Wilder Ranch Video

Okay it is raining in Southern California and off the bike for a little bit so I might as well finish up on some projects that have been languishing on the hard drive for a while. 

Heath at Wilder Ranch in July 2007

 Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz is a really pictureque and fun place to ride, but hard to capture on video properly.   Much like the Demo Forest video, the light was harsh on the day I shot this footage back in July of 2007.   The sunny stuff came out good, but the shady areas like the Enchanted Forest Loop, turned out poor overall so you will not see too much of that in the vid. 

Right Click to Download the 61MB video that runs 4 minutest and 29 seconds  (WMV format)

Walking Wounded

So I am on the walking wounded list, but not from mountain biking.   For those who have been following the blog you will remember I took a good thump while getting some flight lessons near Alpine about a month ago.  Part of the thump was on my right hip that resulted in a huge technicolor bruise on my right leg and hip.   I had just gotten over that for the most part.   So after being gone all day on December 29th doing the Palm Canyon Epic, my boys were itching for some dad time.  So on the 30th, I took them out to our local inline hockey rink  for some skate time.   I was pretty beat from the day before so I decided that I would not be playing, but instead I would just screw around and keep feeding passes to the boys.    So instead of putting on the whole hockey gear package, I left the griddle in the bag.  Bad call!    

Will shooting puck 

So while messing around my oldest boy decides that it will “funny” to check Dad.   Of course it would be even funnier if Dad was not looking.   So my boy clocks be really good, and I swear I got completely horizontal prior loosing any altitude.   BAM!   It was all I could do not to call Child Protective Services to inform them that something really bad was about to happen to my kid and they were not going to get there in time.     I had landed exactly on the same spot I had hurt the month before.  It hurt like hell but in a different way than before, this felt more sharp that the bruising before.    

I ditched my ride scheduled for the next day and waited a couple of days to test it out on the bike.   When I did get on the bike I felt okay peddling on the road out to my local ride (Lake Calvera).   It even felt okay on the smooth stuff.  However when riding on rocky stuff, anything that requires body English, and getting off the saddle things got painful in a hurry.  After an hour I was uncomfortable and basically not a happy camper on the bike. 

 It is never a good time to get injured, but this was quite unfortunate timing as I was planning heading out to Sedona to meet up and ride with some friends from Colorado and NorCal in a little over a week.    I don’t see my hip being in shape for multiple back-to-back days of riding so I had to cancel.    Major League Bummage!

Arizona Riding

I’m going to get some X-rays done in the next day or so to see if I did something really bad.  

-Bill

 UPDATE 11-JAN-08: I could insert bunch of Doctor verbage stuff here but basically the X-rays showed that I had not fractured anything, but I’ll need to take it easy for a couple more weeks.  Yipee!

Chilao Flats – Silver Moccasin and More…

I first talked about this area in my San Gabriel Mountains Teaser Pics post back in the middle of December.   I finally got around to putting the rest of the pictures, maps and descriptions together into a trail review.    The San Gabs are a haul for a day ride for me, but the more I venture up to there, the less the drive seems.   I’m sure some physics/math geek could incorporate the variables of space, time, trail conditions and blah blah blah into a theory of relative enjoyment.  Either way I have been digging my excursions into the San Gabriel Mountains, and I think you will as well.   

Silver Moccasin Trail  

-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

Soquel Demonstration Forest Video

Demo 2007 Video

So I finally got around to putting together the video from the Soquel Demonstration Forest near Santa Cruz that I got to enjoy on my Norcal Summer Roadtrip this year.   The lighting was quite harsh on the day of this ride so a good bit of this footage not ideal.    I almost decided not to make the video at all, but what the heck there was enough for a shorter video.    This was my second time there and I still did not manage to get on the Braille or Tractor trail.   I’m riding those no matter what next time.   The video is 4 minutes and 34 second long and is 58MB in size.  Right Click on the image below to download.

-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

San Gabriel Mountains Teaser Pics

Friday I made a rather long drive up through LA to get in some San Gabriel Mountain goodness with my long time riding bud, Bill O’neil.  He is better known as “MrMountainHop” online.  Bill also has a real knack for putting together some awesome routes that often includes trails off the beaten path. When arranging this ride with Bill my main theme was “I’m driving a long way, lets use all of the day.”  Boy did Bill and the San Gabriel Mountains deliver on that.   We did a good chunk of the Silver Moccasin trail as well as Mount Hillyer and some other goodies.   Look for the the full report, pictures and maps in the weeks to come.    Here a few quick pics from the day.

The weather forecasts are calling for more snow in the next week, but we found plenty.

Snowy Tires

Not too many tracks in this area.

Snowy trail

Riding on evening minor technical bits is interesting with a bit of snow and ice added to the mix.

Mt Hillyear

Some were challenging enough without the snow.

Hillyer

  Trail Math – 15 minutes to the bottom – 5 minutes to change a tire – Maybe 17 minutes of twilight left. 

 Twilight

-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

To Publish or Not to Publish?

Hey Bill, …  I noticed you do not have any information on the XXX trail. Why is that? I have not yet been there, but I am going with some friends today because it was recommended to him….

I get emails of this theme off and on and it is a really good question. I’ll try to answer it. (And maybe rant at little too)

Not all of the trails I ride end up on my site.  There are usually three good general reasons that cause me to refrain from putting a trail I may ridden on the site.

1.  The trail is “sensitive” in nature – Do not automatically equate “sensitive” to mean illegal.  It may just be that it is not a fully condoned trail system, such as the stuff that is considered social.   Hey, I’m no saint and I may have ridden some questionable stuff to “see what the fuss is about.”   There are some trails that are quite popular but are not fully legit and lots of folks ride them.   These are not limited to the freeride/downhill type trails which seem to get the most flake. There are plenty of XC trails in SoCal that have some property lines  or user conflict issues that do not need to be brought out online.

2. I was asked not to publish it – Yes I know how to keep a secret and if someone who showed me “The Goods” asked me not to publish a trail, even if it is legal, I may not publish it.

3. Trail Sustainability – If I personally do not think the trail could handle a bunch of additional traffic I may not publish it.  I have a few unpublished and legal trails that are great trails comprised of long, narrow and pristine downhill sections that are fabulous.  They are however easily shuttled.   If I published these trails I am quite positive that a crap load of shuttlers would start using these trails and then start trashing them out.  

This is not so much a downhiller or an XC issue as it is an irresponsible riding issue. I have seen plenty of folks on both XC as well as DH/FR rigs being skidiots.  (Skidding IDIOT)   I believe, on average, the folks on the bigger rigs cause more of the trail issues on those types of trails because compared to your average XC rider, they can go faster with the same skill level.  The higher speeds usually requires more skill to slow the bike down and not skid. The longer wheel-base and slacker geometry of the bigger bikes also requires greater skill to navigate switchbacks and tight turns. The same average rider on the bigger bikes is more likely to blow/damage more of those type of turns than a rider on a cross-country rig.   I also subscribe to the idea that Downhiller’s have a tendency to bring the downhill park mindset to the local trails, which is pretty much like trying to mix oil and water.

I’m I talking with my butt cheeks?  I could be,  but let the trails do the talking.  All it takes for me is to look at the poorer condition of some of the trails that are easily shuttled. The San Juan trail is a wreck compared to the Trabuco Canyon.   Both are great downhills but the San Juan Trail is easily shuttled where as Trabuco is not.

         Now before you get all huffy puffy on me because you shuttle and own a DH/FR rig keep this in mind.  I’m generalizing about average riders.  My guess is that if you are excited about my statements, you are most likely not that average rider I’m talking about.  Then again, check yourself and if the shoe fits, wear it and work on becoming a not-so average rider.  

To Publish or Not To Publish?   My going in belief is that any social trails that are kept on the down low have a poor chance of ever being legitimized.   However, to publicize a trail in the wrong manner can certainly bring on an earlier demise to a trail system.   Flightline could have benefited from earlier public awareness of the system, where as the  “Thomas Wolgamont” trail system has an extremely slim chance of being fully legitimized so I think it is best to keep it off the airwaves.  

The bottom line is that if you are wondering about a particularly trail system that is not on the site, please contact me.  I might have some off-site information I can provide.   If I post a write up or pictures and I am vague, it’s intentional.

Now Go Ride!

-Bill

The Golden Eagle Trail

Well this is not a real recent ride, but it is new page on the site.   With all the tinkering with getting the new version of the site put together, this ride just sort of got pushed to the side for awhile.  There was a bit of research I had to do with this ride as the trails were not well marked and various map sources had conflicting information.   Eitherway, I finally got around to putting this one together.   With all of the rains when have been having as fo late this trail would be really good when it has some moisture on it.  

Here is my whole take on this ride.  

The Climb Up the Golden Eagle Trail

-Bill