Archive for the ‘Trails’ Category

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.


View from along the trail


Nudging up close to 12,000 feet of elevation.


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


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.

Riding Commando

October 11th, 2015 by MTBBill

Riding “The Commando Run” that is, you  Dirty  Minded Bastards!  On day four of my Chasing Aspens vacation was a ride that goes from Vail Pass Summit down into the town of Minturn.  The route we rode was used by the Army’s 10th Mountain Division during WWII  as training for alpine skiing combat and commando raids for the war effort.  We rode a series of forest roads to the Bowman Shortcut trail to the Two Elk trail.   We did a total of 17.7 miles with 1,870 feet of climbing and 5,200 feet of descent.  This was one fantastic trail that pretty much kept all of your trail riding skills on their toes.   Check out the write up, pictures, map and GPS files I have added to the site.




Winter Park, Colorado

October 8th, 2015 by MTBBill

Day 3 of my Chasing Aspens Tour through Colorado was in Winter Park where I could to make some new friends as well as spend some quality trail time with old friends. It was an outstanding introduction to riding at elevation and pretty fall colors. I can find a few more words and a few dozen photos of that outing here.


The Good Water Rim Trail

October 3rd, 2015 by MTBBill

Man, I got back from vacation and found a mountain of work had piled up while I was gone so it has been a bit slow getting my pictures and thoughts together on that last trip.  But I have managed to get a page put together on the first stop on my most excellent jaunt through Utah and Colorado.

The Good Water Rim Trail in “The Wedge” area of the San Rafael Swell was an awesome opener.




The Chasing Aspens Tour

September 28th, 2015 by MTBBill

I just got back from a 10-day jaunt where I did some riding in Utah and Colorado.   I meet up with some old friends, made some new ones and rode some bucket list quality trails that are already on my Top … list.  Riding in the aspens during the brief window that they are turning has been on my list for a long time.   So when a slow-down in my work schedule along with a tip-off on the aspens turning coincided I pulled the trigger.  I packed my truck with camping gear, two bikes, fly-fishing gear, every map and guide book of the regions I owned along with a cooler full of enough San Diego microbrew cans, bottles and growlers to keep half a dozen people chilling for a week .   After stuffing my laptop and GPS with tracks and waypoints I headed out.   I had some general ideas but my schedule was not set more than 2 days out and it was all subject to change.   This was going to be a very loosey goosey  vacation.   Just have a great time, see beautiful country and ride good stuff.  This trip really did turn out to be something I am going to be talking about for years to come.  I have many gigabytes of photos to sort through and hopefully I can gather up the right words to articulate in a meaningful way just what a life enriching experience each one these places were.  For now here is a quick recap of what my on-the-fly itinerary turned out to be.


Day 1: I did a full day of driving to the San Rafael Swell in the eastern part of Utah where I setup camp in a area known as “The Wedge” on the edge of The Little Grand Canyon.


On Day 2, I did a dawn patrol ride along the Good Water Canyon Rim Trail where I enjoyed some great scenery and some high quality on the edge singletrack.  Afterwards I broke camp and did another sizable drive to Winter Park, CO to met up with my old friends Kevin and JD and met Greg and Barb.   I would be crashing at Greg’s house for the next two nights.


Greg owns a trail design and construction business and the next day I was treated to some of the local goods that he played a major part in bringing to life.  This was also my welcome to high-country Colorado riding day and boy was the top elevation of around 11,000 feet a wake up call to my sea-level lungs.  The aspens were awesome!


On Day Four we did a point to point ride from the Vail Pass Summit to Minturn on the Bowman Shortcut trail and the Two Elks trail.   Oh my what a great trail and with some good technical riding. This trail really made you use pretty much your entire range of on-the-ground technical skillsets.  I was blown away by the beauty of this ride.   We enjoyed some tasty post-ride grub and beers in Minturn.


Afterwards we heading back up to Vail Pass summit and then further up a forest service roads to Shrine Pass where my and Kevin’s truck were at. When we got there I noticed there was a fire ring already setup not far from my truck.  The views were great so I did not even move the truck.  I pulled up out the gear and setup camp for the evening at 11,100 feet.  The rest of the trip would follow this same kind of short-tem decision making.


On Day Five, I traveled south and rode the trails around Twin Lakes. Part of the loop I did was also the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.   After the ride, and a review of the weather forecast,  I continued south and camped near Poncha Springs.


On Day Six, I grabbed a shuttle out of Poncha Springs and  did the Monarch Crest Trail along with Silver Creek and the Rainbow trails.   An IMBA Epic, this ride was 32.5 miles long with 2,200 feet of climbing and 6,600 feet of descent with the highest elevation being above treeline flirting with 12,000 feet.   The numbers are meaningless in comparison to the experience.


On Day Seven I took a rest day by fly-fishing in Salida on the Arkansas River.   It had been about 14 years since I last fly-fished for trout.  I should have checked my wading boots a little better before the trip because about 3/4th of a mile down the river the soles disintegrated loose from the uppers and floated away down the river.  This made for both a comical and gingerly return back to my truck.   I am reminded that it is called fishing and not catching so their was no trout dinner for me.  It was still a great morning of standing in a river waving a stick.   That afternoon I enjoyed a beautiful drive to Crested Butte and setup camp.


On Day Eight, I rode the 401 trail loop starting right from camp.   This is a mountain bike classic trail and it did not disappoint.  The fall colors were majestic and I have already put a return trip on the list to ride this trail again in the summer when the hillsides are covered with wildflowers.


On Day Nine, I rode the Doctor Park trail.  Awesomeness was the prescription of the day.  The long middle section of the descent of this ride through the turning aspens is one of the best bits of flowing single track bliss I have experienced.  A handful of the folks from Team B.O.B (Babes on Bikes) and I think of subgroup of the Shreddin Betties that I had met on the 401 trail the day before were also doing this trail.  Turns out some of them were friends with Barb, Greg and Kevin so we swapped some stories over beers at the lower trailhead for a while.  Good times. The afternoon/evening of day nine was going to be a drive to Flagstaff or Show Low Arizona but I did not account for the mountain pass driving and construction so I only made to Cortez.   On the morning of Day 10, I thought about riding Phil’s World there in Cortez but opted to knock out the drive.  I am going to make a separate trip at some point for the Cortez and Durango experience.  One thing that was interesting that morning on deciding to ride or drive, I realized that I was completely satisfied with this trip.  My MTB soul cup was full,  life was good and it was time to head home.


A couple of weekends in Idyllwild

September 14th, 2015 by MTBBill

On Labor Day, I got in some quality Father-Son time with my oldest son on The Hub Trails in Idyllwild.   The trail system has really expanded over the years since I first started riding up here.  I’m way overdue for update on this area on the site so I decided I would be going back the following weekend.


Here is Will riding on the Hard Sun trail.   We had a great time and we rode quite a few trails I had not been on before.

I started the next weekend off by finally catching the Hub Cyclery Saturday Shop Ride.


The shop ride focused on some of the trails over on South Ridge.   Here is Emily working on some tasty singletrack.


This gaggle is best described as some of the usual local suspects.   They guys were kicking my ass up every climb.


A killer spot for snacks and nips whiskey.


Dee styling up the hill


Emily cruising up a climb


While on the shop ride the trail went by a killer looking campsite so I dropped a marker in my GPS.


After post-ride tasty beverages, yummy tacos and plenty of MTB chattage back at the bike shop, I drove back up into the woods and found my way back to the campsite we went by earlier in the day.    This was Casa Del Bill for the evening.


The post-sunset view from camp with the lights of Hemet below in the distance.


After a leisurely wake up the following morning, coffee, breakfast and camp breakdown I headed over to The Hub trails.   The route I had planned for the day was not what I would consider a “Good” series of loops as my goal was to cover as many of the trails I had not been on before vice just doing a killer ride.  I knew I would be doing some of this trails in the non-preferred direction.


The opening set of trails included Uprising, Silver Crag, Onion and Mystic Creek that worked up the mountain to Toptimator and Project X.  I first rode Project X back when folks did not want you talking about it…Now its on the map, but I was not riding it today.


Toptimator is just forested singletrack awesomeness with killer views to boot.  I took Toptimator to Portal, Dreamtwister and Sleepwalker.   At this point I was seriously considering dropping down into the lower trails and heading back to the trailhead as I was starting to wane.   I managed to convince myself to close off the Sleepwalker loop back to Topimator.  A check of my water bladder put me to water rationing mode as I made my way back over to Mystic Dubbings for a cool descent back towards the trailhead.


I took a wrong turn at the bottom of Mystic Dubbings and found myself climbing up Bear Trap.  I had gone far enough up the trail that I decided to gut it out and take  it back to its upper junction of the Mystic Dubbings trail.   At that junction I turned around, polished off my last sips of water and then descended Bear Trap and then retraced my way back to the trailhead.    I rolled into the trailhead completely out of energy and all full of smiles. The water in my ice chest never tasted so GOOD!  I did 21.8 miles with 2,700 feet of climbing but man did that ride seem harder than the number convey.  I will be updating my page on this area in the next couple weeks but it will still be missing a few of the otherwise “published” trails.   To get the best and most up-to-date map you will need to swing by Hub Cyclery and pick one up.

Laguna Mountains Funtime

September 8th, 2015 by MTBBill

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.


Chip and Roger




The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)




Jason and Amy


Chip playing with his new bike


At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony


Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

Mammoth Mountain Playtime

September 6th, 2015 by MTBBill

So last week I got in a couple of days or lift-assisted MTBing at Mammoth Mountain.   Eight of us went in together on a Condo rental which made for some comfy living arrangements.


Mandatory photo at the top.      Over the course of the two days I hit most of the trails with the exception of some of the red triangle “pro” lines.   Some of those are freaking gnarly and I felt under traveled and under protected.  There are plenty of trails for all skill levels and genres here.  Good times indeed.


Steve on Twilight Zone




LeAnn rolling


Megan cruising


Dayle and Michael



Michael on Skid Marks.   I love taking the Gondola all the way to the top for the last run of the day and taking Skid Marks to Juniper to roll all the way back down into town.   The trail dumps out less than a quarter mile from our house and it is a fun and scenery descent.   Highly recommended.


Michael rolling on Juniper

Lower Rock Creek

September 3rd, 2015 by MTBBill

Last week I spent some time at Mammoth Lakes for some lift-assisted mountain biking.    The opener for this trip however was not lift-assisted.   Dave and I and checked out Lower Rock Creek located about 15 miles south of Mammoth Lakes right off of HWY 395.


To keep the logistics simple, we did this ride as a loop.    We parked at the bottom of the trail and climbed Lower Rock Creek Road.   It was about 7.8 mile climb that gained somewhere around 2,200 feet of elevation.   Considered that we started off around 5,000 feet of elevation was quite apparent that we were not beach cruising.  Dave and I eventually made our way to the top and then it was time to cash out that elevation.


The trail crosses Lower Rock Creek Road twice dividing the trail into thirds.    The upper section is nice and flowy with lots of buff goodness that weaves through pines and aspens.  It pretty much all downhill as well.


The trail is exceptionally beautiful and follows along Lower Rock Creek the entire time.  It was really cool to have the sound of creek along the entire route.   After the first road crossing you are in the section colloquially referred to as the “Middle” section.  This section also has some nice flow with the flora shifting to more pines than aspens.   If you do not smile at some point in this section just throw your bike in the creek, hike out and give up all outdoor activities forever as you are clearly too calloused to be out in mother nature.


After the second road crossing the trail gets much more technical as canyon narrows on both sides.


Dave working through the rocks.


More fun in the rocks


At several places where we stopped to figure out a line or session a move, we could see trout in the creek.  Awesome!


There was some tastiness waiting in the cooler at the lower trailhead for us.   This will not be my last time on this trail.