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

Back in the Lagunas

I spent most of January working in Jacksonville, Florida. Below is a picture from the commute out to the jobsite that seemed out in the sticks.

Sailboat Sunrise
Favorite Picture of the trip

Once back in town it was time up one my old reliable trails, the Lguna Mountains.

Views from up near the top.

The skys were super clear and we could see Point Loma and the downtown skyline some 40 miles away as a crow files.

Point Loma and Downtown
Point Loma and Downtown

We did not do a particularly good job of chasing the sun and pretty much finish the last minutes of the day. There are worse things to be bad at.

Steve showing off.
Steve showing off both of his girlfriends!

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.

Big Laguna Trail

Time for some more Big Laguna Trail fun.

Cool clouds
Cool clouds

It is monsoon season in the deserts well to the east but the Laguna Mountains gets in on some of that action as well.

Water of the World
Water of the World

I have had the pleasure in the past of starting a ride here with not a cloud in the sky and watch huge clouds form in no time at all.

Clown bike
Farting around with Steve’s Clown Bike

Today the clouds were already in the sky and made for a picturesque backdrop to the day.

Such a nice day out
Such a nice day out!

We spun around the meadow, Los Gatos, Chico and few other select trsils in the area. Such a great day out on s bike.

Cruisin on BLT
Cruising on BLT!

Laguna Mountains Funtime

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.

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Chip and Roger

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Jorge

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The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)

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Jason

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Jason and Amy

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Chip playing with his new bike

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At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony

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Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

Laguna Mountains Camping

Last Sunday through Wednesday  my youngest son, Jake, and I did a three-night camping trip up in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego. We got in some mountain biking, hiking and some good just kicking back time.

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Nichol joined us on the first day for a bike ride around the meadow, dinner and some marshmallow destruction before heading back home to play responsible adult while the boys played in the dirt.  Over the last few years there has been some reroutes to the meadow loop as well to some of the spur trails.  I would say they are all for the better.

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Back at camp, the marshmallows did not stand a chance.

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The morning of day 2 was meet with some leisurely breakfast making before hitting up some of the trails.

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Some play time on the Los Gatos trail was had.

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Jake working on a skinny.

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Jake working the camera.

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We spent the early part of the afternoon just chilling out camp watch the squirrels trying to figure out how to get to our camp treats.  This guy was craving some Cheetos.   That afternoon we did a hike nearby that include the PCT connector trail from the meadow.

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Day 3 we were up pretty early to hit some of the other Pretty Cool Trails in the area.   We rode the meadow over the Penny Pines Trailhead and then made our way over the Pioneer Mail Trailhead where we picked up the Pine Mountain Trail.  We took the Pine Mountain trail over to the Indian Creek Trail at Champagne Pass.    Indian Creek is the primary legal trail connector for bikes between Cuyamaca and the Laguna Mountains.

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We dropped off of Champagne pass to the east on the Indian Creek trail heading back to towards the Lagunas.

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Jake loves him some downhill fun but is not a fan of climbing at all. He wonders why every place can’t be like Mammoth or Big Bear. Once we got to meadow pictured above, I took great pleasure in letting him know it was 3 miles to anywhere from here in either direction and it was uphill in both directions.  We continued on the Indian Creek Trail to the east and climbed up to the junction with the Noble Canyon Trail.

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From there we turned north and climbed Noble.   (Colloquially known as the “Elbon” trail.)   There is a recently completely reroute of Noble up near the top.  The reroute eliminates a couple of road crossings.    The new section is much tighter and a twistier that the original section and while a bit loose right now it should bed in nicely once we get some rains.   I’m sure some of the Strava-tards and will wank about the reroute messing with their times.  (My suggesting to those folks is shut up, just ride faster or turn to juicing.)    Noble Canyon has its loyal followings of which some subscribe to the “Never Change My Trail” mentality so I would expect there will be discontent for a few months.  Personally I think the reroute is going to be really nice once bedded in.

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We took the “shortcut” spur trail that connects back to west end of the meadow vice going all the way back to the Penny Pines Trailhead.  Once back at the meadow it was a quite spin back to camp.

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It was pretty hot during the middle of the day so we kicked back in the shade of camp for a while before jumping in the truck for a swing by Laguna General Store for a Mexican Coke (The south of the border variant is made with real cane sugar vice corn syrup…tastier)  and an Ice Cream bar  before we did some recon work for some of the other trails in the area that are on my to-do list. Dinner that night was some tasty rib-eyes, grilled asparagus and zucchini with some brown rice.   That night we shook off the food coma by strapping on the headlamps to do a mini night ride out on the meadow that included some lights off time to check out the stars on that completely dark night.

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The next morning I was up before sunrise to get in a solo ride while the boy slept in.  Presumably there would be no one else out of the trail as well.  Sunrise was a Pretty Cool Time of day to be out and about by yourself in the woods.    On the way back from the 16 mile loop I saw Mr. Wyle Coyote out looking for breakfast.  After the initially moving away from me for a bit the coyote went back to hunting once establishing that I was not there to bother him.   I watched him for a good five minutes or so before moving along.

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Jake was just waking up when I got back to camp. A second round of coffee was in order for me and it was time for breakfast all around.   After breakfast it was time to break down camp and head out of the mountains.  I had a great time on the camping trip with Jake.   With the exception of a few minutes, we did not have data  coverage so having Jake “unplugged” was a bonus.   With no competition with the all powerful 3G/4G  it allowed for things like watching the “Campfire TV”, gazing at the stars, observations of the “little” things and conversations that would rarely occur otherwise.  Good times.   With some new GPS data and observations,  I’m planning on updating some of the maps, files and pages I have for this area on the site, so stay tuned.

Rolling through the Dog Days of Summer

Man long time no post.  The Dog Days of Summer have seemed to go on forever.  I spent most of the summer either down by the coast or as high up in the mountains as I could get.   La Costa, Lake Calavera, The San Clemente Singletracks and the Laguna Mountains have been the been most of my main riding haunts.

 Pretty Cool Trail

Of course there have been some excursions outside of the local range as well as places not fit for public blabbage.  Here is a Pretty Cool Trail off the beaten path that during the right kind of weather would be within sight of Palm Springs.

Homebase of my employeer is Philadephia and I am part of small contigent of folks who take care of things here on West Side.   Quite a few of my co-workers back in Philly are mountain bikers as well so we when they are out here we try to squeeze in some “Off Site” time with me playing Julie the cruise director.   Here is Jonathan out of the Laguna Mountains lugging around my UZZI.

Some good summer monsoon clouds rolling in.

Rocking a log ride 

I have been up on the Big Laguna Trail more times this summer than I have in quite a few years combined.    Here is Michael Paul riding the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

From the top of the of Los Gatos trail near Mount Laguna you can get in some awesome views when it is clear out.   In the center of the picture above is downtown San Diego and Point Loma, 49.5 miles away as a crow flys.

Here is a zoomed in shot.  The downtown buildings are in the middle and Point Loma is on the left hand edge of the screen.  For a number of years I worked out at Point Loma and I always marveled at the handful of days in the winter when you could look at downtwon with snow capped mountains as the backdrop.   It was pretty cool to see the view from the opposite direction on this day.

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From another visit, here is my youngest son Jake making a run at the big log on the Los Gatos Trail.

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  This was a successful “One and Done” run for the log ride.  I’m going to have to watch out for this boy.

Soul Ride in the Laguna Mountains

Wednesday was pretty freaking hot (by San Diego Weather Weenie standards) with a bit of mugginess thrown in due to a bit of weather on the way in.      Steve and I decided to pass up triple digit sufferage in the usual Alpine spot and head up into the Laguna Mountains for what we consider the “Soul Ride”.   Big Laguna Meadow and the network of surrounding trails.

One of the reasons we call this the Soul Ride (Along with the overused “Chicken Soup for the Soul” reference) is that it is just a fun time out on the bike.  While most of the usual places around San Diego County have browned all up and gotten into full on summer mode, you can still find plenty of greenery and wildflowers out and about up here.

It was cooler in the Laguna Mountains but it was still 90 when we started.   It was quite overcast when we started but there was just enough breeze to keep things reasonable.

Steve brought out the clown bike so of course a show had to be put on.  This rock is known as “Dental Plan” because if you screw up you are going to need one.

Later on in the day there was a bit of a break from the full blown overcast which made for some nice bit of afternoon color.   This is the connector between the Noble Canyon Trailhead and the Big Laguna Trail.  If you are going to do the Tour De Noble you will be on this trail at some point.  Today we did this trail as an out-and-back to refill our water bladders at the Noble Trailhead.

We are on the northernwest of the meadow here.  This was one of the fire boundary lines that held during the 2003 wildfires that swept through the area. There were thousands of acres burned to the west (behind me in this shot).   The area has been recovering well.

This is a nice scenic spot along the southern side of the meadow.  The only thing it needs is……….

A stupid human trick!   (I can get Steve to try anything when I pull out the camera)   Steve had eyed up this line before but had not pulled the trigger before. I think it took him having my high quality steed underfoot to allow him to pull this off.    This line has been named “Compressor”.

This picture should explain the name.   7.5″ of travel in the rear and 7″ in front were fully used on this move. 

Stuntworks over it was time to work our way back to the vehicles as pulled pork sandwiches and tasty microbrews at Alpine Beer Company were calling our names.   Our chosen path was one less traveled with some challenging bits.  This Wednesday did not suck.