National Trails Day at Lake Calvera

Today was National Trails Day and the City of Carlsbad put together some events that included a hike and a bike ride.  The San Diego Mountain Bike Association asked for mountain bikers to support and what a great showing of support the Mountain Biking community did today.  My rough estimates, Mountain Bikers were over 2/3rds of the participants present.  With some city officials present, it was apparent that we got their attention.

SDMBA’s Coastal North County Liason, Erik Trogden give a quick brief. 

There was a quick round of briefings and waiver  signings that have to occur for these types of events and then we were off for a quick ride.  

Adult Group
Most of the Intermediate Group

There were two ride groups, an intermediate and a beginner ride.   I was going to led a third kid-friendly ride.  As it turned out all of the kidless adults went for the intermediate ride, so the beginner ride became the grommet ride.

 Free Rider
This gadget is cool.   This connect the seatpost of th big bike to the head tube of the little bike.  It lifts the little bikes front wheel off the ground so Dad can steer a little easier.  Both ends have quick disconnects so that either bike could be used as normal within a minute or two.

The kids were riding well ,so the loop ended up being just a bit bigger than planned.

Grommet Crew

The Junior League

It was really great that so many people took the time out to represent Mountain Bikers to the City of Carlsbad.  I know that Saturdays for many is often the only chance during the week they have to get in a big ride.  So THANK YOU to all who gave up the “big ride” to help further our interests here in North County.

Archipelago Ride

Rich Julian and I have been tossing around the idea for this ride for quite sometime as part of the our “Islands Project” concept of pushing to have all of the our small islands of open space connected throughout the county.  Each little island of open space on its own has a network of trails but nothing that gets into the “epic” range.

The ride we did yesterday was both a research and proof of concept ride.   While nearly the entire route is part of the county general trail plan, there are significant chunks that are not a reality yet.   The rider list included 15 supporters and friends who have all put tools to earth to help create and maintain our trails around the county.

Climing Vista Del Mar

We started out bright and early from the La Costa Preserve and climbed the Vista Del Mar trail up to the top and then dropped down the backside and headed to the hill just to the east with the two water towers on top.  From there we followed a series of easements down into the Escondido Creek watershed.   While riding along these easements was not too interesting in was a good venue to point out exactly where we want to put in singletrack as part of the La Costa to Elfin Forest connector.

In La Costa

Getting over to Elfin Forest was not all easement travel.  There are some nice sections that were created courtesy of the equestrain communities of Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest.  

 Almost in Elfin

Here we are crossing Escondido Creek just inside of the Elfin Forest Park.

Crossing Escondido Creek

Once into Elfin Forest, it was up the WAAAAAY Up trail.    Did I mention that this was my first significant ride in about three weeks?  I was feeling it.   Elfin Forest gets busy on the weekend so it was a good thing most of us where not setting any speed records up the climb.

Elfin Climb

Can you say Multiuse Trail?


The view of The Way Up trail from the Del Dios Highlands Trail

Once up into Elfin Forest we went down the other side into Lake Hodges on the Del Dios Highlands Trail.  

Way Up From Del Dios Highlands 

 This “Trail” is a good example of why we need to educate land managers and planners on what a trail is and is not.  This was a steep graded fireroad with a generous amount of blue slate gravel.   One redeeming quality of this descent was that it has some  monster waterbars that you could catch some bits of air on if you desired to do so.

Del Dios Highlands Trail

Rich was unable to do the ride due to a recent unplanned surgery so he setup up the super sag wagon and cheerleader support.

A Two Beer Ride

Who says you have to wait until the end of the ride for a beer?

From Lake Hodges we rode the Del Dios Trail along the lake until we had to hop on the road for e a bit due to the pump station construction that is going on towards the dam.  Once around that we got back on the lake trail and made our way down to the dam.

Hodges Dam


Freaking Roadie ruined a prefectully good MTB shot.

We had to do a bit of hoping onto Del Dios Highway for a couple of short bits to get to the San Dieguito River Trail.   This section of trail was just about to open when the October 2007 Firestorm came through and burnt about 62% of the entire corrider.    We were given special permission to use the closed Sante Fe Valley Trail.  We could soon see why the trail is still closed as seven bridges are completely burnt out.

Santa Fe Valley Trail

Even with the burn damage this was still a pretty area.  There is a bunch of work to be done, so when you here about volunteer work oppurtunities here, it would really help if you can lend a couple hands and a little sweat.

Flower Cruising

We did not exactly follow my intended route through this area, but we all knew this was going to be a bit of a Lewis and Clark area.   We ended up doing a sizable switchbacking climb that could have been avoided, the good news for me was there were no open chants of mutiny so all was good.   

We soon tied into the Santa Luz Loop and fully known trails for me.   We made pretty good time through Lusardi Canyon towards Black Mountain, but man was I starting to drag.  There are a couple of hills that I referred to as “good workouts” in my individual trail reviews but combined with our previous mileage it freaking hurt the quads. 

Heading towards Black Mountain

Rich once again met us with Sag Wagon support and encouragement.  We topped off waters and scarfed a few snacks before heading off around the rest of the Santa Luz Loop to the Los Penaquitos Canyon Connector.   This section of the Santa Luz Loop has grown in really nicely and the singletrack has gotten really good.

Santa Luz Singletrack


The connector took us under a few bridges and another mean climb and into area known as “The Tunnels” that brought up onto Del Mar Mesa where we then dropped into Penasquitos Canyon.

In Da Tunnels

At this point in the ride we could all hear tiny bubbles escaping from a tap in the distance.   Considering most of our states of fatigue, we made quick work to the west end of the canyon and the Pro-Built Wheels Bike Shop where good food and beers were awaitng us. 

In Shop Keg

An In-Shop Keg, You gotta love it.  On this evening it was Sierra Nevada on tap. 

Da Shop

The guys at the shop did it up really great for us and it was most welcome.   Big thanks to Squadra for hooking up the return shuttle back up north after the eveing festivities.    We could have easily done 60-70+ miles but we settled for just 43 miles with about 5,500 feet of climbing.    I’m freaking beat and loving it!


A Chance to Give Back!

Mark this on your Calender Folks.     

From the San Diego Mountain Bike Association 

Black Mountain Open Space Park

Volunteer Trail Work
SATURDAY, MARCH 29th, at 8:30am
Having organized more than a dozen volunteer events held at Black Mountain Park since 2002, The San Diego Mountain Bike Association has helped to define and shape the park’s trail system. One new trail recently opened, and more trails are being planned. Our volunteer efforts and close working relationship with the park’s ranger staff will continue to ensure that all current and future trails are open to mountain biking.Join SDMBAus on SATURDAY, March 29th, at 8:30am to help maintain the trails we’ve for which we’ve worked so hard to gain access. We’ll be doing tread work on the CANYON RIM TRAIL, which badly needs repair to make it usable for mountain bikers. Bring water and gloves; we’ll provide everything else!

 Here is thier flyer for the trailwork event with directions on how to get there

Here is my information on the Black Mountain area (It could use a little updating).

Also right next to Black Mountain is a portion of the Santa Luz Loop with is worth checking out as well.

Santa Luz with Black Mountain in the Background


La Costa Trailwork Day

Today my boys and I joined nearly 40 other volunteers to open the new Vista Del Mar trail and deconstruct/rehab and old unsustainable trail at the Rancho La Costa Preserve in Carlsbad. 

  La Costa Trail work 

Markus, Patrick and Jesssica from the Center for Natural Land Managment did an excellent job of showing us how to do the rehabilitation work as well as making sure there snacks and water available throughout the event. The picture abovie is of Jessica showing us how to plant the young plants and install an irrigation supplement. These things are really cool. They are a big glob of gel that is mostly water. We buried a couple of these gels with each plant and over the course of a month or so bacteria in the soil will slowly eat away the gel and release the water suspended in the gel in the soil.

 Schwag Galore

The event was sponsored by SDMBA, Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami’s Bike Club and Squadra and my what a schwagfest they put on.   They made sure that even if you did not win something in the raffle, you still went home with something.  Very cool!

Will on the Wall 

Jake on the Easy Route

After the trailwork and raffle, we went out and tested out the trails.  This was the first time here for my boys and they had a hoot.   The rock wall technical feature was a major hit. Just before you get to it there is a really cool sign pointing you to either the easy or the hard route. This feature got throughly tested by both the young and the not-so young going in both directions. The really cool thing about the easy route is that it does not look so easy because it is made of rock, but in fact it is not much more difficult than a mound of dirt. It gives newer riders the reward of doing something harder without the actual risk of something harder. Jake (My eight year old son) rode it his first time up and giggled afterwards. Will (My 12-year son) wanted to take on the hard line. I was in catch mode, but it was not needed and he cleaned it on the second attempt.

A Big Hats off to Rich Julien from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association and Markus, Patrick and Jessica from the Center for Natural Land Management for working together to make the Vista Del Mar trail happen.

 Check out my Trail Work page for all of the pictures from the event along with a few more words.


P.S.   I should have a page on this trail system in the next couple of weeks.

Back in the Saddle, Bushwacking, and 1FN Gear.


Yesterday was my first day back on the bike and it went alright.  The ride was to be mostly a show and tell with Rich concerning a La Costa to Elfin Forest connector that I would like to get legalized and improved upon.   I currently have BOTH of my geared bikes out-of-commission with frame cracks which meant I had to bust out the single speed.   The hills that are required on the ride today are not exactly single-speed friendly.  Now for a borderline clyde who has been off the bike for a couple of weeks it was downright hostile.  I put on my recently “Pushed” fork on the singlespeed and gave it a go.   I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the work Push did on this fork.  It felt better than it has ever felt.  I wanted plush, I got plush.  I wanted the Terrorlogic gone….Poof..Done!  The blowoff threshold on the new RLC damper was even better than the one on my other fork.  When the threshold is dialed why down and the fork is locked, it operates like the terralogic was supposed to work.   Mainly no harsh transitions when going from locked to unlocked.   Being that I was on a singlespeed I cranked up the threshold pretty good since I spent a good deal of my climbing time out of the saddle.   Money well spent in my book.

(Note: Fork is pre-push in this pic)

Rich and I made good use of the time getting a good close look at the lay of the land and getting a better idea of exactly where we want things to go.  Part of that meant a good chunk of bushwhacking up a pretty steep slope or two.  I did not think my legs got too exfoliated at the time, but the hot after-ride shower throughly convinced me otherwise.

If we can get this connector approved, it would make for a good day’s worth of riding in North County.  I won’t use the word epic, but it comes to mind.  We are going to discuss the connector idea more thoroughly with the most of the principals during or after the trail day this Saturday at La Costa.   It is way freaking early in the process, and there are lots of potential landmines out there, but I’m excited about the idea. Here is some additional information of the Trail Day as well some of the on-going concerns and talk about the areas.


Giving a little back to Indian Creek

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.

Carvaning to trailhead   

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. 

Jake with Loppers

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.  

Swag Tossing!

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.