Opening Day in AZ

So I was up O-dark:30 this morning on my way to hookup with Jerry for a burn out to Phoenix.   By 1PM we had made I-10 rip and were hooking up with Kevin and Greg for a quick fternoon jaunt on South Mountain.   I’m in the middle of enjoying evening barley wine so just a couple of words and pics. 

 SoMo

 Upper National

Greg

 Greg on Upper National

Garage

My kind of Garage

More to Follow….

-Bill

Setting up for an Intense Weekend

6.^ 

I have finally kicked most of this crud out of my system and I’m getting jazzed about heading out to Arizona for the weekend to visit with some friends and hit up some trail goodness out there.  I’m going to “Intensify” my longer-traveled bike stables here in the near future so the fellows at Intense hooked me up with a bling bling sled for the weekend so I made a little visit up to Temecula.   I’ll be kicking this 6.6 around for the weekend.  This bike is a beauty!

6.6

I did not have a lot of time today, so I hit up one of my local rides, the La Costa Preserve, after picking up the bike.   I went up Switchback, down NASCAR, up Vista Del Mar and down NASCAR again.   I spent a bit of time dialing in the suspension.   My first impression is pretty freaking awesome.   I had to sum up that first impression in five words or less it would be:

 Climbs Well,  Descents Great!

I feel it out more over the weekend, stay tuned.

-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.

Pushing My Luck

I have been fighting off the early signs of a cold so I opted to do something non-epic to for my weekend ride.   I had driven by the Ronald Casper Wilderness Park dozens of time on my way out to the San Juan Trail.  I had heard that it was an okay ride but all fireroads for mountain biking.   I figured I would be stopping often to take pictures so a bit of minor chest congestion should not be too big of a deal.  The chest congestion ended up not being much a factor at all.  But something else would be.

Windmill

 I started off from the Old Corral/Windmill area and took the Bell Canyon trail.  I had barely gotten on the bike when I spotted a group of deer.  They certainly knew I was there so I kneeled down and looked away from them and acted like I was looking for something on the ground.   Feigning that I was uninterested in them was enough to calm them enough that they cautiously  moved along the edge of the meadow gettting closer to me.  I spent a good 10 minutes here before they moved along. 

Deer 

After this things went along pretty nicely.  With all of the rain we have been having there was green everywhere.   I eventually made my way to the Oso Trail and started climbing a ridge.  This trail turned steep in quite a few sections, but it was cool as views of Santiago, Los Pinos and Surgarloaf peaks were often seen in the distance.  I was a little over half a mile from reaching Badger Pass when I heard a loud bang and immediately felt the rear tire go flat.    I thought “No Big Deal, I know how to boot a sidewall tear”.   It did not take long to find the tear and it was not good.   I had about a two inch split in the tire just above the bead.   Not a good place at all.   After taking inventory of all my stuff, I was also a bit bummed.   About a month or so ago, I had used up all my duct tape helping someone get a busted chainstay patched up enought to limp home and had fogotten to replenish my tape.   

Badger Pass Gazebo

I ended up using a really big patch on the inside of the tire with strips of first aid tape to help spread the load out.  I also still had a tireliner still in the tire from a dersert ride that I shifted around to the side.   Once I inflated the tire it was obvious the patch was pretty marginal.  I deflated the tire and added two small patches on the outside as well as some more first aid tape to the outside of the tire.  This ended up working better as when I inflated the tire (with much less air than I normally use) there was much less bulging.    I had little confidence that this patch was going to hold and had already committed to about a four mile hike back to my truck.   Looking at the map I figure it would be only be marginally longer to take Badger Pass down to the San Juan Creek Trail and then back to my truck vice going back the way I came.   I could at least see some new stuff on my way back. 

Flowers

So I gingerly made my way down Badger Pass as I wanted to flex that sidewall as little as possible.  Badger Pass ended up being really pretty with all of the growth.  I knew it was a fireroad but in places it was vitrually a hard to follow singletrack.  The poppys and lupines where really going off through as well.  It was quite a treat. 

Flowers

 Once I had made my way down to the San Juan Creek Trail, I was amazed to see how well the patch was holding up.   The San Juan Creek Trail (aka fireroad) was pretty non-eventual as well as mostly fairly crappy as it was very close to highway 74.   Once back near the park entance and back on the pavement I rolled back towards my truck.   The rear tire was slowing loosing some air so I stopped and carefully put some more back in.  

I felt really lucky at the point having averted a sizable hike.   I stopped at the junction of the East Ridge Trail as I really wanted to check out as much of the park as I could at this was on the list.   Since I had already mentally committed for a hike today, I figured what the heck, there are a couple of trails that I can hike back on if the tire blows and only have a few miles to deal with.    So up the East Ridge I went and worked over to the Sunrise trail.   At the bottom of Sunrise I had to put some more air in the tire and bulging and increased some.   

 Hmmmm, I only have about a mile back to the truck from here.   I really wanted to check out the Starr Rise trail up to the West Ridge Trail.   I decided to push my luck some more and went up the Starr Rise trail.  I was loosing air a little quicker now and I need to pump up again when I reach the West Ridge.   I thought heading north would be risking too much, but I was will to push my luck again and headed south the West Ridge trail.

trail

There were some more nice views to be seen from the West Ridge and I took it out to the end of the park.   The bulging was getting bad now.  I had seen pretty much everything I wanted to so it was time to head back.   I pumped up again when I got back to the Bell Canyon trail and it looked like it was going to go at any second.   I worked by way back to towards the truck and sure enough it popped.   The cool thing was that I was exactly half a mile from my truck.   It was still really pretty out and I felt really great about the timing of the flat.   I had planned on a four mile hike and ended up only doing half a mile.

 I got in a total of 17 miles of riding out at Caspers with 13 of it being on a booted, patched, and taped tire.  I feel quite lucky!

Oh My Otay

Yesterday I managed to pull off a mid-week epic that I think I’m going to call the Otay Loop.   Boy what a doozie.  I started at the Marina at Otay Lakes and rode along the southwest corner of the lake and then cut through Lower Otay County Park down into the Otay Valley and climbed out of the valley to the south on a fireroad.   I then worked my way over to the the Otay Mountain Truck Trail.  

Bottom of Windmill Canyon

 I had a nice big climb up Otay Mountain.   My GPS did had a couple of blips early in the ride but I had already registered something like 3,900+ feet climbing .  The Truck Trail took me up to the intersection of the Minnewawa Trail at an area known as “Doghouse Junction”

Downtown from Otay Mountain

 The descent from there down the Minnewawa Trail was mighty darn zippy and seemed to be over way too quickly.   The trail dumps you out right at the 1,000 Trails RV Park Otay Lakes Rd (HWY 94). 

Descending Otay Mountain

I crossed the road into the park on the other side of the road and proceed west through the RV park.   At the end of the RV park I picked up a segment of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT).  This area was burned in the 2007 Firestorm.  The rate of regrowth was pretty amazing forcing me to use “the force” to follow the trail in some sections.  In some of the steeper hillside sections, rocks had erroded down onto the trail make it technical in spots.  Combined with shin-high grass over the trail and things got really interesting.  

CRHT

I followed the CRHT for a couple miles until Otay River crossed under Otay Lakes Road.  I hopped on the pavement for about 1.5 miles or so until I hit the eastern entrace to the Otay Lake Park.  

 CRHT

 I cruised out to a point on the lake on a bit of old pavement.  Once out at the point I picked up some nice pretty buff singletrack heading north up the east side of the lake.  From here the navigation was pretty darn easy.  Take any left you like and don’t go in the water.  I must have ridden at least 6 or 7 miles of single track as I worked my way back around the north and west sides of the lake to get back to my truck. 

Otay Lakes Singletrack

Once I strighten out my GPS tracks I’ll know for sure but it looks like this was about a 35 mile adventure with about 4,000 feet of climbing.   I really dug this ride and I need to do some more exploring around Otay Lake with the Bonita Bikers crew.

 Otay Lake

Look for a full review on the site in the coming weeks.

-Bill

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

Up-Down-Up-Down……Bell Ridge Action

Wow! The Trabuco Canyon – Bell Ridge loop is a bunch bigger than the 20-mile distance would leave you to believe.   I have not crunched all the numbers yet but it looks like something like over 4,400 feet of climbing.   There was supposed to be three of us, but one our cohorts in grime whipped out a “little” 70-mile fixie night road ride last night and somehow managed to oversleep.  I have no idea how that could have happened 🙂

The ride started pretty rough for me.  I participated in a hockey skating clinic yesterday and I woke up with some funky kinks and soreness in my legs.  We had a five-mile dirt road ride to start things off before hitting the Trabuco trail.  The road did little to get my legs to feeling better.  It was not until somewhere around the turnoff  for the West Horsethief trail where my legs seemed to start feeling okay.  Of course this is also the spot where the Trabuco trail starts getting really tricky  to climb in spots with patches of loose shale rocks that requires a bunch of finesse while extracting some extra energy from your legs.

Trabuco Canyon in 2005

Once we made it up to Main Divide Truck Trail it was time to take the Los Pinos trail a ways before peeling off onto Bell Ridge.     This ride had some great views in all directions, but boy did we pay for the pleasure.   Most of the time my butt was either on the nose of my saddle climbing or nearly dragging on the rear wheel on descents.  

Down on Bell Ridge

There were at least three sections that were Hike-A-Bike climbs and one that most riders would Hike-A-Bike down.  I took a long hard look at the one gnarly downhill section in question and decided to hike it down.  I’m pretty sure I could have cleaned it, but I was not so sure about doing it on the first attempt.  Considering we were a long time away from help, I opted on the safer option.   Next time I’m going to bring some protective gear and give it a shot. 

Up on Bell Ridge

The steep up and down action of the trail kept on going until the last few miles when grades mellowed out to “moderate” and the sight lines opened up to allow for some bits of sustained speed.  We finished up the ride by dropping down into a neighborhood and take a bit of surface street action back to our truck.

Bell Ridge B&W Action

Bell Ridge was a great ride that was a bit more challenging than unabated fun.  Check back on the site over the coming weeks to see a full review and maps. 

UPDATE: The Full Review is now posted

-Bill

More ZZZZs or the San Juan Trail

I woke up really tired this morning and was not really feeling a desire to ride.   I knew I needed to ride, but I just did not feel too interested to get going.    Over the last four days I had not been sleeping well and I spent most of yesterday at the hockey rink as it was opening and both of my boys played games.   So after setting on the couch for a while flip-flopping on wither to go back to bed or not, I decided to go for a ride “anyway”.   

 The San Juan trail was the trail of choice today and it was to be a solo effort.  As luck would have I ran it Mike and Larry who I had not ridden with in a couple of years.    I would tag along with them for the whole day.    It was quite comfortable  at the lower trail which I knew from experience meant it was going to get hot today.     I had my logged legged bike so I was going to be mostly a spinning effort up the trail.

On the climb up, Mike’s rear shifter went on the fritz keeping the bike in the 11 tooth cog in the back.   This is not exactly a gear you want to try pushing up San Juan.    Mike had a bit of thin rope in his pack so after a bit of MacGyver action when had in a gear the would be manageable.

MacGyver Shifter

I have always been slow to adapt to the heat so the 80+ temps and my fatigue were catching up with me near the top, so after reaching Cocktail Rock, I decided to just head back down from there.  Mike and Larry decided to come down from there as well.   The extra effort required to get the bigger bike up the hill paid off  with a very cushy and zippy descent back down.   

Heading down the SJT
Awesomely Beautiful Day

I ended up running to folks I had met a few weeks earlier out on a ride, and then further down the trail I ran into one of my frequent riding buds on his way up the trail.   After a few minutes of chit-chat he was back to climbing and I was back to having a ripping good time down the hill.

Larry on Descent
Larry on descent

Mike on Descent
Mike on the way down.

Once down at the bottom, Mike whipped out a cooler with some Deschutes Brewing Company’s Mirror Pond Ale.  Yummy!!   So this solo ride that almost did not happen turned out to be a really good social event

 -Bill

Simpson Park in Hemet, CA

I had some things to attend to in Temecula this morning and since I was already halfway to Hemet, I decided to check Simpson Park off of my to-do list.   What I had heard was the that place had a small but nice network of singletrack as well as some features that would require your “A”game.     I have to say that this place more than lives up to that reputation.   There were more trails there than I expected and the quality of the singletracks were outstanding.  They were often a mix of buffed tread with frequent undulations and rock features.   With great views of the snow-capped San Jacincto and San Bernardino Mountains coupled with green grass and Lake Perris in the distance this was a great place to spend and afternoon exploring.  

Simpson Park 

There are at least several trails that leave the Simpson Park area and go to the east and west along the ridgeline that park is situated on.   I did some exploring to the west of the park and found some really nice stuff.

 Techy Section 

I turned around once I had made my way out to the Ramona Cross about the Ramona Bowl in Hemet.

Ramona Cross

If you are looking for some techno-fun stuff make sure to check out the Lake View trail.  There are many rock-rolling line options of varying degrees of difficulty with the easiest being “tricky”.

Lake View Trail

I have bumped this trail to the top of my trail reviews in progress stuff to do.   Hemet can be blistering hot during the summer and I have a good feeling that these super nice trails will get sandy during the dry months so now is a really good time to check this place out.  

Until I get my stuff together here are a couple of rambling  bits of information:

  • Pick up a trail map at the visitor center.  There is also a big map by the restrooms.
  • Climb the Crest Trail, it will take you out of the park.   When you get to the top at a fireroad, take your first singletrack on your left (I think it is Canyon).  You will soon be back in the park. Hit the Redtail trail.
  • At the other end of the park, at the intersection of the Quail trail and Buck Brush,  take a single track off to the south that rolls up onto a small ridge.   Mucho fun as it take you west. Berms, jumps, and rollers are some of the stuff you will find out there.
  • From the restroom at the far end of the park pickup the Lakeview trail by the highest elevation picnic table you can find.   Take Lake View down, hang a right, go by the water tank and pick up Lichen.  Follow it until you come to a junction go left, cross the road and pickup the Black Sage trail.  Take that to Live Oak and Ribbonwood and head back to the parking area on the fireroad.

Getting there: Check out the Google Maps directions to get from Tecmecula to Simpson Park.

This place is cool so check it out while the conditions are great.

 -Bill