Busy Week and New Beginnings

I'm the dude on the left 

After 22 years of active duty in the US Navy, I retired this past Friday.   Actually, I’m not officially off the books until the end of July but I have stacked up enough vacation days over the years to take a few months off.   I had a really great career as an electronics/computer geek turned manager, but it was time to do something else for a living.  Shipboard duty in the Navy is quite hard on a family and I would have been separated from my family a bunch over the next four years.  My long term goals are to raise my two sons so be successful men, husbands and fathers.   With Will approaching his teenage years I believe it is really important for me to be close and involved (Wither he likes it or not) to achieve those goals.   

So this past week has been a busy one around the house:  Last minute retirement paperwork to,  a hockey tournament, parents coming in from North Carolina, extended family coming in as well, the ceremony…..  A lot of really cool and fun stuff going on.    All of which seemed to push “Get a ride in” down on the priority list.

Preexisting Biking Condtion
Sidenote for my wife – This is proof that biking was indeed a preexisting condition when we got together 🙂

The big question that I have been mulling over the last six months has been:

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Okay I still don’t have a good answer for that, but the good news is there are lot of opportunities for my next career, so I need to narrow things down over the course of the next few weeks.    I have always found that some of my best thinking gets done when I am at or near my maximum heart rate with lots of good clean air in my lungs.     

Hmmmm, I’m thinking that some Utah slickrock and narrow Colorado singletrack should help quite a bit with that effort.

Singletrack

Here is a few more pics involving the Navy.    If you think my dream career involves your company please contact me.  Starting on Saturday, I will be sporadically off the grid for about a week so expect some delay in responses.

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

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!

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

SocalTrailRiders help out a fellow MTBer

Yesterday I attended what was a very cool ride that showed just how awesome our community of knobby tired freaks can be.    This was by far the largest group ride I had every been on.

Here are some of my pictures from the ride along with a few words. To get a bunch of words, read about The Ride from the perspective of all that were there as well as the BBQ afterwards that I could not stick around for.

The reason I could not stick around was I had to do some cool “Hockey Dad” stuff.  My oldest boy has been really doing well with the Hockey as of late.  He was asked to practice (In preparation for tryouts after the first of the year) with one of the really good tournment teams here in San Diego.  The level of play was a big step up for Will.  He looked a little overwhelmed for the first five minutes or so but settled down before realizing he had to dig deep to keep up with the pace.  It was the classic Big Fish in a little pond, does not look so big in a bigger pond thing.  Between the ride and watching my kid, I was proud to be a Mountain Bikers as well as Dad today.

-Bill

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.