Archive for December, 2007

Palm Canyon – Conditions Report

December 29th, 2007 by MTBBill

Palm Canyon is one of my all-time favorite epics in Southern California.   I ride it at least two to three times a year.   This ride can be a deadly furnace ride in the summer so the winter months are generally the season to get out here.  I generally organize a sizable group ride at least once a year here, but I prefer to do this ride in really small groups.  This my first ride of the season and it was sort of a scouting trip for the large group ride to be done later.   Rich (Taffy15), Bill (MrMountainHop), Steve (Aquaholic) and I were on the trail just before 9AM and were treated to a day of excellent conditions. 

 Steve

There was some moisture in the ground that made for excellent traction.    The trail overall is in good shape.   The three-mile dry wash climb was as good as I have ever seen it but it was still a pain in the butt.   The Hahn Buena Vista trail was as awesome as always.    The unmarked trail that connects Dunn Road to Fern Canyon trail is also in good shape and is much more defined than in past years.

On the Indian Poterro Trail

 We made excellent time today.  We were not trying to hammer but finished in under six hours.   We had no mechanicals or flats which for those who have done this ride, you know this is nearly magical.

Rich on the Dry Wash Climb

There were a couple of things that ruffled my feathers on this ride.    The descent off the meadow on the Indian Poterro Trails has been heavily sanitized and the final bit of singletrack going down by the water tanks in the Goat Trails has also been sanitized with a bunch of cheater rocks below the drops.

Da Climb

Looking Down from the Hahn

  I don’t suspect this is the case, but if this “trailwork” was officially sanctioned then those people should be ashamed of themselves.    Most likely this is caused by riders whose skill levels are less than their ego levels.  If you can not ride this stuff — WALK IT! – DON’T MODIFY OR DESTORY IT!   You do not get credit for “cleaning” the trail if you had to dumb it down to do so.  If you want to be a better rider, try, try and try again until you either get it or have to walk it.    The Goat Trail section really pisses me off because it is a totally optional trail.   If you can’t ride it, take the fireroad down.  If you want to do trailwork then get with your local Mountain Biking advocacy group for a legititmate trailwork day

 Bill

Ranting aside – Tis the season for Palm Canyon!

Update:  Here are some more pictures on MTBR’s SoCal Forum

Soquel Demonstration Forest Video

December 26th, 2007 by MTBBill

Demo 2007 Video

So I finally got around to putting together the video from the Soquel Demonstration Forest near Santa Cruz that I got to enjoy on my Norcal Summer Roadtrip this year.   The lighting was quite harsh on the day of this ride so a good bit of this footage not ideal.    I almost decided not to make the video at all, but what the heck there was enough for a shorter video.    This was my second time there and I still did not manage to get on the Braille or Tractor trail.   I’m riding those no matter what next time.   The video is 4 minutes and 34 second long and is 58MB in size.  Right Click on the image below to download.

-Bill

The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

December 20th, 2007 by MTBBill

The 5,312 acre Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, located in the extremely scenic mountains between Santa Yasbel and Julian about 40 miles northeast of San Diego, is one of the prettiest preserves in the county I have seen to date. While fire roads exclusively make up the designated trail system here, you will most likely not mind at all as the beauty of the place makes up for the lack of singletrack options. The rolling open grasslands and oak groves remind me a great deal of Northern California. You can get in just under 20 miles of riding if you do all of the loops and out and back sections.    It is well worth a visit, but you will have to make it a weekend as the perserve is currently only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to Sunset.

See all the of the Review, Maps and Pictures.

Views from the climb to Kanata Flat

-Bill

San Gabriel Mountains Teaser Pics

December 15th, 2007 by MTBBill

Friday I made a rather long drive up through LA to get in some San Gabriel Mountain goodness with my long time riding bud, Bill O’neil.  He is better known as “MrMountainHop” online.  Bill also has a real knack for putting together some awesome routes that often includes trails off the beaten path. When arranging this ride with Bill my main theme was “I’m driving a long way, lets use all of the day.”  Boy did Bill and the San Gabriel Mountains deliver on that.   We did a good chunk of the Silver Moccasin trail as well as Mount Hillyer and some other goodies.   Look for the the full report, pictures and maps in the weeks to come.    Here a few quick pics from the day.

The weather forecasts are calling for more snow in the next week, but we found plenty.

Snowy Tires

Not too many tracks in this area.

Snowy trail

Riding on evening minor technical bits is interesting with a bit of snow and ice added to the mix.

Mt Hillyear

Some were challenging enough without the snow.

Hillyer

  Trail Math – 15 minutes to the bottom – 5 minutes to change a tire – Maybe 17 minutes of twilight left. 

 Twilight

-Bill

More Flight Lessons

December 12th, 2007 by MTBBill

So one week after getting thumped really good out in Alpine, I was back out there.   This was sort of a test to see how my knee was going to be since I had a big ride planned for a few days later and it was a little tender.   The climb when as expected but the knee was uncomfortable by the time we reached the top.   (Actually, some part of me is nearly always “uncomfortable” by the time I get to the top).  Enough yapping here are some pictures.

   This thing is steeper than it looks.   I swear it looks to be easier as a huck.  Steve is always impressive out here.

 Big Steep Roller

I hit the “Cornroll”.    It is not a bad roller at all but it does mess with you visually as you have to do a quick get up move over the crest of rock which requires you to get up on the front of the bike a bit before getting sliding behind the bike for the roll.   

Cornroll

Frankie aka “Monkey Butt”  joined us for the ride today.

Monkey Butt

More Chucnk Play

Chunk Play

I played in some chunk as well (Photo by Steve)

Bill Chunk

I think this one goes into the “Stupid Human Tricks” Catergory.

Stupid Human Tricks

I had not really planned on doing much of the stunts today with the knee and all but I ended up giving a few things a go.  This bit is a roller or it can be launched.  I had always rolled it before, but today I worked on launching it.  It took me several tried to get enough balls hit with speed, but it felt really good when I did manage to pull it off.    It was cool to make some unplanned progess.

Bill in Air

Nice Evening Light

Nice Light

Final Words – Another Great Day on the Bike! 

-Bill

To Publish or Not to Publish?

December 11th, 2007 by MTBBill

Hey Bill, …  I noticed you do not have any information on the XXX trail. Why is that? I have not yet been there, but I am going with some friends today because it was recommended to him….

I get emails of this theme off and on and it is a really good question. I’ll try to answer it. (And maybe rant at little too)

Not all of the trails I ride end up on my site.  There are usually three good general reasons that cause me to refrain from putting a trail I may ridden on the site.

1.  The trail is “sensitive” in nature – Do not automatically equate “sensitive” to mean illegal.  It may just be that it is not a fully condoned trail system, such as the stuff that is considered social.   Hey, I’m no saint and I may have ridden some questionable stuff to “see what the fuss is about.”   There are some trails that are quite popular but are not fully legit and lots of folks ride them.   These are not limited to the freeride/downhill type trails which seem to get the most flake. There are plenty of XC trails in SoCal that have some property lines  or user conflict issues that do not need to be brought out online.

2. I was asked not to publish it – Yes I know how to keep a secret and if someone who showed me “The Goods” asked me not to publish a trail, even if it is legal, I may not publish it.

3. Trail Sustainability – If I personally do not think the trail could handle a bunch of additional traffic I may not publish it.  I have a few unpublished and legal trails that are great trails comprised of long, narrow and pristine downhill sections that are fabulous.  They are however easily shuttled.   If I published these trails I am quite positive that a crap load of shuttlers would start using these trails and then start trashing them out.  

This is not so much a downhiller or an XC issue as it is an irresponsible riding issue. I have seen plenty of folks on both XC as well as DH/FR rigs being skidiots.  (Skidding IDIOT)   I believe, on average, the folks on the bigger rigs cause more of the trail issues on those types of trails because compared to your average XC rider, they can go faster with the same skill level.  The higher speeds usually requires more skill to slow the bike down and not skid. The longer wheel-base and slacker geometry of the bigger bikes also requires greater skill to navigate switchbacks and tight turns. The same average rider on the bigger bikes is more likely to blow/damage more of those type of turns than a rider on a cross-country rig.   I also subscribe to the idea that Downhiller’s have a tendency to bring the downhill park mindset to the local trails, which is pretty much like trying to mix oil and water.

I’m I talking with my butt cheeks?  I could be,  but let the trails do the talking.  All it takes for me is to look at the poorer condition of some of the trails that are easily shuttled. The San Juan trail is a wreck compared to the Trabuco Canyon.   Both are great downhills but the San Juan Trail is easily shuttled where as Trabuco is not.

         Now before you get all huffy puffy on me because you shuttle and own a DH/FR rig keep this in mind.  I’m generalizing about average riders.  My guess is that if you are excited about my statements, you are most likely not that average rider I’m talking about.  Then again, check yourself and if the shoe fits, wear it and work on becoming a not-so average rider.  

To Publish or Not To Publish?   My going in belief is that any social trails that are kept on the down low have a poor chance of ever being legitimized.   However, to publicize a trail in the wrong manner can certainly bring on an earlier demise to a trail system.   Flightline could have benefited from earlier public awareness of the system, where as the  “Thomas Wolgamont” trail system has an extremely slim chance of being fully legitimized so I think it is best to keep it off the airwaves.  

The bottom line is that if you are wondering about a particularly trail system that is not on the site, please contact me.  I might have some off-site information I can provide.   If I post a write up or pictures and I am vague, it’s intentional.

Now Go Ride!

-Bill

The Golden Eagle Trail

December 9th, 2007 by MTBBill

Well this is not a real recent ride, but it is new page on the site.   With all the tinkering with getting the new version of the site put together, this ride just sort of got pushed to the side for awhile.  There was a bit of research I had to do with this ride as the trails were not well marked and various map sources had conflicting information.   Eitherway, I finally got around to putting this one together.   With all of the rains when have been having as fo late this trail would be really good when it has some moisture on it.  

Here is my whole take on this ride.  

The Climb Up the Golden Eagle Trail

-Bill

Flying Lessons in Alpine

December 6th, 2007 by MTBBill

So I went out to what is becoming a near-weekly ride out in Alpine to one of the local favorites for aggressive trail/freeriding. The weakest part of my MTB skills (other than fitness) is airing the bike out. My cohort in grime for most of these rides is Steve. Steve has the skills and watching him is like getting free “flight lessons”. Today we had someone else join us who I had not seen in ages, Denny. Denny is pretty well known for his screen name of “Dirty D“. Well the Double D family just got bigger as his wife just recently gave birth to a 9 pounder and change boy. He was pretty stoked about it and Steve and I think we may have to rename him “Daddy D”. The 7 mile climb on my portly long-legged big bike gave me it’s normal beat down. It is a fairly respectable climber considering it’s in the mid-to-upper 30lb weight class. When climbing with this bike you come to “an agreement” with it more so than trying to muscle or hammer your way up the hill.

The climbing was soon over and playtime began. There is plenty of stuff out there that I either do not have the skills or balls to try yet. Every time I go out there I chip away at it and I have been steadily adding a notch here and there to the stunt belt. What I don’t ride I usually take pictures of others riding. I have a lot of pictures from this place :)

Here are some of the pictures from yesterdays excursion.

Steve on the newest move out there called “Collarboner.” Named because the first person to give it a try broke his collarbone. Steve on Collarboner

Steve on “Corn Dog

Corn Dog

Another Angle on “Corn Dog

CornDog

Dirty D trusts Steve

DD Jump

Dirty D grabbing some air on “Huck You!”

Huck You

Another Angle of Dirty D coming off “Huck You!”

Huck You

Just a little further down the trail there is a rock jump that I have been working on for the last 3 visits here. I have not been able to get it until today. Today, I made the lead in rock lunge and roll move with no sweat gave a couple of pedal strokes, hit the lip and boom, it done.  Nailed It!  It was really cool to finally hit that thing. This picture was taken when I went back and did it again for the camera. (Photo by Steve)

Bill Jumps

Now I’m feeling awesome. We roll on down the trail and the next significant section that routinely do is the “Waterfall”. It is a steep rocky section that has enough drops to be really challenging. There is a sizable drop at the bottom that is always really tricky, but I have “owned” it now for a couple of months. The trail conditions were great in this section and I was going down it right on mark with a touch more speed than normal.

Yep, I was feeling cocky.

The drop at the bottom had gotten just a touch deeper since the rains and I choose a slightly tougher line to the right. Next thing I know I’m going over the bars to a real thumper of a landing. My right knee was the first point of contact and contact hard it did. This was followed by a short slide which did an excellent job of shifting my pads enough to get in some scrapes just under the edges. At least the bike had a nice soft place to land, MY BACK!

leaking

I’m really glad I had the protective gear on as there is not a doubt in my mind a trip to the ER for some stitches would have happened last night otherwise. Even with the pads, my right knee hurts quite a bit and is swollen a little. It was not a comfortable commute on the bike from the train station to work this morning. Either way it was a good day on the bike and I’m thankful things turn out okay.

“Pads – Cheaper Than Stitches” 

-Bill

SocalTrailRiders help out a fellow MTBer

December 3rd, 2007 by MTBBill

Yesterday I attended what was a very cool ride that showed just how awesome our community of knobby tired freaks can be.    This was by far the largest group ride I had every been on.

  Here are some of my pictures from the ride along with a few words. To get a bunch of words, read about The Ride from the perspective of all that were there as well as the BBQ afterwards that I could not stick around for.

The reason I could not stick around was I had to do some cool “Hockey Dad” stuff.  My oldest boy has been really doing well with the Hockey as of late.  He was asked to practice (In preparation for tryouts after the first of the year) with one of the really good tournment teams here in San Diego.  The level of play was a big step up for Will.  He looked a little overwhelmed for the first five minutes or so but settled down before realizing he had to dig deep to keep up with the pace.  It was the classic Big Fish in a little pond, does not look so big in a bigger pond thing.  Between the ride and watching my kid, I was proud to be a Mountain Bikers as well as Dad today.

-Bill

New Version of the Site Goes Live!

December 1st, 2007 by MTBBill

I have been working on a face-lift for the site for quite a few months now.  Much of the work involved correcting a bunch of poorly written code that was not up to current standards.  The new version of the site is standards based and should be much easier to maintain. 

 Here are are a few of the new features of the site:

  • Better Setup for larger screens.  While 1024 by 768 is the smallest screen resolution that will show the site as designed, the fixed menu areas combined with a fluid content area allows the site to “spreadout”  better on the screen.  I think you will find that a resolution of 1280 by 1024  looks best.
  • Printer Friendly Pages.  The old version was downright printer hositile.  Not what I wanted at all.  From disucssions with many of the site users, most people want to print out the pages and maps and take them with them on the trail.   The new version is print friendly and fits into that idea.  When you print a page, all of the backgrounds, images, and menus will be scrubbed out.
  • Photo Gallery.     I have picked through my site and compiled some of my favorites into gallery.  Please wait for the page to fully load as the script that runs the gallery will not function properly if the page has not completed loading.  
  • This Blog - I’m going to use this as my What’s New feature on the site as well as routine riding updates.  This will not replace my trail review pages what so ever.  For example I ride Daley Ranch quite often, but not updating that trail review every couple of weeks.  Instead I might through up a quick not and a picture or two here talking about that particular day’s ride.
  • A Frequently Asked Questions page.  

Getting the backend code up to standards is going to allow for some projects and future growth I thinking about for the site.   Most of these ideas involves database integration for GPS and trail information as well as user interactivity,  blah blah blah, technobable, technobable, etc…..

 What is up with Freaking Advertisements?   Yep I have stuck some ads on my site.   Call it an experiment if you will.   If the advertisments end up helping defray the cost of running the site as well as maybe be keeping a few tasty microbrews in my cooler at the trailhead, then I’ll keep them.  Otherwise I might pull them.  Please let me know if you think they are trashing your experience on the site.  

There are a few little things that I am still working on at this point.  Most of them involve working around Internet Explorer’s less than excellent support for web design standards.  I recommened you give Firefox a shot as your browser.  It follows the “rules” better and it displays this site exactly as I coded it.

 Enough yapping on my part, get to clicking!

 -Bill