Archive for the ‘Anything Goes’ Category

Laguna Mountains Camping

July 27th, 2014 by MTBBill

Last Sunday through Wednesday  my youngest son, Jake, and I did a three-night camping trip up in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego. We got in some mountain biking, hiking and some good just kicking back time.

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Nichol joined us on the first day for a bike ride around the meadow, dinner and some marshmallow destruction before heading back home to play responsible adult while the boys played in the dirt.  Over the last few years there has been some reroutes to the meadow loop as well to some of the spur trails.  I would say they are all for the better.

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Back at camp, the marshmallows did not stand a chance.

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The morning of day 2 was meet with some leisurely breakfast making before hitting up some of the trails.

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Some play time on the Los Gatos trail was had.

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Jake working on a skinny.

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Jake working the camera.

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We spent the early part of the afternoon just chilling out camp watch the squirrels trying to figure out how to get to our camp treats.  This guy was craving some Cheetos.   That afternoon we did a hike nearby that include the PCT connector trail from the meadow.

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Day 3 we were up pretty early to hit some of the other Pretty Cool Trails in the area.   We rode the meadow over the Penny Pines Trailhead and then made our way over the Pioneer Mail Trailhead where we picked up the Pine Mountain Trail.  We took the Pine Mountain trail over to the Indian Creek Trail at Champagne Pass.    Indian Creek is the primary legal trail connector for bikes between Cuyamaca and the Laguna Mountains.

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We dropped off of Champagne pass to the east on the Indian Creek trail heading back to towards the Lagunas.

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Jake loves him some downhill fun but is not a fan of climbing at all. He wonders why every place can’t be like Mammoth or Big Bear. Once we got to meadow pictured above, I took great pleasure in letting him know it was 3 miles to anywhere from here in either direction and it was uphill in both directions.  We continued on the Indian Creek Trail to the east and climbed up to the junction with the Noble Canyon Trail.

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From there we turned north and climbed Noble.   (Colloquially known as the “Elbon” trail.)   There is a recently completely reroute of Noble up near the top.  The reroute eliminates a couple of road crossings.    The new section is much tighter and a twistier that the original section and while a bit loose right now it should bed in nicely once we get some rains.   I’m sure some of the Strava-tards and will wank about the reroute messing with their times.  (My suggesting to those folks is shut up, just ride faster or turn to juicing.)    Noble Canyon has its loyal followings of which some subscribe to the “Never Change My Trail” mentality so I would expect there will be discontent for a few months.  Personally I think the reroute is going to be really nice once bedded in.

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We took the “shortcut” spur trail that connects back to west end of the meadow vice going all the way back to the Penny Pines Trailhead.  Once back at the meadow it was a quite spin back to camp.

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It was pretty hot during the middle of the day so we kicked back in the shade of camp for a while before jumping in the truck for a swing by Laguna General Store for a Mexican Coke (The south of the border variant is made with real cane sugar vice corn syrup…tastier)  and an Ice Cream bar  before we did some recon work for some of the other trails in the area that are on my to-do list. Dinner that night was some tasty rib-eyes, grilled asparagus and zucchini with some brown rice.   That night we shook off the food coma by strapping on the headlamps to do a mini night ride out on the meadow that included some lights off time to check out the stars on that completely dark night.

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The next morning I was up before sunrise to get in a solo ride while the boy slept in.  Presumably there would be no one else out of the trail as well.  Sunrise was a Pretty Cool Time of day to be out and about by yourself in the woods.    On the way back from the 16 mile loop I saw Mr. Wyle Coyote out looking for breakfast.  After the initially moving away from me for a bit the coyote went back to hunting once establishing that I was not there to bother him.   I watched him for a good five minutes or so before moving along.

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Jake was just waking up when I got back to camp. A second round of coffee was in order for me and it was time for breakfast all around.   After breakfast it was time to break down camp and head out of the mountains.  I had a great time on the camping trip with Jake.   With the exception of a few minutes, we did not have data  coverage so having Jake “unplugged” was a bonus.   With no competition with the all powerful 3G/4G  it allowed for things like watching the “Campfire TV”, gazing at the stars, observations of the “little” things and conversations that would rarely occur otherwise.  Good times.   With some new GPS data and observations,  I’m planning on updating some of the maps, files and pages I have for this area on the site, so stay tuned.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

GPS files being updated

June 6th, 2014 by MTBBill

I am in the process of going through some of my older pages that only have National Geographic TOPO! map files.   I’m adding GPX, as well as Garmin Mapsource as well as Google Earth KML files. I’m also adding link/icon to the pages to search the blog and provide a list of related posts.   Currently the Hollenbeck Canyon, Noble Canyon and Tour De Noble pages have been updated with others to follow.

There is no MTBing in Bahrain!

September 8th, 2013 by MTBBill

I spent the tail end of July and most of August working in Bahrain.   For those who have never heard of the place it is an island in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia.    The maximum elevation is maybe 100 feet and pretty much everything is sand so the mountain biking opportunities are mighty freaking limited.    Of course a Surly Moonlander would help a little in that department.   Hmmm I wonder if I could get one with some S&S couplings on the frame?

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Even with a bike, I would have a hard time getting motivated to get out in the heat and ride.  Everyday it was over 100 by 10AM.   Several days in particular it was 108 with 74% humidity.

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I did manage to get out and grab some sights while I was over there including the Grand Mosque

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I took a tour of the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque on one of their “open houses” for non-Muslims. [aka Infidel Outreach Day :-)]   Work involved a lot going back and forth between an office and the outside.  After a few weeks of the cycling in and out of the heat and AC I came down with some chest and sinus crud that required some antibiotics to knock down.      The project I’m working has several phases to it so I was able to come home for a couple of weeks in between one of the phases.

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I was still not completely over the crud when I got home so I refrained getting back on the bike and potentially backsliding with the crud.     My girlfriend and I did make a trip up to Palomar mountain for a bit of mild hiking.   It was really nice to see some greenery in mild temps.

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One of the locals we saw along the trail.

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By this past Friday I was feeling well again so a dawn patrol ride out at Mission Trail Regional Park was in order.   There was some weather moving through the area which made some cool rainbows.  I had ridden on the west side of the park in quite sometime.   So I hit up the Jackson, the Rim trail, S-turns and the Soycott trails.    I had not checked out North Fortuna from the north slope so I looped back around and when up North Fortuna from the north slope.  I had my long-legged bike so it was overwhelming a hike-a-bike in that direction but would be a very techy ride on the descent.

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After getting up to the North Fortuna peak, I descended the south slope to the saddle and then continued on up to South Fortuna.    It had also been a long time since I had taken the South Fortuna staircase.  I knew there were many spots were you had to pick and choose your battles but there were quite a few more than I remembered from my last go at this trail.  I want to say that the techy sections were in worse shape than before, but it is more likely that my skills and/or nerves have slackened up some.

Either way it was great to be back on the bike and again.   I’m heading back to Bahrain tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to another stint of being off the bike.   Work can be so pesky sometimes!

Sweetwater And Rockhouse

July 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

For those of you who have every been on some of Hoser’s Bonita rides leaving from Donny’s Café you know there are 5o,000 ways plus to put together some serious miles out in this area.

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You also know that trying to give by turn-by-turn directions for some of these routes would be pretty damn difficult.

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In the past I have just always tagged along behind other folk’s wheel and just enjoyed the various route without really caring where on how I was getting where.

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Lately I have been putting in some solo miles in an effort to calibrate my own compass out in this area.

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The Rockhouse area has been the latest section of stomping around and figuring out.

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I have been traveling trails and adding new bits with every visit. There is lots of good stuff out here

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Here are a few pictures from the area from the various rides so far.

 

 

Where The Hell Have You Been?

June 25th, 2013 by MTBBill

Where The Hell Have You Been?    I have gotten that question a couple of times as of late.  Yep I have been slacking on the posting stuff of my Blog.

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I have been getting in some quality Hockey Dad time in with my youngest son on most weekends as he is playing on two In-Line hockey teams.  One recreational league team out of Kit Carson Park in Escondido and a tournament team (The San Diego Stingrays).   This works out to practice and games commitments of four days a week.

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With both teams practicing out of Escondido I have been getting in quite a bit of riding in at Lake Hodges and the surrounding area as of late.  Besides the stuff already on my site I have managed to find some cool stuff here and there like this patch of woods between Lake Hodges and Poway.

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I have also managed to find some complete crap as well.   This tripe located in the city of Poway is simply insulting.  They dumped 4-6″ of gravel beside a stupidly steep road and called it a trail.   The unprofessional asses that did this debacle did not even bother to compact the gravel down.   This thing is so F’d up that had to put signs up ever 50 feet to try and convince people that it is a trail.   City of Poway—This is not a F$%^ing Trail!  If you would care to improve your trail building knowledge why don’t you spend an afternoon on the playground at Chaparral Elementary School.  Pay attention to the six year olds with the Tonka trucks, they get it more than your “trail builders”  do!

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Enough about city governments wasting money, I managed to catch a baseball game with my girlfriend.  The Padres even managed to win on the night we went.

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Of course San Diego is arguably a Craft Beer Mecca so there has been plenty of outings to check out what the latest awesome offerings are from the over 71 (and growing) microbreweries in the county.

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Recognizing that mountain biking is a preexisting condition with me my, girlfriend he has gotten onboard with the program and is coming up to speed quite nicely.

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I have also managed to get in some dirt time at La Costa here and there.    If for nothing else than to check out some advertising dollars well spent on the Copper Canyon Bridges.

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My work schedule as of late has been conducive to grabbing some after work mileage out in South Bay.   I have ridden out here numerous times and there are lots of trails to push the pedals around on.  In the past I have nearly always been with somebody showing me around through the maze of canyons with interconnections through parking lots, culverts, streets and backyards.   It has been kind of fun trying to use the “Swartz” on solo efforts to retrace some of my previously guided steps.   More to follow as I continue to get semi-lost with that ongoing effort.

So as far as where the hell have a been?   I’ve been around on my bike….

Server Migration Complete

April 17th, 2013 by MTBBill

So I have finished migrating my website stuff from one server farm over to a new mo better one with new hardware and software stuff on the backend that will support the front-end better.

Not my stuff I swear!

Like all things touted as “seamless” in the IT world is often does not quite go that way.   Early on in the migration the site was down for a few hours when some DNS records got update too soon and prematurely sent folks to the new server that was not ready yet.  There were a couple of folks who either left comments on the blog or registered for an account, right in the middle of the cutover which will have resubmit there stuff.   Besides that all has all been ironed out and things seemed to be going just fine on the new stuff now….for now.  Time to go ride a bike :-)

Snooping around South Poway

March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails.   I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.

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The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating  “Trails”.    Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience.    After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.

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Here is a bit of an offical new city of Poway trail that is a  nice singletrack.   Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.  

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The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.   

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According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned.   I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above  it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.

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Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL”  dirt road junk.  Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture.   It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”.    Everytime I have pulled the string on the  “who designed this”  question,  it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources).     People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.

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This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime.   Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it.     The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of  well done social trails.    Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails”  by the city) that had to be dealt with.   I did about 15 miles total that day.  I will be doing some more exploring out here.

More Alpine Playtime

February 28th, 2013 by MTBBill

It was time for another round of playing on the rocks out in Alpine yesterday.  There was going to be four of us on this ride.  Brian was going to start later in the day and meet us up top.   Jim was joining us today and this was  going to be his first excursion out here.  It was an amazingly nice day out which made the climb not too terrible.    After a big ride on Sunday and a really descent workout at the gym yesterday my legs felt flat  for the climb up to four corners.   After that point the kinks in the legs seem to work themselves out and climbing was a bit better the rest of the way up. 

I ride out here a plenty and still think a bunch of this stuff is just crazy so I had forgotten just how shell shocking the first time can be out here.    Jim seemed to be digging the place in “You gotta be f$%^ing  kdding me” kind of way.   I recognized the look and it reminded of the things that came out of my mouth during my first exposure to the technical riding of the North Shore of Vancouver BC in 2003.

We fiddle farted around on some of the features while waiting for Brian to catch up with us.

Steve messing around on the “Collar Boner” section of the “Triple Bypass”.

An Old Skool wheels on the ground line.

Jim rolling along

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Brian boosting a rock

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Brian working the 911 roll.

The trail was in pretty good shape and the descent back down the main trail was a blast. (Meaning No Pictures!)   The Exponential Hoppiness  from Alpine Beer Company after the ride was a mighty tasty beverage to enjoy while chatting up the ride and chimping pictures.    There are far worse ways to spend an idle Wednesday afternoon.

Trabuco – Holy Jim Windfest

February 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past Sunday I headed up to the OC to get in some riding in the Santa Ana Mountains.  The adventure of the day was going to be the Trabuco – Holy Jim which combines two really nice trails that are both great descents.   The problem is you have to climb one of them.  It has been quite a few moons since I had done this loop but I did remember that I climbed Holy Jim and descended Trabuco when I last did it. It only seemed right to give it a go in the opposite direction this time. It wias brisk and breezy when we started off on this lollipop shaped route. Instead of driving up the five mile dirt road to the trailhead we decided to ride it on the bikes on this gradual uphill as a warm up. We were only a mile or so up the road when the wind really started howling as the canyon narrowed and funneled the wind right into our faces. The weather reports later showed that the gusts were upwards of 50mph which I wholeheartedly believe was the case.  There were a couple of times when I was hunched over the handlebars and grinding on the pedals and feeling like I was going backwards. We could not help but laugh as it was just so brutal.

Things got better once we got further up the road where the oak trees difused the gusts just enough to take the edge off.   The Holy Jim and Trabuco trails share the same lower trailhead at the end of the dirt road which marks the start of the loop part of this lollipop ride.   The climb up Trabuco is not a dainty one as you around 2,8000 feet or so over 5 miles and some change.    Additionally the trails is often rocky puts a little extra bit of tax on the legs.      While we were mostly sheltered somewhat from the wind we would often got whipped around by wind gusts finding there way here and there through the canyon.

About 3/4ths of the way up we started to encounter some small patches of snow which is just down right cool here in Southern California.   I like going out to visit snow vice living somewhere where the snow just likes to come over a visit for a while (or months).

As we neared the top Trabuco Canyon we could hear the wind just ripping through the tops of the trees and howling over the nearby ridge tops.   While knocking back some snacks at the top of the Trabuco trail which is also the  junction of the Los Pinos Trail along the Main Divide Truck trail we ran into several groups of riders.   A couple of guys were doing an out and back on Trabuco while another few were doing the Holy Jim – Trabuco version of the loop.   The guys coming from Holy Jim talked about snow and ice on one of the passes we would be descending.   We had some minor debate about which  direction of the loop was worse for climbing on Main Divide Truck Trail.   The consenus was that it was uphill in both directions with only minor nuances to be noticed in the “Suck” catergory.

We soon headed off on Main Divide which included a bit of downhill fireroad action.    While we did get some wind breaks here and there we were often pummeled by a hella cross wind.    It was probably 50 degrees at this elevation with  40 mph gusts.   Tacking on another 25-30mph worth of self-imposed wind chill was enough to subdue the usual hooting and woohooing  when ripping down the exposed fireroad sections.  The views along Main Pain Divide were impressive with the mountains of San Gorgonio, San Jincinto, and San Antonio seen to the west and north.

The Pacific Ocean along with San Clemente and Catalina Islands we easily seen to the west. 

These views were not cheap on this day.   The Main Divide Truck Trail’s nickname of “Pain Divide” was certainly fitting today.   There were quite a few spots were the false summits mentally beat on you just as much as the grade hammered at quads and lungs.   The icy descent we were warned about turned out to be no where near as a big of a deal going downhill as it must have been going uphill.   There were a couple of exciting moments when the ice, my tires and my brain had to come to an agreement on our direction of travel vice the intended direction of travel.  

It is very rare that I would ever find myself cussing on a downhill, but on the final big downhill I was doing just that as I knew I would just have to start regaining nearly all of this elevation within a minute or two.  On the final climb the wind was just insanely blowing to the point that it sounded like a jet engine.    The cool thing was that the way the truck trail was cut into the side of the mountain we were nearly perfectly shielded from wind even though it was just a few feet above your head.  That section of the climb was quite surreal.  

 

Once we topped out on that climb it was mostly a traverse or slight descent over to the top of the Holy Jim Trail.   The Holy Jim trail certainly delivered the goods and it was well worth the effort and pain to get over to it.  The sweet flowing narrow singletrack was just awesome and the many sections where you are just flying through a vegitation tunnel did wonders to leave burning quads and wheezing lungs way far behind.   The gravity gods where smiling upon after our sizable offering we had given to them on this day.    When we got back to the trailhead and started down the dirt road back to the truck we had a monster tailwind on a gradual downhill.  We zipped by numerous vehicles tip-toeing down the road while we flew over bumps, mudholes and wheelied through the creek crosings.   We had already cracked open the first post-ride beer before the first truck caught up with us.   We did around 26.5 miles with about 4,300 feet of climbing  for the day which made the tasty post-ride beverages taste even better.  Good Times!