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 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.
It was time for a dawn patrol ride in the Cuyamaca Mountains and Anza Borego Desert State Park. I was at the trailhead bright and early. Too early was my first thought as it was quite brisk (mid-50’s) and I was dressed for the heat to come.
I started out at the San Diego River Staging area. The early morning temps made for a zippy start to help keep the blood flowing.
I made my way up the west side single track and then cut over to the at the visitor center and picked up the Green Valley fire road.
I saw turkeys and some deer along way. When I got to the bottom of Soapstone grade fire road, I took the Upper Green Valley single track. About half way up the climb you leave the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and enter the Anza Borrego Desert state park. Now it looks nothing like a desert up here.
Normally, I hookup with the La Cima Trail and head west toward Lake Cuyamaca and the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT). Today I turned east on the La Cima trail where I went for just over a mile up and over a ridge to the La Cima Trailhead. This was a nice bit of trail. At the La Cima trailhead I picked up the Sunrise trail and continued east.
What a nice bit of trail. There were one spot where you could look down into the Anza Borrego Desert and see the Salton Sea.
I took the Sunrise trail out to its end at the entrance to the Lucky 5 ranch and the northern terminus of Deer Park Road (private property). This was my first time on this bit of trail and I must say I liked it. I have heard that there is a trail planned that would stay on the south side of sunrise highway and connect the Sunrise trail all the way over to top of Noble Canyon. I am all about new trails and I would gladly welcome such a trail. Interestingly enough there is already a trail that connects those two points together. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is that trail. There are access points to the PCT at the the entrance to the Lucky 5 ranch as well as at the top of Noble Canyon. Unfortunately bikes are off limits on the PCT. Now this particularly section is not off limits to bikes because it is in wilderness. No it is strictly off limits to bikes because the PCT has a blanket ban on bikes mostly because the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) feels bike should not be on “their” trail. (I’m grossly generalizing their position that from their perspective makes sense) To me it seems to be a nearly a no brainer that allowing bikes on the PCT section that is on the north side of the Sunrise Highway from Lucky 5 to Noble would alleviate the need to build a trail between those two points on the south side of Sunrise Highway. This makes me wonder, would the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) rather see additional environmental impacts created in this area to create a redundant trail just so they could continue to keep bikes off of the PCT? Is their need to maintain a certain trail experience greater than their land stewardship goals? Would the organizations that support the PCTA simultaneously oppose the creation of the new trail on the south side of the trail due to environmental impacts while also opposing the sharing of the section PCT on the north side of Sunrise highway? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.
Well after my deep thoughts I started working my way back the California Riding and Hiking trail. It was well into mid-morning at this point and things had warmed up to near perfect cycling temps. Along the way I came upon the fellow above.
After a bit of snake and camera juggling, I was back on my way and rejoined the CRHT which took me to Soapstone and Stonewall fire roads followed by the Coldsprings trail and the then back to the staging area via the westside single
So my youngest son, Jake has been accepted to Humbolt State University to finish off his degree in Forestry and Wildland Fire Management. We decide to take the travel trailer up there for a week to get the lay of the land and find him a place to live out in town. First stop along the journey was a overnighter to see my oldest son who lives south of San Jose. It was really nice to have both of my not so much boys anymore in the same spot.
The next made the rest of the way up north and setup shop in Trinidad at a campsite nestled between redwoods.
So everyday we had some chores to do which mostly included scoping out rooms for rent and doing interviews with the landlords/owners.
But that stuff took up less than half of each day so we were about to checkout some stuff.
As luck would have it a good friend, JD, has a brother who lives in nearby Bluelake. After some emails and phone calls his brother Tim took Jake and I out for a tour through the local woods. We even started right from the HSU campus. I do believe Jake is pretty stoked about this.
The last day our planned stay up there we ended up finding “The Place” and put some ink to paper. The next morning we headed out but this time we decided to take a different route we took us inland though some mighty pretty country side. I’m not so sure SoCal is ever going to get Jake back.
We made our way down to Fresno and had enough time to check out thier MTB skills park. It was not bad. I would not make a special trip for it, but if you are passing through, go for it.
The next day we mad our way back to home. A very productive and fun trip.
So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.
Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.
There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.
Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.
I have been off the bike for quite a chunk of time with lots of competing interests taking up my time. I have a slew of home projects, a long overdue visit from my parents, some difficult work in town as well as some work travel.
It was not bad, just not mountain biking. I worked in Hawaii for a month which included having my wife out for a week.
I did not doing any mountainbiking in Hawaii on this trip but I did do quite a bit of hiking.
It was however quite nice to get back to San Diego and hit up some hometown dirt again.
What is not to like about this kind of trail action.
Nichol and I managed to do a traditional vacation that included a handful of days in Hawaii.
Now Nichol and I have been to Oahu numerous times related to work but this was our first time there in a strictly vacation fashion. We have both done most of the “mandatory” tourist things on the island in the past so we were under no pressure or schedule to do anything. It was really nice.
In addition to vacation, there has been lots of house stuff that has been capturing my interests and time as if late. Man caves don’t build themselves!
But that does not mean I have not been riding. I have been hitting my local “off the books” ride here and there along with getting out to the Laguna Mountains. I just have been hitting the trails with as much regularity as I normally do. Pretty sure I’m gonna pay for that later.
The toe bone is connected to your leg bone. Your legbone is connected to your hip bone… After gimping around for a week and being mighty gentle with my stride for a couple more weeks on a work trip, I got on the bike this morning. It was good to be back on a trail but man could I tell I have been slacking. My left toes were doing okay until I got into sections that required some mashing on the pedals. In the techincal bits I was surprised how just about any body english move made me unpleasantly aware that my toes play a role in executing that. I think I will need to be a bit more selective about where I ride for the next couple of weeks. But yeah its good to be riding!
So I have been meaning to bolt down the vise in my workshop for weeks as I did not like the idea of accidently knocking it off the bench. So of course while lining up the jaws to edge of the bench to bolt it down I accidently tip it off the bench and onto my foot. While the hemo-techicolor action has not kicked in yet I am sure I have at least one broken toe maybe two.
For now its time for some motrin, bourbon and ice.