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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
With all of the competing interests pulling at my boys’ time such as friends, hockey practice, hockey games, etc…It was really cool that Jake wanted to join me on a ride at Lake Calvera this morning.
I took him on a different group of trails than what I have typically done in the past. Some of it was due to some of the trails being closed by the City of Carlsbad as they have started actively managing thier slice of the Calvera “Area”. Another reason for the trail change up is tha Jake has gotten strong and better on the bike so I thought it was time to take him on some of the more technical bits.
Jake did quite well on the technical bits. I was surprised that the squeeze type rock moves gave him more troubles than having to go up and over rocks.
Which he seemed to find easy to just pop up onto and roll off of. Makes me wish I had started riding a mountain bike when I was a little grommet.
This trail feature should have a sign “You can be no taller than this to got on this ride”. It would have been a face smasher if I would have tried it. All together we did about 12 miles or so.
On our pedal back to the house we started thinking about tasty brown cold beverages for post ride refreshments.
Ahh, Coke Slurpees!
I got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago and have been taking it easy for the most. Enjoying the “normal” things in my life like the kid’s hockey games, practice, honey-dos, etc…. Oh, and I managed to break my FN left big toe just strolling through the house. So not much in the way of blogging about mountain biking. But I been squeaking in some ride here here and there.
Before the toe breakage, I met up with one of the usual suspects at one of the usual suspect spots for some playtime on the rocks. After not riding here for over six months, the rocks and all the moves looked bigger. I’m going to have to repolish my game in this area.
Just a couple of days ago, I tested out the toe on ride through Calvera with my youngest son, Jake. While the toe was mildly a pain, it is okay to ride with.
What I was really stoked about was how well Jake was hanging. I rode at around 90% of my normal pass and he was right there the whole time. We did not do a whole lot of stopping either, just riding.
Kids never seem to amaze me at the rate at which they progress. We had a really good time out there and we got in around 12-14 miles all together. It was a good day to be a Dad and on a bike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a couple of weeks being off the bike due to my face injury at Goat Camp, I finally got back on the trail. I had tried doing a bit of stuff in the outdoors late last week but the “brand new” skin on my lips was quite sensitive and the slightest of breeze and direct sunlight was unpleasant to say the least. Today I gave it another shot and decided hit up one of my local trails, Lake Calvera, which I ride to right from my front door. Will has a two hour hockey practice tonight so I decided to take Jake out for some one-on-one Dad time on the trails.
We had a great time out on the trails today. I am always amazed at how easy kids put up new skills. Most of the time I show them something once, they do it once and then it is locked in. Man I wish I could still learn at that rate. I have made a point of gradually progressing the length and difficulty of the rides I take them on each outing and today was no different. I took him on a lot more twisty and rocky singletrack that he has done in the past. I also made a point to get him to the “Back 40” of Lake Calvera which meant he had to do a good deal more climbing than usual out there.
For me I can tell it will take a few rides to get my MoJo back. I still have some numb spots on my face which makes for a really weird sensation (or lack thereof) to feel the sun and breeze only on a portion of your face. The good news is that the spots are getting smaller everyday. In what little technical bits I did encounter today, I caught myself glancing at where I don’t want to go. Not good. I’m sure after a few rides I’ll get “it” back but it was an odd mental riding state today. What I lacked today in riding prowess was more than offset by the high quality time I got with my youngest son who put in a solid 14.4 miles today.