So I have been behind the power curve on making reservations ahead of time for excursions. I had to go the route of finding a first come first serve site for this outing. I was looking to hit up our favorite spot, the Laguna Meadow Campground, but it is currently closed for maintenance. Burnt Rancheria was the other campgroup on the list but they were all booked up so I headed up mid-week to find an spot. Most of the first come first serve sites are tent camping sized sites. I was not the only person who had this mid-week idea as when I arrived most of the larger sites that would accommodate an average or larger RV were already occupied. One of the reasons we went with the size trailer we did was to be able to get into more places and spots. Lucky for me there were half a dozen spots that were large enough for our setup. The spot I got had just enough of a parking spot to use but it made the door face away from the site itself. No big deal as the site itself was huge.
The following morning I decided to do some snooping around on some trails/routes that I had never been or or I had been quite some time ago. My boundaries for the day were Sunrise Highway, Kitchen Creek Rd, Fred Canyon Rd and and Thing Valley Road.
Dispersed camping is allowed on the National Forest land off of Kitchen Creek Road and Thing Valley Road so I had an eye out for accessing those options on a later visit.
The more I snooped around the further east and down the mountain range I traveled. Evidently I found myself by Cibbets Flats campground thinking I had done a good chunk of descending so it about time to head back uphill. I decided to make a loop using Fred Canyon Road and Thing Valley Road to get back up on top of the Lagunas.
The climb up Fred Canyon Road was not too terribly difficult but it had some steeper spots and there was little shade along the way. I evidently made it to the junction of Thing Valley Road and continued climbing. Thing Valley Road takes you up through the Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation (Stay on the road) for a ways before you are back in the National Forest. As you approach the northern border of the reservation the flora transitions from desert scrub to pine trees. Evidently gnats love this kinda forest as once I was under the trees the gnats got thick. I realized I have my bug net in my truck and not in my pack. The remainder of the climb was a bit of extra work as there was some additional calories expended swooshing at those little bastards. I heard once that the the Southern California Gnat can fly at up to 6.7 mph. My top climbing speed on Thing Valley Road was apparently 6.6 mph.
I felt pretty good about the effort I put in for the day but I was certainly ready for a siesta. It was a very good day to be out on a bike.
So I have a few options for a MTB ride from my house. Two of them require riding on a section of road I am just not fond of as it twisty and narrow and idiots driving too fast while being distracted are way too common on this road There are a number of trees that bear the marks of dumb asses playing chicken with trees and losing. I am not too interested in playing that game with a car.
So my preferred trail system actually requires quite a bit more street riding to get to than the other two but they are much less dangerous streets and roads. Getting to the trail system also requires a bit of climbing which is good for the whole exercise thing.
There are has been sometime where I felt kinda meh about the local. Since I was off the bike for quite sometime earlier this year with a knee injury, I have rediscovered some of the joy of the local loop when I was actually able to get back on it again. Earlier on in the recover just getting to the trail from my house was all my knee could handle.
Now that my knee is on the mend enough that I can put some work on the climbs it is really nice to get back and enjoy this place. Even if all I do is make it up to the first climb and chill out on what I call “The Perch”. I am thankful for a knee that works again and my local loop.
A friend of mine whose mug shots have been sprinkled all around this website took a hiatus from riding in 2017. I am pretty stoked to have nudged him enough to get back to living dirty on two wheels.
We decided to do the south side of Lake Hodges for the return ride. The nice about the south side is you can make things pretty easy, there is some technical spots and there are lots of options to add more mileage.
I went out to Daley Ranch to get my climb on as that place is really good for doing that. There were looks of puffy clouds in the sky which made for some really pretty scenery. I was pretty impressed with just how much water and moisture was on the ranch. Pretty much everyone of the ponds and water holding areas was at capacity. It was impressive.
All of that water was certainly allowing for spring to hold on strong as almost all of the grasses were still good and green and the wildflowers were plentiful.
During the back half of my ride the clouds darkened up and even managed to get sprinkled on a little bit. Not enough to make a mess of things but enough that I deployed the rain cover for my pack.
It has really felt good to be able to ride again and I have been working on getting back into shape while taking a measure approach to the riding as the knee gets stronger. I certainly do not want to have a relapse of the pain issues.
I have been able to get in three rides in this past week. First of was Lake Hodges where I did the north and south sides for about a 20 mile effort.
I did my local ride from the house and felt pretty good on it.
And I meet my buddy Dave for a ride and La Costa which included some of the Back 40 goodness. Maintaining proper social distancing was pretty easy with Dave. I could barely keep him within 100 feet let alone 6 feet.
On the backside trails we came across a Rattler. He was pretty happy where he was at so we had to give him some encouragement to get off the trail. There were no sticks of the appropriate length around so I stood behind my bike, held onto the saddle and rolled the bike up close to the snake. One the front wheel got within a foot of the snake he figured it was best to give up his ground. If you have your arm outstretched to you saddle and lean over while you do this you can keep seven plus feet between you and the snake. I like to get these folks away from the trail when I encounter them as you never know when some Ahole is going to come along think these things need to be killed.
After we got this fellow to move along we finished up the ride. I felt really good about how I finished up the ride. It was a good week of ridin
I meet Steve and Jim out at Big Laguna Meadow for a bit fun in the sun. Road work had the normal staging area closed so we went further up road and started from Red Tail Roost. Starting from there is a lot of fun as you kinda get to have desert before the main course. After the descent we climbed up Aqua Dulce but instead of doing the expected Los Gatos run we continued climbing up to Wooded Hills and took the trails up over that peak.
The knee continues to improve to the point of almost feeling good but I am making a concerted effort to spin more and mash less. By feeling good I mean I don’t feel it at all. It is back to just being part of the whole system and not making a fuss about itself. I have lost a good bit of fitness but that is on the mend as well.
After descending the Wooded Hills trail down to the old county road we turned and climbed up that road to Chico Ravine and took it down to the meadow. I can not recall the last time I have gone down Chico so it fun if for no other reason than it was a switch up from usual route. We futzed around on the meadow and some of the side trails in the area before working our way back up to Redtail Roost
That last single track to get back up top is tough. I was pretty happy with my effort on that section. I was certainly slower with the whole spinning effort to this recovering knee but I had enough energy in the tank at the bottom of the super steep section that I was able to clean it. It feels good to be able to put in a solid ride again.
First I must RANT! I am came across this dead rattler while climbing up one of my local trails. This is such bullshit! I’m pretty sure there was no real reason to kill this rattler. If they show up at your house they are asking for a whacking. If you go over to their house you should leave them be. The only crime this snake did was probably blocking somebody’s way along the trail.
Okay RANT over.
Last week my doc shot up my right knee with a huge syringe full of steroids, cortisone and other joint goodness. My knee hurt from the injection for a couple of days and then felt much better. I went back to out to my local trail twice over the last couple of days and while I have overall fitness I need to get back, I had no knee pain at all on the climb today. I was not pushing the knee but I was able to put in the required effort in the granny gear without pain. Finally after three months I am seeing some significant progress with the knee. Now if I can just keep the rest of my shit from falling apart.
The next couple of days after my last ride my knee was really bothering me so I took some more time off of the bike. I have another appointment with my doctor next week. I decided I would take another assessment of how the knee is going.
I went out to a local riding spot that requires about four miles or so of a patchwork of streets and trail to get there. Springtime is definitely going on!
The knee felt okay on all of the work getting up to the main trail area but it was also not much of a grade. Once in the main riding area the trail requires some work and it has more grade than my previous efforts. The knee went from some simple complaining to painful wanking. I had to turn around before getting more than a third of the way up the climb.
Well after almost seven weeks off of the bike due to injuring my right knee I got back on the dirt. For this first ride back I decided to head out to San Pasqual Valley and do the section of the Coast-to-Crest Trail from Bandy Canyon Road up to Raptor Ridge and back.
I decided on this route at it starts out flat then has a very gradual bit of climbing before you have a more significant climb at you approach Raptor Ridge. I figured this would be a good opening test of the knee in making the pedals go around. If I had any knee issues I could simply turn around and have a mostly flat or downhill spin back to the trail head.
This whole COVID-19 virus mess has made it tough to get into see doctors and physical therapy places are pretty much shutdown. The doctor currently thinks I have inflamed tendons but I’m not so sure I buy that diagnosis. I have to do some physical therapy first before they will go done the MRI route but getting physical therapy is tough as they are only seeing “critical” cases right now.
It was so nice to be back on two wheels. I was purposely going to take it easy on this ride and not mash on the pedals. Spinning was the name of the game here. The knee felt descent for just spinning along but I was aware I had a knee. It was not in pain but it was not quite right either. The final climbing section up to Raptor Ridge was all done in the granny gear. I was not straining the knee but the knee was definitely feeling worked. While this was an improvement, it is still not right as I was also not really putting much force down on the pedals at all and when I did the knee would complain.
The last couple of weeks January was a busy time with lots of non-biking goodness. I had been getting in some rides but they have been pretty utilitarian in nature. Such was the case on February 4th when I got in spin at Lake Hodges. I started out on the north side near at the storage facility staging area and took on the north side of the lake.
I took the north side all the way out to the dam and back. I was feeling really strong and keeping up a good pace (by my standards anyway).
When I got back to the bridge I cut over to he south side of the lake and started the working my way through the trails there. I was still feeling great. While doing a bit of out of the saddle work to press up a short rise I felt a sharp twinge in my right knee followed by a sharp pain as I neared the top of the pedal stroke. Even in my granny gear just getting through the range of motion at the top of the pedal stroke was quite painful. I had to cut the out rest of my intended route and go home.
Just walking around was a only slight uncomfortable but stairs and getting the knee bent beyond 45 degrees was painful.
So I have resigned to just walking and hiking to keep active. The dogs are pretty happy about this they are getting some longer adventures in beyond just the usual walking circuits.
It has been three weeks since I hurt the knee and it has only slightly gotten better. I have a doctors appointment in a couple of weeks when I get back from a work trip to have it assessed.