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

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

The San Clemente Singletracks

I went out here today for the first time with a SocalTrailRiders.org group and I was pretty impressed with the single track out there. The place has lots of twists and turns while maintaining great flow. I did not take many pictures at all today (Busy trying to keep up) Here are a few:

The Warrior Society folks had a small contingent out there today as well. Here we are regrouping


While watching those guys work their way up a hill.

Some of the nice downs.

A not so nice up

Various folks from the ride. 

With me living in North County San Diego this place is going to go onto my local ride rotation. I heard someone say this is one of Orange County’s trail gems. I would have to totally agree.    Over the next few weeks I will be putting together a page and map up on the site. Mucho thanks to OMR for leading the ride today and all of the rest of the folks who made this a fun post-turkey burn ride.