Archive for the ‘San Diego’ Category

Cuyamaca Mountains and CRHT Fun

March 26th, 2015 by MTBBill

This past weekend Nichol and I rode a modified version of the Cuyamaca Grand Loop.   It is very much looking like spring up in the Cuyamaca Mountains with lots of greenery, blooming plants and wildflowers.

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We started off from the East Mesa staging and rode the singletrack up to the park headquarters and then took the Green Valley Fireroad north.  Instead of climing Soapstone grade.  We took the Upper Green Valley singletrack north and climbed out of Cuyamaca State Park and into the Anza Borrego Desert State Park to the La Cima trail.

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You are certainly not in the desert at this point but the cool thing about the topology here is that in less that four miles the Cuyamaca Mountains drop nearly 3,000 feet into the desert proper. We topped out on the La Cima trail at about 4,880 feet.

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We rode the La Cima trail west to the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) where we the turned south.  This section of the CRHT is really sweet with some great views of the grassland of the Lake Cuyamaca Basin area.   This section of the CRHT is about 2.5 miles long and about halfway through this section you leave Anza Borrego State Park and cross back into Cuyamaca State Park.  The trail connects back up with Soapstone Grade fireroad at the top of the grade and we continued along the Grand Loop rout to the east.   In years past the state park had the California Riding and Hiking Trail closed to bikes in virtually all sections that were singletrack.  They have sense changed there mindset (Thanks to some tireless advocacy work by SDMBA!) and many more sections of the CRHT are now open in the park.  Instead of taking the pavement from Soapstone Grade Road out to Hwy 79 (I think the pavement is called Stonewall Creek Road??), We took the CRHT singletrack.

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The CRHT uses sections of the Minshall, Los Vaqueros and Vern Whitaker trails.  These are some nice sections of singletrack.  They do undulate a handful of times that is going to add your day’s effort but I put the cardio costs well worth it to enjoy these trails.  The CRHT comes out less than 50 yards south of the where the pavement meets up with Hwy 79.  There is also a junction with the northern end of the Cold Stream Trail.  The original plan was to turn right and continue along the Grand Loop route and do Milk Ranch Road and maybe a climb up Middle Peak.   Considering how cool the last section of the CRHT was and the open to bike signs for the next section across the highway,  we opted to continue along the CRHT.

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We immediately noticed that next section saw far less travel that across the highway.   Most of the users are obviously following the road to the north or the Cold Stream trail to the south.  I dig riding on trails that are sometimes defined by matted down grass.  There was also some rocky technical bits that added some nice character to the trail.   At the Azalea Glen trail junction the CRHT become make off-limits to bikes.   This was disappointing and turn west to ride the Azalea Glenn Loop trail which is open to bikes.   This lead us to the Paseo Picaho Campground.  We wanted to get up on the Azalea Fire Road and Fern Flat Fire Road to close off the Grand Loop but we now had to cover quite of elevation over a shorter distance.   A grunting we would up Lookout Road.

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Once we made it up to Fern Flat fire road we turn south and enjoy some mighty long stretches of downhill cruising that took us back down to the West Side single track near the start of the ride.   All together it was 22.1 miles with 3,190 feet of climbing so we definitely earned the post-ride beers and BBQ and Alpine Beer Company.

Hodges, Black Mountain, Sycamore

March 15th, 2015 by MTBBill

I have hit up several different places over the last week.

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I started the week off with meeting some new and old friends for a spin through Sycamore Canyon and then some.  There will be some updates on my site in the coming weeks for this area.  Biggest takeaway for now is to stay east of the watershed running down the middle of the canyon as the Marines are patrolling their land that is on the west side of the seasonal creek.  Instead of parking at the dirt lot near Mast and Medina, park at “Hole in the Fence”.   Google Map   9100-9140 Birchcrest Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 and park near there.  This is a neighborhood so remember to be a good visitor in their hood.  Be quiet and don’t thump your system.   Trail starts through the hole in the fence at the end of Birchcrest.    Exploration is good for the soul!

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I have been refreshing my knowledge of the Black Mountain area in preparation for a webpage update and there were a couple of back corner trails that I had not been on in a long time.  So an after work ride was in order here.  I kinda had lost an appreciation for how much climbing you can get in out here.  Often times when I’m researching an area I put together a route that allows me to cover the most trails and trails I have not been on it a while.   This latest research route I did was 14 miles and included 2,900 feet of climbing. No wonder muscles and joints were wanking the next day!

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I came across the fellow while out on the trail.  Literally! I came across him.  When I realized that this big fellow was a snake I was way to close to stop and not prepared to bunny hop over him.   Boy was he pissed!

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Nichol had been out of town for a while so Saturday we took a welcome back cruise on familiar ground out at Lake Hodges.   It was unseasonably warm but as far as I’m concerned there is no time like the present to start getting acclimated to the hot weather.  Ahhh, the kind of problems we have to deal with in San Diego.

 

Updated Los Penasquitos Page

March 8th, 2015 by MTBBill

It has been long overdue, but I have finally updated my Los Penasquitos page to reflect the current configuration of trails in the area.

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Yes, it does include the Tunnels area.   More from a trail inventory perspective than a go ride it endorsement.   Although, if those trails were legal I would highly endorse them.  But it is not legal to ride those single tracks to I won’t endorse riding those really awesome trails.

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I also included the miles of mostly shaded single track along Penasquitos Creek.  These are trails that provide a quality outdoor experience that are also off-limits to bikes.    While the best stuff out at Penasquitos is off limits to bikes, there is still plenty of miles of dirt to get yourself in a good workout here.  You can read more about it on the updated page.

New trail goodness at Black Mountain

March 7th, 2015 by MTBBill

I spent a couple of afternoons this past week getting reacquainted with Black Mountain in near Rancho Bernardo.  The Lilac Canyon trail has recently been rerouted and it is way much for the better.

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The trail still starts from the Miner’s Ridge Loop trailhead but now instead of steeply descending down to Carmel Valley Road it down contours along the north slope of Black Mountain around to the glider port.

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Shortly before the trail reaches the glider port a single track forks off to the north and pass under Carmel Valley Road.  This is another nice section of singletrack that works its way around to the north side of the Black Mountain Ranch Park (baseball fields).   This provides a direct connection to the Santa Luz/Larsardi Creek Loop.   This is a really nice trail connection that I’m stoked about.     I’ll be updating my site soon with new data on the trail.

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I had kinda lost my appreciation for just how much climbing there is at Black Mountain.    The first ride out here I did about 17 miles and 2,500 miles and on the second ride I did 16.75 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing.

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It seems mighty early for the rattlers to be out and about already but this fellow above was the third rattler I have seen this year.   I came around a turn and I was at that distance where I had to decide wither to bunny hop the snake or throw out the anchor.   I chose to throw out the anchor and ended up pulling off a totally awesome nose wheelie stop that I’m positive I could not pull off again if I tried.

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The Miner’s Ridge Loop is in fantastic shape right now with the rain we had the previous week.   If you have not been out here in a while you should go check it out while the greenery of spring is in full effect.

Feels like spring at Penasquitos!

February 21st, 2015 by MTBBill

With all of the destruction that has happened in the Penasquitos Canyon area over the last decade due to land development coupled with the various land management agencies waking up with from decades of management slumber the whole area is kind of a land management circus show.   The only groups that are making out in this deal are the developers and the folks making a living off protecting Fairy Shrimp (I’m still looking for a good recipe BTW)

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My Los Penasquitos Canyon page has been absurdly out of date ever since the development started.    I have decided to finally update the page so I have been riding out here as of late to refresh my GPS data and try to figure out the best legal way to ride out in this area that is not completely mudane and boring.    It is fairly tough as the mountain bikers have very little in the way of legal quality trails.  It seems the only things that are not endangered out here are no biking signs.   (Just for the record that trail in the picture above is not single track, it is more like a baby stroller trail, ATV trail, etc…)   You can get in some good riding with a quality outdoor experience but you are going to have illegally share with the hikers and the equestrians and blow by closed signs.

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The Camino Ruiz trail is the nearly lone exception to legal boredom of highway wide fire roads in the canyon offered to mountain bikers.  This  is a nice chunk of single track.

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Ok, ranting aside, the  warm weather streak we have been having in February has both plants and critters getting confused.   Flower are blooming and the everything is nice and green.

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Chasing the sun greenery

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It is pretty early for the snakes to be coming out already.   This is a rather healthy looking whip snake.

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It was in evening time so he was mighty sluggish and very easy to handle.   He seemed more than happy to leech some heat off of me before getting anxious to head off.

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Last weekend at the San Clemente Singletracks I saw my first rattlesnake of the season but he was uncooperative for the camera.  I saw my second rattler of the year at Penasquitos Canyon this week and this fella was more amiable to getting his picture taken.   The guys are going to be sucking when the weather shifts back to typical temperatures soon.

 

Daley Ranch after work rides

February 7th, 2015 by MTBBill

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So Nichol has been looking way too comfortable riding around Lake Hodges as of late so it was time bring on something a little more challenging for the after work rides.

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Nichol meet Daley Ranch.  Just for the record the top section of the East Ridge Trail was the only time she hike-a-biked any section of the first ride out here.  I have a feeling it is just a matter of time before I’m chasing her up the hills.

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We were chasing daylight on our first outing so we did Creek Crossing to Sage to the Jack Meadow Loop.  After the loop we took the East Ridge trail back to the Creek Crossing trail and back the trailhead.  It was only 9 miles and change but was more elevation change than the 18 mile loop we last did at Lake Hodges.

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Our second after-work ride at Daley this week started out the same but at the top of the Jack Meadow Loop we took the Hidden Springs trail (aka “The Wall”) up onto the western ridge where we rode the Engelman Oak and the Cougar Ridge trails (fire roads) over the Crest trail.  The trail is holding pretty well considering that we have been way short on rain for a long time.    After the Crest trail we took the ranch access road back to the trail.    This was only a mile longer than the previous outing but added about 500 feet of additional climbing.      This is a good time of year to be riding out here with mild temps and greenery all around.

Chasing the Sun at Lake Hodges

January 25th, 2015 by MTBBill

I have been hitting up Lake Hodges as the after-work ride as of late.   It is right on the way home at it only take a handful minutes to be out on the trail after getting off the freeway.

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Here is Nichol working a log ride.

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Critters seen along the trail.

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Views from the trail behind and above the boat launch.

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A mechanical on the Tuesday ride turned me into a reluctant single speeder.   Of course it happened right after the apex of the ride.

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So I have not dusted my night-time riding gear in quite sometime.  As an after-work ride in January chasing the sun is always part of the equation.   The sunsets have been pretty awesome as of late so “losing” the race with the sun is its own reward.

 

Winter in San Diego

January 14th, 2015 by MTBBill

My how time flies.    It been a while since my last post.  I would like to say that I have been too busy riding my bike to post, but that is simply not the case.  Between work, family, the holidays and a handful of the other things getting to the keyboard has just not been happening.

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However I have been getting out and about and doing some research and just seeing stuff.    Valley of the Moon out near Jacumba is really cool and I am planning to spend some more time out there.

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I have also been riding some trails that I’m obliged to not publish.

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The recent rains have certainly greened this up around the county.   Above is Raptor Ridge just east of Lake Hodges.

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Some more of the greenery.

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Cruising the Del Dios Trail

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One of the latest chasing the sun after-work rides

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We did not leave any daylight unused on this ride.

BLT, Redtail Roost and Noble Canyon

October 28th, 2014 by MTBBill

Saturday Nichol and I went up to Big Laguna Meadow to get in some biking and a night of camping.

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It was quite a pretty day with some fall colors up in the trees and exceptionally nice temps. After setting up camp we did a cruise around meadow.

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We were up bright and early the next morning to meet a gang-o-folks down at the lower Noble Canyon Trailhead for some playing around for the better part of the day.  We left some vehicles at the bottom and then drove up to the Redtail Roost trailhead off of Sunrise Highway.    There were at total of 10 of us in the gaggle.   Redtail roost is a fun trail that goes along a wooded ridgeline for a ways before descending down into the Laguna Meadow area.    Encountering a dude all decked out in camouflage early along the trail was good reminder that it is hunting season up here.   I was also glad I passed on wearing my buckskin jersey and Viking helmet on this ride.

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After descending Redtail Roost we climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of the Los Gatos trail where we then descended down to the meadow.    But not without playing a few features here and there.  Here is Michael playing on a skinny.

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Dave getting in some log action as well.  Once down on the meadow we went up the east side of the meadow a ways and the did a side loop that included a portion of the connector trail that goes between the meadow and the Pacific Crest Trail.   Once back at the meadow we went around and up the west side of the meadow and caught the connector over to Penny Pines and the upper Noble Canyon trailhead.  It was here that David’s frame broke where the downtube meets the bottom bracket.   So he broke off  from the group for a very dodgy ride back to Redtail Roost along Sunrise Highway.

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It was Noble Canyon time now and there was plenty of good stuff as always between the top and the bottom.   Here is Jenny rolling through the woods up near the top.

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James playing on a jump about halfway down or so.

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James rolling into the “Stairway to Hell”

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Kevin meets Stairway to Hell.  I was kind of jealous of his superlight rig earlier in the ride, you know like on the climbs.   I was pretty stoke with my rig through these parts.  After spending most the summer riding a XC hardtail rent-a-wreck my long-legged stretched out full suspension couch felt awesome through this stuff.  Woot Woot!

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James working through some chunk.     By the time we hit the bottom trailhead most folks’ mileage device had us doing between 24 and 25 miles with a little under 2,800 feet of climbing in.   While the rest of the crew headed out, I went back up to he meadow and we broke camp down at a leisurely pace and then headed out for tasty BBQ and Beer at Alpine Beer Company.   Another good weekend on a bike.


View The Redtail Roost to Noble Canyon Route in a larger map or directly download it here

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.