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.

Bike Luggage Bingo

What a pain the butt, I had over the last couple of days getting by bike packed up and ready to go to the east coast with me on a business trip.  The original plan was to ship the bike ahead of me and have it waiting for me at my hotel when I arrived.   So I packed the bike into my Trico Sports Ironcase Bike Box.   I have used this thing in the past and it is great.  Through your bike as well as most of your other bike stuff in there as well.  Well the price checking this box in as luggage has gone up from sometimes free or $75  to $125.   UPS was quoting the weight as about $70 to ship it.  Great, I could save some money and not have to fuss with the bike box through an airport terminal.    I get to UPS and HOLY CRAP!   Seems that due to the size of the box it falls it falls into the irregular catergory and they want to ring me up for $153 each way.   No thanks, I’ll take check it on the flight.  

I live about 10 minutes from the Carlsbad commuter airport that I would be flying out of so I decided to swing by on my way home with the box and make sure I would not have any problems beyond dropping some coin to get it on the flight.  At first the guy was like, “sure no problem, a bike box is a bike box.  Pay your $125 and you will be good to go”.  At this point I questioned him because I read somewhere that I weight restriction had changed as well and I did not want any surprises the morning of my flight.   After a bit of keystroking, he confirmed that there is a 50lb weight limit is in addition to the special charge because it is a bike box.   This means that the airline wants $250 one-way to take my bike along for the ride.  I would need to get this bike box down to 50lbs to make it even worthwhile to bring.

So I took everything out of the box and weighed.   Ouch!, the box along weighs 27 lbs.   That does not leave much room for the bike.  Out goes everything but the bike.  Crap! Still over weight.   I finally take the tires and tubes off the wheels off.   Geez, just a fraction over.   Off goes the water bottle holder.  BOOM!   50 pounds 0 ounces.

50 pounder

Now I had the problem of dealing with all the crap I took out of the bike box.    Now I’m traveling for three weeks and I have to both some work presentable attire as well as chill out clothes, and I only want to do laundry once a week.  Then means I have a little more stuff than I would normally bring along.  So clothes, camelbak, helmet, shoes, pedals, tires and tubes all go into a chick-sized suitcase.  I weigh it, DAMN, 51 pounds!    So I transfer a pair of shoes into my carry on back and all is good.

crap to get in luggage

So time to travel.  When I checked in at Carlsbad, the ticket guy checks the weights, calls it all good and charges me as regular baggage, all total just $40 bucks.  Sweet!   We will have to see how the return flight works out.

The flight to LA was uneventful, but the rest of the trip was a different storry.   My flight out of LA is delayed because they are servicing the plane. I had a tight connector schedule so I hopped on the phone and had my connector into Virgina switched to a latter flight.  Two hours later, the call is made to switch us to a different plane and about an hour later we are shuffling onto another plane.  Once loaded on the plane, we are informed that the engine may have sucked up something into one of the engines while the plane was taxiing to the gate and the engine would need to be inspected.   After one hour of seating on the plane at the gate, we are shoved off.

Needless to say I did not even make my latter connector.   So I get a free stay at Hyatt O’hare.  I’m pretty sure noboby ever books a room at his hotel, it is all stranded  travelers.   The following day, I would finally get into Norfolk.  The rental car place would turn out to be a silver lining in this little storm cloud.  I get hooked up from an econobox speck to a respectable gas guzzling SUV.   Sweeet, big pimping and I get to help melt the polar icecaps…..I’m cool!   But hey lots of space for a bike with the seats folded down.   More to follow…..

All Hail High Gas Prices!

Or maybe it is “Awh HELL, High Gas Prices!”

Today I went to work a little later than I normally do, so the commute traffic was quite different.  There were a lot more people on the road in their mad-dash to go see “The Man” for eight hours or so.  There were typical half dead types like myself swilling coffee and most likely cranking some jams in a effort to jumpstart their melon out of a sleep-deprived coma.   Geez, there were way too many chatterbox girls yapping on their phones.   I think the new law in California requiring the use of hands-free devices while driving is a good idea for most part.  EXCEPT for these ladies as  now they get to talk with BOTH of their hands while driving instead of just one.   One of the more exuberant chatterheads looked like she was being attacked by a swarm of angry bees.  I felt sorry for the poor bastard on the other end of that call.   I would like to say she should have no more than six months to a year to live with driving like that, but stupidity always seems to find a way to survive.  She will probably live to be 105.

Enough of stupid ladies on the road.  Driving through my hood, there were a bunch of bikes on the road today.  Full roadie-kit guys, hybrids commuter setups, fixies, and even some Wallyworld Specials.  I saw at least four old-school 10-speeds with downtube shifters and suicide brake levers that were just killer.  I could not help but think these rigs had spent quite a few years hibernating  hanging upside down from garage rafters gathering dust.   My guess is spring arrived for these wintering steelies when gas hit around $3.50 a gallon.  If you were a bike how cool it would be to get a new lease on life.  I grabbed quick looks at the riders of these reborn rigs as I went by and they were not the types that strike you as a vintage bike connoisseurs.   No, these were average folks on their way to work, school or wherever they had to be.   Bicycles as your basic form of transportation in the US,  now there is a green concept.  At this rate maybe $6.00 a gallon will be the cure for the nation’s obesity problem.

By far the coolest bike thing I saw today is a story that is over a half a year in the making.   A little over six months ago, I first noticed “Melrose Ave Lady”.  She looked to be in her early to mid 30’s and when I first saw her she really looked to be new to cycling and a fitness lifestyle in general.  At first I lifted an eyebrow and pulled my head back as I was positive some federal or state laws governing the use of spandex were being broken.     After snickering just a bit, I thought “Good for her, I hope she sticks to it.”   Over the next few months, I would pass Melrose Ave Lady just about daily.  She was sticking to it and she did not seem to be laboring on the climbs like she had in the past.  A few months ago, my schedule changed and I stopped being on the road the same time as Melrose Ave Lady.  Just last week, while driving down this road I wondered how she was doing.

 For those of you that have kids in your life, you know well that you tend not to notice the growth that occurs in the ones you see everyday.  However when your nieces or nephews come over you are generally shocked by their growth.     Such was the case today when I saw Melrose Ave Lady.    WOW!!!!!   I was absolutely amazed at the transformation this lady had done to her body.  Lord knows how many pounds she lost.  She was toned and tanned and could easily be 20 something.  She also cruised up the hill like it was a flat.    Melrose Ave Hottie, who ever you are, you have been totally inspiring to watch and I am so proud of the commitment you have put into your new lifestyle.   Hundreds of cars have passed you everyday and I am sure I am not the only person to have followed your progress.   It would not be surprised if some of those additional bikes on the road today are a result of the inspiration you gave on Melrose Ave.     

I think I’ll check the tires on my commuter bike.

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

MTBR viewing tips

Not a whole lot of blog posts going on lately.  I have been doing up pages and video for the site. 

Have you noticed the increased bombardment of ads on the forums on MTBR.com?   They take up near 50% of the screen lately.  It never was too much of a bother for me before, but recently it just seems ridiculous.    Here is a tip that those of you using Internet Explorer without any third party ad-filtering software can do to cut down on the ads.

Navigate to Tools — Internet Options to bring up the Internet Options Dialog Box

Click on the Security Tab, then on the Restricted Icon.  This will enable the “Sites” Button.  Click on the Button

MTBr Viewing

This will be then bring up a dialog box that will allow you to enter a website address.  By default it will enter the address of the page you where currently on when started this effort.  You will want to clear out the information currently there and enter

 http://creview.adbureau.net

in the dialog box and press enter.   

mtbr 

Then press “Close” and an OK or two to your browser.  Refresh your MTBR page and you should see a dramatic drop in ads on this site. 

The above address is the primary adserver that mtbr uses.  By blocking their adserver it will eliminate most of the ads on thier site.

 Happy MTBRing (or not).

 -Bill

Being Sick Sucks!

Being Sick Sucks.   At little over a week ago I started fighting off a cold/crud and well I lost the fight.  By Tuesday I was good and jacked up with a cold/flu.   This is such an awesome time of year to being ridng and being sidelined just sucks.   I missed out on a really cool sounding 50+ mile epic ride this weekend around Otay Mountain that includes a good chunk of my ride out there a couple of weeks ago.   I woke up feeling “okay” this morning so I tried to get in a bit of riding at Lake Calvera which is ride I can do right from my house.   I quickly rediscovered that feeling “okay” on the couch does not equate to being okay to exercise.   I was a hacking, coughing, phlem hurling mess as soon as I hit the first climb.    I cut my normal loop out here short and retreated to home for more cough syrup, comfort food and couch time.     

 Steve at Calvera Lake
I did take one picture on the ride today.  The rider is Steve, a local rider who I met for the first time today.  Ironically he was suffering from “The Plague” just like I was.  I’m glad to know I’m not the only one suffering.  For all my fellow knobby tired brothers and sisters suffering from the crud, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I have some out-of-town plans for next weekend so I better finally kick this crud this week.

Rain… Rain… SPAM… SPAM…

Boy this last week has been a bit of a pisser.    Actually I’m just a spoiled SoCal weather weenie.  My riding days as of late have been pretty locked in over the last few weeks due to various commitments.    It just so happens that on all of my riding days ended up being rain days as well. 

Of course  I show up for work on Monday and the sun is out!

 ARRRRRGGGGGGH!

I whine on!

 On the BLOG side of the house, I have some Anti-SPAM filters in place that help to keep SPAM from getting on the blog.   Over the last couple of days the blog has been getting bombshelled with SPAM.  Now all of this SPAM is getting caught in moderation but it is becoming a pain in the arsh to weed through so I am making a configuration change that should cut down on that stuff.

As a bona-fide user you may find it  slightly annoying, but here it is:

To add a comment to the blog you must register (Only have to do it once)  and log-in to the blog first.

Registration is free and I am not going to be sharing your information with anyone.  This should cut down all of the bot-generated junk that currently hitting the blog. 

-Bill

Palm Canyon – Conditions Report

Palm Canyon is one of my all-time favorite epics in Southern California.   I ride it at least two to three times a year.   This ride can be a deadly furnace ride in the summer so the winter months are generally the season to get out here.  I generally organize a sizable group ride at least once a year here, but I prefer to do this ride in really small groups.  This my first ride of the season and it was sort of a scouting trip for the large group ride to be done later.   Rich (Taffy15), Bill (MrMountainHop), Steve (Aquaholic) and I were on the trail just before 9AM and were treated to a day of excellent conditions. 

 Steve

There was some moisture in the ground that made for excellent traction.    The trail overall is in good shape.   The three-mile dry wash climb was as good as I have ever seen it but it was still a pain in the butt.   The Hahn Buena Vista trail was as awesome as always.    The unmarked trail that connects Dunn Road to Fern Canyon trail is also in good shape and is much more defined than in past years.

On the Indian Poterro Trail

 We made excellent time today.  We were not trying to hammer but finished in under six hours.   We had no mechanicals or flats which for those who have done this ride, you know this is nearly magical.

Rich on the Dry Wash Climb

There were a couple of things that ruffled my feathers on this ride.    The descent off the meadow on the Indian Poterro Trails has been heavily sanitized and the final bit of singletrack going down by the water tanks in the Goat Trails has also been sanitized with a bunch of cheater rocks below the drops.

Da Climb

Looking Down from the Hahn

  I don’t suspect this is the case, but if this “trailwork” was officially sanctioned then those people should be ashamed of themselves.    Most likely this is caused by riders whose skill levels are less than their ego levels.  If you can not ride this stuff — WALK IT! – DON’T MODIFY OR DESTORY IT!   You do not get credit for “cleaning” the trail if you had to dumb it down to do so.  If you want to be a better rider, try, try and try again until you either get it or have to walk it.    The Goat Trail section really pisses me off because it is a totally optional trail.   If you can’t ride it, take the fireroad down.  If you want to do trailwork then get with your local Mountain Biking advocacy group for a legititmate trailwork day

 Bill

Ranting aside – Tis the season for Palm Canyon!

Update:  Here are some more pictures on MTBR’s SoCal Forum

Commuter Rant

So I’m on my way from work to the San Diego train station to catch the train towards home. I ride my (gulp) road bike only about four miles or so to the station. Part of that route includes the extremely wide concrete pathway between the trolley and train tracks by the downtown convention center. This thing must be 25-30 feet wide. So I’m cruising along and these three freaking double-wide heefers are walking side-by-side and completely taking up the entire path. Now after I politely prompt them to let me by, they do but  I was already in irritated mode by now. It seems that Americans will almost always walk side-by-side if given a chance. This includes our trails. If a trail is debrushed or swayco’d out to a doubletrack it is extremely hard for a moderatedly well-used trail to get back to singletrack as the casual American hiker will pull up along alongside their hiking partner. The Way Up trail at Elfin Forest is a good example of this. The trail was debrushed and widened to stablize the trail a few years back and it has never gotten back close to single track due to side-by-side hikers. You do not see this in Japan. While over there for the better part of 2004 I got to see how these folks hike single file. You know what? Their trails are much more narrow on average for the same general user density. I feel safe in saying nearly all of the “local” trails see at least three times the traffic that you average close to San Diego trail sees.
My point? I don’t know, maybe we should do less agressive debrushing but do it more often. We should refrain fron widening trails as part of maintenance unless there is no other option. Doing these actions will only encourage the side-by-side hiker crowds to stroll along and prevent our once single tracks from recovering.