sunrise Highway. This section of trail was fairly rocky which extracts some additional energy out of you beyond what the grade would tell. As you near the top of the trail you leave Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and enter the Anza Borrego State Park.

IMG_4517

We then took the La Cima trail west and enjoyed some sweet flowing mostly downhill singletrack for a couple of miles.

IMG_4530

When then turned south onto the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT).   This a is really nice section of singletrack that offers some great views of Lake Cuyamaca and the surrounding grasslands.

IMG_4539

For the first half of this section you are doing some mild climbing before the trail transitions into mild descending with good flow.

IMG_4550

Just before the CRHT joins up with Soapstone Grade fire road at top of that fire road’s steep climb you leave the Anza Borrego State Park and reenter Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  From here we turned east on Soapstone Grade fireroad for about a mile of flat land cruising.

IMG_4561

We then took the Stonewall Creek fireroad south from here which shed off elevation fairly quickly back down into Green Valley.  There are both some rocky and sandy sections on this fire road that if not handled well, can lead to an unplanned dismount at speed which could be hard to stick the landing.   Stonewall Creek fireroad connected back to the Green Valley fireroad where we retraced our route back to the truck.  This was a little over a 17-mile lollipop shaped route that had a little over 1,800 feet of climbing involved.   This was Nichol’s longest and hardest ride to date that offered some new technical challenges for her.  To celebrate a ride well done that did not include any blood letting we sampled some of the offerings from Nickel Beer Company in Julian before chasing down some Mexican food.   It was a good day to be on a mountain bike.

Return of Wednesday Stoke in Alpine

July 6th, 2014 by MTBBill

It had been way too long since I had been out to Alpine for some Wednesday stoke with Steve (AKA Aquaholic).  So some emails were sent and in the very first reply Steve was laying the ground for a lackluster performance.  He saud he has been doing nothing but working on stupid human tricks on his Jet Ski and has not been on the bike in five weeks.

SteveBackFlips

So I know Steve has been indeed working on said tricks, but not whining about no riding and bad fitness, that’s just classic Steve sandbagging.

 

Not that Steve and I race up Anderson, but I can count on one hand how many times I have gotten up that trail ahead of Steve so I was expecting to call him all sorts of synonyms for sandbagger on the ride.    When we left the trailhead it was 89 degrees and we have gathered enough brain-boil data over the years to safely assume that there a few spots along the climb that are typically about 5 degrees warmer than the trailhead.  After the initial bit of pavement spinning and the opening section of descending the climbing started in earnest.   What the Hell? Steve was already waving me around.   I declined and decided to just ease up and chit chat some.  The kind of idle chit-chat that kills me when I’m struggling as it demonstrates the person behind is not completely winded and its some subliminal pressure to give moving you slug! Steve was talking about the heat.  Now the heat normally kicks my ass, but I had just spent nearly the last month working in the middle-east where the daytime highs got up to as high as 108 and the night-time lows got down to maybe 98 at best.   These low 90′s were just downright refreshing!

After the next wave around, I took Steve up on the offer and he slowly started tailing off.  I was feeling pretty strong and the while I was not trying to push myself up the hill,  I was aware that I gears were ticking over easier than they have in the past.   I’m having and good day and Steve is having a bad time with the climb.

ATT-02JUL04-01

About a little more than halfway up the climb the trail has been jacked by some four-wheeler folks who got themselves stuck off the trail.  There solution was to bring in a dozer and widen and “clean up ” the trail.

ATT-02JUL04-06

So I made it up Pistachio Point well ahead of Steve and had time to document the lack of any fresh Steve droppings.

ATT-02JUL14-02

Shortly after arriving Steve was curled up in fetal position and he even had to use the emergency binky that up until now had only been used to taunt the riders behind him.  Shortly after this picture was taken the thing fell apart from dry rot after it first only usage.

ATT-02JUL04-07

Once the climbing was done, the tables were turned and life popped back into Steve and he was right back into the airborne routine.  I was a completely different story.   I had not been riding any “wheels off the ground” technical stuff as of late and I had not been out here in a long time.   All the rocks looked bigger and more menacing while the ruts looked deeper.

ATT-02JUL14-03

I was able to get a little bit of air under the tires but for the most part I did not feel comfortable at all.   I just did not have the feel for it today.    I clearly need to get back out on these kind of technical bits more often.

ATT-02JUL14-04

The main descent back down was in summer dirt mode and the upper section where the doozer had gone through really removed much of the character of this trail through there.  A few good rains should spruce it back up.   It was good to get back out on the trail with Steve again.   Plans for more Wednesday stoke were plotted over tasty beer and BBQ at Alpine Beer Company afterwards.

 

Cruise in the Cuyamacas

July 2nd, 2014 by MTBBill

After working over the middle east for the better part of June it was nice to be back home and get out onto some trails.  This past weekend my girlfriend and I took a cruise through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  Here are a few pictures.

20140628_134726

Nice bit of shade in Green Valley

IMG_4356

Some folks seen along the along the trail

IMG_4365

The smile was about to be gone at this point as we neared the bottom of Soapstone Grade.

There has been quite a few changes to the park since I last updated my site that includes some new options for cyclist so I’ll have to dedicate some more time and get my site updated here in the coming weeks.

Mt Lowe to JPL added

June 21st, 2014 by MTBBill

I rode this route from Mt Lowe to the JPL in San Gabriel Mountains for the second time back in May.  This is a great route that includes lots of single track goodness.   Well worth checking it out if you are in the LA area.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-35

Exploration the CRHT

May 31st, 2014 by MTBBill

So for the last couple of weeks I have been out exploring and researching the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) here in San Diego County.   The history of this trail dates back to 1945 when the state legislature  passed the California Riding and Hiking Trails Act which called for a 3,000 mile multi-use loop trail between Oregon and Mexico.  The 3,000 miles never happened but over 1,000 miles did get built/designated.  Here in San Diego county there is about 108 miles of the trail with only 76 of being used. A portion of those 76 miles are having legal/access issues as some land-owners (not just private but other government agencies) are denying access to the public right of way easements.   It is worth noting that the County Parks and Recreation Department has officially put this trail into its Master Trails Plan.  Most of my research has been using their official GIS data on where they recognize the trails to be.  There are some deltas between their data and the current and/or historical trail that can actually be found.  The trail segments vary in quality from sublimely superb to completely obliterated by pavement.  There is a lot more to tell here and I hope to gather up and publish some of the information on the various segment issues in the future.

The trail passes through some of the trail systems that I have reviewed on the site.  The  Otay Mountain Loop, Hollenbeck Canyon, Cuyamaca State Park, and Oriflamme Canyon Loop reviews all have a segments of the CRHT passing through them.  The Warner Springs area has been my latest bit of on the ground research on the CRHT route.

20140530_092817

There are still bits to the original trail (as intended) still in use and accessible.

IMG_4279

Back in the 1940s and 1950s when many of the section were designated that used old truck trails, cattle routes and farm roads as the trail.   That might have been okay back then but as civilization came along some of those truck trails and farm roads have been widened and paved making them completely worthless as a trail.   It seems that there was never any mitigation made to reroute the trail.   Pictured above here is an old chapel that is still on a dirt road that the CRHT uses.

IMG_4209

Lost Valley Road (Which on some maps is called Lost Creek Road) is one of those segments where the CRHT used this dirt road that has since been paved (still single wide)  and the trail was not rerouted.   This would be a nice dirt road climb with good views of the valley below.

IMG_4216

The picture above is of the gate on the CRHT that uses the abandoned section of Lost Valley Road.  A 1/2 mile up the CRHT the PCT joins onto the CRHT.  Now keeping in mind that bicycles are allowed on the CRHT there is a bit of interesting co-use going on.  For  9/10ths of a mile the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) uses the CRHT trail as its route and of course all of the PCT signage says “NO BIKES”.   Now the Pacific Crest Trail was not established until 1968 a full 23 years after the CRHT.   This is not the only place were PCT co-use antics occur.  Up in the San Gabriel mountains, a 1/4mile section of the PCT was rerouted onto the Burkhart trail (a nice long open to bikes single-track) and the PCT folks tried to close that 1/4th mile section of the Burkhart trail to bikes.  It is complete onsense.

IMG_4222

Here is a view along the section of the 9/10ths of a miles of the CRHT discussed above.

20140530_105411

A fair portion of the CRHT route in this area sees far to much of this action.   Landowners illegally denying access to a public right of way easement.  The CRHT uses the dirt road pictured above but the Vista Irrigation District has removed all of the CRHT trail signs and has locked the gates.

20140530_090559

 It also looks they have removed some of these notices as well.

20140530_100347

This is just one of the tasty bits of trail that these landowners are attempting to deny the public access too.  I’m going to publish more information in the future as I gather it up. In the interim here is a Google Earth file (KML) extracted from the San Diego County GIS data base.  It also has some additional data in it and is what I consider a working document.

 

New Review Up! Crestridge

April 15th, 2014 by MTBBill

I have finally gotten off my butt and finished up new trail review on the website proper.   The Crestridge Ecological Reserve.   In the last year I have mostly been doing blog posts or updating existing pages.  I have at least a dozen other trail pages in the works so hopefully it won’t take as long to get the next one out.   Then again beer, bikes and life in general could foil that plan.

 

Lunch time at La Costa

April 11th, 2014 by MTBBill

I squeaked in a lunch time ride today out at La Costa with Michael Paul aka YetiRider. Homee has been a program and been slimming up.  Down 15lbs already.  (I think he is trying to get down to women chasing shape)

image

Michael is certainly climbing quicker. Good on ya!

image

It was a mighty pretty day out today as well.    All the better to be out riding a bike.    On a final note, this is my first shot at using the mobile app for making posts do I’m going to have to see if this is going to meet my needs or not..

Double play in the San Gabs

March 30th, 2014 by MTBBill

Yesterday I drove up to the LA area to get in some riding in San Gabriel Mountains.  It had been nearly two years (May of 2012) since my last time out of these trails.  (Note: In the process of getting this post together I came across of bunch of pictures from that last visit that had went unpublished so this post contains a mix of pictures from both.  My cohort in grime was wearing the checkered shirt yesterday if you need to know which one are more recent.)

SanGabs-29MAY14-MtHilyer-05

We did a modified shuttle/point-to-point ride on this day.  We meet up off of Windsor Street in Altadena near NASA’s JPL and left a truck there where the ride was going to finish up.   We then went up HWY 2 and rode in the Chilao Flats area where we got in some riding on Mount Hilyer and the Silver Moccasin Trails as well as couple other bits.     The weather was great and the riding was just as nice but the damage from the Station Fire really did a number on this area.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-06

After knocking out a nice loop in that area, we got back in the truck and road over to Eaton Saddle on Mount Wilson Road.  From there we hopped on the old Mt Lowe Road where we did a bit of fire road climbing. This is really cool section of fire road that even includes a tunnel.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-19

After about a mile on the fire road we turned off onto the Mt Lowe single track.  There were some challenging rocky bits on this climb that took us up to around 5,540 feet as the trail were around the eastern flank of the mountain.  This would be the highest evaluation we would see for the rest of the day as the truck was down at around 1200 feet.  Meaning we were in for some killer descending.

SanGabs-29MAY14-MtLoweToJPL-03

The Mount Lowe trail was tight and fast with some rocky bits to keep you on your toes.  There was some exposure on this trail as well but mostly the kind that is going to leave a mark versus the assuredly kill you kind.

SanGabs-29MAY14-MtLoweToJPL-06

The Mt Lowe trail  eventually dumped us back out onto the Mt Lowe road where we quickly turned off onto the Sam Merrill Trail.   Oh My what an awesome bit of trail this was.  I particularly enjoyed the opening section that has been spared by the first that was wonderfully wooded with tight single track on the rocky hillside.   Laughter could be heard through the woods during our transit through here.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-47

The trail eventually dumps you back out into open scrub brush and views all the way down into the LA basin are to be had.   You can also see quite a bit of the trail that lay ahead.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-50

The section down to Echo Mountain has plenty of technical goodness, tight switch backs and some exposure spots that could ruin your day or year.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-62

Once we got down to Echo Mountain, we climbed the Echo Mountain Trail back over to the lower parts of Mt Lowe road.  This trail follows along the old track bed of the Mt Lowe Railway which operated between 1893 to 1936.  The cement foundations for trestles are still in place.

SanGabs-29MAY14-MtLoweToJPL-15

Just a 100 yards or so down the old road from where the Echo Mountain trail comes out is the top of the Sunset Ridge trail.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-76

More downhill goodness ensued for about the next 3.3 miles (with a short road interconnect) where the trail comes out in the Millard campground.  After the campground there was about a mile of fire road climbing to keep you honest.   From there we hooked with the El Prieto trail.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-87

This trail was just a hoot with some fast flowing sections, creek crossing and technical bits to keep you on your toes.  While we were overall shedding off elevation there we enough undulations to get some quick climbing grunts in.

SanGabs-MtLowe-JPL-13MAY12-98

The El Prieto trail dumps out onto a fireroad that feeds down to Arryo Blvd (closed to vehicles) where it is followed back up into civilization and Windsor St where the other truck was waiting.  After we drove back up to the top to grab the other truck we kicked back and enjoyed the view while shooting breeze before getting heading off for the rest of our weekend.   It was way  good times on the bike today.   (I’m planning a get a page with directions and GPS data up on this ride in the coming weeks)

 

The Greater Big Laguna Trail Area

January 21st, 2014 by MTBBill

BLT-18JAN14-02

This past weekend was mighty nice up in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area also known as the Big Laguna Trail.  The cool crisp air was a real pleasure to be in.

BLT-18JAN14-04

Anytime you are out with Steve on a trail  impromptu log riding can break out.

BLT-18JAN14-06

We hit some routes that I have not done in a long time or had not done in that direction before.  Here Steve and Mark climb Lightning Ridge.  While I have descended this trail plenty of times this was my first time going up the trail.

BLT-18JAN14-08

I was digging pine needles and oak leaves under the tires.

BLT-18JAN14-10

A view down into Big Laguna Meadow.

BLT-18JAN14-11

A view across an area affected by the Chariot Canyon Fire.  Hmmm some Perfect Cycling Trail can be seen in the distance.

BLT-18JAN14-13

Grabbing some snacks at the General Store.

IMG_0183

(Photo by Steve)

Next snack stop would be at Alpine Beer Company for some pulled pork and IPAs.