I was long overdue for a ride with Steve and Brian so Wednesday, I met them out in Santee for some play time on the “Mel Brooks” trails. The loop we did was only about nine miles but the trail was a beater. This trail is all about the play not the distance. With names like Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, Mongo and Spaceballs how can you not have some fun.
It was time for a dawn patrol ride in the Cuyamaca Mountains and Anza Borego Desert State Park. I was at the trailhead bright and early. Too early was my first thought as it was quite brisk (mid-50’s) and I was dressed for the heat to come.
I started out at the San Diego River Staging area. The early morning temps made for a zippy start to help keep the blood flowing.
I made my way up the west side single track and then cut over to the at the visitor center and picked up the Green Valley fire road.
I saw turkeys and some deer along way. When I got to the bottom of Soapstone grade fire road, I took the Upper Green Valley single track. About half way up the climb you leave the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and enter the Anza Borrego Desert state park. Now it looks nothing like a desert up here.
Normally, I hookup with the La Cima Trail and head west toward Lake Cuyamaca and the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT). Today I turned east on the La Cima trail where I went for just over a mile up and over a ridge to the La Cima Trailhead. This was a nice bit of trail. At the La Cima trailhead I picked up the Sunrise trail and continued east.
What a nice bit of trail. There were one spot where you could look down into the Anza Borrego Desert and see the Salton Sea.
I took the Sunrise trail out to its end at the entrance to the Lucky 5 ranch and the northern terminus of Deer Park Road (private property). This was my first time on this bit of trail and I must say I liked it. I have heard that there is a trail planned that would stay on the south side of sunrise highway and connect the Sunrise trail all the way over to top of Noble Canyon. I am all about new trails and I would gladly welcome such a trail. Interestingly enough there is already a trail that connects those two points together. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is that trail. There are access points to the PCT at the the entrance to the Lucky 5 ranch as well as at the top of Noble Canyon. Unfortunately bikes are off limits on the PCT. Now this particularly section is not off limits to bikes because it is in wilderness. No it is strictly off limits to bikes because the PCT has a blanket ban on bikes mostly because the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) feels bike should not be on “their” trail. (I’m grossly generalizing their position that from their perspective makes sense) To me it seems to be a nearly a no brainer that allowing bikes on the PCT section that is on the north side of the Sunrise Highway from Lucky 5 to Noble would alleviate the need to build a trail between those two points on the south side of Sunrise Highway. This makes me wonder, would the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) rather see additional environmental impacts created in this area to create a redundant trail just so they could continue to keep bikes off of the PCT? Is their need to maintain a certain trail experience greater than their land stewardship goals? Would the organizations that support the PCTA simultaneously oppose the creation of the new trail on the south side of the trail due to environmental impacts while also opposing the sharing of the section PCT on the north side of Sunrise highway? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.
Well after my deep thoughts I started working my way back the California Riding and Hiking trail. It was well into mid-morning at this point and things had warmed up to near perfect cycling temps. Along the way I came upon the fellow above.
After a bit of snake and camera juggling, I was back on my way and rejoined the CRHT which took me to Soapstone and Stonewall fire roads followed by the Coldsprings trail and the then back to the staging area via the westside single
Fresh back from working in the Puget Sound area it was time to hit up some of the local stuff. I got up at O-Damn Early to hit up a new bit of trail and the Black Mountain Truck Trail near Ramona.
Ramona this time of year can get really toasty and Pamo Valley can really turn into a pizza oven. The plan today was to get some elevation on me before things got to really cooking.
I made it out to Pamo Valley good and early. The new staging area is quite large and can accommodate plenty of cars and horse trailers. I made quick work of getting ready to roll as it was only going to get warmer. The trail starts out in the northeast corner of the lot and parallels the road for a short bit before crossing over. A word of caution, the first section of trail near the road was ate up with goat heads. If you are not running some type of sealant system you may find yourself having a frustrating day right from the get-go.
This new section of the Coast to Crest Trail eliminates the need to ride along the Pamo Road to connect the Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail to the Black Mountain Truck Trail. It is 3.2 miles long and overall I think it is a nice addition to the trail system. It undulates on the hillsides following the general route of the road but is not just paralleling the road. It does cross the Pamo Road several times but I really don’t consider that much of a detractor.
Shortly after I got onto Black Mountain Truck Trail, my dropper seat post started acting up. It started sagging about 1/2″. I was able to just raise my post up some in the seat tube to compensate, but it was not long before it dropped about 2-2.5″ down. I did not have enough seat-post to compensate for this. The first thing I tried was wrapping some duct tape around the upper part of the post. It worked for just a short amount of time before the whole tape mass just slide up the post. Next I tried reposition the table and give some extra clamping power with some zip ties. This worked better but not for long. Trying to do a long climb without full leg extension can be rough. I was about to throw in the towel an head back down the mountain when I saw a sizable stick. I was able break and trim the stick to just the right length to wedge between the seatpost clamp and the bottom of the seat. Once I got it jammed in place I zip-tied the stick to the post. This fix held up and I was back in business.
The remaining five miles or so of climbing I had ahead me after fixing the post when well enough and while the temps were climbing they were not bad at all. I was joined at the summit by a couple of jeepers and their dog and I had an enjoyable time shooting the breeze with them for a while before heading back down the mountain.
As I descended you could feel the temps climbing and it was really hot down at the valley floor. I opted to not take the new connector trail back at this point and just zipped back on the road. I did a total of just at 20 miles and 3,300 feet of climbing.