Bernardo Mountain – Rant

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.

The guy was making plenty of noise.

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.

The view of most of the southside trails.

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.

Looking west from the summit

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.

Back in the Saddle

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.

Great view
I worked under harder conditions.

It was not bad, just not mountain biking. I worked in Hawaii for a month which included having my wife out for a week.

We are still smiling here, we still have climb back down this slick ridgeline.

I did not doing any mountainbiking in Hawaii on this trip but I did do quite a bit of hiking.

Plenty of great things to see by foot i. Hawaii.
Back in SD

It was however quite nice to get back to San Diego and hit up some hometown dirt again.

Playing on SoCal rocks

What is not to like about this kind of trail action.

Tight Situation

Vacation and Laguna Mountains

So I have not been riding much as of late.

View from along the stroll to dinner

Nichol and I managed to do a traditional vacation that included a handful of days in Hawaii.

Poolside did not suck

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.

Sunset from the backyard

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.

Toe Bone is connected to the …

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!

Back on the trail
Back on the trail again!

DOOOOH! Walking Wounded

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.

Yep…Broken Toes!

For now its time for some motrin, bourbon and ice.

CDFW showcases in mismanagement skills

The San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) has a Call to Action Alert regarding the California Department of Fencing Fishing and Wildlife’s (CDFW) continued mismanagement of the Calavera Highlands Reserve (aka Calavera Lake).   CDFW officials have been “aggressively” engaging with trails users

While Calavera is a sizable area with a large network of user-built trails that is a good place to get in riding with a descent outdoor experience it is definitely a shit show of redundant trails.    No doubt about it, these are unofficial and illegal trails that the CDFW are wanking about.    There is also no doubt about it that the CDFW does not manage this area.  If this organization was doing its job, they would have been losing their mind a long time ago.  Arbitrarily locking out the public from public lands by putting up fencing and signs and then walking away is not management.

From the periods in which I have interacted with CDFW, I have come to believe they think the land they acquire is “their” land and they are entitled to all of the protections and benefits that private property owners have.    The primary benefit being they get to solely decide who may come on their property and who may not.   It does not matter what their regulations state, the public knows that the land is public.   The public will never accept Calavera Highlands Ecological Reserver as a pristine ecological reserve worthy of locking out the public.   All one has to do is stand atop Calavera Hill and look around.   The public is not staying out.

The CDFW track record in San Diego county seems to indicate that they do not possess the skillsets to properly manage lands that have  an existing recreational baseline that includes people.   Personally I think they depend on academic, non-profits and “friends of …”  groups that do the bulk of the monitoring and management for them.    The primary reason Crestridge Ecological Reserve allows mountain biking is because the Earth Discovery Institute is the de-facto land manager who recognized the benefit of responsible human-powered recreation .   If the Earth Discovery Institute had not pushed so hard for the unique change for this reserve it would not have happened.

Despite the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) being on the San County Regional Trail Plan it is pretty much unattainable as a viable regional trail as long as the CDFW is involved with any of the land along the route.  Numerous sections of the this trail in San Diego county go through lands mismanaged by CDFW and at pretty much everyone of those, the trail has fences and off-limits signs.

The county is most likely going to end up speeding hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new section of trail for the Coast to Crest Trail near Boden Canyon because the CDFW are not going to allow an easement along a 0.2 mile section of an existing old dirt road!

There are many other examples of the CDFW’s culture of “its my land not yours” mismanagement style throughout the county.    Humans are part of the fauna of the San Diego ecosystems. Until the CDFW develops the skillsets and polices to effectively deal with the outdoor experience needs of this species the organization will continue suffer from a lack of land management creditability with the pubic.    Until that changes the pubic will continue to give the CDFWs signs and fences a big double middle-fingered salute.

One Helluva Fall!

What a fall, what a fall!  Well actually has been a crazy last half of the year.    Sometimes work is well, a whole lot of work and this year was particularly so.  I spent way too much traveling this year to places I’m not particularly fond of.

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The work was certainly rewarding and the people I interacted are some of America’s finest, but I’m glad to put this years traveling for work behind.

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The MTB action as been pretty sparse as of late as well.    With limited time back at the homestead I put a priority on quality time with the family.

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Of course I was not off the bike cold-turkey, I was just hitting up some of the local goods for quickies vice big rides.  Sometimes it was more about relaxing out on the trail than the actual riding.  One of my favorite spots out at Daley Ranch is pictured below.

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And of course Lake Calavera is almost in my backyard so there were a few loops done out there as well.

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For those of you who have been paying attention you should have noticed a growing  prominence of pictures of this young lady pictured below over the last handful of years on the site. Nichol and I have known each other for 30 years.  Last year we got engaged and…..

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This month we went and got hitched!   Instead of having wedding and working the logistics of people coming to see us get married, we traveled back to Chicago and got married at the spot where we first met.

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We then went on bit of traveling wedding celebration road show.   We flew down to Virginia where we shared some tasty beverages and grub with friends there.  From there we drove down to North Carolina to celebrate with most of my family that live in that area.

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My oldest son joined us in North Carolina and I was stoked for him to be able to spend some time with my folks.   Will loves to fish so my Dad and his friends hooked us up with some excellent time out on one of the local lakes.

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We ended up with cooler full of fish and memories to last a lifetime.

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While there was no MTBing done back in North Carolina, I did a enjoy taking Will on a stroll through the same woods I tromped around in when I was a kid.  It was every bit as rewarding as a great MTB ride.

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We finished up the road show back in San Diego with a gathering at a Common Theory Public House with some of our local peeps.

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So it has been quite a ride over the last handful of months without a whole lot of riding.   I’m looking forward to the future along with getting the normalcy of two-wheeled excitement back into the rotation.   Live On…..Ride On!

All Work and No Play

Makes Bill a Dull Boy!

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Since the fall of last year, I have been spending way too much time working in the island country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.  I certainly can’t complain about the accommodations.

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It has been virtually one project right after the other and I am looking forward to getting it all of done.

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The work is certainly rewarding but I am ready to get back home to be with family and friends and back on some dirt.

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Not this kind of dirt.

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This kind of dirt!

So with all of this time I have had over here to pour through all of the MTB resources over here,  I have boiled down things into my number one tip for planning a mountain biking trip to Bahrain…..

DON’T! This place sucks for mountain biking!

I’m sure you could make some kind of lemonade with the bitter lemons of this place.   Maybe with a Fatbike and riding at night when its only like 95 but really try Death Valley in summer first.

Part of Tunnels Open – Semi Rant

First:  This  from San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department.

Please be advised that the trails approved by the City Council on Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa will be open for use tomorrow. Maps will be posted at kiosks.

On the Del Mar Mesa map, as shown below, trails opened by the Council action are shown in black and white. Trails shown in black and red are NOT open due to private property and/or the need for Coastal Commission approval. Maps will be updated once further clearances are obtained.

For Carmel Mountain, all trails appear the same on the map and all are open.

The Council action also included biological habitat restoration on a number of areas previously used for recreational activities. Ranger staff have installed brush, signs, and fences at the access points to these locations. Please respect these access controls along with the ones installed at the Coastal Zone boundary and report any inappropriate behavior to Park Ranger staff.

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Now a bit of opinion from me:  While this progress is the culmination of a lot of work by a wide array of folks working quite diligently it also shows off some of the bureaucratic buffoonery that is all to common when multiple agencies have to work together.  It better than it was but this trail plan is a setup to foster undesired behaviors.   Where are the loops?   Tunnel 4 is the only legal ingress/egress into the tunnels and then you can only go out and back on the Deer Canyon Trail.   The California Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is the primary players who would not allow for a trail to create a loop to get back from the eastern end of the Deer Canyon trail back to the Eucalyptus Grove.   This failure to manage the flow of trails users will most likely lead to undesired effects such as trail users figuring out their own way to create a loop with those trails which will further challenge the management of this area.   You can bet that when a group of folks do this they will be demonized by the very folks who help create the problem in the first place.    You know people, particularly trail users, are fairly predictable.  In many respects people are much more predictable that the array of critters these intelligent conservationist are trying to protect.  You would think they would have figured this stuff out by now.

Now my recommendation:   Like the city is asking, PLEASE do not go around any barriers, remove any of the brush, debris or tamper with the “access controls”  (What do that have squirrels with lasers attached to their head?)  that has been put up to close off the existing trails that are not going to be part of this trails system on the mesa.   I believe this would be exactly what some of the ANTI-BIKE ANTI-ACCESS folks/agencies would love to see happen.  DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!     I’ll be updating my page on this trail system in the coming weeks