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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I just had to “push” out a post today seeing that the Fedex guy brought some goodies by.
Those who have seen my cross-country bike lately can atest that it needs some TLC. My Fox 100RLC fork on that bike has about 7,000 miles on it and while I have changed oil and seals as needed, it was in need of something more significant. The fork on my single-speed is a F100X with the first generation of the terralogic aka “TERRORLOGIC“. Man did I hate that autolocking feature. Basically it took the first bump to get it to unlock, which might be okay in someother part of the country, but not here in LoSoCal. The trails are quite rocky and it seems like I’m always hitting the first bump even which the fork’s bump threshold set to the lowest setting. Basically I’m not a fan at all. Anyway I opted to send in the F100X into “Push Industries” to have them put the goods to this fork as well as get rid of the terrorlogic and put in a RLC configuration.
So I had some fun in the gararge putting this fork on my XC bike. The SS will have to wait a little longer for some forking love. The plan is to send the other fork off to Push as well. I have not been out on the trails yet, but it feels pretty good just tooling around on the street.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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!
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!
I’m going to get some X-rays done in the next day or so to see if I did something really bad.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ranting aside – Tis the season for Palm Canyon!
Update: Here are some more pictures on MTBR’s SoCal Forum
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.
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.
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.
Not too many tracks in this area.
Riding on evening minor technical bits is interesting with a bit of snow and ice added to the mix.
Some were challenging enough without the snow.
Trail Math – 15 minutes to the bottom – 5 minutes to change a tire – Maybe 17 minutes of twilight left.