Archive for July, 2012

Lagging at La Costa

July 23rd, 2012 by MTBBill

So I spent last week working in Southern Japan.   I was hoping to squeak in a bike ride but the rental place was out of mountain bikes.  The weather was pretty freaking rough as well as I don’t think the humidity every dropped below 95%.  I think that even if I would have had a bike I would have had to muster up some serious motivation to get out in the woods when it is 99 degrees out with 99% humidity.   So I took in a bit of traditional and limited sight seeing during this visit.   I will be back for a longer period in the fall so I will get my time on the trails.JA-Sasebo-JUL12-04

Yesterday was my travel day back to the San Deigo.  With the International Date Line in the mix, I did Sunday twice in the course of my 27 hours of planes, trains and automobiles.   I was pretty freaking toast by the time my head hit the pillow yesterday.    I did sleep well last night but was still dragging a bit today.   I decided that a lunchtime ride would help to snap the body back onto my timezone.    I decided to ride Rancho La Costa a few miles away from Casa Del Bill.  I also decided to ride my bike to the trailhead as I could use the extra excercise on the several intervening hills along the way.

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I was meeting Michael (aka YetiRider) that works near the trail system and routinely knocks out a lunchtime loop out there.   I knew I was going to feel a little tired but was quite surprised just how freaking tired I felt about five minutes into the commute to the trailhead.   My body was quite certain it was a little before 2AM its time.   I made it to  Michaels work shortly before his lunch break and we were soon hitting up the last bit of asphalt to get to the trailhead.    I was feeling a bit better in that I did not feel so fatigued by the time we got to the trailhead.

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I climbed alright on the way up but I certainly felt off in the way of not firing on all cylinders.   On the way down I realized my reflexs were more than a little off and I found myself dabbing in spots I would not normally dab in.  It was good to be out on the bike but it was a little disconcerting to be all out of wack.

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The pavement return back to my place drained the rest of my energy so I don’t think I really helped out the jet lag out at all today because after a shower and snack I knapped away the rest of the day.   It was still a good experiment.

Soul Ride in the Laguna Mountains

July 12th, 2012 by MTBBill

Wednesday was pretty freaking hot (by San Diego Weather Weenie standards) with a bit of mugginess thrown in due to a bit of weather on the way in.      Steve and I decided to pass up triple digit sufferage in the usual Alpine spot and head up into the Laguna Mountains for what we consider the “Soul Ride”.   Big Laguna Meadow and the network of surrounding trails.

One of the reasons we call this the Soul Ride (Along with the overused “Chicken Soup for the Soul” reference) is that it is just a fun time out on the bike.  While most of the usual places around San Diego County have browned all up and gotten into full on summer mode, you can still find plenty of greenery and wildflowers out and about up here.

It was cooler in the Laguna Mountains but it was still 90 when we started.   It was quite overcast when we started but there was just enough breeze to keep things reasonable.

Steve brought out the clown bike so of course a show had to be put on.  This rock is known as “Dental Plan” because if you screw up you are going to need one.

Later on in the day there was a bit of a break from the full blown overcast which made for some nice bit of afternoon color.   This is the connector between the Noble Canyon Trailhead and the Big Laguna Trail.  If you are going to do the Tour De Noble you will be on this trail at some point.  Today we did this trail as an out-and-back to refill our water bladders at the Noble Trailhead.

We are on the northernwest of the meadow here.  This was one of the fire boundary lines that held during the 2003 wildfires that swept through the area. There were thousands of acres burned to the west (behind me in this shot).   The area has been recovering well.

This is a nice scenic spot along the southern side of the meadow.  The only thing it needs is……….

A stupid human trick!   (I can get Steve to try anything when I pull out the camera)   Steve had eyed up this line before but had not pulled the trigger before. I think it took him having my high quality steed underfoot to allow him to pull this off.    This line has been named “Compressor”.

This picture should explain the name.   7.5″ of travel in the rear and 7″ in front were fully used on this move. 

Stuntworks over it was time to work our way back to the vehicles as pulled pork sandwiches and tasty microbrews at Alpine Beer Company were calling our names.   Our chosen path was one less traveled with some challenging bits.  This Wednesday did not suck.

Lake Calavera

July 8th, 2012 by MTBBill

Before all of the 4th of July festivities started, I rolled out from Casa De La Bill to hit up Lake Calavera to feel a bit better about the tasty beers and snacks I would be having later in the day.   It was less than a 3 mile street ride to get to the dirt for some quality exercise.    I have not been here in quite some time and while at first I was impressed to see that there was some trail signs out and about I was soon disappointed to see fences.   I view fences as the land mangment equivalent saying the dog ate my homework.   If land mangers would do the thier homework  a bit better they would need a lot less of this stuff.  It was fairly easy to see where the public was giving the fencing passing and failing grades by looking at where the fences were cut and where it was allowed to remain.  LakeCalavera-04JUL12-01

While I do enjoy “front 40″ of Lake Calavera (northern part), the middle and back 40 are where some of the best trails are at.

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A nice little corner.

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A little creek crossing.   Some of the trails called for a bit of elbow and knee tucking here and there to not brush against some of the prevelant Poison Oak.   

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At pretty much the apex of my ride I broke my chain, which gave a bit of a minor delay.   One thing I like about the mountain biking culture is the idea of being self-sufficient while out and about.   Not quite the same as being on a road bike where you could get by with a cell phone and a debit card.

Pimping New Kicks

July 3rd, 2012 by MTBBill

So my MTB shoes have been getting pretty ratty and have enough “extra” ventilation these days that I end up with more dirt on the inside of my shoes than I do on the outside of the outside of the shoes.  I have found that I hold out on my shoes as long as possible just because it always seem to be such a painl to pick out a pair of shoes.   I used to just use the SIDI Dominators as they would last me for several years.   That was until I became more skilled in riding technical terrian and spent more time exploring  “Back 40″ type trails.  Those same shoes that were light and comfortable started lasting less than a year.  The toes and outer edges of the shoes were being shredded from brushes with rocks, brush and other chunk. With the price of those shoes I was not willing to spend that kind of money that often for them.  So the search for a comfortable well working shoes that did not kill the bank was in order. 

My awesome girlfriend sprung for the Happy Feet effort with a nice birthday gift certificate to BikeBling.  The number of different shoes available was crazy and I spent at least an hour farting around with all the different model.    I ended up with getting a pair that was felt really comfortable, had a nice stiff sole and looked like it would hold up well.  The shoes is a bit on the flashy side for my taste but I predict it will dull down quite nicely once I get a good dirt patina on it.   I was told that much like wearing a Spongbob Squarepants jersey, (i.e. photo above) if you are going to wear shoes like that you had better bring “IT” on the trail. 

  New Shoes

I’m also going to to try out one of boot protector products out there.  Either KG’s Boot Guard or Tuff Toes.   If I could spend about $20 extra bucks and get a year or two more out of  the shoes that would pretty cool.   That also means I could delay the whole process of getting the clipless pedal cleats all dialed it.  Stay tuned for photos of loud jerseys and shoes in action.

Messing around in the San Jacinto Mountains

July 1st, 2012 by MTBBill

This weekend I decided to head out for an overnighter in the San Jacinto Mountains.   There are a lot of great trails around here and we were interested in messing around in some lesser ridden areas.  Bill O’Neil and I met up fairly early in the morning and the temps were already quickly climbing.

We did a bit of driving around on some of the back dirt roads to finalize our game plan and investigate all of the options.    This gate showed much promise so we decided to add this area to the two-wheeled investigation efforts.

With a plan negoiated that included such phrases like “Do you think those thin brown lines are too close together on the map”,  “It sorta flattens out after the first seven miles” and “Just for the record, this segment is your idea”  we started turning the pedals into the dry 90 degree heat.

After what I would consider a rough opening bit of terrain, heat and grade we got up onto a small plateau were thoughts of tasty steaks and carne asada burritos started running through our heads.

This small herd of around 10 or so cattle were following the old ranch road we were taking.   Special note on Trail Etiquette – Bikes yield to horns. 

The old ranch road turned out to be a nice route that we took.  We soon worked our way over to the next segment that turned out to be a bit brutal when combined with the growing heat and pockets of dead air.   My hiking calves got some work in here and there on this segment.

As we neared the top of the ridgeline sadddle we were shooting for we got into some trees and a breeze picked up which made a huge difference.  We were already considered with rationing our water considering how far we had to go still.

Once at the saddle we proceeded along a trail that followed the ridgelines for quite a long way.  There were some great views along this route.

This was most definitely a pretty cool trail.

Cool rock formations on the ridgeline.  The wind was often howling up here which was great for beating the heat but it was enough to blow me off my intended line a time or two.

This was really cool bit of exploring we did but it was certainly no cakewalk with the heat that was out.  By the time we got back down to the truck, we were more interested in our first liquids being water more so that tasty hop and malt goodness.  After a bit of truck-side recovery we were off to the  Paridise Valley Cafe were some excellent baby back ribs with the fixins were chased with a couple of tasty beverages.   After that we found a back corner of the Garner Valley area to set up camp in the dark.  We spent the rest of the evening  recounting the festivities of the day while sampling tasty San Diego area micro-brews.

View from the tent when I opened my eyes

The view from my tent when I first opened my eyes.