Wednesday Alpine Stoke

Ahhhh, Wednesday, time for something different.    Uhhhh, maybe next week.   This week it was time for another session of Wednesday stoke in Alpine.   While warm, it was not stupidly hot so the climb was not quite the usual summertime brain boil fest.

The lack of death heat was good thing as my legs has some sting in them from the ride yesterday.   I actually felt better on the second half of the climb than I did on the first half.  I’m thinking I worked some of the kinks of the legs from the day before.    Steve was climbing strong as usual and I’m pretty sure he had litte something extra in the tank today.

Before long we were at the top and with our offering to the gravity gods giving it was time point the bike downhill.

Steve flying the “Garth Gap”  

I was mighty happy to join Steve in getting both wheels a little further off the ground today.   It has been a good while since I had hit “The Corndog” and while I had no style, grace or even looked okay in the air, it was a successful landing.    

Further down the trail I gave the 911 roll a few dry runs but could not pull the trigger.   Maybe next week.

Picture of the Day – – I am pretty stoked to have gotten this shot.     It came out pretty much how I had envisioned it the techncial aspects of the shot worked out for a “one and done” shot.

There whould be no pictures taken on the final descent as way too much fun was being had.  The evening was finished off with a recounting of the day at Alpine Beer Company while enjoying one of the guest beers.    The Double IPA from Hollister Brewing Company apted named “Crosseyed and Painless” was a might tasty beer.   


Today did not suck!

Tuesday Spin at PQ

Tuesday, I opted for spin through Penasquitos Canyon with the hardtail.   After riding the UZZI around for that last while, the hardtail felt like a  flatland rocketsled out a PQ.  It felt really good carry a good grip of speed under your own power without the assistance gravity.   I knew I was going to be riding the following day, but I could not help myself, I rode like I was not going to ride the next month.  

Of course that was all fine and dandy until about 3/4th of the way the ride,  my body reminded me that I’m at least a couple dozen jelly doughnuts and a growler full of Imperial Stout shy of being “In Shape”.    It was just about this time that I ran into one of my friends out on the trail.   There must be some kind of quantum physics formula that shows that if you meet a friend on the trail and your legs are at least medium rare on the “cooked” scale, said friend will be a hammerhead who will crush your punie little girly man legs into jello.  (Make sure to read it with the “Hanz and Franz” accent)

So there was no cool down cruiser back to the trailhead for me.    I was able to hold on (for the most part) and I felt good, good and worked over,  back at the truck.   It good afternoon ride on a bike.

WEBSITE NOTE:  My PQ page is way way out of date.     With all the crap with the “Tunnels”, Del Mar Mesa, and the destruction of “Intestines”, I have opted to staying out of that politically charged mess (at least from the website perspective).   If the dust ever settles I will update will update the page then.

Summer is Here – Midweek Stoke

So I started the mid-week stoke out on Tuesdays with a ride out at Sycamore Canyon and boy was it hot.   The heat has always been my nemesis and it takes me what seems like the better part of summer to acclimate to it.  I took the UZZI out here mainly because that was what ended up in my truck.   There is no reward  to speak of for riding a 7″ travel bike out here.   It was however a good workout and it was a good test for figuring out how the bike would work me over in an XC enviroment.  Overall the bike will git-r-done but it is going to make you work for it.    I was good and pooped by the time I finished up the ride.  
Wednesday, I met Steve out for some Alpine Action and it was even toastier.   It was 92 when we started from the bottom which mean some of the “dead air” zone on the climb were more like 95-97.    We were shocked to see some organ donors on this climb.    No helmet, no water and rocking an old-school Wally World bike.   There was some water donated and some “best to turn around now” advice was given before we continued onward and upward.   
Now that Steve had an audience, a clown bike show was in order.   This was when I whipped and my 4lb DSLR to realize that my battery (that is good for 1,500 pictures) was completely dead.  This is only second time in a handful of years of toting around a big camera that this has happen.   The mental result was still the same, a 4lb camera with a dead battery in your pack feels like a 10lb camera.    Ahhhh, yes the stupid shall be punished!
The rest of the climb went well as far as climbing in the heat goes.  I have certainly suffered much harder out here in the past. None the less, I was feeling worked at the top.   I did not feel particularly comfortable through the first set of features as things were just not clicking.    I think getting worked over on the climb took some “snap” out of my reflexes.
That was not the case with Steve as he had the juices flowing and hit the “Garth Gap” for the first time on the black clown bike affectionately known as “Shoniqua” (named because she is Big, Round, Black and Sticky… just like his…..)
This was Steve’s last shot from his camera before his battery went dead as well.   The rest of the ride went well.   I made really good time on the final run down the hill but there was some scary turns here and there and the summer conditions are pretty much set in now that offer some “exciting” corners traction wise.     The post-ride chatter included tasty beverages at Alpine Beer Company along with a tasty pulled pork sandwich.    (FYI for you Hop Heads, The Pure Hoppiness double IPA is Da Bomb!)   Bottom Line — I have had far worse Wednesdays.

The Local Stuff — Week in Review

This past week was such that I could get out a little more often but for not as long.  They were the kind of windows that you don’t want to burn up too much of your time driving far to get to, you know, maximize your time on the trail and minimize your time on the road.

 Monday was a spin through the Black Mountain Open Space Preserve.   I started off on the east side of the preserve and did some tough climbing and a bit of hike-a-biking to get up onto the East Ridge.  From there I did a sizeable loop that had me pretty pooped by the end of the ride

 The loop included the  Miner’s Ridge and Liliac Canyon trails as well as the service road up to the peak and some more trails back over and down the East Ridge.

 Wednesday evening was the monthly San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDBMA) advocacy meeting so a group of us met up and did the La Costa trails prior to the meeting.

 I was able to get out a couple of hours before the rest of the usual suspects so I did a couple of loops out there before the group ride.  I was feeling pretty worked by the time I finished up the last loop.

Friday afternoon after work I squeaked in spin out in Santee near Mission Trails and Sycamore Canyon.    Normally I am a stop and smell the flowers kind of guy but I have to admit that I somewhat enjoyed the pressure of having to be somewhere later and the “push” it forced me to do on the trail.   Charge a hill here, push a harder gear there and general keep the engine rev’d higher than I normall would.  It was a short ride that ended up feeling longer on fatique and quad burn at the end.

The weekend was pretty awesome as well, but it did include any biking.   Hockey and quality time with boys were the story of the weekend.  I took them to thier first concert Saturday night which was simply epic.  Rush on thier Time Machine Tour.   I have had a lifetime of missing Rush shows and this was my first time seeing them as well.  They blew the place down and both the boys and I were completely stoked.  It was a good way to finish off the week.

How Many Bike Does One Need?

How many bikes do you have?  How many bikes to you need?   Well now, those are a couple of serious questions that simply can not be answered simply.  Yes these are some of the things that keep me awake at night.  Don’t ask me why.  I don’t why. These are just some of the stuff that floats around between my ears from time to time.   There are a multitude of sects in the tribe of bike riding tribe.  I think the largest group is the one bike – because well I got one bike crowd.   These folks are not really tied to having just one bike, but that is what they have.   There may of course be “The Old Bike”  (or part of it) hanging from the garage rafters but for the most part they are the one-bike folks.

Then there are the one bike purist camps.   I’m not even going to go into the the sub-group of the one bike – one gear folks.   It is not that they could not have another bike in the stables, they only want one bike.  I have to admit that I like the concept of one bike and the simplier (and often more challenging) experience of riding in a one bike world.   I even know a guy who rides a rigid singlespeed fixie.  He even rides it on some gnarly trails, bottom line is the guy has mad skills to do such a thing.

Me, well I think I am in the more reasonable group (okay not more reasonable, let’s go with more common).   I have multiple bikes.  There is the XC Full-Suspension rig, the hardtail, the singlespeed, the old long-legged bike, the new long-legged bike, as well as a couple of frames waiting to be pressed back into service.    Yep, plenty of bikes in my garage.  Bikes are like a good handcrafted beer.  There are plenty of great ones out there and what kinda of person would not like to enjoy all different types of the them.     I mean I love a good IPA, but you know I also like Imperial Stouts,   Porters, and all sorts of other yummy beverages.     Some days I want reach for that Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale but then there is the Dogfishhead Squall IPA.  Or maybe its the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, ohh I know the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.   They choices go on and on and on over the tasty dark malt beverage horizon.     A couple months ago Bicycling Magazine did a piece on Sam Calagione, the owner of Dogfish Head Brewery, discussing his love for brewing and cycling.   He made a comment about the microbrewing competition out there that I thought was really awesome.  “…I embrace it. Craft-beer drinkers are promiscuous–I drink plenty of other beers.”    Well I think mountianbikers much like craft-beer drinkers (amazing how many mountainbikers are also craft-beer nuts) are a promiscuous bunch as well.   If we can get away with it, for the most part, we will have more than one bike.

Such was the case this past Sunday,  not just about beer, but about bikes.   Sure I have a brand new UZZI that I am complete digging, but Santa Cruz was having a demo day out at Lake Hodges so I felt the urge to see what the new stuff was from these guys.   Santa Cruz and BikeBling were putting on the event together and when I got there they were doing some hustling to keep the 30 demo bikes rotating with sizable of pool of folks looking to get onto the latest two-wheeled Santa Cruz creations.

Of course with any such kind of MTB gathering in San Diego County, some of the usual suspects were on the scene and lots of chatting occurred about bikes, trails, potential roadtrips and even some of the latest craft beers to hit the market.  It would have been a good morning of socializing even without the new shiny bits to galk and paw over.  So how many bikes do I need and how many bikes do I own?    Well the answer that question in the simplest of terms in I have have one more bike than I need and one less bike than I want.

Getting some Iron in the Diet

I needed to get some iron in my diet so the Saturday morning ride was Iron Mountain and Ellie Lane.

 This place is well known as a serious chunkfest and I was looking forward to seeing how the UZZI would feel in this stuff.

 Steve was the usual suspect today out playing on the clown bike.

I was pretty effing stoked about how well this bike was handling in the goods out here.   Both and the fork and the shock were responding nicely with not bucking or squating in the travel.  I certainly optested out the bashguard a handful or so of times.

 Steve playing in the chunk.  That is a 3.8 tire on the front if your wondering.

 Another chunktastic section of trail.  Steve accused me of cheating with this bike.

 This drop into the switchback was not the problem.  It was turn afterwards that took me nearly a dozen attempts to get.   Geez, I really need to work on my happy face,  I look way too serious in these shots.

See now this clown looks like he is having fun!

Some stairstep chunk

Playing on the rocks.   We did not do many miles today at all but the terrian certainly made for a pretty high effort to mile ratio.   Good stuff.

Japanese Gulch – Washington State

I’m catching up on some of pictures and such from my recent Washington trip.   One of the places I could hit up right easy from work was Japanese Gultch located in Mukilteo. Plenty of singletrack right in town and a good way to burn off the workday stress.

One of the things I like about this area, is minutes onto the trail and it seems like you are far away, even though you are right in town.

Yep there is narrow singletrack to be had.

Both hardtails and long-legged bikes can be enjoyed out here.

One nice thing about this right is that just a quick jaunt from the bottom trailhead is the Diamondknot Brewery which has some mighty tasty creations to finish off the ride with.  The Industrial IPA is mighty yummy and always ask if the they have a seasonal batch of the Shipwreck IPA brewed up.   It is not to be missed.

Shaking down the UZZI

So I got my brand spanking new UZZI out for a shakedown ride recently.   The orginal plan was hit up Iron Mountain and Ellie Lane but with early moring rain, the plan shifted to Anderson Truck Trail in Alpine.

 The boys at BikeBling did a mighty fine job with the mechanicals as it was shifting flawless right of of the gate and even under tension.   (A feat which I often miss the mark on a bit requiring lots of trailside tinkering on the first ride) I was bit leary about going to the 10 speed drivetrain as I like the idea of having only one drive train type to worry about (9 speed).  Between mine and the kid’s bike it good to have some commonality on the logistics side of the house.  Well it did not take long into the climb to notice the marvels of the 36-tooth cog in the back.  I’m sold on it already and I did not even have to try out the 22-36 granny ring setup yet.  


My last two longer legged bikes had Fox 36 TALAS (160) airsrung forks up front and I really liked being able to adjust the travel down to make long or steep climbs easier to deal with.    This bike has the Fox 36 Vanilla (180) coil sprung fork without the travel adjustment.  It will take a bit of getting used on some of the climbing bits with this longer slacker frontend as a bit more body positioning is going to be required a steeper bits.    It was so freaking nice to have a VPP suspended bike back under the saddle.  This bike climbed exceptionally well for it weight without any of the dreaded energy sapping “bob”. 

When it was time to turn the bike down the hill that was when this bike really came alive.  The bike is so stinking plush and it only took a few rock rolls and drops to get sold on the coil fork.


 I stuck to only the small air bits while getting acquintted with how this bike handles.  This bike is pretty confidence inspiring so I got a feeling I’m going to get myself into trouble with this rig at some point.   It’s gonna be great!

The trail overall was in about as good as shape as it ever gets so it was an absolutely great day to be out testing a new bike.

My the time it was time to head back down the main run, I had a pretty good opening day feel for the bike and I had one heck of fun descent back down the hill.  There was some hooping and hollering on the way down.   A mighty fine shakedown run with the new rig.