Historic San Diego Flume Trail

This past weekend, I did a “nearcation” at the Lake Jennings Campground in Lakeside. While enjoying the weekend I checked out the nearby Flume Trail. It is called the “Historic Flume Trail” in many sources the west end of it is referred to as the Helix Flume Trail. To further complicate matters there is another trail out of El Monte Park to west that is called the flume trail that only crosses over the actual Flume trail.

Sprocket surveying his “Kingdom” overlooking Lake Jennings

All of the naming up-bub aside, The Flume Trail follows along the route of the a 35-mile long wooden water flume that was completed in 1889 that brought water from Lake Cuyamaca in San Diego’s East County into the La Mesa area and beyond. The flume employed numerous cuts, several tunnels, and more than 300 wooden trestles wood to maintain a uniform fall of 4 feet, 8 inches to the mile. Two of the tunnels can be seen from along the segment of the trail we rode.

There are plenty of kiosks along the trail to provide some history of the route

The completion and filling of El Capitan Reservoir in the 1930s put an end to the flume’s usefulness, but it was plagued with issues well before that such as a trestle collapse in 1919 and just not enough water moving and evaporation. The nine million board-feet of lumber used for the flume itself and the trestles were scavenged a long time ago.

One of the ravine dips along the flume trail

If you are not staying at Lake Jennings campground like we were you will have to put in some work to get up to the flume. Wither you start at the Helix Water district end or the El Monte Park end you will have a relentless set of switchback to climb up to get the the Flume trail proper. 10-16% grade and around 400 feet of elevation to gain. Here is a route I did that involved using both the El Monte and Helix switchbacks. (I don’t recommend this route, use one or the other and do an out and back on the flume) Once up on the flume things are pretty flat except where there were trestles in those spots you will have to descend down and then back up the other side of the small ravines. There are a couple of spots that will be hike-a-bike for most folks, but they are very short.

One of the spots that most folks might do some hike-a-bike

Our effort started from the campground was easy with four miles and change from and camp out and the same back. We turned around at the Cape Horn Tunnel.

One of the Ravine Dips
Little bits like this are worth the price of admission

This section of the flume was not shown on Trailforks so I added it. This was my first time adding a trail to the site and the GPS track could use a little cleaning up but you can find it on there now. There are some other trails that need to be added as well.

El Monte Valley from along the Flume Trail

Rapter Ridge Video

Raptor Ridge (Located near Escondido) the Mule Hill and San Pasqual Valley Trails goes between Lake Hodges to the west and along the agriculture fields to the east in San Pasqual Valley. The high point along this route is Raptor Ridge. There is a little something for most XC style riders as beginners can enjoy non-technical relatively flat terrain on either side of the Raptor Ridge and work their way into climbing the ridge.

This footage is from an outing where the trail conditions are pretty much perfect. AKA Hero Dirt! Here is my webpage on Raptor Ridge along with Mule Hill and the San Pasqual Valley.

This trail is also part of the the Coast-to-Crest Trail which when fully completed will travel 70 miles from Vulcan Mountain near Julian to Del Mar on the coast.

Yeah Yeah, Yeah stop your rambling Bill and give me a track to follow already. Strava for this ride (Includes a lot more stuff than just Raptor Ridge)

Back in the Saddle!

This has been a pretty awesome week. Sunday I did my first MTB ride since my heart valve replacement surgery in November. The big litmus test was having enough upper body strength to lift the bike up onto my over the bed truck rack on my truck. I had also been doing some tooling around on the bike on the street and curbs and not being jostled so it was time to give the sternum (along with its titanium wire reinforcements) some mild strength tests.

Orosco Ridge and Pamo Valley
Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail Area

The climb up onto the ridge was good and it was so nice to be doing some huffing and puffing on a real bike out in the sunshine. I also checked out the Lower San Ysabel truck trail. All of which was in good shape. My sternum felt pretty good but there was mild discomfort over some of the chatterish stuff. None of the discomfort rose to the level of a sneeze! All together about I did 15 miles and change with about 1,400 feet of climbing.

South side of Lake Hodges

Wednesday, I went out to South Lake Hodges. Well I actually parked on the North Side and took the bridge over. My tenure at riding this place predates the bridge so I still refer to them as two separate places. But I did the typical Southside stuff and then made my way over to the Highland Valley trail. At this point it was pretty obvious that most of my workouts have been no longer than 60 minutes so I took bit of a break. After that I was back at it and the Highland Valley trail was a fun as I remembered it. I decided to do a touch of road connection and made my way over to Raptor Ridge. I was pretty tired after climbing Raptor Ridge and I was going to close out day with a return back via Mule Hill.

The bottom of Raptor Ridge. I ran out of gears shortly after those rocks 🙂

I was almost back to the kiosk area of Mule Hill when I was stopped by an SDGE crew who had the trail closed for some pipeline work. There was no detour so I had to backtrack about 2 miles to get back onto Highland Valley road to get then work my way back around. The trail should have been close at the last trail junction where people could divert around. While this was inconvenience for my tired legs. There was a hiker who got turned around that was really bummed. I did make them aware of this and hopefully they apply some common sense on where they close at for the remainder of their workdays.

All together I got in about 25miles and 1,200 feet of climbing. It was more than I had planned and I was well whooped. It is so good to be back on the dirt and certainly better to be on the dirt than in the dirt!

Amasaback Moab 08

The migration of videos to YouTube continues. This installment is from Amasaback Mesa in Moab Utah from a 2008 Roadtrip. This was Day Two of trip and we had started the day on Little Creek Mesa near Hurricane Utah. The Hurricane/St George Area is such a good halfway spot between San Diego and Fruita, Moab or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon if you are itching to get in some riding on what would otherwise be a long travel day.

Day Two of a killer eight-day Roadtrip

This video is of the main route up onto the mesa and back down. I’m looking forward to getting back up on that Mesa and playing around. As I understand it there are now a couple of different routes you can take coming back down with the most aggressive being Captain Ahab. I like the idea of base camping out of Moab for a much longer amount of time than before and really getting to know the place. Plans, I got Plans!

Zushi April 2004 Video

All this remastering videos has really got me jonesing to get back on some trails. This video was from April of 2004 in Zushi, Japan. The area was also known as “Duck Pond” as one of the entrances into the area required a righteous hike-a-bike up a trail behind a duck pond. This area was also part of bigger adventures into the Tennin, Takatori, Yokohama Woods and Kamakura trail systems. I had some really good times out in this area.

Some of these trails document back 800+ years

At 1:40 you will see us pass by the back of the Kumano Shrine which was first built in the eighth year of the Japanese Genroku Era which equates to 1696AD. As best as I can research it was last refurbished in 1978.

At 2:52 and 4:45 until the end. We are on the Asaina-kirodoshi. It is one of the seven greater notches through the mountains leading to and from Kamakura. Kamakura is surrounded on three sides by steep mountain and the notches served as defensive passages and passes through the mountains back in “the day”. “The day” in this particular case one was 1241AD.

I have been in this area of Japan quite a few times. Check out some of my other blog posts from those trips. If you would like to see some some old school photos shot with my then fancy 1.2MP camera check out this old page.

60-day Recovery Status

So it has been 60-days since I had heart surgery to replace my Aortic Valve which was deteriorating and was going to cause some kind of emergency event in my relatively near future if it was not replaced. Here is my initial post on that. All of of the phases so far with my recovery have been going well. That certainly does not mean they do not suck. There is plenty of suck to be had in all of this.

This is how I think my bike looks at me from it storage stand while I peloton.

During my first follow up visit with my heart surgeon cleared me for some very light work on my peloton. Right after Thanksgiving, I did my first gingerly workout on the peloton. I this point I could not even put my hands on the bars at that stage. Over the the next weeks the output levels climbed a lot quicker than my perceived effort did. By the time I had my follow up appointment with my cardiologist in Mid-December, I was definitely holding back. I was quite excited when my cardiologist cleared me to do more.

Tears of joy or sweat? Maybe some of both? It does not matter

After this is when some real improvements started to happen. One thing that was pretty clear when geeking out on pre vs post-surgery numbers was how much better my heart rate recovered when I “let off the gas”. It was not long until I was back in the range of my typical peloton workouts.

How I felt dropping a pre-surgery personal best

I was bit emotional, stoked and certainly whooped after a very special workout on January 2nd. I beat my personal best at a 60min effort set pre-surgery. The peloton allows you to basically race your best effort if you like. 20 minutes in I noticed I was neck and neck with my personal record and I was feeling good. The picture above is how I felt when I decided to go for it. I did not just edge out my best either, but pretty much dropped it. Boy did it feel great to have concrete evidence that I am going to be better and not just survive with aftermarket heart parts. That 60 minute was one of my “softer” personal records and I have a couple that are not going to go down easy.

Over the last few weeks I have been able to use the handlebars more and more. The sternum however is still not 100%. I am so over waiting for that thing to fully heal. The constant awareness of it and the routine degrees of discomfort has turned into a mental drag in addition to the physical discomfort. It is way better than it was and I know I’m over the hump on it healing but C’mon Man!

I should be back out my real bike within a month and it can’t come soon enough. I’m already thinking about which of the local tame trails will be best for the re-intro/shakedown ride.

Hangover Trail 2009

What a fun trip this was back in 2009 to hangout and ride with friends and make some new ones from the Over The Edge crowd. I have noticed that in the following years, the spot of my “mega-dab” has been shored up and widened just a touch. Here are my other ramblings and pictures from that day

Freshly remastered and put on Youtube

Gooseberry Mesa 05 Video

The next installment in the remastering project is Gooseberry Mesa near Hurricane Utah. This video was shot on day 3 of a 9-day Utah/Colorado road trip in the Spring of 2005.

This was my first visit to Gooseberry, but is was certainly not my last. St George and Hurricane is one of my favorite MTB destinations (certainly in the reach in one day and still get in a ride category)

I meet a lot of really cool people on this trip and many of them I still keep in touch with to this day. Such a great place to ride.

Ashinoko Skyline Video

Another remastered video from the Pre-GoPro Era of camcorders and burly neck muscles. While working in Japan in 2004, I had the opportunity to circumnavigate Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) using the lakeside trail and the Skyline trail. Lake Ashi is located in the Hakone area of the Kanagawa Prefecture of Honshu Japan. It is very scenic and Mount Fuji can often been seen from spots along the shore shore and the ridgelines around the lake. This was a big day out on the trails and a whole lot of fun. Here is my account of the day.

Idyllwild 05 Video

Here is the next video in the remastering project. This from a ride or two on the Hub Trails of Idyllwild. As this was in the pre-GoPro era, this was shot with a helmet-mounted standard definition digital video camcorder. You will see the shadows of this beast in the video from time to time.

Springtime in Idyllwild is pretty awesome!