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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ranting aside – Tis the season for Palm Canyon!