Archive for August, 2008

San Clemente Singletracks

August 31st, 2008 by MTBBill

Well after a really long time in the works I finally published the San Clemente Singletracks Page.   It is not my best trail review, but I have found it so difficult to describe a route well that it has languished in the draft stage for nearly a year.  So I basically gave up on my normal style and just went with a general description of the area as well as a few of the major trails.  After that just go ride, get blissfully disoriented and have one heck of a time out there.   I have to give a special thanks to John Early who provided me with a few GPX routes (to share with you) that were continuous from start to finish.    Every time I have every been to this trail system, I’m always exploring and do stuff like doubling back, go the wrong way just cause and basically make a mess of my GPS track.   I will probably clean up the trail review here in the coming months but I got tired of holding on to this one.  So enjoy and maybe go for a ride!

Wallstreet �

All Hail High Gas Prices!

August 26th, 2008 by MTBBill

Or maybe it is “Awh HELL, High Gas Prices!”

Today I went to work a little later than I normally do, so the commute traffic was quite different.  There were a lot more people on the road in their mad-dash to go see “The Man” for eight hours or so.  There were typical half dead types like myself swilling coffee and most likely cranking some jams in a effort to jumpstart their melon out of a sleep-deprived coma.   Geez, there were way too many chatterbox girls yapping on their phones.   I think the new law in California requiring the use of hands-free devices while driving is a good idea for most part.  EXCEPT for these ladies as  now they get to talk with BOTH of their hands while driving instead of just one.   One of the more exuberant chatterheads looked like she was being attacked by a swarm of angry bees.  I felt sorry for the poor bastard on the other end of that call.   I would like to say she should have no more than six months to a year to live with driving like that, but stupidity always seems to find a way to survive.  She will probably live to be 105.

Enough of stupid ladies on the road.  Driving through my hood, there were a bunch of bikes on the road today.  Full roadie-kit guys, hybrids commuter setups, fixies, and even some Wallyworld Specials.  I saw at least four old-school 10-speeds with downtube shifters and suicide brake levers that were just killer.  I could not help but think these rigs had spent quite a few years hibernating  hanging upside down from garage rafters gathering dust.   My guess is spring arrived for these wintering steelies when gas hit around $3.50 a gallon.  If you were a bike how cool it would be to get a new lease on life.  I grabbed quick looks at the riders of these reborn rigs as I went by and they were not the types that strike you as a vintage bike connoisseurs.   No, these were average folks on their way to work, school or wherever they had to be.   Bicycles as your basic form of transportation in the US,  now there is a green concept.  At this rate maybe $6.00 a gallon will be the cure for the nation’s obesity problem.

By far the coolest bike thing I saw today is a story that is over a half a year in the making.   A little over six months ago, I first noticed “Melrose Ave Lady”.  She looked to be in her early to mid 30’s and when I first saw her she really looked to be new to cycling and a fitness lifestyle in general.  At first I lifted an eyebrow and pulled my head back as I was positive some federal or state laws governing the use of spandex were being broken.     After snickering just a bit, I thought “Good for her, I hope she sticks to it.”   Over the next few months, I would pass Melrose Ave Lady just about daily.  She was sticking to it and she did not seem to be laboring on the climbs like she had in the past.  A few months ago, my schedule changed and I stopped being on the road the same time as Melrose Ave Lady.  Just last week, while driving down this road I wondered how she was doing.

 For those of you that have kids in your life, you know well that you tend not to notice the growth that occurs in the ones you see everyday.  However when your nieces or nephews come over you are generally shocked by their growth.     Such was the case today when I saw Melrose Ave Lady.    WOW!!!!!   I was absolutely amazed at the transformation this lady had done to her body.  Lord knows how many pounds she lost.  She was toned and tanned and could easily be 20 something.  She also cruised up the hill like it was a flat.    Melrose Ave Hottie, who ever you are, you have been totally inspiring to watch and I am so proud of the commitment you have put into your new lifestyle.   Hundreds of cars have passed you everyday and I am sure I am not the only person to have followed your progress.   It would not be surprised if some of those additional bikes on the road today are a result of the inspiration you gave on Melrose Ave.     

I think I’ll check the tires on my commuter bike.

Good Mountain, Good Beer, Good Meeting

August 21st, 2008 by MTBBill

Yesterday I planned on attending the San Diego Mountain Bike Associations advocacy meeting at it’s usual location at the Mission Trails Regional Park’s Visitors Center.  The meeting was not until 7pm.  Just enough time to get in an after work ride, get a bit to eat and get to the meeting.   I had not been up on Cowles Mountain in a long time so I was excited about hitting it.   I started from Mesa Road and caught the Mesa Trail.  The chaparral had been growing nicely since my last visit and in many spots you are in a vegetation tunnel.   This was really nice as it was quite toasty when I started so shade and a bit of a breeze kept the bake factor down a little.

Waterbars, Waterbars, Waterbars…There were just as many as I remembered.   I like them as it is the uphill ledge action is a good skillset to hone.  Since my last visit there has been a lot more go-arounds and widening created.   Plenty of evidence of both shoes and tires as the culprit.   Once up on the fireroad the state of my “slackerness” became apparent of the climb up to the top.   No cleaning this mountain today as twice I had a total cardio redlining followed by a meltdown. 

View from Cowles

While it was not as clear as I have seen it in the past it was still a great viewpoint.  The out-and-back to Pyles Peak was great.  I basically owned that entire section of trail as I was the only one on it.   The “in-town” solitude you can usually find on this trail combined with more waterbar action is one of the reasons I like it so much.  The returns trip back up to Cowles had plenty of technical climbing challenges.  The worst of them come when you are nearly back to the top which means most people (including myself) are nearly spent.  There is one set of waterbar switchbacks that I have still yet to clean.

Cowles from Pyles

 The ride back down the Big Rock trail was a cool as ever.  Condition-wise the trail could use some work, but at the same time I like it as morning challenging with the ruts and such.

Post-ride, I cleanup and head while heading to a nearby store to grab some Gatorade, I spied a treasure that I could not let slip away.   A bomber of the Stone’s 12 Aniversary Ale, A Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.   To say it was yummy would be a grand understatement.   Did I desire so a beer after just a rather small mid-week ride?  Well no I did not.   I owe the beer and bike gods an epic ride at a later date.  

Yummy Stone Brew

 The SDMBA meeting was a good one, lots of stuff discussed  There were some fresh new faces that are energetic and already taking action to further legal mountain biking access in the county.  There were plenty of words like jumps, downhill and freeride talked about.    Lots of things in the works and you can expect there will be plenty of oppurtunities for people to help.    The meeting went long and I was pretty darn pooped by the time I hit the sack.  Another good day to be a mountain biker.

iTards on the Trail

August 13th, 2008 by MTBBill

I’m generally okay if folks want to rock out on the trail with an iPod.  It is when they do both ears and have the tunes up high enough that they can not hear the world around them.    There is a whole list of mini-rants that I could go into about missing turns on group rides and not being able to interact with other trail users and coming across as jerks.    Blah Blah Blah….

 Here is a case from a ride a couple of days ago that involved a hiking “iTard”.   I’m riding along and spot a rattlesnake on the side of the trail.  I stop and check him out.   He is a good sized snake but has not reacted to me yet.   I like to get this critters away from the trail as some boneheads will kill them if they encounter them.  After getting a couple of shots I’m about to get the snake’s attention so it will go away when I hear a couple of hikers coming.    The snake and I are near a curve, with the snake being between me and the approaching hiker.    From the sound, I could tell they were trail runners.   I yell for them to hold up.   Nothing.    The first runner in all of his iTardness rounds the corner in all of his white-corded bud wearing glory.   I yeah “snake” really loud now and his girlfriend (just rounding the corner) stops and joins in the yelling fest.   The dude is on a collision course with this snake.  I wave my arms frantically and yell one more time and iDumbAss finally stops and looks at me with a bewildered look like “What”?   I simply pointed at the snake that was about two strides away from being in striking distance.    iTard freaks out at bit in full reverse.   After that I snake gets a little concerned and makes some noise and goes away.   

 Rattler

Shortly after the hikers pass me, I hear iTard’s girlfriend running him through the ringer about not being able to hear what is going on.  I snickered as I got rolling again to complete some North County trail goodness. 

Trail Goodies

Wissahickon Trails in Philly

August 10th, 2008 by MTBBill

Man what a great trail system Philadephia has with the trails along the Wissahickon Valley.

Cool Singletrack

This past week I got the oppurtunity to get a quick ride here while on a business trip.   I really had a cool time here.   Check out the  story here.

Bye Bye Westside!

August 4th, 2008 by MTBBill

Oh  not forever, just for the week.     After a nice long siesta from work, I’m back to working for “The Man” as a Defense Contractor.   I’m involved with some fancy smancy integrated navigation systems for use on Navy ships.  I’m spending the week in Philadephia to meet all the players back on the east coast and getting in some training for the job.    So I had a O-damn early commuter flight out of Carlsbad this morning and I got to see sunrise over SoCal from the air.  The cool thing about this flight was that it was low enough that I was able to make out a bunch of trail systems that I enjoy.   La Costa, San Clemente Singletracks, El Moro, LCWP, Aliso, The Santa Anas, and the San Gabs.   Really Cool!

Sunrise in Socal

So just a few days ago the most recent issue of Bike Magazine showed up in my mailbox and I just threw it in my laptop bag for some reading material on the trip.   It was a really killer surprise to find a bit on Philly Mountainbiking featured in the mag.  I had even did some digging on this trail system last week.    I’m still not sure if I’m gonna get in some riding this week, but I did bring the gear minus a bike.   Hopefully I get my hands on a bit of time and a bike this week to check out the Wissahickon trails.