Mountain Bike Bill, The Dirt on the Dirt

Ohana Trails, Oahu

How quickly stuff piles up when you are out playing. Then there is that whole pesky work thing that tries to slow my roll. While in Hawaii last month, I was fortunate enough to meet a killer group of locals who helped get me on some great trails while I was there.

Bikes taking a rest in the Ohana (or was it the Aloha trail)?

The Ohana trails were some of those goods. This network had mucho flow a plenty if “micro-tech” to keep you honest.

View from the trailhead.
Sublime bermage
Rolling through woods
One of the regroup spots. AKA waiting for Bill to catchup. The fellows roll!

I have some video footage from this area that I am going to get together at some point, but one thing is for certain. If you should find yourself in Oahu you should definitely check out this trail network. If you use the Trailforks App, it pretty darn easy to find your way there. It is listed as Olomana Trails but most of the riders refer to the area as the Ohana. The next time I get back to Oahu, this is trail #1 on the list.

Fun Times at Ohana!

Help Save “Urban Legend”

My lame attempt at hitting these features

Located in Pupukea, the short but fun “Urban Legend” trail that is just one of dozens of MTB trails in the area. It is unique in that it man-made built up features that is worth keeping around. Please read the petition linked below and think about signing it. Show our MTB brothers and sisters in Hawaii some Aloha by supporting the petition. And please don’t my lame ass attempt at riding this trail dissuade your thoughts on the coolness of this trail.…

Peacock Flats Loop + Video

Boy have I had a great week of getting out on the trails here on Oahu. I have a pile of pictures and footage to sort through already as well as great stories to share.

Jeep trail in the Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve

Last week I did the Peacock Loop. Sometimes just referred to as Peacock Flats. It is a big ride with big views!

On the Kuaokala trail

It starts at Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s northwest corner. You will do a paved climb up to Peacock Flats and into the Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve will you will do some ridge riding (aka ups and downs) into the the Kuaokala Forest Reserve and Game Management Area were you will pick up the Kuaokala trail some amazing bit of single track before getting back onto jeep trails and more ups and downs.

Singletrack goodness along the Kuaokala Ridge Trail
Pointing to Japan
Working my way down the Kealia trail.
Descending the Kaelia Trail

You will finish up the loop with the Kealia Trail which is a pretty serious bit of steep rugged single track that I have heard called a hiking trail that bikers sometimes ride. I was somewhere between pooped and cooked at this point in the ride which make technical riding that much more interesting. All together you will do 21.2 miles and 3,700 feet of climbing. If it is clear out, I say the price of admission is worth it. If you are a Trailforks user you can find the route here, but realize that this route over estimates the total ascent by a bunch. Here is my Strava from that ride which shows the elevation better.

Finally here is the video I put together from this day’s adventure.

Rain Friendly Kailua Ride

Last week a few of the local boys were planning on showing me the Ohana trails over on the windward side of the island. It ended up raining all night so there was a change of plans to take in some stuff that is rain friendly. When ended doing some cool stuff.

Robert giving some pointers on getting out from under the Pali highway to continue on Old Pali road to the lookout

We started off with a bit of street riding to hookup with Old Pali road which has been replaced with the Pali highway. We were soon climbing on the road that is on its ways to be reclaimed by mother nature. We had one interesting scramble where Pali highway crosses over the old road.

I knew my quads were in trouble when Eric and Mike rolled up with these bikes. (On Old Pali Road)
Regrouping on the old Pali bridge.

We regrouped at the Old Pali road bridge. When I say regroup I mean the guys waited for me to catch up at this spot. I felt pretty happy about the climb I was putting down but these guys had a couple gears I don’t have (yet).

I set some PRs for sustained time in Heart Rate Zones 4 and 5 on that climb.
I think this is my “Mommie make the bad men stop!” face.
Handing bikes over the gate

After the old bridge we made our way up to the Pali lookout with the last challenge being getting the bikes over the locked gate. If under a certain girth you can squeeze between the gate and the rock face to get through. I just managed to squeeze through, but I had to do an an exhale 🙂

At Pali Lookout

I have been to the Pali lookout quite a few times but it had always been via a car so this time felt special considering the views were well earned.

Mike showing off mad road skills by taking photos while cruising down the road.

After Pali Lookout we took Pali highway down back down into Kailua where we took a series of streets over into a forest. We followed along some old dirt roads and some trails that follow along an irrigation system.

Hey Guys, its this way!!

This was off the beaten path stuff and it had been sometime since of these options had been taken. There was some hike-a-biking done. There were quite a few bike hand ups and hand offs combined with some ropes along the trail to help you with the hike-a-biking. My arms were pretty pumped by the time we got we got off the trail.

“Exploration along the irrigation trails”

The irrigation trails bought out us onto a forest road called OGR (standing for Old Government Road) and a sustained downhill. Wet clayish soil, actively raining and downhill. Yep this is what my bike with its aggressive tires that I had been hearing churning against the old pavement of much of the climbs today was ready to get to work. I zipped down that section and was able to get my first (and only) photos of the guys coming towards me.

On OGR (Old Government Road)

These guys have a system and Mike texted ahead and had coffees waiting for us at a local shop when we rolled back into town. Robert, Mike and Eric were quite tour guides on this day. Rain, Mud, Hike-A-Bikes….yeah it was great day to be out on a bike!

(The photos with me in frame were provided by Mike.)

Hawaii – Ka’ena Point + Video

I have a work gig in Oahu, Hawaii for pretty much all of April. Getting ready for this trip I decided that my it was time to upgrade my luggage. My Trico hardshell travel case has already been long in the tooth and it was time to retire it after 16 years of service. I bought a the EVOC Travel Bike Bag Pro with the internal stand. What a difference this bag made. It was so much easier to wheel it around the terminal and getting out to the rental car.

EVOC bag all packed up.

After getting into Hawaii, I spent the afternoon checking into my accommodations and making the first run to stock up the fridge and cupboards. I was sacked out pretty early. The body clock was off which had me up pretty darn early. I decided to make use of the time and got the bike put back together just about at sunrise.

O-Damn Early Start

After a having a leisurely morning that included a nap I had to get going. I do not know the reason way, but often times a three hour time shift seems to hit me worse than a 12hr+ shift does. Maybe it is a matter of expectations. Either way it was time for a shake down ride with the bike and maybe shake off some jet lag.

The bike is ready to roll

I have been out near Ka’ena Point numerous times but have not taken the old road/trail out to and around the point before. I had read that some vehicle break-ins had occurred right at the trail head so I took some local advice and parked at Dillingham Airfield about 1.5 miles short of the trailhead which is considered less prone to that type of thing.

Happy Bike

The cruise along the road was pretty darn easy and I was soon out on the old road. Trailforks has the orginal old road shown as the trail but there are numerous trails and path between the original road and the ocean. On the way out to the point, pretty much any of the paths/trail closer to the ocean will be more interesting than the old road. It did not take me long to figure that out. The scenery was incredible.

Out at Ka’ena Point

The tip of the point has a long heavy duty gauge fence fit for keeping out vehicles and just about any land critter without opposable thumbs. Once in this area there are two major paths with one being much further out on the point than the other. The trail going out further out on the point gets really sandy and you will end up pushing your bike. On your way out its is worth it to do a little pushing to see the views that you will not get otherwise.

Trail is in the upper left

Once around point the two trails rejoin and you will soon go through the other end of the significant fence. The road now is much more interesting and narrow. There is a washout of the road about a couple hundred yards after the fence but there is a foot scramble trail that goes around it. Don’t worry if you miss it, When you run out of road, turn around and go back about 50 yards or so. After the washout the old dirt road continues to impress with amazing views right along the ocean.

Pretty killer scenery along this old road

At around 7.4 miles (From Dillingham Airfield) the dirt comes out to a gate and transitions to pavement. There are a handful of options to extend your ride from here but this is where I decided to turn around today. The ride back was just as amazingly beautiful. Out the near the point I did take the route that stays closer to the mountain and further from the point. Once around the “corner” I had quite a hard breeze in my face which caused a bit more work than on the out portion of this route. This is most likely the flattest trail you will find on the island and it well earns its “green” trail rating. It should not however be overlooked. This is an amazingly beautiful XC trail that provides a unique and quality outdoor experience.

Not a bad start to a work trip at all. It was a great day to be on the dirt (and lava rocks)!

UPDATE: Added the video I shot on this day

Back in the Saddle

I have been off the bike for quite a chunk of time with lots of competing interests taking up my time. I have a slew of home projects, a long overdue visit from my parents, some difficult work in town as well as some work travel.

Great view
I worked under harder conditions.

It was not bad, just not mountain biking. I worked in Hawaii for a month which included having my wife out for a week.

We are still smiling here, we still have climb back down this slick ridgeline.

I did not doing any mountainbiking in Hawaii on this trip but I did do quite a bit of hiking.

Plenty of great things to see by foot i. Hawaii.

Back in SD

It was however quite nice to get back to San Diego and hit up some hometown dirt again.

Playing on SoCal rocks

What is not to like about this kind of trail action.

Tight Situation

Vacation and Laguna Mountains

So I have not been riding much as of late.

View from along the stroll to dinner

Nichol and I managed to do a traditional vacation that included a handful of days in Hawaii.

Poolside did not suck

Now Nichol and I have been to Oahu numerous times related to work but this was our first time there in a strictly vacation fashion. We have both done most of the “mandatory” tourist things on the island in the past so we were under no pressure or schedule to do anything. It was really nice.

Sunset from the backyard

In addition to vacation, there has been lots of house stuff that has been capturing my interests and time as if late. Man caves don’t build themselves!

But that does not mean I have not been riding. I have been hitting my local “off the books” ride here and there along with getting out to the Laguna Mountains. I just have been hitting the trails with as much regularity as I normally do. Pretty sure I’m gonna pay for that later.

Oahu’s Manana Trail

I’m back from my quick work trip to Hawaii, but before I finished up there, I was able to squeeze in a second ride.  The Manana trail was less than 15 minutes from where I was working so it fit the bill for a post-work ride.  It was pretty short trail mileage-wise but mileage can be deceptive sometimes, particularly if the terrain is interesting. 

Such was the case with this trail.  There were plenty of roots to contend with on the first half of this ride.   I was glad today was a dry day as these things can turn your bike into an ejection seat rather easily when wet.   With the roots dry they were manageable and allowed for some serious brushing up on the technical “monkey motion” skills.  There were two unscheduled nose-wheelies that I still have no idea how I managed to keep from going over the bars.

Somewhere around the 1.5 mile mark the trail comes out of the thick foliage and starts following a somewhat open ridgeline.   In the picture above you should be able to make out the cut of the trail.  The trail was actually easier for a while along this ridge as the roots were much more sparce.  The views of the Ko’olau Mountains to the east continued to be intriguing as I climbed but the peaks were mostly shroud by the tradewinds clouds spilling over from the windward side of the island.

The views of the Waianae mountain range on the west side of island opened up behind me as I climbed.   I imagine that a morning time ride would be the best time to take in this view.

The trail follows up the ridge for a while and then started a bit more roller coasteering with things getting steeper.  It was easy to tell that I was moving beyond where most hikers where opting to turn around and head back as the trail transitioned from a dirt tread to a short grassy tread.  There were also plenty of strawberry guava plants along the trail which gave me great excuses to stop and sample the goods.  Snacking on tasty native edibles seemed downright decadent.

As the ridgeline undulations became larger and steeper, the hike-a-bike sections became more frequent and longer.   The trail started giving me glimpses of what a tropical version of the Los Pinos Trail in Orange County would look like.  Hike-a-Biking rarely bothers me as some of the best riding I have ever done has involved some quality time with your feet on the ground.  The Manana trail goes up to the Ko’olau summit over the course of six miles so this could be up to a 12-mile ride.  I did maybe six to eight miles total opting to turn around at a point where I thought the daylight buffer and expected return time equation seemed to balance out.   The actual return time was much quicker than expected and I wish I would have pressed onward a little further.   Maybe next time.

The Maunawili Trail

This past Saturday was the last day on my Hawaii business trip and I was able to carve out some time on Saturday morning for a ride.  The destination was the Maunawili Trail on the windward side (east) of the island.   I got an early enough start that I had to casually get ready at the trailhead while waiting for daylight to join me at the rally point.

The Maunawili trail is a 10 mile singletrack that countours along the foothills above the Maunawili Valley and near the striking cliff bases of the Ko’olau Mountains.   All of the descriptions of this trail I had found recommended it as a point-to-point from the north end near the Pali Lookout and going south down to the community of Waimanalo.  There was only about 1,000 feet of elevation between the high and low points so that even accounting for some undulations in the trail it should not be too bad as an out-and-back.   The sun did not make a majestic entrance when I started out from Waimanalo.  It was quite cloudy when I set off on the double track climb that would take me up to the start of the trail proper. 

The doubletrack was not horrible, but the singletrack was downright awesome pretty much right from the get go.  Sweet narrow goodness etched into steep hillsides was the theme most the time.     While most of the trail tread is smooth, there were numerous rooty and rocky section to keep your technical skills on point.

 The trail went in and out of numerous foothill fingers and while the cloudy morning was putting a damper on the full beauty of this place it was still impressive.   The prominence of the cliffs often made me feel downright small. 

The beauty of this trail really did a good job of hiding the danger of the steep hillside that was often less than a foot off the trail thread.   If this was a barren desert trail, it would be easy to get wigged out about some of the exposure.    Mother Nature added to the deception and danger of some of these spots with ferns that grow in from the high side of the trail.   I preferred having my faced brushed by ferns over finding a weak spot on the downhill edge of the trail. 


 The  flora on this trail was simply incredible.  I only knew what a few of the types I saw where.  Later on I found out that I had been cruising under cool stuff like mango trees, pink guava, a plethora of ferns, and a bunch of native plants that contained way too many vowels for me to pronounce.

As I started nearing the north end of the trail, there was more signs of use and well as trail maintenance.   In some of the wet spots a few boardwalks had been installed to help the trail and habitat keep from getting thrashed.  At this point one thing was for sure, this trail is uphill in both directions.     It took me a lot longer than expected to cover the 10 miles and reach the north end of the trail at Pali highway.    The plan was enjoy the trail in other direction, but I did not have enough time now as I had after lunch work commitments.   With a great deal of reluctance, I played grown up and dropped off the mountain on the road and speedily made my way back  to my car.   The work went well, but I did have to burn some “lamp oil” to polish everything off.   One thing is for certain, this will not be my last ride on this trail.  I’m already looking forward to a sunny day return…someday.