Archive for February, 2013

More Alpine Playtime

February 28th, 2013 by MTBBill

It was time for another round of playing on the rocks out in Alpine yesterday.  There was going to be four of us on this ride.  Brian was going to start later in the day and meet us up top.   Jim was joining us today and this was  going to be his first excursion out here.  It was an amazingly nice day out which made the climb not too terrible.    After a big ride on Sunday and a really descent workout at the gym yesterday my legs felt flat  for the climb up to four corners.   After that point the kinks in the legs seem to work themselves out and climbing was a bit better the rest of the way up. 

I ride out here a plenty and still think a bunch of this stuff is just crazy so I had forgotten just how shell shocking the first time can be out here.    Jim seemed to be digging the place in “You gotta be f$%^ing  kdding me” kind of way.   I recognized the look and it reminded of the things that came out of my mouth during my first exposure to the technical riding of the North Shore of Vancouver BC in 2003.

We fiddle farted around on some of the features while waiting for Brian to catch up with us.

Steve messing around on the “Collar Boner” section of the “Triple Bypass”.

An Old Skool wheels on the ground line.

Jim rolling along

ATT-27FEB13-Brian

Brian boosting a rock

ATT-27FEB13-Brian-2

Brian working the 911 roll.

The trail was in pretty good shape and the descent back down the main trail was a blast. (Meaning No Pictures!)   The Exponential Hoppiness  from Alpine Beer Company after the ride was a mighty tasty beverage to enjoy while chatting up the ride and chimping pictures.    There are far worse ways to spend an idle Wednesday afternoon.

Trabuco – Holy Jim Windfest

February 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past Sunday I headed up to the OC to get in some riding in the Santa Ana Mountains.  The adventure of the day was going to be the Trabuco – Holy Jim which combines two really nice trails that are both great descents.   The problem is you have to climb one of them.  It has been quite a few moons since I had done this loop but I did remember that I climbed Holy Jim and descended Trabuco when I last did it. It only seemed right to give it a go in the opposite direction this time. It wias brisk and breezy when we started off on this lollipop shaped route. Instead of driving up the five mile dirt road to the trailhead we decided to ride it on the bikes on this gradual uphill as a warm up. We were only a mile or so up the road when the wind really started howling as the canyon narrowed and funneled the wind right into our faces. The weather reports later showed that the gusts were upwards of 50mph which I wholeheartedly believe was the case.  There were a couple of times when I was hunched over the handlebars and grinding on the pedals and feeling like I was going backwards. We could not help but laugh as it was just so brutal.

Things got better once we got further up the road where the oak trees difused the gusts just enough to take the edge off.   The Holy Jim and Trabuco trails share the same lower trailhead at the end of the dirt road which marks the start of the loop part of this lollipop ride.   The climb up Trabuco is not a dainty one as you around 2,8000 feet or so over 5 miles and some change.    Additionally the trails is often rocky puts a little extra bit of tax on the legs.      While we were mostly sheltered somewhat from the wind we would often got whipped around by wind gusts finding there way here and there through the canyon.

About 3/4ths of the way up we started to encounter some small patches of snow which is just down right cool here in Southern California.   I like going out to visit snow vice living somewhere where the snow just likes to come over a visit for a while (or months).

As we neared the top Trabuco Canyon we could hear the wind just ripping through the tops of the trees and howling over the nearby ridge tops.   While knocking back some snacks at the top of the Trabuco trail which is also the  junction of the Los Pinos Trail along the Main Divide Truck trail we ran into several groups of riders.   A couple of guys were doing an out and back on Trabuco while another few were doing the Holy Jim – Trabuco version of the loop.   The guys coming from Holy Jim talked about snow and ice on one of the passes we would be descending.   We had some minor debate about which  direction of the loop was worse for climbing on Main Divide Truck Trail.   The consenus was that it was uphill in both directions with only minor nuances to be noticed in the “Suck” catergory.

We soon headed off on Main Divide which included a bit of downhill fireroad action.    While we did get some wind breaks here and there we were often pummeled by a hella cross wind.    It was probably 50 degrees at this elevation with  40 mph gusts.   Tacking on another 25-30mph worth of self-imposed wind chill was enough to subdue the usual hooting and woohooing  when ripping down the exposed fireroad sections.  The views along Main Pain Divide were impressive with the mountains of San Gorgonio, San Jincinto, and San Antonio seen to the west and north.

The Pacific Ocean along with San Clemente and Catalina Islands we easily seen to the west. 

These views were not cheap on this day.   The Main Divide Truck Trail’s nickname of “Pain Divide” was certainly fitting today.   There were quite a few spots were the false summits mentally beat on you just as much as the grade hammered at quads and lungs.   The icy descent we were warned about turned out to be no where near as a big of a deal going downhill as it must have been going uphill.   There were a couple of exciting moments when the ice, my tires and my brain had to come to an agreement on our direction of travel vice the intended direction of travel.  

It is very rare that I would ever find myself cussing on a downhill, but on the final big downhill I was doing just that as I knew I would just have to start regaining nearly all of this elevation within a minute or two.  On the final climb the wind was just insanely blowing to the point that it sounded like a jet engine.    The cool thing was that the way the truck trail was cut into the side of the mountain we were nearly perfectly shielded from wind even though it was just a few feet above your head.  That section of the climb was quite surreal.  

 

Once we topped out on that climb it was mostly a traverse or slight descent over to the top of the Holy Jim Trail.   The Holy Jim trail certainly delivered the goods and it was well worth the effort and pain to get over to it.  The sweet flowing narrow singletrack was just awesome and the many sections where you are just flying through a vegitation tunnel did wonders to leave burning quads and wheezing lungs way far behind.   The gravity gods where smiling upon after our sizable offering we had given to them on this day.    When we got back to the trailhead and started down the dirt road back to the truck we had a monster tailwind on a gradual downhill.  We zipped by numerous vehicles tip-toeing down the road while we flew over bumps, mudholes and wheelied through the creek crosings.   We had already cracked open the first post-ride beer before the first truck caught up with us.   We did around 26.5 miles with about 4,300 feet of climbing  for the day which made the tasty post-ride beverages taste even better.  Good Times!

Variations of Palm Canyon

February 19th, 2013 by MTBBill

I spent this past weekend out in Palm Springs with my girlfriend and got in one of Southern California’s Classic Epic rides,  Palm Canyon.  I have done this ride quite a few times but the plan was to do a different variation on the route for this outing.   All of the logistics has been carefully worked out a day or so before the ride which meant that would be not be how things would actually go down.    

Everyone pretty much arrived on time and after some introductions and early morning chit chat while jostling bikes between vehicles we were on our way out of Palm Springs and up the mountain to the upper trailhead.    We met up with most of the San Diego crew at the top and were soon off and rolling through the Pinyon Pines trails which is the most commonly taken variation on the classic route.   It was really good rolling up and down singletrack goodess before getting serious about dropping into Palm Canyon.

Lance, Matt and Ben were the rabbits of the group and they were being mighty zippy with the pace.   I should have known better than to chase those guys but I’m a slow learner.  After  a few miles I found myself in cardio distress hanging over the handlebars whezzing like a 90 year old chain smoker with screaming quads and the only coherent thought I could hear in my melon over the sound of blood pounding through my temples was  “What The F$%k!”.      

After regaining some composer I was back on the peddles and was able to notice what a glorious day it was now that I was back in my proper place in the whole age/weight/fitness lineup.    The thought did not escape me that we connoisseurs of  tasty malted and hopped beverages seemed to be pushing similar paces.

Palm Canyon is known for finding weaknesses in your gear and exploiting them. Steve had one of his pedals strip out of the crankarm. We tried a variety of McGuyver options to keep him rolling but as the ride progressed the pedal got worse and worse and worse. He ultimately ended up have to do at least 6 miles of one legged pedaling, hiking and coasting across the desert before you was able to hit a bail out point and head downhill towards civilization.

The trail conditions were pretty good despite it being a fairly dry winter in these parts.   None of the stream/creek crossing had water in them.  

 

Here are Steve, Michael and Evan heading out on the Indian Poterro  trail.   I managed miss every catcus gauntlet on and along the entire trail but I managed to step into a cholla while getting setup for this shot.     I plucked out a good dozen spines and I’m sure I will pluck another dozen out of my leg over the next few weeks as my body works to push out the ones that broke off flush or under the skin.

Michael had a couple of the evil chollas jump out and attack his tires over the course of the day.   Evan was kind enough to donate a Slime tube after the second flat.

One of the variations on the route involves not going up the 3 mile wash climb and the follow on descent of the Hahn Buena Vista trail which represents a big cost followed by a big reward section of this route.   Instead we only climbed about 10 percent of the 3 mile Dry Wash and the hung a left onto the East Fork trail where we did some rolling ups and downs over to the Vandeventer trail before settling in for a climb along the fern canyon trail up to the saddle of  the upper end of Wildhorse and the Clara Burgess trail.   The next variation that was being thrown in on this day involved taking the Clara Burgess trail up and over Murray Hill and down into the bottom of Goat Trails with a follow on climb that would take us back up near the top of the Goat Trails again.   I have gone over Murray Hill in the opposite direction and I knew it was going to be a real beater.    After taking stock of what I had left in the tank, I along with three others opted to forgo this section and meet at the next variation point along the Garstin trail.   Above are some of the manly mens group heading up the Clara Burgess trail.

Dave and Michael making their way to the top of the Garstin trail.

The peak to the left is Murray Hill and saddle were the manly men started from is off to the right side of the frame.   If you play a little “Where is Waldo”  you can see them working their way up to the Garstin trail.  One of the manly men had to bail after Murray Hill from being completely bonked to the point of being sick.  We ladies of the shortcut crew had spent every bit of an hour changing our feminine napkins, snacking and napping.  Did I mention what a glorious day it was?

The final variation on the traditional route today had us dropping the Shannon and Henderson trail out of the Goat Trails.   Above is the top part of the Shannon trail before it gets really steep with a series of hella tight switchbacks.  It was a really cool section of trail but not for those who get a freaked out when exposure is involved.  Blowing  some of those switch backs to the outside would not make you a happy camper and could net you an appearance on “When Vacations Attack”, “Worlds Most Amazing…” or any one of those other “Awh Shit” shows.

As a bit of coolness bonus along this trail you go by Bob Hope’s house.  Its the big domed pad on the right hand side of the picture.    The Shannon and the Henderson trails dump you out on surface streets that we took back over the traditional bottom of the Palm Canyon route in Von’s Rimrock Shopping Center.      Tasty beverages were soon being had along with post-ride chit chat before more bike jostling ensued before we made our way over to Rancho Mirage for dinner at  Babe’s BBQ and Brewhouse.   I helped shuttle folks back up to top before rolling back down to the hill to finish out the weekend in Palm Springs with my girlfriend.

Wednesday Stoke in Alpine

February 15th, 2013 by MTBBill

Wednesday Stoke ride was going off again this week with great weather out in Alpine.    Due to my own discombobulations at the trailhead, I started climbing about 10 minutes after Steve and Evan did.   I tried to tell myself to just do my normal climb but  I did not listen and decided to make a go of catching them by “rest rock”.     I was making pretty good time hustling up the mountain but unfortunately for me it was unsustainable and about 2/3rds of the way up I cracked and went into cardio meltdown.   I was bit of an energyless mess for the rest of the climb and the start of the descent.

ATT-13FEB13-06

Calm winds = excellent flying conditions

ATT-13FEB13-08

Evan on the 911 roll

ATT-13FEB13-16

Steve got himself a flat on the  descent which gave us some time to enough someof the great light of the “magic hour”

ATT-13FEB13-15

It was the day before Valentines Day so Steve was practicing his puckering up skills!

ATT-GoPro-13FEB13-07.MP4.Still001

After the flat tire delay it was back to downhill funnage!

The Killing of Iron Mountain

February 12th, 2013 by MTBBill

Here is a special contribution from a long time riding friend of my mine.   Iron Mountain is (rapidly heading towards the “was”) a classicly technically challenging hike/ride in San Diego County).   People enjoyed this trail because it was hard.    Once again we have well intended but misguided people in charge listening to the vocal minority of the trail users who want to “say” they did something hard without “doing” something that is hard.   There are plenty of sterile dirt sidewalks being touted as trails in the city of Poway.     The city has plans for additional trails, how about putting the sparse resources they have to making new trails instead of screwing of the ones we already have.     

The Killing of Iron Mountain

by: Steve Gordenker

Mark and I had a chance to get up to Iron Mountain, yesterday. We witnessed firsthand, the latest round of “Trail maintenance”, by Poway parks and recreation trails manager, Bob Hahn. Recall if you will, last year, I spoke in front of Poway’s city council, sat in on parks and trails planning meetings, wrote letters, and emails, and made phone calls to city council members and the Mayor.

 What a complete, colossal waste of my time.

The slow death of Iron mountain continues, at the hand of Bob Hahn.

 untitled1

This is towards the top, at the “Hemotoma” area. Large swath of granite removed.

untitled2

Wheelchair accessable.

untitled3

Ironic, no?

untitled4

They dismantled the Iron Meatball.

untitled6

Two military guys were hiking down Iron from the top. This poor guy slipped on the loose, powdery mess that Bob Hahn’s butchers left when they removed large portions of granite. He rolled his ankle badly and was unable to put any weight on it. With no way to walk out, his buddy had no choice, but to carry him out on his back. They were 2.5 miles up at this point.

 Thank you, again, Bob Hahn, for making Iron Mountain a “safer” outdoor hiking experience, by completely obliterating all of that dangerous grippy granite.

untitled7

untitled8

untitled9

Another iconic section of trail at the top , sanitized for your protection.

untitled10

Yet another switchback section cleaned and smoothed out by Bob Hahn’s wrecking crew.

Video Tinker Time in Alpine

February 10th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past week I made a long overdue appearance at Steve’s Wednesday Stoke ride in Alpine. The weather was great which made the climb up to the top go pretty well. 

 ATT-06FEB13-10

I was playing with both my Digital SLR camera as well my GoPro Hero 3 today.    This was the second outing with thing so I doing quite a bit of tinkering with mountings and camera setup.

ATT-06FEB13-SS-1

One of the angles I really like was using the roll bar mount near the bottom of the downtube to view the front tire action.   One downside to the roll bar mount was I needed use one of the extender arms on the mount to get the angle right.   No matter how hard I tightened the the knob for teh extender arm.   It would still sag down after some hard compressions like a landing or bigger chunk.   I will have figure out some kind of secondary support strap or something to use this angle much.

ATT-06FEB13-13

My Canon 7D DSLR can also shoot HD video so I played around with shooting video with it.   It will be interesting to show how the whole video editing workflow is going to pan out with multiple formats and frame rates going into a single project.

IMG_8075

I also used the seat post/handlebar mount for a rear facing shot. I did not use an extender arm for this mount as the angle looked good.

GOPR0003.MP4.Still001

The “good” angle was based on the seat post being up.   Once I started going downhill and play in the chunk I lowered the seatpost and found that I was unable to get the camera angled up enough for my liking with too much of tire being in the frame and not enough view behind to keep from chopping off the head of a rider behind me.

GOPR0005.MP4.Still001

For the main run back down the trail I had the side mount for the helmet on.   The trail conditions were pretty freaking awesome that begged you to stay off the brakes.

GoPro HD3 Shakedown Ride

February 1st, 2013 by MTBBill

Early this week I got out for a lunch time ride out at La Costa.  The weather was nice and you good see Catalina and San Clemente Islands out on the horizon.   IMAG0442

I got a GoPro Hero3 HD Black Edition for Christmas and it was high time that I tested it out.   Other than some futzing with it on the couch this was my first time rolling with camera.   I decided to go for a side mount on the helmet for this test.  I slapped the curved sticky mount on about the right looking spot and stuck it on.   I was also using the double hinged adapter that came with the kit.  The kit also came with a WiFi remote but I did not even break that out on this test.  Instead I used the GoPro app on that I installed on my Android phone to control the camera.  The cool thing I like about the app is that it allows you to preview the angle you have setup instead of guessing or having to buy LCD accessory for the GoPro.    Right off the bat I’m rather impressed with the video quality and I’m sure it could be made a bit better some some of the advanced settings I have not tinkered with yet.   Of course there is no way to get image stablization with this setup but overall this thing is nice enough that and maybe another one are going to make it into the video equipment stable.     Oh yeah…tighening down those little adjustment knobs is highly recommended.   Here is a short completely non-fancy clip.