An old friend gone

It is with a bit of sadness that I must pass on that this beautiful old oak tree has finally moved on from Daley Ranch.

From a year or so ago

On my Sunday morning ride, I found this tree toppled over completely broken the eastern half of the Jack Meadow loop. Half of had come down a year or so ago, but the other half finally we over as well. Considering that Daley Ranch has a staff to handle this kind of stuff I imagine the tree came down on Saturday. Good bye old friend you were a most welcome shade spot.

Local Wanderings In San Diego

In addition to all of the rain we are getting here in San Diego this winter (Which is a good thing) life has been busy over the month.  Nichol and I bought a house and we have been pretty well occupied with closing that deal and then moving in and setting up shop so to say.

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Most of rides during this time frame has been what I would categorize as local “maintenance” rides.   I have been out to Anderson Truck Trail a few times.

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Daley Ranch has spent a good bit of time in the rotation as it is one of the more rain tolerant riding areas around the area.   I have also hit up La Costa a time or two.

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Now MTB Life has not been all about just the same ole same ole.   I revisited some old places that have had a new batch of trail gnomes out doing to good things.  I’m not a liberty at this point to provide details but don’t be afraid to look around near your own backyard.

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There are is plenty of green out and about right now, and so should you.   Ride On!

Daley Ranch After Work Rides

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So Nichol has been looking way too comfortable riding around Lake Hodges as of late so it was time bring on something a little more challenging for the after work rides.

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Nichol meet Daley Ranch.  Just for the record the top section of the East Ridge Trail was the only time she hike-a-biked any section of the first ride out here.  I have a feeling it is just a matter of time before I’m chasing her up the hills.

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We were chasing daylight on our first outing so we did Creek Crossing to Sage to the Jack Meadow Loop.  After the loop we took the East Ridge trail back to the Creek Crossing trail and back the trailhead.  It was only 9 miles and change but was more elevation change than the 18 mile loop we last did at Lake Hodges.

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Our second after-work ride at Daley this week started out the same but at the top of the Jack Meadow Loop we took the Hidden Springs trail (aka “The Wall”) up onto the western ridge where we rode the Engelman Oak and the Cougar Ridge trails (fire roads) over the Crest trail.  The trail is holding pretty well considering that we have been way short on rain for a long time.    After the Crest trail we took the ranch access road back to the trail.    This was only a mile longer than the previous outing but added about 500 feet of additional climbing.      This is a good time of year to be riding out here with mild temps and greenery all around.

Daley Ranch Gruntage

Life has me way behind on all sorts of things these days and the blog has been taking a hit on the priority list as of late.  I have been getting in some rides but at the end of the day the pictures have been having a tough time finding thier way off of the memory card.    Here are a few pics from an outing out at Daley Ranch in Escondido.   

Stanley Peak.   There is quite a bit of grunt work required to get up here but the views are nice from the top.

The old water tower as seen from the fire road that takes up to Stanley Peak.

The Old Water Tank trail that connects the fire road up to Stanley Peak to the water tank.  This trail has erroded nicely into a fun little snippet of a trail.

These pictures were taken fairly early in the ride and before I knew it I was chasing daylight.  I’m no fan of the short days of this time of the year but something about being mindful of the remains of the days to push your pace of a ride.

Intense Demo Day and UZZI Test Ride

Yesterday, the Intense Demo Tour along with BikeBling were at Daley Ranch in Escondido so I swung by to check out the scene.  There were lots of folks buzzing around right from the start and it did not take for the 20 plus sweet demo rigs to be set free with test riders out onto the trails. I’m pretty sure that I saw the entire lineup of bikes go out at least twice while I was there.

There was more than just the production bikes there.  There were some prototypes and preproduction bikes to kick around as well.  Here is a Jeff Steber science project bike.  This is a Tracer with a set of ISCG tabs welded onto the bottom bracket to allow for a Hammerschmit crankset to be used.  (Production Tracers don’t have these tabs) This is an internal geared crankset that allows you to shift under full load, while coasting or even pedaling backwards.  It is effectively a 22/36 crankset.  The additional clearance this thing could give is pretty freaking crazy.  This could also be pretty awesome if you had a bike that does not accommodate a front derailuer.

There were also couple of rigs they were setback for gawk and droll.  One of those rigs was a preproduction UZZI in Works Blue. What an incredible looking bike.  This one had the adjustable G3 dropouts set to the shorter wheelbase, a Rockshox Totem fork and the new (I think still prototype?) 2010 Fox DHX-A shock. I’m not sure how much the bike weighs but I guess around 34 pounds or so.

Later on in the morning the guys let me put some dirt on this thing and I have to say I was pretty freaking impressed. Daley Ranch is quite hilly but really does not have all the features to put this bike through all of it’s paces.  There is enough there to establish an impression.  If I had to sum up my thoughts of this rig into a single sentence it would have to be this. 

A killer rig that will have you thinking you have much less than seven inches of travel when you are climbing and you will swear you have much more than seven inches of travel when you are descending.

I do very little shuttling or lift-assisted riding so a rig of this size would have to be able to climb for my usage.  Daley Ranch is an excellent place to get your climb on, and I purposely picked a route that would meet my “threshold” for climbing.  Basically if the rig could  climb this route without undo pain, it would meet my criteria for a “climbable rig”.   The sag on the DHX-A shock was not too far off for me so I only added air to the main pressure chamber to get the sag somewhere around 30-35%.  So you know what I comparing against, my normal rig is a 6.6 and I have ridden it with an older style (15-click propedal) Fox DHX-A, a RP23, and most recently a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock.    Right out of the gate I was impressed with the small bump compliance.  I was taking the rockiest lines I could find and it felt really good.   The propedal worked as it should, but I found that the climbing efficiency of the VPP design makes propedal not a major concern for me.   The bike was setup in trail bike mode with the adjustable G3 dropouts setup for the shorter wheelbase, higher BB and steeper head angle.  The slacker angles compared to my 6.6 with a TALAS 36 fork where noticeable on the climbs. I routinely drop my fork down on steeper climbs but you can’t do that with the Totem fork so adjusting your body position was required on the steeper stuff to keep the fork on the ground.  This is something I find easily adaptable.  

I worked my way to one of my favorite spots that has some rocks to play on that include some drops.  I was pretty quite surprised when I hit the first drop.   The rear shock felt freaking awesome.  In the past I was never really able to get either the RP23 or the DHX-A balanced where I could have small bump compliance and not blow through all of my travel on drops.   The feeling in the rearend of the bike on the landing was very similar to the progressive ramp up that you get with a coil shock.  I was by myself, but still had to verbally say “WOW”.  I spent a good chunk of time sessioning the drops and rocks just to keep checking out the feeling.  This shock was not blowing through the midstroke travel like I had seen before in the older DHX-A on my 6.6.  I have no idea what is going with the internal changes for the 2010 model but it is certainly a vast improvement.   Now experience wise I’m still pretty new to the coil-shock scene, but I would have to say from a layman’s perspective this new DHX-A felt very coil like.

For the downhill stuff, Daley Ranch offers only small bits for letting this rig loose.  When those spots came, the bike as expected shined.   Holding lines, sucking up rocks and bumps, it was cool.  I’m pretty sure this rig would be quite the Chunk Gnar-Meister.  I’m betting that those G3 dropouts would be really awesome for some lift-assist action or someplace like Downieville where you could lengthen out the wheelbase, lower the BB and slacken up the headangle. 

I sure hope the guys at Intense will be able to get off all the drool marks both I and everyone else left on thier bikes. 🙂

A great finish to a 3-day weekend – Daley Ranch

So my boys were pretty pumped up about the riding at La Costa on Saturday and they were itching to ride again.  I had plans to take them to Lake Hodges or Penasquitos Canyon since that would be fairly kid friendly.   When I woke up this morning to see that it had rained the night before, I shelved both of those trails since they do not fair well after rains.  We hung out around the house until almost 1PM catching one of the new releases on Pay-Per-View.     They were still itching to go so I offered up Daley Ranch which is one of the best places to ride in the county when it is wet out.    I warned them that there was a bunch of climbing to do at Daley. They were undaunted so we loaded up and headed to Escondido.

Daley Ranch

The weather looked questionable at the trailhead, but we opted to head out.   We took the right out of the parking lot onto the Creek Crossing trail and then out to the Sage trail for the typical (and substantial) starting climb.  I was thoroughly impressed with both of them on the climb as they never stopped due to being tired. (They did dab a couple of times, but they did far better than I did when I first came out here some years back)  Due to the moisture we opted to skip the Coyote Run and Rattlesnake singletracks and stay on the fireroads.   It worked out well as the boys really enjoyed catching bits of air off the rocks in the fireroad on the way down to the meadow.  We stopped at the first good view of the meadow and we could hear a pack of coyotes yipping it up below.  Will was even keen enough to spot them before they headed off into the trees.

 Jake Air

Once down in the meadow we did the Jack Meadow loop starting up the east side.   We took a break at a little kicker rock so the boys could get some “mini-air”.

Will Air

 Once we reached the north end of the meadow and headed down the west side it was mostly a gradual downhill affair from there.   I reminded them that they had a big ring on thier bike and it was game on after that.    With my gearing at 32:18, I had to put on some serious cadence to beat them to the Ranch House.  

The damp and cool air kept us from lingering long during our break at the Ranch House.   They were trying to talk me into going to Wings and Things after the ride so I made a deal with them.   If we took the East Ridge trail back instead of “wimping out” on the road I would take them.   (I was going to take them anyway, but they did not need to know that.)   The thing about the East Ridge trail is that there is one really nasty steep section and I wanted them to get a taste of some hike-a-biking.   I really talked up “The Wall” to them and when they first saw it ahead they both gave a big “Whoa!”   They both gave it a good shot making about a third of the way up each.

East Ridge Wall 

I got pretty lucky on that climb as the wet weather made the traction like Velcro and I managed to clean it, my first time ever on the SS.  After that we connected back up with the Creek Crossing trail and made our way back to the trailhead.  I had tired but jazzed kids on my hands who made quick work of their dinner at Wing and Things.

Jake

Will

-Bill

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