Back in the Lagunas

I spent most of January working in Jacksonville, Florida. Below is a picture from the commute out to the jobsite that seemed out in the sticks.

Sailboat Sunrise
Favorite Picture of the trip

Once back in town it was time up one my old reliable trails, the Lguna Mountains.

Views from up near the top.

The skys were super clear and we could see Point Loma and the downtown skyline some 40 miles away as a crow files.

Point Loma and Downtown
Point Loma and Downtown

We did not do a particularly good job of chasing the sun and pretty much finish the last minutes of the day. There are worse things to be bad at.

Steve showing off.
Steve showing off both of his girlfriends!

Big Laguna Trail

Time for some more Big Laguna Trail fun.

Cool clouds
Cool clouds

It is monsoon season in the deserts well to the east but the Laguna Mountains gets in on some of that action as well.

Water of the World
Water of the World

I have had the pleasure in the past of starting a ride here with not a cloud in the sky and watch huge clouds form in no time at all.

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Farting around with Steve’s Clown Bike

Today the clouds were already in the sky and made for a picturesque backdrop to the day.

Such a nice day out
Such a nice day out!

We spun around the meadow, Los Gatos, Chico and few other select trsils in the area. Such a great day out on s bike.

Cruisin on BLT
Cruising on BLT!

Laguna Mountains Funtime

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.

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Chip and Roger

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Jorge

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The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)

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Jason

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Jason and Amy

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Chip playing with his new bike

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At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony

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Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

Beautiful Scenery at Laguna Meadow

This past weekend Nichol and I did some camping up a Big Laguna Meadow for a couple of days of enjoying the trails in the area.

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The last bit of rain we had did the flora some good and it look downright like spring up here.

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There was plenty of color both out on the meadow and in the trees.

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Some pretty white stuff on the Big Laguna Trail.  This particular section is one of the reroutes from a couple of years.  I said it before but once again, thumbs up to the ranger out here was made it happen.

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Some color on the upper section of the Noble Canyon trail.

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Lupines near Wooded Hills.

If getting out to Laguna Mountains has been on your to-do list for a while now is an excellent time to get out there!

BLT, Redtail Roost and Noble Canyon

Saturday Nichol and I went up to Big Laguna Meadow to get in some biking and a night of camping.

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It was quite a pretty day with some fall colors up in the trees and exceptionally nice temps. After setting up camp we did a cruise around meadow.

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We were up bright and early the next morning to meet a gang-o-folks down at the lower Noble Canyon Trailhead for some playing around for the better part of the day.  We left some vehicles at the bottom and then drove up to the Redtail Roost trailhead off of Sunrise Highway.    There were at total of 10 of us in the gaggle.   Redtail roost is a fun trail that goes along a wooded ridgeline for a ways before descending down into the Laguna Meadow area.    Encountering a dude all decked out in camouflage early along the trail was good reminder that it is hunting season up here.   I was also glad I passed on wearing my buckskin jersey and Viking helmet on this ride.

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After descending Redtail Roost we climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of the Los Gatos trail where we then descended down to the meadow.    But not without playing a few features here and there.  Here is Michael playing on a skinny.

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Dave getting in some log action as well.  Once down on the meadow we went up the east side of the meadow a ways and the did a side loop that included a portion of the connector trail that goes between the meadow and the Pacific Crest Trail.   Once back at the meadow we went around and up the west side of the meadow and caught the connector over to Penny Pines and the upper Noble Canyon trailhead.  It was here that David’s frame broke where the downtube meets the bottom bracket.   So he broke off  from the group for a very dodgy ride back to Redtail Roost along Sunrise Highway.

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It was Noble Canyon time now and there was plenty of good stuff as always between the top and the bottom.   Here is Jenny rolling through the woods up near the top.

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James playing on a jump about halfway down or so.

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James rolling into the “Stairway to Hell”

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Kevin meets Stairway to Hell.  I was kind of jealous of his superlight rig earlier in the ride, you know like on the climbs.   I was pretty stoke with my rig through these parts.  After spending most the summer riding a XC hardtail rent-a-wreck my long-legged stretched out full suspension couch felt awesome through this stuff.  Woot Woot!

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James working through some chunk.     By the time we hit the bottom trailhead most folks’ mileage device had us doing between 24 and 25 miles with a little under 2,800 feet of climbing in.   While the rest of the crew headed out, I went back up to he meadow and we broke camp down at a leisurely pace and then headed out for tasty BBQ and Beer at Alpine Beer Company.   Another good weekend on a bike.

Some Noble Canyon and BLT Play Time

Time to catch up on some photos that have tried to get lost over the last few weeks in a smorgasbord of work, holiday parties,  family visits and a cross country road trip (non-biking..but some intel was gathered).   A few days before I headed out to the east coast to start all of the festivities, I meet up with some of the SDMBA folks and Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA’s Mapping Specialist.    Noble Canyon is one of IMBA’s Epics and Leslie while on a Southern California swing wanted to refresh the information of Noble Canyon and check out the trail for herself.    Mark (SDMBA’s USFS Liason and Board Member)  had put together all of the logistics together for the ride and a great day out in this awesome area soon followed..

 

The route that was put together for the day was a point-to-point route from Red Tail Roost in the Big Laguna Recreation Area, down into the Big Laguna Meadow proper and then onward to drop Noble Canyon.

Leslie is an avid photographer and was sporting a DSLR along with a couple of lens.   I know first hand what a pain carrying that gear can be sometimes and she was carrying around more stuff that I normally do.   Here is Leslie getting some monkey action on to get the shot on the Gatos Ravine trail.    Some of the pictures in this post are from Leslie.

Los Gatos near the top

Big Laguna Meadow has brown up for the winter but it is certainly still pretty.  At the time of this posting, the meadow is most likely covered in snow.

Mark working the “Stairway to Hell”

A shot by Leslie of me on “Stairway to Hell”

Leslie working through the chunk of “Extra Credit”

Mark riding the “Roman Wall” near the bottom of the trail.

Farewell to a friend and Quality Time

A wad of short blonde hair going in 27 different directionsu nearly buried under a pillow was all that could be seen of youngest son, Jake’s this past Sunday at  6:30AM when I went to wake him up. 13 year old boys are not fond of this time in the morning and he fully looked the part of a coma rattled teenager when I rousted him out of dreamland.    We were headed out to Laguna Mountains for a different kind of bike ride.

A few week ago a good friend of mine Cliff Walker made an unscheduled dismount from the ride of life.   I can’t use the word “close” and  “dear” without feeling some sense of guilt.   Cliff had lots of friends who were much more involved with his day-to-day life than I.    Cliff was one of my “MTB Buds”.  One of those friends that you primarily assoicate with while mountain biking.   We have done a couple of road trips and races together as well as many rides and some epics together.   A solid good person you just a joy to be around.

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Jake and I were headed to the Laguna Mountains to join some of Cliffs other friends for a memorial ride.   Twenty-nine riders gathered up to take a spin around Big Laguna Meadow and honor Cliff’s Life.

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The ride was timed to end at about the same time that some of his family and no biking friends could gather up as well to celebrate Cliffs life.   The gathering swelled to over 70 people who sit under the shade of the meadow’s pine trees to share and tell stories about how Cliff had touched each of thier lifes in some way.   Cliff had a very diverse group of friends and the stories about Cliff I had never before really showed just how impressive a life he lived and how he had touched so many people’s life in a positve way.   

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There was more than a couple of stories that included Cliff’s perpencity to be the first person up the hill.   More than a few of us recalled getting up to the top of the hill to find Cliff walking around in circles looking under the various bushes and behind the trees.   Once we questioned Cliff would look at you with this devilish smirk and reply “I dropped a hammer have you seen it?”    It was always good for a laugh and the celebration of his life gathering was no different.   A special thanks goes out to Chip Brent for making the celebration event happen.

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Afterwards, Jake was down for just a father/son ride.    The memorial ride was just along the meadow and he had not down some of the other trails in the area before.   We decided to add Wooded Hills and Los Gatos Ravine into the mix.   A pretty significant event happened on the Wooded Hills climb.  Jake was riding strong and then you decided to see how quick he could go.   I saw him lift the pace and I was having a tough time matching it.   It was not long before kicked up the pace enough more.  

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 I saw the half-sly turn his head to see how far back I was.   That was his moment.  The moment when a Son knows he is beating his Dad something.   Not just something, but his Dad’s thing.   He knew he had me and he was not letting up.    I knew he had me too, I was not going to catch him, the best I could do give a good showing for second place.    I was weird mix of pride in my Son and a relevation that I’m slacking.     Sure I could make excuses and rationalize things like the fact I weigh about 90lbs more than he does and I did a respectable climb after a couple of beers at the celebration but no matter who you slice it my son kicked my ass up that hill.      I got to the top about 45 seconds behind Jake and he was already off the bike with his helmet off and was hoofing and puffing.      After a bunch of praise from me, he looked a me with a very smirky look on his face and calmly said, “Yeah, I dropped a hammer. Did you see it?”

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Rolling through the Dog Days of Summer

Man long time no post.  The Dog Days of Summer have seemed to go on forever.  I spent most of the summer either down by the coast or as high up in the mountains as I could get.   La Costa, Lake Calavera, The San Clemente Singletracks and the Laguna Mountains have been the been most of my main riding haunts.

 Pretty Cool Trail

Of course there have been some excursions outside of the local range as well as places not fit for public blabbage.  Here is a Pretty Cool Trail off the beaten path that during the right kind of weather would be within sight of Palm Springs.

Homebase of my employeer is Philadephia and I am part of small contigent of folks who take care of things here on West Side.   Quite a few of my co-workers back in Philly are mountain bikers as well so we when they are out here we try to squeeze in some “Off Site” time with me playing Julie the cruise director.   Here is Jonathan out of the Laguna Mountains lugging around my UZZI.

Some good summer monsoon clouds rolling in.

Rocking a log ride 

I have been up on the Big Laguna Trail more times this summer than I have in quite a few years combined.    Here is Michael Paul riding the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

From the top of the of Los Gatos trail near Mount Laguna you can get in some awesome views when it is clear out.   In the center of the picture above is downtown San Diego and Point Loma, 49.5 miles away as a crow flys.

Here is a zoomed in shot.  The downtown buildings are in the middle and Point Loma is on the left hand edge of the screen.  For a number of years I worked out at Point Loma and I always marveled at the handful of days in the winter when you could look at downtwon with snow capped mountains as the backdrop.   It was pretty cool to see the view from the opposite direction on this day.

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From another visit, here is my youngest son Jake making a run at the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

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  This was a successful “One and Done” run for the log ride.  I’m going to have to watch out for this boy.