Alpine Roll Action

Boy the last week has been quite hectic between work, a new season of my boy’s hockey getting ramped up and of course getting some riding in.  For those who are regular viewers you will notice I am backdating this post to the day of the ride.  

 I recently got my “play bike” back from having the chain stay portion of the rear triangle replaced after cracking it.   (It must have been a manufacturing thing since I don’t think I have been anywhere near pushing the designed limits of that bike)   This was also my first time back on some aggressive technical terrain since my kid-induced injury on the hockey rink a month earlier so my plan was to take it a little easy and mostly keep the wheels on the ground.  

Big Rock

The day was absolutely great with green grass, blue sky and puffy clouds.   The recent rains made for excellent traction that was punishing on the climb.  On the climb up we noticed a new slide had occurred above the trail that had rained about four large rocks down on the trail.  All but one of them bounced on the trail and kept going down the hillside.  The one that came to rest on the trail was the largest and it is going to have to become a trail feature as it will take some SERIOUS effort to move. 

911 Rool

On the return trip down I got a chance to check out the latest edition to the place.   Dubbed the “911 Roll”  This thing is significant and requires some serious mental fortitude to pull off.   The crux move of this roll is the turn onto the roll that is five feet of near vertical (Pictures do no justice here).   You can not hit the roll straight on as you are still turning after coming up onto the rock.  You have to commit to continue turning for about the first two vertical feet of the roll.  Screw up and most likely are you going to be pitched off the downhill side of the rock where you you will get the most vertical fallage. (Your left if you are trying to do the roll)   

Turn -Drop - Keep Turning 

Basically screw this up and 911 may just be what you will be calling.   The rest of the descent was freaking awesome as the moisture in the dirt that consprised to thrash my legs and lungs on the climb rewarded our efforts with Velcro like traction on the descent.    It was nothing short of Rip-O-Rama Goodness!

 -Bill

A great finish to a 3-day weekend – Daley Ranch

So my boys were pretty pumped up about the riding at La Costa on Saturday and they were itching to ride again.  I had plans to take them to Lake Hodges or Penasquitos Canyon since that would be fairly kid friendly.   When I woke up this morning to see that it had rained the night before, I shelved both of those trails since they do not fair well after rains.  We hung out around the house until almost 1PM catching one of the new releases on Pay-Per-View.     They were still itching to go so I offered up Daley Ranch which is one of the best places to ride in the county when it is wet out.    I warned them that there was a bunch of climbing to do at Daley. They were undaunted so we loaded up and headed to Escondido.

Daley Ranch

The weather looked questionable at the trailhead, but we opted to head out.   We took the right out of the parking lot onto the Creek Crossing trail and then out to the Sage trail for the typical (and substantial) starting climb.  I was thoroughly impressed with both of them on the climb as they never stopped due to being tired. (They did dab a couple of times, but they did far better than I did when I first came out here some years back)  Due to the moisture we opted to skip the Coyote Run and Rattlesnake singletracks and stay on the fireroads.   It worked out well as the boys really enjoyed catching bits of air off the rocks in the fireroad on the way down to the meadow.  We stopped at the first good view of the meadow and we could hear a pack of coyotes yipping it up below.  Will was even keen enough to spot them before they headed off into the trees.

 Jake Air

Once down in the meadow we did the Jack Meadow loop starting up the east side.   We took a break at a little kicker rock so the boys could get some “mini-air”.

Will Air

 Once we reached the north end of the meadow and headed down the west side it was mostly a gradual downhill affair from there.   I reminded them that they had a big ring on thier bike and it was game on after that.    With my gearing at 32:18, I had to put on some serious cadence to beat them to the Ranch House.  

The damp and cool air kept us from lingering long during our break at the Ranch House.   They were trying to talk me into going to Wings and Things after the ride so I made a deal with them.   If we took the East Ridge trail back instead of “wimping out” on the road I would take them.   (I was going to take them anyway, but they did not need to know that.)   The thing about the East Ridge trail is that there is one really nasty steep section and I wanted them to get a taste of some hike-a-biking.   I really talked up “The Wall” to them and when they first saw it ahead they both gave a big “Whoa!”   They both gave it a good shot making about a third of the way up each.

East Ridge Wall 

I got pretty lucky on that climb as the wet weather made the traction like Velcro and I managed to clean it, my first time ever on the SS.  After that we connected back up with the Creek Crossing trail and made our way back to the trailhead.  I had tired but jazzed kids on my hands who made quick work of their dinner at Wing and Things.

Jake

Will

-Bill

La Costa Trailwork Day

Today my boys and I joined nearly 40 other volunteers to open the new Vista Del Mar trail and deconstruct/rehab and old unsustainable trail at the Rancho La Costa Preserve in Carlsbad. 

  La Costa Trail work 

Markus, Patrick and Jesssica from the Center for Natural Land Managment did an excellent job of showing us how to do the rehabilitation work as well as making sure there snacks and water available throughout the event. The picture abovie is of Jessica showing us how to plant the young plants and install an irrigation supplement. These things are really cool. They are a big glob of gel that is mostly water. We buried a couple of these gels with each plant and over the course of a month or so bacteria in the soil will slowly eat away the gel and release the water suspended in the gel in the soil.

 Schwag Galore

The event was sponsored by SDMBA, Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami’s Bike Club and Squadra and my what a schwagfest they put on.   They made sure that even if you did not win something in the raffle, you still went home with something.  Very cool!

Will on the Wall 

Jake on the Easy Route

After the trailwork and raffle, we went out and tested out the trails.  This was the first time here for my boys and they had a hoot.   The rock wall technical feature was a major hit. Just before you get to it there is a really cool sign pointing you to either the easy or the hard route. This feature got throughly tested by both the young and the not-so young going in both directions. The really cool thing about the easy route is that it does not look so easy because it is made of rock, but in fact it is not much more difficult than a mound of dirt. It gives newer riders the reward of doing something harder without the actual risk of something harder. Jake (My eight year old son) rode it his first time up and giggled afterwards. Will (My 12-year son) wanted to take on the hard line. I was in catch mode, but it was not needed and he cleaned it on the second attempt.

A Big Hats off to Rich Julien from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association and Markus, Patrick and Jessica from the Center for Natural Land Management for working together to make the Vista Del Mar trail happen.

 Check out my Trail Work page for all of the pictures from the event along with a few more words.

-Bill

P.S.   I should have a page on this trail system in the next couple of weeks.

Back in the Saddle, Bushwacking, and 1FN Gear.

 

Yesterday was my first day back on the bike and it went alright.  The ride was to be mostly a show and tell with Rich concerning a La Costa to Elfin Forest connector that I would like to get legalized and improved upon.   I currently have BOTH of my geared bikes out-of-commission with frame cracks which meant I had to bust out the single speed.   The hills that are required on the ride today are not exactly single-speed friendly.  Now for a borderline clyde who has been off the bike for a couple of weeks it was downright hostile.  I put on my recently “Pushed” fork on the singlespeed and gave it a go.   I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the work Push did on this fork.  It felt better than it has ever felt.  I wanted plush, I got plush.  I wanted the Terrorlogic gone….Poof..Done!  The blowoff threshold on the new RLC damper was even better than the one on my other fork.  When the threshold is dialed why down and the fork is locked, it operates like the terralogic was supposed to work.   Mainly no harsh transitions when going from locked to unlocked.   Being that I was on a singlespeed I cranked up the threshold pretty good since I spent a good deal of my climbing time out of the saddle.   Money well spent in my book.


(Note: Fork is pre-push in this pic)

Rich and I made good use of the time getting a good close look at the lay of the land and getting a better idea of exactly where we want things to go.  Part of that meant a good chunk of bushwhacking up a pretty steep slope or two.  I did not think my legs got too exfoliated at the time, but the hot after-ride shower throughly convinced me otherwise.

If we can get this connector approved, it would make for a good day’s worth of riding in North County.  I won’t use the word epic, but it comes to mind.  We are going to discuss the connector idea more thoroughly with the most of the principals during or after the trail day this Saturday at La Costa.   It is way freaking early in the process, and there are lots of potential landmines out there, but I’m excited about the idea. Here is some additional information of the Trail Day as well some of the on-going concerns and talk about the areas.

-Bill

Giving a little back to Indian Creek

Yesterday, my boys and I joined other volunteers for some trailwork out on the Indian Creek Trail.   Indian Creek is part of the “Tour de Noble” which each year provides many riders with an awesome trail experience.  Today it was time to say thanks to the trail with a little TLC.  With my Saturday mornings typically being locked-up with my boys’ hockey games, it had been quite a while since I was last out for an organized trailwork event.     Luckily we are in between seasons right now.

We met up at the lower Noble Canyon trailhead, where the USFS Ranger escorted our carpooled caravaned up to the trail.   Getting there was a bit of adventure on it’s own.

Carvaning to trailhead   

Once up to the trail, we had a nice hike hike up past the waterfall where we then started give the trail a haircut as well as little treadwork here and there. 

Trailwork

Trailwork

This was my boys’ third trail work event in the area and they put in a solid days work.  By the time they are up to riding Noble Canyon (Which maybe sometime this year) they should not be surprised by most of the lines. 

Jake with Loppers

Here is Jake getting a little creative with getting some leverage with the loppers.

Afterwards Charlie from CalCoast Bicycles raffled off a bunch of really cool swag that included hats, shirts, tires, pumps and more with the grand prize being a Camelbak.  

Swag Tossing!

I have more pictures from the event on my Got Trail?  page. 

If you are interested to helping out with future trailwork events checkout the San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s website.

-Bill

Tis the Season for Rain

Okay I’m getting a bit stir crazy with having to take some time off the bike as well as all the rain.   Folks please give our wet trails some recovery time after these rains.    Here are excerpts from a couple years of this topic being float around on some the various forums sites.    Most folks think there should be some sort of disclaimer with this type of guideline.     Stuff like the rating depends on how much rain we got.   These ratings are based on a good rain.  What we have have had this last week has been a pounding! Please be cautious and add a few more days at least to this recommendation.

Here is what I’m thinking of for a rating system for the San Diego area trails.

 1 – Could ride there in rain or the day after.
2-5 – Two to five days
6-7 – About a week
8-9 – More than a week upwards to three weeks
10 – Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.
Here are the trails I’m looking at (Most here on the site)
North County
—————-
Calvera Lake – 5
Daley Ranch – 3
Elfin Forest – 3
Flightline – 4
Lake Hodges – Northside -7
Lake Hodges – Southside – 7
Nate Harrision Grade – 2 –
Santa Margarita River Trail – 1 – Mostly sandy trails that are best after a good rain packdown.
Tenaja Truck Trail – 2
Mission Trails – 4
Cowles and Pyles Peak –  3
Spring and Oak Canyon – 3
Penasquitos Canyon – Most Trails – 5
Del Mar Mesa – 7 – Place gets some of that sticky clay that will freeze up your tires
Sweetwater – 10 – Probably the worst area in San Diego. Give it a freaking month.
Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch – North End – 4, South End – 8
TriCanyons Area (Rose, San Clemente, Tecolate)
East County
Anderson Truck Trail – 1 – Probably the best in area for after rain riding
Black Mountain in Ramona – 4
Cuyamacas – 6
Lake Morena – 2
Laguna Mountains/BLT – 6
Indian Creek – 3
Noble Canyon -3
Oriflamme Canyon -4

This would also be a good time to gather up some “rules” about San Diego riding after rains. Like:
Give the trails it due time.
Use your brakes wisely, Don’t be a Skidiot!
Ride through any puddles not around it. If you don’t like getting dirty, get a road bike.   This caused quite a bit of discussion.  The general thinking being that if the puddle goes all the way across a trail, trying to go around it is only going to widen the trail and make an even bigger puddle.  Under these conditions it is best to go straight through the puddle.   Now if the puddle does not go all the way and you have room on the orginal trail line, go ahead around it.
Stream crossing – even a small fast moving stream can be very powerful and dangerous.

When in doubt call the land managers to find the full scoop.  SDMBA has a links to them,  or if you can’t get in touch with a land manager, email a SDMBA Liaison, link to SDMBA Liaisons.

 -Bill

The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

The 5,312 acre Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, located in the extremely scenic mountains between Santa Yasbel and Julian about 40 miles northeast of San Diego, is one of the prettiest preserves in the county I have seen to date. While fire roads exclusively make up the designated trail system here, you will most likely not mind at all as the beauty of the place makes up for the lack of singletrack options. The rolling open grasslands and oak groves remind me a great deal of Northern California. You can get in just under 20 miles of riding if you do all of the loops and out and back sections.    It is well worth a visit, but you will have to make it a weekend as the perserve is currently only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to Sunset.

See all the of the Review, Maps and Pictures.

Views from the climb to Kanata Flat

-Bill

More Flight Lessons

So one week after getting thumped really good out in Alpine, I was back out there.   This was sort of a test to see how my knee was going to be since I had a big ride planned for a few days later and it was a little tender.   The climb when as expected but the knee was uncomfortable by the time we reached the top.   (Actually, some part of me is nearly always “uncomfortable” by the time I get to the top).  Enough yapping here are some pictures.

   This thing is steeper than it looks.   I swear it looks to be easier as a huck.  Steve is always impressive out here.

 Big Steep Roller

I hit the “Cornroll”.    It is not a bad roller at all but it does mess with you visually as you have to do a quick get up move over the crest of rock which requires you to get up on the front of the bike a bit before getting sliding behind the bike for the roll.   

Cornroll

Frankie aka “Monkey Butt”  joined us for the ride today.

Monkey Butt

More Chucnk Play

Chunk Play

I played in some chunk as well (Photo by Steve)

Bill Chunk

I think this one goes into the “Stupid Human Tricks” Catergory.

Stupid Human Tricks

I had not really planned on doing much of the stunts today with the knee and all but I ended up giving a few things a go.  This bit is a roller or it can be launched.  I had always rolled it before, but today I worked on launching it.  It took me several tried to get enough balls hit with speed, but it felt really good when I did manage to pull it off.    It was cool to make some unplanned progess.

Bill in Air

Nice Evening Light

Nice Light

Final Words – Another Great Day on the Bike! 

-Bill

Flying Lessons in Alpine

So I went out to what is becoming a near-weekly ride out in Alpine to one of the local favorites for aggressive trail/freeriding. The weakest part of my MTB skills (other than fitness) is airing the bike out. My cohort in grime for most of these rides is Steve. Steve has the skills and watching him is like getting free “flight lessons”. Today we had someone else join us who I had not seen in ages, Denny. Denny is pretty well known for his screen name of “Dirty D“. Well the Double D family just got bigger as his wife just recently gave birth to a 9 pounder and change boy. He was pretty stoked about it and Steve and I think we may have to rename him “Daddy D”. The 7 mile climb on my portly long-legged big bike gave me it’s normal beat down. It is a fairly respectable climber considering it’s in the mid-to-upper 30lb weight class. When climbing with this bike you come to “an agreement” with it more so than trying to muscle or hammer your way up the hill.

The climbing was soon over and playtime began. There is plenty of stuff out there that I either do not have the skills or balls to try yet. Every time I go out there I chip away at it and I have been steadily adding a notch here and there to the stunt belt. What I don’t ride I usually take pictures of others riding. I have a lot of pictures from this place 🙂

Here are some of the pictures from yesterdays excursion.

Steve on the newest move out there called “Collarboner.” Named because the first person to give it a try broke his collarbone. Steve on Collarboner

Steve on “Corn Dog

Corn Dog

Another Angle on “Corn Dog

CornDog

Dirty D trusts Steve

DD Jump

Dirty D grabbing some air on “Huck You!”

Huck You

Another Angle of Dirty D coming off “Huck You!”

Huck You

Just a little further down the trail there is a rock jump that I have been working on for the last 3 visits here. I have not been able to get it until today. Today, I made the lead in rock lunge and roll move with no sweat gave a couple of pedal strokes, hit the lip and boom, it done.  Nailed It!  It was really cool to finally hit that thing. This picture was taken when I went back and did it again for the camera. (Photo by Steve)

Bill Jumps

Now I’m feeling awesome. We roll on down the trail and the next significant section that routinely do is the “Waterfall”. It is a steep rocky section that has enough drops to be really challenging. There is a sizable drop at the bottom that is always really tricky, but I have “owned” it now for a couple of months. The trail conditions were great in this section and I was going down it right on mark with a touch more speed than normal.

Yep, I was feeling cocky.

The drop at the bottom had gotten just a touch deeper since the rains and I choose a slightly tougher line to the right. Next thing I know I’m going over the bars to a real thumper of a landing. My right knee was the first point of contact and contact hard it did. This was followed by a short slide which did an excellent job of shifting my pads enough to get in some scrapes just under the edges. At least the bike had a nice soft place to land, MY BACK!

leaking

I’m really glad I had the protective gear on as there is not a doubt in my mind a trip to the ER for some stitches would have happened last night otherwise. Even with the pads, my right knee hurts quite a bit and is swollen a little. It was not a comfortable commute on the bike from the train station to work this morning. Either way it was a good day on the bike and I’m thankful things turn out okay.

“Pads – Cheaper Than Stitches” 

-Bill