Archive for July, 2010

San Marcos – Its not a F$%)ing Trail!

July 30th, 2010 by MTBBill

Tripe (noun)

  1. Lining of the stomach of a ruminant (especially a bovine) used as food.
  2. A slang term synonymous with rubbish, in the sense of something of little value, or nonsense. 
  3.  (see also San Elijo Trails)

Definition #2 particularlythe “something of little value” is the theme of this rant.

So for the last week or so I have been investigating some of trails not to far from my hood.  The San Elijo Hills area.   I was not expecting much and I was quite underwhelmed.  More than just underwhelmed, I was pissed at what the developer was allowed to get away with calling trails.

 

The Gardens View Tripe – Are you f$%^ing kidding me!  When two trucks can pass one another on it, it is not a trail.   It is a dirt road.

 

I laughed out loud at this sign.  “Give Life A Chance”.     What the sign from the San Elijo Hills Development Company should say is “YOU need to give life a chance, because WE have already bulldozed all the habitat in this area”

 

Take a look at the crap they have on their website.  18 miles of trails.   There is less than one mile of trail in this development.   There are over 17 miles of Dirt Sidewalk Pathway Tripe throughout this development.   Try a little truth in advertising.

The Double Peak Tripe.    The “trail” is the dirt sidewalk on the side of the pavement and then starts up the hill.     Where is the natural outdoor experience here?  You have either pavement or a cement gutter on one side and a wooden rail fence to keep from even contacting nature on the other.   Most of this climb is compacted and absolutely smooth decomposed granite.  It is a nearly sterile outdoor experience where you never escape development.   I have been on treadmills that were only slightly less interesting.   If you can drive a Ferrari or a Prius on it, it is not a trail, it is TRIPE!   

 

Do I even need to say it, “It is not a F$%^ing Trail!    TRIPE, TRIPE, TRIPE!  This is part of the 18 miles that San Elijo is selling as an attraction.

 

The Lake San Marcos Tripe.     PAVED!   I will not buy any blabage about American Disabilites Act Access with this “trail”.   What this picture does not show is how stupidly steep this thing is.  There is no Rascal, Humaround or any other battery powered mobility chair that is going to get up this thing.   The city has a formula for how many miles of trail the community should have for its size and population.   The mileage of this tripe counts towards meeting that trail requirement.  What does that mean?  It could mean less funding for real trails in the future because the city already has its mileage.

 

This is  part of the “Make A Wish Trail”.    I sure did make a wish.  I wish there were more trails like this in the area.   This IS a trail.  Part of it looks to be pre-developement but portions of it are obviously newer.

This is  the “Secret Trail”  aka Trail 90.    While it is fairly short this is good stuff that not only offers a high quality outdoor experience it is substainually less impacting on existing habitat.  This is the best legal and sanctioned trail out here.   It is also a legacy trail from before the develeopment started.  

Okay so maybe I’m being rash and a trail snob but this is some of the worst stuff I have seen in an urban area interfacing  to open space in San Diego County yet.   The dirt pathways have their place down between the homes, but running this crap all the way up into the open space is just dumb.   It does not meet the needs of the users who would venture up that far and it needlessly destroyed even more habitat by making the “trails”  three to five times wider than they need to be.   Arrrrrrrgh, What a nearly complete failure on the part of those charged with the oversight of this development.   I’m not sure if this failure is due to incompetence, ignorance, or just a simple lack of caring but it certainly did occur.  

You can download a map of all this Tripe  here and go see for yourself.   While it is a good workout it is not a high quality outdoor experience.   If you disagree, you need to start looking for some new places to ride as you are missing out on the good stuff elsewhere in the county.

Updated GPS and TOPOs How-To Page

July 27th, 2010 by MTBBill

Well long overdue, I finally got around to updating my GPS and TOPO Information Page to reflect what I’m actually doing when preparing maps, and moving GPS data around.  While I’m sure some of the information will seem convoluted, it is what has been working for me.   I have included some information and links about some various freeware applications and data that can make your outdoor life with a GPS as little easier and cheaper.

Before you go digging into the geekery, remember GPS units are great as they help us keep track of where we are going and give many of us the confidence to venture out into areas we would otherwise never go without a guide. I am no fan of folks who will blindly upload a track into thier GPS, strap it to the handlebar and go follow the arrows on the screen. We all need to remember that we are only one set of dead batteries or a crash away from not having that gadget available to us. It is not a matter of if, but rather when and where it is going to fail.

Will you know what “point” you are at when that occurs? A compass, map and some orienteering skills will serve you well at that point.

Now go get lost! (It is a lot of fun)

Two Peaks and Two Canyons

July 25th, 2010 by MTBBill

For the mid-week ride this week, it ended up being a doozie.   The plan was to met up with some folks for a ride through Spring and Oak Canyon at 5pm.  I was able to finish off the day’s work early and figured I had enough time to get some mileage before the scheduled ride.

I parked at the trailhead for the Spring and Oak Canyon ride (Bushy Hills at MTRP campground) and did some street riding over to the Mesa singletrack for a climb up Cowles Mountain.    It was a beater as usual but love trying to clear the waterbars at their highest points but by the time I got up to the fireroad I was contend to get up the trails.     The fireroad up to the top was as always brutal.

At the top of Cowles I was still looking really good on time so I decided to do the out and back to Pyles Peak.   Plenty of waterbars here as well which made the down section pretty fun.

I was at the turnaround spot on Pyles Peak before I knew it and it was time for return climb back up to Cowles.   I was still feeling pretty good when I got back to the summit and was all smiles on the way down the Big Rock trail.    I got back to the campground just a couple of minutes before the first person showed up for the 5 pm ride.   I could have been happy with a beer and some dinner at this point, but yeah I already said I was going to do the ride.  

Spring and Oak Canyon was a good ride, but I had to dig into the energy reserves pretty deep to stay on pace with the fresh legged crew.    I was good and pooped when we finished up and shortly thereafter we made our way over to the MTRP visitor center for the monthly SDMBA advocacy meeting.   I slept well that night.

Lost Webpage Found! Cuyamaca – Noble – Big Laguna Epic

July 19th, 2010 by MTBBill

Riding from the Cuyamaca to the Laguna Mountains and back is a really awesome ride that can range from 31 miles upwards  towards 40 to 65 miles and beyond according to what you add on at the ends.    The most I have done is around 40 miles.   I have made a couple of videos of this ride in the past but I thought it was about time that I put together a page with maps and pictures of the ride.   As I working on the map I came across a map file with a similiar name as the one I was starting.   When I opened it up I was surprised to see it was the route I was working on.   I started digging around through my local copy of my website and found a page I had orginally done up in 2003 and updated in 2007.  Somehow, when I did my big website makeover in 2008 I failed to include this page in the menu directory for the trails.

East Mesa in Spring 2007   

More East Mesa Spring Goodness

Wildflowers in Big Laguna Meadow

While part of me is a little bummed that I missed this page in the first place, it is sort of cool that it shown up now.  It is like finding treasure I buried myself and forgot about.  

Check out the Cuyamaca to Noble Loop

A week of SD Weather Weenie Whining

July 18th, 2010 by MTBBill

Okay, so we San Diego folk are self-admitted “weather weenies”, particularly us coastal types.   You get us out of our typical weather of 65-75 and sunny for more than a few days we start whining like a jet turbine.   There was a lot of noise happening this week.

Wednesday, I met Steve for an after work MTB stoke at Anderson Truck Trail.   I knew it was going to be warm as this was our first really hot day of the year.    I was ready with extra fluids and electrolytes.    When I pulled into the trailhead the temp gauge in my truck read 100 degrees.    My first thought was that can not be right.   Within seconds of stepping out of the truck, I knew my truck was not lying to me.   Really rough but manageable was my overall assessment for the upcoming ride.    As I’m pulling out all my gear, I realized I had left my cycling short, shirt and socks at home.   I normally keep an emergency stash of  cycling clothes stashed for just such an occasion.   Opening up the under seat compartment revealed that I had not resupplied my stash after the last time I forgot my digs.    Crap, I was in my work clothes which would not do at all and my after ride clothes consisted of a heavy black cotton Tee-shirt and a thick pair of cotton shorts.   I did find a dirty cycling socks that I missed taking out of truck after the last ride so they were called back into service.     The cotton shorts and T-shirt would be the apparel for the day.


This was the only smile Aqua would make on this climb.

It was readily apparent that these clothes were not going to help me out much at all.  These was zero cooling happening with this outfit and it was blistering already.   The heat of this climb makes you suffer pretty good on its own but the my stifling apparel took it to a whole new level.   I thought about just not wearing a shirt at all, but even high SPF sunblock would not be able to help my glowing white-boy torso out whatsoever.  I would have been fried in no time so the shirt stayed on.   I have to take lots of breaks and had to spin in the granny ring for the overwhelming majority of the climb.   Even with lots of breaks, by the time I reached the top I could feel I was close to some heat stress coming on.      Amazing what the right apparel can do for you – More importantly what the wrong apparel can do to you as well.  

After cooling down as much as to be expected  I felt better and we set off on the descent.   Steve was doing just fine, but I soon realized that I was off-game.  My reaction time was off just a little bit and on this terrain that can cause problems.    I made a point to stay well within my normal limits.   

Brian soon joined us,  he started later in the day,  so he did not get as cooked as we did, but it was still freaking hot.      By the time we finished up the ride, it had cooled off to a “balmy” 90 degrees which felt pretty descent after what we had already suffered through.    I was pretty much a wreck and completely drained.

The following day was the San Diego Mountain Biking Associations annual Beer and Burrito ride.   I was still feeling a pretty beat from the heat the day before, but I had volunteered to help with pictures so I could not back out.  This was a work for your supper event where you do a ride and then got to kick back with a tasty burrito from Chipotle and some tasty brews from Lagunitas.  

Over the course of the day leading up to the event the temps start to drop and a monsoon storm started to peculate.  It was  cloudy with ominous rumblings in the sky in the distance.    This event was capped at 70 RSVPs and it looked like everyone of them made it out.   There were lots of new faces and lots of folks I had not seen in a really long time.  It was good times before we even started rolling.


At a regroup spot

In the middle of the ride, we actually got rained for awhile.    It nice to get the trail patted down right in front of us.  The rain did not last long but it was certainly enough to register as “rain” for San Diego.

Before long we had all did enough to qualify for dinner and the with rain gone, it was time for some kicking back and socializing for a couple of hours.   It was a mighty fine event.   A good chunk of the photos from the event are on SDMBA’s facebook page.

Friday and Saturday were back to the summer toastiness, so Mark and I planned on beating the heat with a crack of dawn ride and the San Clemente Singletracks (aka weekpatch).      Sunrise was at 5:52 so we met at 5:45 and were rolling at 6:00AM.   The morning temps were cool and the  marine layer held off the sun long enough that it was just starting to think about punching through as we finished up the ride.

It felt pretty wierd being done with my ride so early in the day.   I’ll finish of the weekend with a little bit of honey-dos and a lot of lounging (in the shade).

A Week of Meadows, Lakes and Peaks

July 11th, 2010 by MTBBill

I had an exceptional week on the bike.  There was plenty of work, family and riding which did not leave much time for the keyboard.  So here are a few pics from the week.   For the mid-week stoke, I met Steve, Eric and Todd for some fun in the Laguna Mountains on the Big Laguna Trail and surrounding area.  I forgot my camera at  home so these pictures are courtesy of my fellow riders.

Some log riding on the Los Gatos Trail

Some playing was done on the rocks.

Not your average dry and dusty SoCal trail.    We had an exceptionally good ride and clocked in around 17-18 miles of good alpine meadow goodness.  

Friday, I got in a lunch time quickie at La Costa which is always a good place to get in some short but quality mileage.   No Pics

Sunday, I finally got around to doing a ride that I had been curious about for a number of years.  The Highpoint Truck Trail that goes up the north side of Palomar Mountain.   My bud Clayton, with whom I first rode with in Japan in 2004, just moved back to San Diego so he was up for a ride.   I was surprised to see him show you for this ride with his singlespeed.    While I be putting up a page on the site in the coming weeks, the quick numbers on this ride are it is a 12 miles long climb that gains 4,400 feet up to the Highpoint Lookout Tower. Needless to say, Clayton earned major climbage points today as a one-geared wonder. 

Grunt, Grunt, Groan, Groan

Killer Views from the top.

I see the observatory rather often from the various SoCal highpoints I ride to as a small white dot, This time it was a wee-bit closer.

The Highpoint Lookout Tower,  elevation 6,118 feet.   I’m sure there are worse ways to spend a workday.

When it was time to turn the wheels around we enjoyed cashing out the gravity points we had earned.    Some people hate fireroads, but 12 miles of downhill with some sketchy turns is pretty freaking fun.  It was a good way to finish off the weekend, Bring on Monday!

A Big Bear Loop with Da Boyz

July 5th, 2010 by MTBBill

So this weekend the family spent a couple of days in Big Bear at my brother-in-law’s cabin.   I brought along the bikes just in case we could carve some time out for some fun in the dirt. 

Turns out we did grab some time one morning so the boys and I headed for the lazy boy chairs at Snow Summit for lift to the top of the mountain.

This was my first time doing the lift assisted riding on the mountain as well.  I have done stuff in the area and on the back side of the mountain but had never taken any of the stuff into town.  From the top of the lift we took 2N10 west along the ridgeline for a few miles and then took the short singletrack out to the Grand Viewpoint.

While I think the views from here are pretty cool (been here once before), the boys were like, “Yeah Yeah Yeah, is it time to go downhill yet?”

Lucky for them it was time to point the bikes down the hill.  After a quick bit of backtracking to 2N10, we took the Pine Knot Trail (1E01) down the hill.   We had discussed doing the traditional Grandview Point Loop that used the fireroad 2N08 to go down the mountain and the Towne Trail to cut back over to the Snow Summit parking lot.  Taking the Pine Knot trail would have us needing to ride an additional three miles back through town.   In a rare moment of sibling concurrence the boys asked “who would want to go down a fireroad?  Let’s take the singletrack!”   (Ahhhh, I was so proud, some of my parenting has been getting through. :-) )   After this point we did not see much of Will except for regroups.  We wanted to blaze ahead and I wanted to keep Jake within earshot.

Jake is gettting quite a bit faster.  On a couple of occasions when I zipped ahead  to get setup for a shot of him coming by I was surprised how quickly he caught up.   I was also surprised at how long it took me to catch back up to him after I put the camera away and got back on the bike.  He is working that hardtail really well.

  

Once down at the bottom at the Glen Aspen Picnic area we worked our way down on the streets to Highway 18 and cruised back through town.   To add a little more trail to the return leg, after going through the village, we hung a right on Knickerbocker Street and after a short bit we hung a left onto 2N08 and back onto the dirt.  There was some steep fireroad climbing to be done for a bit and it wiped the smiles of the boys’ face.   It was good for them.  I don’t want them to get used to the whole chair-lift lizard thing.    All was better once we got up to where the Town Trail comes off of 2N08 and contours it way back to the Snow Summit parking lot.    The boys had a good time and I was glad to get some quality time out on the dirt with them.   We celebrated we some post-ride sodas.

Snooping around in the Laguna Mountains

July 3rd, 2010 by MTBBill

I got an afternoon ride in the Laguna Mountains area on Wednesday and went back on Friday to some more exploring.   We rode some of the classic routes as well as some stuff that gets basically no action at all.  I’m gonna have to do some further research to see if some of the stuff is fit for public deseminaton but it was pretty awesome to point the bike in a new direction see where things would take us.   For now here are some pictures.