Archive for September, 2010

Oahu’s Manana Trail

September 26th, 2010 by MTBBill

I’m back from my quick work trip to Hawaii, but before I finished up there, I was able to squeeze in a second ride.  The Manana trail was less than 15 minutes from where I was working so it fit the bill for a post-work ride.  It was pretty short trail mileage-wise but mileage can be deceptive sometimes, particularly if the terrain is interesting. 

Such was the case with this trail.  There were plenty of roots to contend with on the first half of this ride.   I was glad today was a dry day as these things can turn your bike into an ejection seat rather easily when wet.   With the roots dry they were manageable and allowed for some serious brushing up on the technical “monkey motion” skills.  There were two unscheduled nose-wheelies that I still have no idea how I managed to keep from going over the bars.

Somewhere around the 1.5 mile mark the trail comes out of the thick foliage and starts following a somewhat open ridgeline.   In the picture above you should be able to make out the cut of the trail.  The trail was actually easier for a while along this ridge as the roots were much more sparce.  The views of the Ko’olau Mountains to the east continued to be intriguing as I climbed but the peaks were mostly shroud by the tradewinds clouds spilling over from the windward side of the island.

The views of the Waianae mountain range on the west side of island opened up behind me as I climbed.   I imagine that a morning time ride would be the best time to take in this view.

The trail follows up the ridge for a while and then started a bit more roller coasteering with things getting steeper.  It was easy to tell that I was moving beyond where most hikers where opting to turn around and head back as the trail transitioned from a dirt tread to a short grassy tread.  There were also plenty of strawberry guava plants along the trail which gave me great excuses to stop and sample the goods.  Snacking on tasty native edibles seemed downright decadent.

As the ridgeline undulations became larger and steeper, the hike-a-bike sections became more frequent and longer.   The trail started giving me glimpses of what a tropical version of the Los Pinos Trail in Orange County would look like.  Hike-a-Biking rarely bothers me as some of the best riding I have ever done has involved some quality time with your feet on the ground.  The Manana trail goes up to the Ko’olau summit over the course of six miles so this could be up to a 12-mile ride.  I did maybe six to eight miles total opting to turn around at a point where I thought the daylight buffer and expected return time equation seemed to balance out.   The actual return time was much quicker than expected and I wish I would have pressed onward a little further.   Maybe next time.

Aloha from the Hau’ula and Ma’akua Trails

September 20th, 2010 by MTBBill

So I am in Hawaii this week for a bit of work but I have managed to carve out a little time to grab a rental bike and get it dirty.  The destination for this excursion was the north-east shore of Oahu to ride the Ma’akua Ridge Loop and the Hau’ula Loop Trails. 

I have always wanted to be able to give these trail directions, “Just past the trail sign, turn left at the engine block”.

Got Chunk?   There is a creek crossing in Papali Gulch that will put most people on their feet.

The trade winds were bringing lots of puffy clouds across the windward side of the island so there were lots of transitions from bright sunny conditions to threatening patches of rain clouds.  The terrain was often tricky in spots with bits of roots and rocks.

After climbing up along a ridgeline for quite some time I came to this exception section of trail where the ridge had eroded down to a 3 foot wide knife-edge section about  50 yards long with vegetation covered cliffs to either side.   The flora hid most of the exposure but was certainly there.   The photo does little justice.

Before long the trail reached the highpoint of the loop and the trail turned back towards the ocean and a run down the Ma’akua Ridge proper.  It was quite a blast and I only stopped for a couple of pictures.

Once I reached the bottom of the loop and connected up with the Hau’ula Loop Trail which goes up a series of ridgelines to the north of the Ma’akua Ridge I was just on.

There was some significant difference in the flora along this trail as there were stands of pine trees on these ridges.  While I’m not sure of the exact species of the pine it was something along the line of a Douglas fir.   While I had been sprinkled on a little earlier in the ride, and really nice storm cloud blew through and gave the ground a good and steady pelting for about 10 minutes while blowing through.   I waited it out under thick foliage tree and stayed basically dry.

One thing that was pretty awesome along this trail was the wild tropical fruit growing along the trail.  Snacking on Guava and Lilikoi (Hawaiin Passionfruit) right along the trail truly gave the impression of being in a tropical paradise.

What was not paradise was the numerous roots that had now become wet which turned the normally challenging trail features into full on treachery.

The last half of this loop was mostly downhill and the descent through pines was pretty freaking cool and not what I expected in Hawaii.  The trail pops out about half a mile from the ocean and my waiting car at the Hau’ula Beach Park.   Before driving back to Waikiki I scrubbed off all the mud and muck from the ride with a nice swim in the Pacific.  Life is good on a bike.

Washington Riding

September 18th, 2010 by MTBBill

Man do I have a lot of catching up to do.    My six weeks in Washington went by really fast and I was really busy with work.   I did get in quite a bit of riding but much of my other work trips in the past, it is often tough to find time to work, ride and blog about.   I’m sure you can guess which one I set to the side.   I am going to get the story and pictures of   the cool rides I get in up on my site once my schedule drops back down to “normal” but here are a few pictures of these to come.

The furtherest trail away from my basecamp on the west side of Puget Sound was the Devil’s Gulch trail in the northern central area of the state.  It is often touted as one of the best XC trails in the state.  While I would have to ride all the singletracks in the state to be for sure, this is one really awesome trail.   I did about 14+ miles of mellow forest road climbing to get to the top of this trail and was rewarded with 12 miles of singletrack awesomeness.

Since I was in thea area I strung Devils Gulch and the Red Devil Trail together.   The Red Devil trail has a devil of some climbs to it and it fully polished off my leg after the Devils Gulch loop.   The grand total for the day was 36 miles,  4,500 feet of climbing and enough joygasm smiles to make my face hurt.

I made a total of two trips out to the “410 Area” east of Mt Rainier to ride the Palisades, Ranger and Noble Knob trails.  There is some stout climbing to be done but trail and the view are well worth it.

Got Wilderness?   The Noble Knob trail takes you right up to the edge some impressive looking wilderness.

Got Sunlight?   I could have used some at the end of this ride.

Google Duthie Hills, it is Seattle newest Mountain Bike Park.  It is a 120 acre park dedicated to mountain.  It offers something for everyone from tame,

to insane.  This place is a city park that is 100% legal.   Bottom line Washington gets it while SoCal is still in the stone-age.

Not everthing was an adventure to get to.  There were a handful of places that filled out the weekday ride schedule.  Like Port Gamble.

Green Mountain (Where is Waldo’s Shadow?) as well as other spots.

Like I said, I’ll get them up before long, but first I have quick work project to take care elsewhere.  I might get in some riding there too :-)