Archive for March, 2008

A Chance to Give Back!

March 26th, 2008 by MTBBill

Mark this on your Calender Folks.     

From the San Diego Mountain Bike Association 

Black Mountain Open Space Park

Volunteer Trail Work
SATURDAY, MARCH 29th, at 8:30am
Having organized more than a dozen volunteer events held at Black Mountain Park since 2002, The San Diego Mountain Bike Association has helped to define and shape the park’s trail system. One new trail recently opened, and more trails are being planned. Our volunteer efforts and close working relationship with the park’s ranger staff will continue to ensure that all current and future trails are open to mountain biking.Join SDMBAus on SATURDAY, March 29th, at 8:30am to help maintain the trails we’ve for which we’ve worked so hard to gain access. We’ll be doing tread work on the CANYON RIM TRAIL, which badly needs repair to make it usable for mountain bikers. Bring water and gloves; we’ll provide everything else!

 Here is thier flyer for the trailwork event with directions on how to get there

Here is my information on the Black Mountain area (It could use a little updating).

Also right next to Black Mountain is a portion of the Santa Luz Loop with is worth checking out as well.

Santa Luz with Black Mountain in the Background

 -Bill

Bunny Hopping in the Backyard

March 23rd, 2008 by MTBBill

There was some bunny hopping going on in the backyard this morning.

Easter MTBN

Easter Mountains

Easter Singletrack

Happy Easter!

-Bill

My Friends and Family are Funny

March 21st, 2008 by MTBBill

I had not really appreciated just how much laughter is generatered from my friends and family until this week.  With my injury it is dreadfully painful to smile right now and I have also been scared to stress that area with a smile.  Of course the smile is somewhat self limiting.  You start to smile and the pain shoots through the roof.  Bye-Bye Smile.    So what I started doing is when someone says something funny and I start to smile, I grab the left side of my face and keep my muscles from pulling the corner of my mouth back.   This of course is somewhat funny looking to see, which wants to start another round of snickering with the peanut gallery.    My Wife and I realized that laughter plays a significant part in our relationship.  She has been getting a little bummed with my forced stoic demeanor as of late and I have come to better appreciate the nature of our relationship as well.   I did not think I would gain a little knowledge about my marriage from the crash, but yeah, I guess you always need to be ready to learn.   I can however think of less painful ways to learn stuff.  Hopefully, it will be over soon.  I amazed how quickly the face area heals, but the trend of the nerves healing quicker than the wounds is truly a painful bummer. I did get 9 of 19 stitches out today which is a start.  (The other 10 are the internal kind that will disolve on thier own.) 

I don’t exactly know where these ramblings are taking me,   I’ll leave things with this – Take note and enjoy the smiles and laughter around you.

Goat Camp Goodness Goes Bad

March 18th, 2008 by MTBBill

Sunday was a climb up into the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix.  This area was incredibly awesome with the vibrant colors of spring going off.  The trails of the White Tanks are extremely diverse.  We did a loop that included some burly climbing on the Mesquite Canyon trail before things mellowed out to mostly smooth benchcut singletrack interspresed with technical bits.  There were some impressive views along this trail.  From the Mesquite Trail we connected to the Willow Trail and enjoyed some more springtime desert goodness.   From the Willow Trail we connected to the Ford Canyon Trail which had us busting out a switchbacking climb up to the junction of the Goat Camp Trail.

Greg on Buttery Smooth Singletrack

The Goat Camp Trail had been on my to-do list for a long while as people who are much better riders than me have all said it is one of the gnarliest trails they have ever been on.    The trail did not disappoint.  It starts off really scenic and pretty as you work your way over a couple of ridges before coming to the final descent.

This is where things get incredibly technical.  The opening descent is a steep loose monster that is quite shaly with big chunk a plenty.   Our guide and all-around awesome guy for the day, Greg, described it best when he said “If you touch your front brake just a little too much, the earth opens up and swallows your front wheel”.    The middle section gets more firm undertneath you but the trail is just impressively rugged.   It is hard to put a pucker factor on this section.  It is more like a continual state of colon lockdown.

Kevin at the top of the Staircase

There is a really tricky feature known as the Spiral Staircase.   There is a bit of a chunk gate to get into the feature followed by steep left handed roll down into a really tight righthander that exits into either a spine roll or a chunky set of stairsteps.  JD impressively flashed the entire thing after a quite look see of the line options.  I kept having problems at the bottom as I could not get through the bottom right hander smooth enough to get onto the spine roll.

Below the Spiral Staircase is another just mean section known as “Jack Hammer”.    It was somewhere along this section that I blew a move and went off the bike and unfortnately smacked into a sharp-edged rock with my face.   OUCH!!!!! I knew it was bad as soon as it happened as I could feel the left side of my face move in the “wrong” direction and then go numb.   Behind me was Kevin and when he gave the question we all get asked sooner or later “Are You Okay”, I had to respond with “No, I’m hurt bad”.

Here a Carnage Shot (WARNING: It is quite icky …)

Like myself, Kevin has been offically trained on Wilderness First Aid and he did a great job sizing up the situation and getting all the supplies out and starting the work of patching my lower and upper lips back together with some steri-strip wound closures.   I know the poker face and measured repsonses  medics are trained to give in situations like this and I knew Kevin was concerned.  I’m sure some of you are already thinking “Did he film that?”  Yes, I was filming when it happened.  It is mighty hard to see you own face so I used the camcorder with the screen flipped so I could see the damage myself.  It was not pretty at all.   After getting patched up, Kevin and I walked down the rest of the trail.  It was not too far before we JD and Greg where waiting for us.   I could see the concern in thier eyes as well.

Kevin Patching me Up

We had some gear spread amongs a couple of cars, so JD and Greg went on ahead to get everything setup for my exit.   I walked some more until the trail got pretty tame in comparision to the rest the trail.   I made a point of going very gingerly as I did not want to elevate my heart anymore than needed.    On the way back we came across a few hikers who gave some quite truthful responses like “Holy S#$T” and Oh My F#$king God!

Once off the trail, I got my chamois off as I knew I would otherwise have it on for a long and end up with a bad case of monkeybutt.    JD got me to the ER straight away.   This was the first time I had the term “Though and Through” used outside of a CSI show on TV.   Both the upper and lower lips where lacerated in that manner with the lower getting the worst of it.    I walked out of the ER four hours after arriving with 19 stitches (some inside and some out) and a hankering for a smoothie!

Jerry thankfully had taken a catnap while waiting for me and he drove back to Orange County so I would only have to deal with about an hour of driving from the OC down to North County San Diego.  It was way freaking late when I got home.  Even though the Novacaine of long since worn off, a good portion of my face was disturbingly still numb.

After some stitchwork

It has been a few days since the crash.  I had thought about posting earlier about this but was just not feeling up to it.  The good news is that I can tell the nerves are starting to heal and the feeling is starting to come back into most of the area.  The bad news is ……The feeling is coming back into the area!   The inside of the left side of my mouth feels like a have a cold sore the size of a quarter and few of the bits of spare change.

I’m already shopping for a full-face helmet for my technical trail excursions. :-)

-Bill

More SoMo Fun

March 15th, 2008 by MTBBill

What a great day we had on South Mountain today.   We started at the Pima Canyon trailhead and climbed the Mormon Loop to National and took that up to the Buena Vista trailhead.  There was plenty of green on the mountain.

Catcus Flower 

 From there we took the Geronimo trail down off the mountain.   What an awesome bit of technical singletrack that sees far less traffic than National.  We then did a quick bit of street riding over to the Mormon and started a very technical and brutal climb back up the mountain.  It was an excellent series of slogging, sessioning, and bike-a-biking.   From there we took National back down to the Pima Canyon.  

Greg

After some quick showers we were off for some Italian food and libations.   Good Stuff !   

-Bill

Opening Day in AZ

March 14th, 2008 by MTBBill

So I was up O-dark:30 this morning on my way to hookup with Jerry for a burn out to Phoenix.   By 1PM we had made I-10 rip and were hooking up with Kevin and Greg for a quick fternoon jaunt on South Mountain.   I’m in the middle of enjoying evening barley wine so just a couple of words and pics. 

 SoMo

 Upper National

Greg

 Greg on Upper National

Garage

My kind of Garage

More to Follow….

-Bill

Setting up for an Intense Weekend

March 12th, 2008 by MTBBill

6.^ 

I have finally kicked most of this crud out of my system and I’m getting jazzed about heading out to Arizona for the weekend to visit with some friends and hit up some trail goodness out there.  I’m going to “Intensify” my longer-traveled bike stables here in the near future so the fellows at Intense hooked me up with a bling bling sled for the weekend so I made a little visit up to Temecula.   I’ll be kicking this 6.6 around for the weekend.  This bike is a beauty!

6.6

I did not have a lot of time today, so I hit up one of my local rides, the La Costa Preserve, after picking up the bike.   I went up Switchback, down NASCAR, up Vista Del Mar and down NASCAR again.   I spent a bit of time dialing in the suspension.   My first impression is pretty freaking awesome.   I had to sum up that first impression in five words or less it would be:

 Climbs Well,  Descents Great!

I feel it out more over the weekend, stay tuned.

-Bill

Being Sick Sucks!

March 9th, 2008 by MTBBill

Being Sick Sucks.   At little over a week ago I started fighting off a cold/crud and well I lost the fight.  By Tuesday I was good and jacked up with a cold/flu.   This is such an awesome time of year to being ridng and being sidelined just sucks.   I missed out on a really cool sounding 50+ mile epic ride this weekend around Otay Mountain that includes a good chunk of my ride out there a couple of weeks ago.   I woke up feeling “okay” this morning so I tried to get in a bit of riding at Lake Calvera which is ride I can do right from my house.   I quickly rediscovered that feeling “okay” on the couch does not equate to being okay to exercise.   I was a hacking, coughing, phlem hurling mess as soon as I hit the first climb.    I cut my normal loop out here short and retreated to home for more cough syrup, comfort food and couch time.     

 Steve at Calvera Lake
I did take one picture on the ride today.  The rider is Steve, a local rider who I met for the first time today.  Ironically he was suffering from “The Plague” just like I was.  I’m glad to know I’m not the only one suffering.  For all my fellow knobby tired brothers and sisters suffering from the crud, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I have some out-of-town plans for next weekend so I better finally kick this crud this week.

Pushing My Luck

March 2nd, 2008 by MTBBill

I have been fighting off the early signs of a cold so I opted to do something non-epic to for my weekend ride.   I had driven by the Ronald Casper Wilderness Park dozens of time on my way out to the San Juan Trail.  I had heard that it was an okay ride but all fireroads for mountain biking.   I figured I would be stopping often to take pictures so a bit of minor chest congestion should not be too big of a deal.  The chest congestion ended up not being much a factor at all.  But something else would be.

Windmill

 I started off from the Old Corral/Windmill area and took the Bell Canyon trail.  I had barely gotten on the bike when I spotted a group of deer.  They certainly knew I was there so I kneeled down and looked away from them and acted like I was looking for something on the ground.   Feigning that I was uninterested in them was enough to calm them enough that they cautiously  moved along the edge of the meadow gettting closer to me.  I spent a good 10 minutes here before they moved along. 

Deer 

After this things went along pretty nicely.  With all of the rain we have been having there was green everywhere.   I eventually made my way to the Oso Trail and started climbing a ridge.  This trail turned steep in quite a few sections, but it was cool as views of Santiago, Los Pinos and Surgarloaf peaks were often seen in the distance.  I was a little over half a mile from reaching Badger Pass when I heard a loud bang and immediately felt the rear tire go flat.    I thought “No Big Deal, I know how to boot a sidewall tear”.   It did not take long to find the tear and it was not good.   I had about a two inch split in the tire just above the bead.   Not a good place at all.   After taking inventory of all my stuff, I was also a bit bummed.   About a month or so ago, I had used up all my duct tape helping someone get a busted chainstay patched up enought to limp home and had fogotten to replenish my tape.   

Badger Pass Gazebo

I ended up using a really big patch on the inside of the tire with strips of first aid tape to help spread the load out.  I also still had a tireliner still in the tire from a dersert ride that I shifted around to the side.   Once I inflated the tire it was obvious the patch was pretty marginal.  I deflated the tire and added two small patches on the outside as well as some more first aid tape to the outside of the tire.  This ended up working better as when I inflated the tire (with much less air than I normally use) there was much less bulging.    I had little confidence that this patch was going to hold and had already committed to about a four mile hike back to my truck.   Looking at the map I figure it would be only be marginally longer to take Badger Pass down to the San Juan Creek Trail and then back to my truck vice going back the way I came.   I could at least see some new stuff on my way back. 

Flowers

So I gingerly made my way down Badger Pass as I wanted to flex that sidewall as little as possible.  Badger Pass ended up being really pretty with all of the growth.  I knew it was a fireroad but in places it was vitrually a hard to follow singletrack.  The poppys and lupines where really going off through as well.  It was quite a treat. 

Flowers

 Once I had made my way down to the San Juan Creek Trail, I was amazed to see how well the patch was holding up.   The San Juan Creek Trail (aka fireroad) was pretty non-eventual as well as mostly fairly crappy as it was very close to highway 74.   Once back near the park entance and back on the pavement I rolled back towards my truck.   The rear tire was slowing loosing some air so I stopped and carefully put some more back in.  

I felt really lucky at the point having averted a sizable hike.   I stopped at the junction of the East Ridge Trail as I really wanted to check out as much of the park as I could at this was on the list.   Since I had already mentally committed for a hike today, I figured what the heck, there are a couple of trails that I can hike back on if the tire blows and only have a few miles to deal with.    So up the East Ridge I went and worked over to the Sunrise trail.   At the bottom of Sunrise I had to put some more air in the tire and bulging and increased some.   

 Hmmmm, I only have about a mile back to the truck from here.   I really wanted to check out the Starr Rise trail up to the West Ridge Trail.   I decided to push my luck some more and went up the Starr Rise trail.  I was loosing air a little quicker now and I need to pump up again when I reach the West Ridge.   I thought heading north would be risking too much, but I was will to push my luck again and headed south the West Ridge trail.

trail

There were some more nice views to be seen from the West Ridge and I took it out to the end of the park.   The bulging was getting bad now.  I had seen pretty much everything I wanted to so it was time to head back.   I pumped up again when I got back to the Bell Canyon trail and it looked like it was going to go at any second.   I worked by way back to towards the truck and sure enough it popped.   The cool thing was that I was exactly half a mile from my truck.   It was still really pretty out and I felt really great about the timing of the flat.   I had planned on a four mile hike and ended up only doing half a mile.

 I got in a total of 17 miles of riding out at Caspers with 13 of it being on a booted, patched, and taped tire.  I feel quite lucky!