I was back out in the Cuyamaca Mountains this weekend.
Spring is still hanging on. Today I started out on the west side singletrack and then crossed over to the visitor center and then took the Coldwater trail northward.
The climb up and over to the Stonewall peak fireroad was quite manageable. This is a really well built trail that I have found to be manageable and engaging in both directions.
Once at the top of Stonewall Peak fireroad I turned east. Technically I was in the California Riding and Hiking trail (CRHT) at this point but the next section north of here is what I consider the “real trail”. When I reached the junction of the CHRT and the top of Soapstone Grade fireroad I had to think about my options.
It has been over a decade since I found myself and this location having arrived from the west. I have long ago given up on climbing Soapstone grade to this point as the Upper Green Valley singletrack at at the bottom of this grade is so much better. My other option is to climb the next section of the CRHT which would be good but it is fantastic in the southern direction. I decided to descend Soapstone grade and then climb Upper Green Valley singletrack.
I have been doing a fair amount riding lately and I feel I have been on the fitness and injury mend as if late. I felt really good on this climb and I think I did as well as I ever have in recent time. I still can’t beat that that much younger version of me but that is a different story. I ended up climbing the La Cima trail over to the Lucky 5 staging area (a first for me). I resisted the urge to poach the PCT back to CRHT today and made my way back along the La Cima trail to the CRHT and back the way I came. It was glorious!
So I recently made a tweak to my Santa Cruz Bronson. It is built up as an XC rig and it rocks! It is a single track carving machine. The minor compromise I feel have had been making with this setup is that is not the most confidence inspiring rig when thingd get downhill and gnarly. I’m not talking downhill bike gnarly but both wheels on the ground kind of normal. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, I just feel I can “over ride” the bike. I hate all the micro-genre names but I wanted to shift more towards a trail/enduro feel on the bike.
I ended up trying something simple and relatively inexpensive. I switched from a 90mm 0 degree rise stem out for a 70mm 17 degree rise. I took the bike out to La Costa to see how this felt. As I predicted the climbs felt a bit awkward at firdt as my weight was shifted back slightly. On the climb I had plenty of switchbacks as well as some steeper pitches. By the time I made it up to the top of the climb I was feeling comfortable with the new setup. I descended down the back side and then up to the towers. This improvement was immediately noticed and I was feeling much more comfortable with the downhill chunkish bits.
Oh and the trails, the backside stuff was a bit overgrown with the flowerinf weeds starting to dry out. Meaning I got a free exfoliation treatment. Good Times.
Lake Hodges is not in bad shape right now. On this particular outing I combined both the south side and the north side trail
All together I did about 24 miles of fairly quick paced riding (for me). I did not add in Bernardo peak. If I had that would have made for some pretty legit “in town” mileage. I think I have caught myself being a trail snob and passing by this place to go ride something better. It was nice to give myself a bit of a mental reset on this area. I don’t care how fit you are you should be able to come out here and find a way to both put a smile on your face and wipe it off all while putting some burn on your legs.
If you think I’m stretching things a bit, try combining Raptor Ridge, the south and north side and Bernardo peak in a single ride.