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.
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.
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.
So I recently made a tweak to my Santa Cruz Bronson. It is built up as an XC rig and it rocks! It is a single track carving machine. The minor compromise I feel have had been making with this setup is that is not the most confidence inspiring rig when thingd get downhill and gnarly. I’m not talking downhill bike gnarly but both wheels on the ground kind of normal. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, I just feel I can “over ride” the bike. I hate all the micro-genre names but I wanted to shift more towards a trail/enduro feel on the bike.
I ended up trying something simple and relatively inexpensive. I switched from a 90mm 0 degree rise stem out for a 70mm 17 degree rise. I took the bike out to La Costa to see how this felt. As I predicted the climbs felt a bit awkward at firdt as my weight was shifted back slightly. On the climb I had plenty of switchbacks as well as some steeper pitches. By the time I made it up to the top of the climb I was feeling comfortable with the new setup. I descended down the back side and then up to the towers. This improvement was immediately noticed and I was feeling much more comfortable with the downhill chunkish bits.
Oh and the trails, the backside stuff was a bit overgrown with the flowerinf weeds starting to dry out. Meaning I got a free exfoliation treatment. Good Times.
Yesterday I went out for a spin at Rancho La Costa Preserve. It was a pretty sweet day to be out on a bike. In addition to getting in some exercise I was planning on tuning up my suspension.
I have been very much an “under-adjuster” when it comes to suspension. I tend to set it once and forget it. The latest bike I have has a cane creek DB Inline Air shock which has both high and low speed compression and rebound adjustments. The Fox Float Air fork also has plenty of adjustments. I had recently had both serviced/overhauled and I going to be more systematic about tuning them and recording the setup.
My shock actually has a companion app to help you tune and record your settings. On a previous outting I had set the shock up and recorded those settings. My focus on this day was going to be on the fork. I started with using a small digital tire pressure gauge to get accurate readings of my tire pressure. I’m planning on keeping this in my camelbak so I can reliably check my pressure at anytime. I took a shock pump with me and over the course of the first half of the ride I tweaked the pressure of the fork’s air pressure several times. I was a bit surprised what just a little bit of pressure change can do for getting that plush feeling and typical small terrain stuff while not easily bottoming out.
Plushness was what I was really looking for over handling big hits. I just did not want it to dramatically dive while braking. I have been struggling with tendonitis in my elbows for several years so plushness (or is supple the right term?) on the front of the bike is what I’m looking for.
I went up Vista Del Mar, down the backside to Copper Creek, up to the water tower where I snooped around a bit before dropping back down to Copper Creek. I connected back up with Vista Del Mar and climbed back up to the top. At this point I felt I had the front end dialed for what I wanted. The optest was let things go for the run down the switchbacks trail. I’m pretty happy with the results as does not brake dive to much and the small rock chatter is very well damped. Now that the front is down, I will probably further tweak the rear.
There was a whole lot of geeking out with numbers on this ride, but it was still a great day to be out on a bike.
I was stoked to have a couple of my Colorado buds roll into town. In addtion giving them a place to shack up and bourbons to sample we got in some riding.
We had some rain to deal with o. The second day so we went out to Anderson Truck Trail
The skys looked ominous as we were driving out to the but the there was a large patches of blue sky to the southwest which was where the wind was coming from so I felt pretty good about our chances. Things looked good early on.
The skys turned pretty quickly and before we knew it we had hail bouncing off our heads. Now we have a bike ride!
Pretty much by the time we got to the top of the trail the hail and light rain was over and we were back in some sunshine. Time to go back down.
I was so stoked to be to return some hospitality back in Kevin and Greg direction.
This was my kind of way to spend a Monday morning. Taking a spin around at La Costa.
The trail system is bit beat up with braking bumps and braids around obstacles which there is a plethora of rant material to work with on this subject, the biggest one is there is just not enough good legal singletrack in coastal North County. There is good legal singletrack here so it is highly popular and ends up taking a beating.
I squeaked in a lunch time ride today out at La Costa with Michael Paul aka YetiRider. Homee has been a program and been slimming up. Down 15lbs already. (I think he is trying to get down to women chasing shape)
Michael is certainly climbing quicker. Good on ya!
It was a mighty pretty day out today as well. All the better to be out riding a bike. On a final note, this is my first shot at using the mobile app for making posts do I’m going to have to see if this is going to meet my needs or not.
Where The Hell Have You Been? I have gotten that question a couple of times as of late. Yep I have been slacking on the posting stuff of my Blog.
I have been getting in some quality Hockey Dad time in with my youngest son on most weekends as he is playing on two In-Line hockey teams. One recreational league team out of Kit Carson Park in Escondido and a tournament team (The San Diego Stingrays). This works out to practice and games commitments of four days a week.
With both teams practicing out of Escondido I have been getting in quite a bit of riding in at Lake Hodges and the surrounding area as of late. Besides the stuff already on my site I have managed to find some cool stuff here and there like this patch of woods between Lake Hodges and Poway.
I have also managed to find some complete crap as well. This tripe located in the city of Poway is simply insulting. They dumped 4-6″ of gravel beside a stupidly steep road and called it a trail. The unprofessional asses that did this debacle did not even bother to compact the gravel down. This thing is so F’d up that had to put signs up ever 50 feet to try and convince people that it is a trail. City of Poway—This is not a F$%^ing Trail! If you would care to improve your trail building knowledge why don’t you spend an afternoon on the playground at Chaparral Elementary School. Pay attention to the six year olds with the Tonka trucks, they get it more than your “trail builders” do!
Enough about city governments wasting money, I managed to catch a baseball game with my girlfriend. The Padres even managed to win on the night we went.
Of course San Diego is arguably a Craft Beer Mecca so there has been plenty of outings to check out what the latest awesome offerings are from the over 71 (and growing) microbreweries in the county.
Recognizing that mountain biking is a preexisting condition with me my, girlfriend he has gotten onboard with the program and is coming up to speed quite nicely.
I have also managed to get in some dirt time at La Costa here and there. If for nothing else than to check out some advertising dollars well spent on the Copper Canyon Bridges.
My work schedule as of late has been conducive to grabbing some after work mileage out in South Bay. I have ridden out here numerous times and there are lots of trails to push the pedals around on. In the past I have nearly always been with somebody showing me around through the maze of canyons with interconnections through parking lots, culverts, streets and backyards. It has been kind of fun trying to use the “Swartz” on solo efforts to retrace some of my previously guided steps. More to follow as I continue to get semi-lost with that ongoing effort.
So as far as where the hell have a been? I’ve been around on my bike….
Early this week I got out for a lunch time ride out at La Costa. The weather was nice and you good see Catalina and San Clemente Islands out on the horizon.
I got a GoPro Hero3 HD Black Edition for Christmas and it was high time that I tested it out. Other than some futzing with it on the couch this was my first time rolling with camera. I decided to go for a side mount on the helmet for this test. I slapped the curved sticky mount on about the right looking spot and stuck it on. I was also using the double hinged adapter that came with the kit. The kit also came with a WiFi remote but I did not even break that out on this test. Instead I used the GoPro app on that I installed on my Android phone to control the camera. The cool thing I like about the app is that it allows you to preview the angle you have setup instead of guessing or having to buy LCD accessory for the GoPro. Right off the bat I’m rather impressed with the video quality and I’m sure it could be made a bit better some some of the advanced settings I have not tinkered with yet. Of course there is no way to get image stablization with this setup but overall this thing is nice enough that and maybe another one are going to make it into the video equipment stable. Oh yeah…tighening down those little adjustment knobs is highly recommended. Here is a short completely non-fancy clip.
So I spent last week working in Southern Japan. I was hoping to squeak in a bike ride but the rental place was out of mountain bikes. The weather was pretty freaking rough as well as I don’t think the humidity every dropped below 95%. I think that even if I would have had a bike I would have had to muster up some serious motivation to get out in the woods when it is 99 degrees out with 99% humidity. So I took in a bit of traditional and limited sight seeing during this visit. I will be back for a longer period in the fall so I will get my time on the trails.
Yesterday was my travel day back to the San Deigo. With the International Date Line in the mix, I did Sunday twice in the course of my 27 hours of planes, trains and automobiles. I was pretty freaking toast by the time my head hit the pillow yesterday. I did sleep well last night but was still dragging a bit today. I decided that a lunchtime ride would help to snap the body back onto my timezone. I decided to ride Rancho La Costa a few miles away from Casa Del Bill. I also decided to ride my bike to the trailhead as I could use the extra excercise on the several intervening hills along the way.
I was meeting Michael (aka YetiRider) that works near the trail system and routinely knocks out a lunchtime loop out there. I knew I was going to feel a little tired but was quite surprised just how freaking tired I felt about five minutes into the commute to the trailhead. My body was quite certain it was a little before 2AM its time. I made it to Michaels work shortly before his lunch break and we were soon hitting up the last bit of asphalt to get to the trailhead. I was feeling a bit better in that I did not feel so fatigued by the time we got to the trailhead.
I climbed alright on the way up but I certainly felt off in the way of not firing on all cylinders. On the way down I realized my reflexs were more than a little off and I found myself dabbing in spots I would not normally dab in. It was good to be out on the bike but it was a little disconcerting to be all out of wack.
The pavement return back to my place drained the rest of my energy so I don’t think I really helped out the jet lag out at all today because after a shower and snack I knapped away the rest of the day. It was still a good experiment.
Rancho La Costa Preserve is really close to Casa Del Bill so it is often on the menu you when I only have time for a quick fix of dirt. Despite its close proximity it had been sometime since I last rode out here. It seems like Elfin Forest, Lake Calvera or Daley Ranch had been getting more play as of late.
Some nice new trail markers can be found throughout the trail system.
Strolling up the switchbacks trail
Flag at the top. There was some drama a couple months ago as the flag up here (which was put up with permission of the land manger) kept getting stolen by some unpatriotic Jack Ass. It is awesome that we live in a country where even the idiots are free to express thier views in any manner they are willing to accept the consequences for. Too bad the Jack Ass was also a monumental coward as I’m quite certain the general public would have expressed themselves in a manner that he would not enjoyed. I’m thinking getting your ass whooped with a flag pole is adequeate consequence.
Dumbassness aside the trails were in fairly good shape and fun as always. Vista Del Mar Trail goodness above.