La Costa to Elfin

I recently revisited the connector route between and the La Costa trail system and the Elfin Forest recreation reserve as well as little bit of exploration along the way. Here are few thoughts and pictures from along the way.

This crap is why it is important for groups like SDMBA to engage with developer that are tasked with putting trails as part of the development. Wither you agree or disagree with a development, these home and road builder needs to be educated on what a trail is and is not. This tripe is not a trail!
This part of the route was mighty zippy down and a real grunt on the way up!
The Escondido Creek singletrack.

I had not been on the Escondido Creek single track in a really long time. When I was helping with the early phase of constructing this trail, I got my worst case of poison oak I have ever had. There was some PO along this trail on this ride but it was not really encroaching into the trail.

Cruising through the Harmony Grove area. This used to be an old trailer/RV park and you will ride through some of those remnants.
The creek crossing just after the trail enters Elfin Forest Recreation Preserve

I tinkered with a few offshoot trails as long the way. When I got to Elfin I thought about putting together a loop using a series of trails a dirt roads to the north. I opted to check out a few more along the route I came out on. All together I put in 21 miles and change along with 3,000 feet of climbing. If you rode all of the Elfin and La Costa trails along with the connector you could pile up about 40 miles. I am going to tinker here some more for sure.

The 2009 Archipelago Ride

This is the second year a group of advocates and friends got together to do a ride that has become known as the Archipelago Ride.  Open Space in coastal San Diego County has become very fragmented over the years into a patchwork of “islands of open space”.  The Archipelago Ride concept is one to demonstrate how these islands can be linked together into a rides of epic length.

This years ride started at the La Costa Preserve and went to Probuilt Wheels on the western end of Penasquitos Canyon.  Getting there was by way of Elfin Forest, Lake Hodges, San Deiguito River Park, Lusardi Creek, Santa Luz, and Black Mountain.

The day started off early in the moaning with most folks grabbing a shuttle from Pro-Built up to La Costa.

Once we got up to the La Costa the gaggle of riders was even larger.  I think the total rider count was 37.  I thought for sure with this many people that the regroup logistics would make for slow going. 

Slow going would not be a bad thing for me today.  Jake had an ice hockey game going on that morning so the plan was to help get the ride started and then catch the game and grab onto the ride around Lake Hodges.   I decided to grab some shots of the group from Harmony Grove Road as they went of the Escondido Sewer Easement and I was quite surprised at the pace the group was making as they got there quite earlier than I had expected. 

Roughly about this same timeframe, I got a call for Jake’s coach that the game was later than what was orginally published, so there was little chance that I was going to catch all of Jake’s game.

I did however manage to get the ice rink for a bit before I got the call from the ride sweep letting me know the group was rolling into Hodges.  I booked it from the rink and got setup below the Hodge Dam.  To lead the group for a bit on a different route from last year.

The general consenus was that everything was going along smoothly…and then I took over 🙂  So this “new” route had a little “technical hike-a-biking” in it. 

The climb-a-biking was a neccessary evil to get to a creekside trail that was pretty sweet with a bit of technical flow to it.  This was a recent find for me so I was stoked to show it off.

After the creek side riding we followed Lasardi Creek for a short ways and then we took a different route from last year up to the Santa Luz Loop.

I like the congo line of helmets through the flowers above.

Once up to the Santa Luz  Loop things went pretty quickly to Black Mountain Park and the waiting sag wagon.  In addition to snacks there was mighty tasty fluids suitable for rehydration.

 

After Black Mountain Park we continued on the Santa Luz Loop and then took the connector over to McGonigle and Deer Canyons.

 Our last major regroup was just before entering Deer Canyon.  SDMBA had tried to get the permission to use one of the tunnels for this ride, but with all of the controversy with the area we were relegated to “Tunnel Zero” aka the God forsaken powerline climb up onto the mesa.

Once up on the mesa, everyone knew the way “home” so the proverbal hounds were released and everyone seem to move quicker. 

There were tasty grub and brews awaiting back a Probuilt Wheels.  It was a great way to end this 42 mile ride that had 5,000 plus feet of climbing.   I was amazed at how close this group was in relative strength and endurance.  The group was never really strung out and the group make good time over the course of the day.

Here is a photo album with all of the pictures I took during the ride.

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.

-Bill