Archive for March, 2013

Updated Lake Hodges Pages

March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

I finally got around to updating my North and South Lake Hodges pages.    I debated about combining the two pages since there a bridge and that connects the two that was completed in 2009.   I decided the two pages seperate as they can still stand on thier own as seperate rides.  Of course combining the two together allows for quite a few mileage and route options.    If you have not been out there in a while it would be worth it to check out both sides of the lake.

South Side as seen from the top of Bernardo Mountain

The North Side of Hodges

Snooping around South Poway

March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill

This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails.   I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.

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The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating  “Trails”.    Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience.    After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.

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Here is a bit of an offical new city of Poway trail that is a  nice singletrack.   Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.  

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The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.   

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According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned.   I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above  it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.

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Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL“  dirt road junk.  Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture.   It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”.    Everytime I have pulled the string on the  “who designed this”  question,  it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources).     People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.

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This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime.   Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it.     The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of  well done social trails.    Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails”  by the city) that had to be dealt with.   I did about 15 miles total that day.  I will be doing some more exploring out here.

Sweetwater Cruising

March 21st, 2013 by MTBBill

This past week I got to Sweetwater Reservoir for an after work cruise.   It was been quite a few moons since I had been out here and I had been itching to give the place another go.

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Spring is in the air and the hill sides are nice and green.

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Miguel Mountain in the back ground as I head out towards the Steel Bridge.  (The Rockhouse trail is still on my to-do list)

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The bridge is where I normally turn around, but today I was riding with some zip so I decided to explore further “up stream”

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I did find some nice trails both in the valley as well as up along the hillside .   I had a commitment later in the evening so I was watching clock trying to maximize my ride time.      A flat tire shortly after my “turn around time” ate up some of my time buffer so after fixing the flat I had had to get on pedals fairly hard.       

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On the way back there are a couple of options on this otherwise out and back route.     Staying to the right will keep you near the reservoir and over to the tiki hut and the left option will take you up to a saddle on the opposite side of the hill.   On this return I saw a third (new since my last visit) option that looked like it might split the difference and do some nice contouring.   Thinking I might be able to save some time, I took this option and soon found out that while this would be an awesome trail coming down, it was a bit of a bitch in the uphill direction.   It was a bunch of work and I am certainly going to hit that trail in the proper direction up on my next visit.   It did not save me any time at all, but getting on some dirt I have not been on before is always good in my book.

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I was feeling whooped at this point and all the undulations were putting some pain in legs as I was still trying to press the pace.

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Just as I rolling back into the camping/staging/playground area parking lot I spotted my first rattlesnake of the year.   It was a baby without even a single rattle yet.    Considering that he was in a area where an encounter with a camper or kid could easily occur I rolled over to the nearby entrance gate where a park ranger was and asked if they relocate them when they find them in this area.   The ranger did confirm they catch and relocate the ones they find in the immediate area.     This was not the ranger’s first rodeo and within a couple of minutes he was over with his snake wrangling gear and soon had the snake moved into container.    In in the next few hours the snake was to have a new home out in the back forty of the park somewhere.     I ended up being just a couple of minutes late for my appointment that evening but felt good about getting in a good ride and doing a good deed.

Views from Anderson

March 19th, 2013 by MTBBill

Last week I was able to get in a mid-week ride out at Anderson Truck Trail.   I arrived quite a bit earlier than Steve today so I decided to do the climb solo and check out a few things on my way up.

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Spring is just downright awesome and it was quite green out.   Being solo there was no pressure to keep moving so I stopped here and there to take pictures and snoop around.  

The first stop was just after the brook/creek crossing.   This is normally dry during the summer but there has been plenty of water moving through it as of late.   I could here the sound of water going over rocks uphil of the crossing so I did some scrambling to find a nice looking micro-waterfall.

Plenty of flowers in bloom to see along the climb up.

The greenage on the hillsides around El Captain Reservor was really pretty.

I meet up with Steve and Evan up near the top.     With this being the first week of coming off of daylight saving time, it seemed like lots of folks were taking advantage of the longer daylight and coming out for a ride.  We saw lots of folks out on the trail. 

There was a handful of  “Young Bucks” that were just killing it out on the trail and making it look easy.  

It was not enough for them to make it look easy they we were working on maximizing there style points.   Most of the guys grew up riding and jumping BMX so they were completely comfortable in the air.   Makes me wish I had done that when I was a kid.   I think it is just best to learn those skills we when you are young enough to have no sense of how hurt you can get and heal quicker.    The final three miles of smiles was awesome and a beer at Alpine Beer Company afterwords while doing the post-ride debrief was a nice end to a longer day.

Lake Hodges – Benardo Mountain

March 13th, 2013 by MTBBill

On Sunday Jake had hockey practice over at Kit Carson park in Escondido so I took the opportunity to get in some pedal time out at Lake Hodges.

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  I stuck to the North Side trails on this outing.

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Updating the Lake Hodges pages on my website has been on my to-do list for quite some.   Now that there is a pedistrian and bike bridge connecting the north and south side of the lake there are more ride options in the area on a single outing.   Additionally, a few years ago I got a letter from some of the land owners and the western end of the easement road (known as the high road) that did not want anyone using the easement rsload for recreation and asked that I take down that information from my site.   Well obviously I’m a busy guy and have not be able to get to that yet.    It looks like it maybe all figured out by now since new signage has gone up.  Of course that new signage has made things as clear as mud.  Take a look at the picture above.   The easement road sign says “No Trespassing”  yet they installed a people tunstill beside the gate.  New signs were put up telling you it is okay to hike and bike to the right, but no trespassing to the left.    Looking at the sign above at the far western end of the easement road one would think it is okay to go through the gate and ride off to the right vice on the easement road that goes to the left.   That is not the case at all.   What the signs are trying to convey is that when you are on the easement road, everything uphill of the road is private property and everything downhill (towards the lake) is part of the park.   This is also not entirely correct as the private property owners land typically goes some number of feet/yards downhill of the road.  The park has put up private property signs at the bottom of the trails that connect the lower trails to the upper easement road.   I find it odd that some of the land owners don’t want people on the eastern end of the easement road, yet nearly all of them have gates onto the easement road from their backyard.  Presumably so they can use the easement road to get into the park.  Hmmm so it is okay for those land owners to  get onto the little sliver of the easement road they own and then trespass on their various neighbors property and then enter the park through unauthorized trails but it is not okay for the public to do so.    Hmmmm, the best advice I can give is to do your best to make sense of the various “non-truth” signs you see and make your own judgement calls.    Following the predominate and fresh foot and bike tracks is probably a safe bet.  

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The Benardo Mountain trail has no controversy involved with it.   It just a nice trail that will work you over on the climb up to the peak.   There are some tough grade sections and some technical bits as well that will test both skill and fitness.    There was some nice purple blooms going off on the climb.

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The view of the bridge connecting the North side to the South side from the peak. 

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Snow on the mountains to the east.

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After Bernardo Mountain I rode out towards the dam until it was time to turn around and get back to the rink.    I made it back just as Jake was get off the rink so two sweaty Porter Boys to funk of the truck on the drive back to Casa Del Bill.

Florida Canyon in Balboa Park

March 8th, 2013 by MTBBill

So I was tube locked for most of the day on Wednesday, but an appointment near Balboa Park gave me about an hour and half to squeeze in a quick ride in Florida Canyon.   Florida Canyon is part of Balboa Park and the canyon has trails on both sides of Florida Drive which goes down the middle of the canyon.   I have only ridden here once before about 13 years ago.  Besides that there is not much mileage out here I had forgotten my other aversion to this place.  I was obvisously overdue for a refresher.  

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While this place is very short on miles, the fact that it is bascally in downtown gives it huge bonus points.   The place is pretty and has enough ups, downs and turns to keep a beginner excited.

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Most of the trails are about sidewalk wide and while being solidly in the none technical category they do have some character here and there.  These trails are much better than the homogenized decomposed granite sidewalks that are so prevalent among most of the city and county created pathways/roads that they try to pass off as “trails”.

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There are some more narrower singletracks here and there.  The picture above is of one of the trails on the east side of the canyon.   Now I am routinely prone to taking the trail less traveled to try and figure out an area’s trail system and today was one of those days.   While over on the east side of the canyon just south of Morley Field (highlighted in yellow below) I spotted a few exceptionally narrow looking trails that seemed to not see much action so I flicked the handlebars and headed off down the second one I came across.   Turns out I was quite wrong about the whole not seeing much action assessment.  Less than 40 feet down the trail I hear somebody coughing off in the bushes in a manner that seems like they are trying to get someones attention.  I thought it wierd but kept on rolling.   Around the next corner I see some things that well (a) Ought to happen behind closed doors (b) Joe Public should not have to see in a public park  (c)  Just can’t be unseen!    Everybody (Straight, Gay, Trannies, Furries, etc…)  has to get their freak on but come on!  I should have to type in some keystrokes like C: <INSERT> ### into my computer to see some shit like that on an idle Wednesday afternoon.  I was certainly motivated  get out of this section of “social ” trails at this point so I give some extra gusto to the pedals.   These little trails seemed more  like a maze and this point and two turns later I encounter a very stylishly dressed man in surprising uncomfortable looking shoes strolling along this little trail towards me.   (Don’t ask me why I noticed the shoes,  I just did okay.   I have been paying more attention to peoples shoes ever since I saw Shawshank Redemption.  We should all be slightly suspicious of people wearing inappropriate shoes.)    He was a cordial fellow who wanted to chat while I figured out how to get around him with the minium of greetings exchanged.     The guy seemed to pick up on the fact that Homee don’t play that pretty quickly and I was soon on my way again.    A handful of seconds later I popped back onto the main trail to notice another well dressed fellow reading a book while sitting on a log seat and another guy just sort of standing around.   Weird!

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I then remembered why I had not been back over here in over a decade. Morley Field is a “Cruising” spot for gay guys looking to hook up for casual sex in the bushes.   To each his own but the Public Service Announcement for this trail system is

“Stay on the Designated Trails in Florida Canyon”   

Once I was back the main trail and checking out the rest of the trails I could not help but chuckle as dinner plans for the evening had already been made with my girlfriend.

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We had dinner at Hilcrest Brewing Company where they not only have good food but good beers as well.    Their pizzas are awesome and we had a tough time deciding between the “BBQueer Chicken” or the “Meatpacker”.   The Meatpacker won the coin toss and it went well my girlfriends  “Hoppy Endings”  IPA and my “Pearl Necklace” Pale Ale.   It was a very memorable bike ride with plenty of laughs and snickers afterwards.

Mission Trails Northeast (Spring/Oak)

March 6th, 2013 by MTBBill

I grabbed an after work ride on Tuesday out at “Mission Trails Northeast” aka Spring and Oak Canyon.    

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While there was some weather starting to roll in but there it was plenty nice out on the trails I was cruising on. 

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It has been awhile since I had last been here and there was a lot more out here than I previously remembered.   The plants were blooming which made for some pretty sights while grinding climbs and grinning on descents. 

This entire area was burned out in 2003 so it was nice to see the continuing regrowth and the colors of spring out here. 

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There were far worse things to do after work on just about any given Tuesday.

Update to the Otay Mountain Loop

March 4th, 2013 by MTBBill

It came to my attention some time ago that the segment of the California Riding and Hiking Trail that I used as part of my Otay Mountain Loop has gotten horribly overgrown.    

It was pretty faint in spots back in 2008.  I have updated my page to reflect that riders may want to go around on the road.   Or better yet, check out this route and take some pruning gear along on you. :-)