Tuning at La Costa

Yesterday I went out for a spin at Rancho La Costa Preserve. It was a pretty sweet day to be out on a bike. In addition to getting in some exercise I was planning on tuning up my suspension.

Climbing up the Vista Del Mar trail

I have been very much an “under-adjuster” when it comes to suspension. I tend to set it once and forget it. The latest bike I have has a cane creek DB Inline Air shock which has both high and low speed compression and rebound adjustments. The Fox Float Air fork also has plenty of adjustments. I had recently had both serviced/overhauled and I going to be more systematic about tuning them and recording the setup.

SDMBA Bike Care station!

My shock actually has a companion app to help you tune and record your settings. On a previous outting I had set the shock up and recorded those settings. My focus on this day was going to be on the fork. I started with using a small digital tire pressure gauge to get accurate readings of my tire pressure. I’m planning on keeping this in my camelbak so I can reliably check my pressure at anytime. I took a shock pump with me and over the course of the first half of the ride I tweaked the pressure of the fork’s air pressure several times. I was a bit surprised what just a little bit of pressure change can do for getting that plush feeling and typical small terrain stuff while not easily bottoming out.

The view from the top.

Plushness was what I was really looking for over handling big hits. I just did not want it to dramatically dive while braking. I have been struggling with tendonitis in my elbows for several years so plushness (or is supple the right term?) on the front of the bike is what I’m looking for.

I went up Vista Del Mar, down the backside to Copper Creek, up to the water tower where I snooped around a bit before dropping back down to Copper Creek. I connected back up with Vista Del Mar and climbed back up to the top. At this point I felt I had the front end dialed for what I wanted. The optest was let things go for the run down the switchbacks trail. I’m pretty happy with the results as does not brake dive to much and the small rock chatter is very well damped. Now that the front is down, I will probably further tweak the rear.

There was a whole lot of geeking out with numbers on this ride, but it was still a great day to be out on a bike.

Bernardo Mountain – Rant

So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.

The guy was making plenty of noise.

Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.

The view of most of the southside trails.

There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.

Looking west from the summit

Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.