Anza Borrego Desert Winter Goodness

Against my better judgment, I’m going to join you.”  That is how this adventure in the Anza Borrego Desert started when Greg decided to get onboard with a bit of riding way out in the east county of San Diego.  It was late in the evening when we pulled the trigger to do a 28 mile shuttle run bright and early the following morning.   Pretty much all the information I had gathered on riding in this desert was that you have only a small window after winter and spring rains to ride unless you are into abusive sand slogging. Southern California just had a sizable winter storm that brought plenty of rain and snow to the area.   The window was supposedly open so it was time to go.    It was still dark when I started my eastward trek and when I arrived at the upper trailhead in the early morning light it was cold with a little snow on the ground.  It was a pretty winter scene in all directions.  I soon met up with Greg and we beat feet to the lower trailhead about five miles south of Ocotillo Wells. I wanted to be the trail at around 9AM but I had underestimated how long the logistics were going to take so it was just before 10AM by the time we started pedaling.

The first chunk of the climbing up Pinyon Mountain Road off of Highway S2 was not bad at all as the snow was not deep and the tire treads had created dirt lines in the 4WD trail. As we climbed higher the tire tracks became compacted snow vice dirt and climbing became more interesting.  As the snow became deeper, you had to stay right in the middle of the tire tracks other wise your pedals would strike the side of the groove and on more than a few occasions this started a series of pinball pedaling that often ended in putting a foot down in the snow.

 

As we reached the high point on the ride in the saddle between the Pinyon and the Vallecito Mountains at just under 4,000 feet the snow was a good foot deep.  It was a gorgeous scene and the snow riding was still not too bad.  We then came to an unmarked fork in the trail that was not annotated on the USGS topos or the park’s map.  After a bit of head scratching we came of with the theory that one of these forks is a dead-end and the other is the through route off the mountain.  We opted to go with the fork that had the most tracks on it.   Slightly downhill we went and after a quarter of a mile we were presented with a wonderful vista at the turnaround of a dead-end trail.   The reason this fork had more tracks was because there was two sets of tracks for every vehicle, one coming and one going. (This is Bill’s dumb thing not to do on the trail tip #276) The grade of this fork was just enough to make climbing on the tracks in the snow way too energy consuming so we hoofed it back to the fork.     

The correct fork turned out to be the path less traveled.  The trail only had maybe two or three vehicles pass through since the storm so the snow was not particularly compacted.  The temperature had also risen enough that there was a slush factor developing.  This combined to make for a squirrely and often laborious descent that slowed our progress.  It was a great exercise in finely balancing momentum, steering finesse, and body English to keep moving forward.  Get just one of these factors out of whack for a split second and a comically frustrating series of escalating over corrections would ensue.  The end result usually was finding myself standing in deep snow humping my bike back into the tire grooves.

We soon came to one of the signature spots on this trail for the jeepers known as “The Squeeze”.   It is a slot between two rocks that is just barely wide enough for a jeep to get through and it includes a step down.  This was the only technical thing I had seen so far today so I felt inclined to give it a go despite some snow and ice in potentially inopportune spots.  I ended up making it but not without the backend of the bike trying to pass the front for a scary second.

After a little less than two miles of the downhill slogging the snow was not longer a problem.  We had stopped to grab some snacks after our last patch of snowy uphill hike-a-biking when we saw a low flying prop plane pass overhead.  The plane suddenly swung around and made another pass over top.   We joked that this was probably a patrol plane and they were wondering what the hell we were doing out here and were already calling us idiots in for a rescue later on tonight.  We chuckled as the plane flew off thinking that they were up there shaking their heads at the sight of us.

From this point we had a down right awesome bit of downhill riding that would net us our highest speeds of the day.  It was over far too quickly and we soon found ourselves doing a bit of mild climbing before descending into Hapaha Flat.  It was quite comfortable and sunny now and we stopped at Split Rock for a snack and to snope around for the Indian Pictographs which were supposed to be around here.   The reason for the name of the rock was much more obvious than the pictographs. We found indian morteros easy enough but only after carefully examination did we find the some faded and diminutive pictographs.   I was expecting something more on the impressiveness scale like the ones in Moab so I was a little disappointed. 

 

The next two miles was quick and the sandy trail was just what I hoped it would be, packed and fast.   I was digging this section.  The wide open Hapaha Flat gave way to the more defined Fish Creek Wash as we gradually descended into a different geological era when this area was the seabed of the Gulf of California.  The steep walls were composed mostly of large sedimentary rocks that looked like you could pull one out from the bottom and the entire wall could come tumbling down.  I was not going to test the theory.

At we continued along, the wash twisted and turned and the large rocks gave way to mud sediment and sandstone layers.  While the jeep trail was for the most part was “just a wash” the scenery around us was an ever changing tapestry of textures and colors.  We passed by numerous smaller washes that were feeding into Fish Creek wash.  Many of the washes contain interesting features that I have only read about so far.  With each passing wash both the moisture in the soil and the drag on our tires increased. We had about six miles left in the ride when the resistance of the wash significantly overcame the pull of gravity and riding down the wash transitioned from mild spinning to increasingly laborious. 

Fish Creek Wash used to be a free flowing creek that cut through soil and rock faster than tectonic forces could push up what is now Split Mountain from underneath.  The result is a spectacular gorge that I was not expecting to see in San Diego County.  Even though I was pretty pooped and the wash was a solid slog and at this point, this was cool stuff.   The kind of stuff you should see at least once.

While mashing along through Split Mountain a State Park Ranger rolled up in his jeep and eagerly greeted us with “Hey we have been talking about you guys”.   The plane that overflew us was indeed the state park patrol plane and they did do a double take and before radioing in a “You are not going to be believe this” call.   He was happy to see us as he knew he would not have to spend the night out looking for lost and stranded bikers.  After some chit-chat we went along our way and finished up the final and downright brutal two miles of slogging to the waiting car.

This was an amazing ride that is not about the trail but the scenery all around it.  Slogging builds character, and I sure felt like one after this ride.  With the diverse spread of terrain that you travel through, I suspect there will be some measure of slogging no matter when you do it.  While I’m in no hurry to rush out and do it again in the coming weeks, I am going to get back out here with my truck, hiking gear and my boys to do some exploring in the lower reaches where there are mud caves, slot canyons and more pictographs.   I am stoked to have gotten out into this back corner of San Diego County.

A Little Singlespeeding in the Tunnels

I took the singlespeed out for a little trail love these Tuesday out at Penasquitos Canyon and the “Tunnels”.   Tunnels used to be in the “secret-stash” catergory but has exploded in popularity with the destruction of Del Mar Mesa and the “Intestines” trails.   You won’t find much in the way of direct information about Tunnels on the site.   I have be purposely keeping it off the web due to the ongoing issues of access and trail designations in the area.  Do a search online on Tunnels, Deer Canyon and Los Penasquitos Preserve and you will find lots.     As far as how to get there.   Go ride, Penasquitos Canyon, when you get the top of the powerline climb, Hang a right and head towards the only three trees on the mesa.   Explore for hours from there, literally.    BTW, you will get turned around and confused to some degree or another.  Enjoy it.

I really love riding in this area.  It is a true gem of a trail system.  It has been here for many years and most of the network was orginally created by illegal aliens who setup and camps and trails to and from the agriculture fields.   The illegals have been run out and mountain bikers are slowly but surely cleaning up the mess that was left behind.

In addition to the trails down in the tunnels there is a series of trails that run along the edge of the “fingers” of the mesa above Deer Canyon.   This simply good freaking singletrack.   REAL TRAILS, not the doubletrack, drive-a-camero-on-it BS pathway crap that seems to routinely tries to be passed off as trails in this county.  Yep this is good stuff and the singlespeed was a great bike to enjoy it on.

I rode all around and through the tunnels until I thought I was going to run short on daylight.  The Tunnels can seem quite dark pretty early in the afternoon so I ended with more of the day left than I thought.  I decided to take a run up the Cobbles Trail to see the damage done to Del Mar Mesa.  I had not been up here since the construction started as I really did not want to see it.   Cobbles now just ends at the top and the top is a terrible thing to look at.  

I could not help but think of all the ninnies complaining about the impact that we mountain bikers create on the “Tunnels” with our waffle tracks.    I would like to take those people up to this spot and pimp slap them until they get “it”.     These so-called “stewards of the land” need to start thinking a little more holistically and start looking into the enviroment impact on one of the most endangered species in coastal San Diego County,  “The Human Trail User“.   

Okay I feel better after ranting.

BLT Fun with the Grommets

FORWARD:  This is repost of an online post I made in September of 2007 after my boys and I spent a weekend camping in the Laguna Mountains.   I am in the process of updating my page and maps on the area.  While doing this I noticed I did not have this story anywhere on my site.  This post here is designed to “capture” the story within my site.

Me and my boys are in between thier youth hockey seasons right now so we took advantage of one of the free weekends to get in a little camping and riding in the Laguna Mountains. While the biking was not the primary goal for the weekend we had a lot of fun and I am quickly starting to get a couple little dirt addicts on my hands. We got to the Laguna campground late in the afternoon Friday and just did get setup before dark. Saturday morning we took a spin around the Big Laguna Trail.

The BLT is a great place to take kids that are looking for a “big” ride. My youngest Jake was getting a bit bounced around on the uphills with rocks so we stopped and did some sessioning on how to unload the front wheel when going over the stuff. He picked it up really quick and owned the stuff the rest of the morning.

We stopped and messed around with the cows

Hmmm……..cranberry sauce, gravy…..

By 1PM we were out on nearby Lake Cuyamaca fishing. The keyword is Fishing NOT catching.

So it was Chicken for dinner that night. The rest of the evening we spent screwing around with the fire, smores, and flaming balls of marshmellow goo.

The next morning we decided to do the BLT in the other direction this time.

Stopping to check out the Indian Motareos(sp?) (In case your wondering my oldest boy Will gets that from his Mother

Jake’s handiwork with the camera.

And Will messing with the camera around camp.

After the ride, we took our time breaking down camp and where rolling towards home by 1:30pm. It was a great weekend with the boys and if you are ever looking for a good place to take your kids beyond the local parks this place is pretty good in my book.

A tale of Mistakes and Epicness

“I forgot my camelbak.”  That is how this tale of forgetfulness, epic trails, conditions and people starts.  My buddy Bill O’neil had never ridden Noble Canyon out in East County San Diego.  Noble Canyon is designationed a National Recreation Trail and is one of the IMBA Epic Trails.    If you live in Southern California is basically considered a must do.  So Bill was on his way down to my house from LA on Saturday.  The plan was to hang out on Saturday and then ride on Sunday.   Bill called me when he was halfway to my house when he realized that he had forgotten his camelbak.  This was no big deal as I had spare smaller 70oz camelbak that would work.  

So Bill gets down to my house and as he is always good for, he brought some might tasty beverages and spirits along with him.  We ended spending the evening enjoying them while tinkering with bikes.  Bill is also a pretty accomplished quitar player so there was also a bit of jamming  going on with my boys as both of them have recently picked up the quitar.   It did not take long for my boys to be give Bill the Wayne’s World “Were not worthy” salute.   It was a bunch of fun.   When the lights finally went out in the house, I had no problems falling asleep.

The next morning came pretty quickly and I found myself just a little “foggy”.   We were not doing the full “Tour de Noble” today.  We were doing a point-to-point that included Noble, the Big Laguna Trail (BLT) and the  Laguna Mountains.   So this meant two trucks.    As I packed all the stuff into the truck I ran through the mental checklist:  Bike, Shoes, Clothes, Helmet, Gloves, Glasses — CHECK!   Off we went.

The weather had made a dramatic turn over night as a storm had moved in and there were had been some intermittent rain overnight and the skys look somewhat menacing but with hope of blue on the horizon.   The Lagunas are a long way from North County San Diego so the thinking was that the weather might be different at the trailhead.   On the drive out, I had resigned to the fact that we would most likely get rained on at some point during the day, but we had a good chance for some incredible conditions.

Once at the bottom of Noble we started making the final preps to leave a truck at the bottom.   Then I noticed it.  My Camelbak was no where to be scene.  CRAP!   How the F$%k did this happen?  I did the checklist: Bike, Shoes, Clothes, Helmet, Gloves, Glasses,,,,,,,DAMN IT!    Checklists suck if you leave stuff off of them.   Okay lets figure things out.   Bill still had the small Camelbak I let him borrow.    However, the only other things in that Camelbak were snacks and a multi-tool.   No pump, tubes or patches.   This is where some of the real coolness of the day first came into play.   There were three other riders at the trailhead getting ready to head out.  They were gratious enough to let us bum a tool and tube from them.   I was able to find a patch kit stashed in my truck so we were covered in that area.   On our way to the top we stopped at the Pine Valley Market and picked up three 1-liter bottles of water to stuff in my jerseys.   (My camera was also in my camelbak so all of the pictures here are from other trips on these trails) 

Once at the upper trailhead at the RedtailRoost Volunteer Center off of Sunrise Highway it was pretty cold at 39 degrees and and breezy.  My trusty windbreaker was (you guessed it) in my Camelbak.    My garb for the days was shorts, knee warmers, long sleeve jersey with a short sleeve jersey on top and a pair of wind-proof winter gloves.   Being in the clouds of a brewing storm was pretty interesting as you had what looked like fog but you also had the whipping breeze that had a primordial type of feeling as forest just sort of disappeared into a gray but shifting nothingness as the different densities of the clouds would pass by.

The opening section of trail was really cool as the moisture from the night before (or maybe even minutes before we arrived) had patted down the trail enough to make for perfect traction.   It was fast rolling and gripped in the corners at near velcro strength.    After a good bit of ridge riding that was mostly downhill we connected up with the Aqua Dulce fireroad and climbed up to the top of Los Gatos Ravine for one of my favorite singletrack descent into Big Laguna Meadow.    It has wonderful flow and enough grade to keep you ripping along with little in the way of pedal action if you just want to cruise.


(This is Indian Creek Trail, but this was the fogginess of most of the ride)

Once we got out onto the meadow, we were smacked with the full force of the wind and for some period of time it was just hunker down and keep mashing the pedals to keep moving forward,  Since the wind was mostly blowing from the south, once we got on the south side of the meadow we gained a little shelter from the breeze.   At this point we were both pretty stoked not to have gotten rained on yet.  We were making pretty good time as moving meant generating warmth and rest meant loosing warmth.


Big Laguna Meadow during sunnier times

We soon made our way to the far end of the meadow and onto the connector to upper Noble Canyon trailhead.  While grabbing a quick snack at the top of Noble we encountered our first bit of snow.  It was just a few flakes here and there but it was indeed snow.  We were soon on our way down the Noble Canyon trail.   We were not on the trail more than five minutes when the wind got to howling pretty hard and I thought I was getting sand blown into my eyes.  The problem was that there was no sand nearby.  After a minute or so I figured out the stuff pelting me was not sand my but very small bits of sleet.   Besides the slight stinging that the sleet gave when hitting you at speed, it was not bad as it mostly bounced off so my clothes were not getting soaked.    The sleet only lasted for a few sessions of a minute or two at a time.  Once we dropped a little elevation we got down below the clouds that were producing all the wind and things became pretty calm in comparision. 


(Above Big Laguna Trail in April of 2007)

Noble Canyon was freaking great as always and the overnight moisture made for a ripping good time.   I was throughly enjoying showing off some of my home turf.  I ran into one of my local riding friends who was riding up Noble while we descended.   He had forgotten his trail grub and was planning on cutting the ride short.  We hooked him up with enough snacks to keep him going.  We both thought that after all of the generosity our three buds at the bottom had show us it was the least we could do.   It was shortly before the “Stairway to Hell” that the help of the buds at the bottom became pretty important as Bill got a flat.  Luckily we had that pump and tube to get us going again.  While changing the tube it started to rain.  While it was cold and biting we were both pretty stoked at this point as we had fully expected to be rained on hours ago.   


Stairway to Hell at the 2005 SSSSS (Spring SoCal Single Speed Summit)

Once we got rolling again it was time for the “Stairway to Hell”.  It is a technical challenge of jumbled rocks without a line per se, more like a general direction to go, and it was wet.   On the first attempt, the tires were somewhat doing thier own thing on the wet rocks and it gave me the hebegeebees enough that I lost my momentum.  The second time was a charm as I trusted the bike and tires to make thier own “adjustments” properly if I kept the speed up.   By the time we got to the longest and last climb of Noble Canyon a somewhat steady but very light rain had settled in.  The good news was that we were climbing so it was easy to keep warm by burning calories.   As luck would have it the rain let up when we reached the top of the climb.   The last technical bit down to the lower trailhead (known as extra credit) has always been one of my favorites and it did not disappoint.  

Down at the bottom, we were ready to make quick work of getting the bikes in the back of the truck and get the heater going on the way to retrieve the other truck.   This was when Bill discovers that he left his truck keys in my truck AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN!  Holy Crap!   What to do, what to do?  This is were the coolness of Mountain Bikers came into play once again.  A couple of guys hooked me up with a ride to the top the mountain.  They were a ready life saver and I can’t thank them enough.  As we neared the top of the of the mountain there was snow coming down pretty hard and it was obivous it had been coming down for a while.   There was about 3/4ths of an inch of snow on my truck at the top and the temperture was 31 degrees.   Enough of the snow managed to survive the drive back down the mountain that I was able to craft a sizable snowball that turned out to be just perfect for pelting Bill. 🙂

Over mexician food in Alpine with some fellow MTBers coming in from another ride, we recounted the day’s adventure.    The trail was only a portion of what made the story an epic.  The trail conditions certainly played a major portion of the story, but I say it was the awesomeness of my fellow MTB junkies that made the day great.   Without the help of five strangers, this would have been a pretty miserable day.  I hope many days of good Karma  come to these five guys.  Instead this day being a disaster, is destined to be recounted numerous times over fine whiskey or tasty microbrews.

Isn’t that what started this whole mess in the first place? 🙂

Election Day Doubleshot

So while 80% percent of the country was out doing the election day thing, I (thanks to the CA mail-in ballot program) had time to get in an afternoon ride (or two).

The day started off with a couple hours of light rain which we really needed here in SoCal. Most places around San Diego are not real rain-friendly as our soils typically do not handle traffic well when wet. Elfin Forest usually handles rain well so I opted to give it a try. I always enjoy the beat down “The Way Up” trail puts on me. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, You Fat Freaking Slug, were common sounds rolling out of my melon on this climb. What was really cool, was that the parking lot was empty when I started and I was the only tracks (be it foot, tire, or hoof) on the trail for the day.

The rain had knocked down all the dust and the trail had perfect traction. After finally getting to top of The Way Up trail, I hit the Equine Incline Loop. Oh My what fun all this traction was in the turns. As anybody who has done this loop before will tell you, no matter which way you do the loop it is fun, but you have to climb back out. There was more grunting an growning on my part. I hit the rest of the singletracks out there like Tike’s Hike, Quail and the Hodges Overlook. On my way out to the Hodges Overlook I had an interesting view of the reservoir and the Pacific Ocean in the distance where the two seemed to be nearly joined.

Elfin - Pacific View

The view from the Hodges Overlook was particularly nice today as thier were lots of puffy clouds around to make for an interesting sky.

Hodges Overlook

On my way back from the Overlook I passed another rider. Shortly thereafter I was heading down The Way Up trail. Now there was only two sets of tracks on the trail mine and the other riders. The moisture on the trail make the tracksl easy to see and it was interesting to see the different riding styles. The other guy was on a very light looking hardtail with skinny tires while I was on my all-mountain rig with fat 2.6s. I could see where he was picking the most elegant cleanest part of the climb, I on the other hand was taking a more “Bull in a China Shop” type approach. Over course I saw a few of my own foot prints while nothing from the other guy. 🙂 So now I am thinking this guy is going to be looking at my tracks on the way down. I certainly did not do anything impressive on the climb so I thought I better make up for it on the way down. I made a point to take the hardest line doable on the descent and boy was it fun. There was at least a couple of spots where I thought, okay Mr Fancy Pants climber follow THAT one.

So before you know it I was back in the parking lot and headed home, there was a descent amount of daylight left so on a whim, I swung by La Costa to squeak in a loop. I parked and within 2 minutes, I was rolling. Up Vista Del Mar and down Switchbacks was the plan. I typically like going down NASCAR, but I had not enjoyed the cruiser style descent that Switchbacks provides in quite sometime. I made it to the kiosk at the top just in time to watch the sun set on the Pacific.

Sunset at La Costa

The Switchbacks descent was really fun and the traction once again was good, but La Costa did not seem to benefit as much from the light rain as Elfin. It was a great way to finish off and afternoon of riding.

As far as the rest of the night went, I will refrain on commenting on either the (depending on your political afflilation):
– The historic event and the mandate for change that the Nation has given Washington, or
– The power of stupid people in large numbers.

Chicken Soup for the MTB Soul

During this past week, I took a “personal day” from work and headed out to the Laguna Mountains for a day on the bike.   I have ridden the Big Laguna Trail (aka “BLT”) lots of times but never really all the stuff at once.  The BLT has always been inconjuction with something else like a camping trip with the boys, the Single Speed Summit, or part of the “Tour De Noble”.   Either way I have done the various part but not all of it at once.  Today I was going to put all the pieces together.  

I left mighty early from home at my usual heading off to work time.   Right off the bat it felt great to make that first left when I usually go right.    The drive was great.   I felt like an enlighted lemmin heading towards a hills, while the rest of the world marched towards the 9-to-5 cliff in their shiny metal boxes. (Yes, I am a Police Fan).   I watched to the sun break over my destination in the distance.  I was enjoying a cup of coffee like I always do in the mornings.   This cup used the same grounds, water and machine as yesterday, but it just seemed to taste better when facing east and away from the city.

When I arrived at the trailhead at the Meadows Information Kiosk east of Big Laguna Meadow, it was a glorious morning with a slight crispness to the air with the smell sound of autumn as a slight breeze rustled through the trees that still head most of thier leaves.   Heading out on the trail it was obvious that I have been slacking on the bike as of late.   I really did not care at this point as I had the whole day  and I was out myself.  This was not to be a training ride, this was about “Just Riding”.  

All throughout the day, I took all the forks in the trails that I normally don’t take.   I went up trails I know are best done the other direction, but hey, I wanted to see what was at the top.    I focused on the all the upper trails to the east- northeast of the meadow to start with before venturing down to the meadow.   I would end making a couple trips down to the meadows just to catch the next spur trail that heads uphill and away from the meadow.

 

I would only see a couple of bikers and a hiker over the course of the day and it was just perfect.   I felt so alive and revived during this ride.   It is funny how therapuetic the sound leaves crackling under your tires and a cool breeze on you face can be.  This ride was an MTB version of a Day Spa and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Good Mountain, Good Beer, Good Meeting

Yesterday I planned on attending the San Diego Mountain Bike Associations advocacy meeting at it’s usual location at the Mission Trails Regional Park’s Visitors Center.  The meeting was not until 7pm.  Just enough time to get in an after work ride, get a bit to eat and get to the meeting.   I had not been up on Cowles Mountain in a long time so I was excited about hitting it.   I started from Mesa Road and caught the Mesa Trail.  The chaparral had been growing nicely since my last visit and in many spots you are in a vegetation tunnel.   This was really nice as it was quite toasty when I started so shade and a bit of a breeze kept the bake factor down a little.

Waterbars, Waterbars, Waterbars…There were just as many as I remembered.   I like them as it is the uphill ledge action is a good skillset to hone.  Since my last visit there has been a lot more go-arounds and widening created.   Plenty of evidence of both shoes and tires as the culprit.   Once up on the fireroad the state of my “slackerness” became apparent of the climb up to the top.   No cleaning this mountain today as twice I had a total cardio redlining followed by a meltdown. 

View from Cowles

While it was not as clear as I have seen it in the past it was still a great viewpoint.  The out-and-back to Pyles Peak was great.  I basically owned that entire section of trail as I was the only one on it.   The “in-town” solitude you can usually find on this trail combined with more waterbar action is one of the reasons I like it so much.  The returns trip back up to Cowles had plenty of technical climbing challenges.  The worst of them come when you are nearly back to the top which means most people (including myself) are nearly spent.  There is one set of waterbar switchbacks that I have still yet to clean.

Cowles from Pyles

 The ride back down the Big Rock trail was a cool as ever.  Condition-wise the trail could use some work, but at the same time I like it as morning challenging with the ruts and such.

Post-ride, I cleanup and head while heading to a nearby store to grab some Gatorade, I spied a treasure that I could not let slip away.   A bomber of the Stone’s 12 Aniversary Ale, A Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.   To say it was yummy would be a grand understatement.   Did I desire so a beer after just a rather small mid-week ride?  Well no I did not.   I owe the beer and bike gods an epic ride at a later date.  

Yummy Stone Brew

 The SDMBA meeting was a good one, lots of stuff discussed  There were some fresh new faces that are energetic and already taking action to further legal mountain biking access in the county.  There were plenty of words like jumps, downhill and freeride talked about.    Lots of things in the works and you can expect there will be plenty of oppurtunities for people to help.    The meeting went long and I was pretty darn pooped by the time I hit the sack.  Another good day to be a mountain biker.

iTards on the Trail

I’m generally okay if folks want to rock out on the trail with an iPod.  It is when they do both ears and have the tunes up high enough that they can not hear the world around them.    There is a whole list of mini-rants that I could go into about missing turns on group rides and not being able to interact with other trail users and coming across as jerks.    Blah Blah Blah….

 Here is a case from a ride a couple of days ago that involved a hiking “iTard”.   I’m riding along and spot a rattlesnake on the side of the trail.  I stop and check him out.   He is a good sized snake but has not reacted to me yet.   I like to get this critters away from the trail as some boneheads will kill them if they encounter them.  After getting a couple of shots I’m about to get the snake’s attention so it will go away when I hear a couple of hikers coming.    The snake and I are near a curve, with the snake being between me and the approaching hiker.    From the sound, I could tell they were trail runners.   I yell for them to hold up.   Nothing.    The first runner in all of his iTardness rounds the corner in all of his white-corded bud wearing glory.   I yeah “snake” really loud now and his girlfriend (just rounding the corner) stops and joins in the yelling fest.   The dude is on a collision course with this snake.  I wave my arms frantically and yell one more time and iDumbAss finally stops and looks at me with a bewildered look like “What”?   I simply pointed at the snake that was about two strides away from being in striking distance.    iTard freaks out at bit in full reverse.   After that I snake gets a little concerned and makes some noise and goes away.   

 Rattler

Shortly after the hikers pass me, I hear iTard’s girlfriend running him through the ringer about not being able to hear what is going on.  I snickered as I got rolling again to complete some North County trail goodness. 

Trail Goodies

More Bonita Goodness

While Wednesdays are my normal weekday MTB day, I could not make it, but guess what?   The Bonita Bikers also have Tuesday and Thursday afternoon rides so I decided to head over there.   Know on Sunday they guys showed me about 20 miles of coolness.   Today we rode a long 15 miles or so and only overlapped about a mile from the weekend.  This place is freaking amazing.   I was cameraless on this day so no pictures, but if you like the looks of the stuff from Sunday that I posted, you can get idea of the trail goodness I had today.   In addition to see a good chunk of the Sunday crew, I meet a few knew folks as well as some folks I had not ridden with in quite sometime.  The old pal in question was Don with whom I had last ridden with in Palm Canyon about a year and a half ago.   I knew I knew him from somewhere until the conversation jogged my memory.  You see Don, had gotten a new bike since then.  I know I’m not the only one who does this but, helmet, bike, face and voice are my primary memory recall mechanisms for remembering my riders from the trail.    Swap out one of those and I have a tough time putting the pieces together.  Lame I know.   Anyway great freaking time once again out on the South Bay trails and I am told there is still much to see.

I have been emailed by at least half a dozen folks on trail directions…. I’m not BSing when I say I could not tell you it is a big maze.  I follow, I grind and I grin.    Stay behind Hoserr when hook up with this group.  That all you need to know.

Bonita “Locals” Tour

Today I had the pleasure of riding with the Sunday regulars down in Bonita in the south bay area of San Diego.   Boy what a great time I had.   I would be hard pressed to try and describe any kind of route.  It was one of those just follow along and enjoy yourself kind of day.   The trail network is pretty extensive with stuff everywhere.    I could easily take a aerial shot of the area, hang it on a wall and then throw a saucy plate of spagetti  on it and be pretty close to the actual trail layout.  

There were some pretty interesting descents here and there over the course of the day

bowl

We got in a little bowl action as well.  I was told the record is seven bikers in the bowl at once.  This is pretty tricky when you are zipping around and another rider gets into the bowl.  It is even more fun when one person goes opposite direction!    I have to get back here with the video camera. 

Bridge Action

A little bridge action.   I forget how many of these things we crossed.

Bushy

There were some bushy spots on most of the trails.  The branches are a lot stronger than they look.   I tried to moose my way through one of them and it stopped me dead in my tracks and pushed me backwards.  (I could hear it laughing at me)

Into the G

There were a few G-Outs to contend with.   This was the most interesting one.

Gout

This was not an uncommon exit of the G-Out (Myself included)

Smiles

Nobody got hurt and snickers and laughs all-around was the result of any G-Out flubs.

2nd time

Of course second time around was usually the charm.

Karen

There was some double teeter-tooter action to be had as well.   The guys sure seemed eager to help when Karen wanted a spotter. 🙂

single teeter

Pete on Single teeter

There was some single teeter action as well. 

Diving Board

Even got to play around on a diving board (some creative trail-building material)

Da Group

This was a hell of a fun group of folks to ride.  I guess we did around 20 miles or so, but it sure feels like more.    There is some nice as well as challenging trails in the area.  I stopped counting my dabs early on and I even managed to take a soil sample or two to add to my collection.   It had been at least a couple of years since I last caught the 8AM Sunday morning group ride out of the Bonita Performance Bike parking lot.  I don’t think I will be waiting that long again. 

Here are the rest of the pictures from the day.