Welcome Back Yeti_Rider!

A friend of mine whose mug shots have been sprinkled  all around this website took a hiatus from riding in 2017.   I am pretty stoked to have nudged him enough to get back to living dirty on two wheels.

Glad to have Yeti_Rider back on the trail. We were about to change his call sign to Yeti_Owner.

We decided to do the south side of Lake Hodges for the return ride.   The nice about the south side is you can make things pretty easy, there is some technical spots and there are lots of options to add more mileage.

Welcome Back!

Fun bits on the south side

Local Running Amuckness

It has really felt good to be able to ride again and I have been working on getting back into shape while taking a measure approach to the riding as the knee gets stronger.   I certainly do not want to have a relapse of the pain issues.

North side of Lake Hodges

I have been able to get in three rides in this past week.    First of was Lake Hodges where I did the north and south sides for about a 20 mile effort.

Local Sauce

I did my local ride from the house and felt pretty good on it.

At the top of La Costa

And I meet my buddy Dave for a ride and La Costa which included some of the Back 40 goodness.    Maintaining proper social distancing was pretty easy with Dave.   I could barely keep him within 100 feet let alone 6 feet.

Came across this healthy looking bloke out on the trail.

On the backside trails we came across a Rattler.   He was pretty happy where he was at so we had to give him some encouragement to get off the trail.    There were no sticks of the appropriate length around so I stood behind my bike, held onto the saddle and rolled the bike up close to the snake.  One the front wheel got within a foot of the snake he figured it was best to give up his ground.    If you have your arm outstretched to you saddle and lean over while you do this you can keep seven plus feet between you and the snake.  I like to get these folks away from the trail when I encounter them as you never know when some Ahole is going to come along think these things need to be killed.

After we got this fellow to move along we finished up the ride.   I felt really good about how I finished up the ride.    It was a good week of ridin

Lake Hodges and Knee Injury

The last couple of weeks January was a busy time with lots of non-biking goodness. I had been getting in some rides but they have been pretty utilitarian in nature. Such was the case on February 4th when I got in spin at Lake Hodges. I started out on the north side near at the storage facility staging area and took on the north side of the lake.

I took the north side all the way out to the dam and back. I was feeling really strong and keeping up a good pace (by my standards anyway).


When I got back to the bridge I cut over to he south side of the lake and started the working my way through the trails there. I was still feeling great.     While doing a bit of out of the saddle work to press up a short rise I felt a sharp twinge in my right knee followed by a sharp pain as I neared the top of the pedal stroke.    Even in my granny gear just getting through the range of motion at the top of the pedal stroke was quite painful.    I had to cut the out rest of my intended route and go home.

Just walking around was a only slight uncomfortable but stairs and getting the knee bent beyond 45 degrees was painful.

Out on the Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail

So I have resigned to just walking and hiking to keep active.  The dogs are pretty happy about this they are getting some longer adventures in beyond just the usual walking circuits.

Out at Lake Calavera

It has been three weeks since I hurt the knee and it has only slightly gotten better.   I have a doctors appointment in a couple of weeks when I get back from a work trip to have it assessed.

Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges is not in bad shape right now. On this particular outing I combined both the south side and the north side trail

South side of Hodges

All together I did about 24 miles of fairly quick paced riding (for me). I did not add in Bernardo peak. If I had that would have made for some pretty legit “in town” mileage. I think I have caught myself being a trail snob and passing by this place to go ride something better. It was nice to give myself a bit of a mental reset on this area. I don’t care how fit you are you should be able to come out here and find a way to both put a smile on your face and wipe it off all while putting some burn on your legs.

North side trail by the dam

If you think I’m stretching things a bit, try combining Raptor Ridge, the south and north side and Bernardo peak in a single ride.

Bernardo Mountain – Rant

So I have not been up Bernardo Mountain located on the north side of Lake Hodges in a quite some time. While it is not a terribly long climb, it has always been a solid climb with some pretty technical bits up near the top. For many years it has been one of those benchmark trails to judge where I stand against my former self. I decided to go out and run “the test” again.

The guy was making plenty of noise.

Before I really got started I had to take a short pause to yield the right of way to one of the locals. I have only see a few rattlesnakes this year so I was pretty bummed that I was not lugging a round my DSLR rig on this ride. After some interaction time with Mr Nope Rope I was onto the climb proper.

The view of most of the southside trails.

There is a distinctive spot on the trail where the “test” really starts. Its probably a little more than halfway up and the trail switchbacks to the right and gets rocky, ledgy and steeper all at once. It is not like this all the way up but there are plenty of sections like this to negotiate. From this point on I had a series of disappointments. (Just for the record I did not clean the climb to the summit from here) The amount of sanitation that has occurred in this trail has very much changed the character of the trail. For the most part there are no longer any loose rock sections to climb. The loose rocks have for the most part have been kicked off the trail and piled up along the sides. People have even pulled out rocks to make some sections smooth. Smooth sections that are now going to be more prone to erosion now that the soil “armor” is gone. I realize that some people think they are improving the trail, but really? There are also those other types you feel the need to modify the trail in order to say they rode it or to get that personal best. Those folks are some other special flavor of narcissistic asshole.

Looking west from the summit

Maybe I’m just a grumpy old bastard. Maybe I’m the narcissist asshole yelling the equivalent of “back in my day we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!”. Either way I did much better on that climb than I should have. It was not because I was in any kind of better shape or more skilled than my last outting here. The climb is just not as hard as it used to be and I’m pretty aggravated about. Its not easy by a long shot, it is just not as hard as it used to be. I realize this happens to most trails as I have seen it happen in numerous places but it does not mean I have to like it! Alright Bitch Sesson complete.

Hodges Dawn Patrol

It has been pretty hot as of late so a dawn patrol ride was in order. Lake Hodges was the place.

Lake Hodges

My sweetie joined me on this ride as well. We pretty must did the north side trails as an out and back.


It is definitely summer with pretty much all the vegetation in dry hot weather mode. There was some surprises. The cacti for example has just recently flowered which I expected that would have happened much earlier in the year.

Cool Critter Encounter

Sunday I did an MTB ride-along with San Dieguito River Park Senior Ranger Dave Hekel. After my recent Coast-to-Crest Trail trip I had some questions about the park and tagging along on his Sunday patrol was an easy what to chit-chat about the park and get in a ride.  I ride Lake Hodges quite often as of late.   It is right on the way home so it is in the routine post-work ride rotation.   I have seen lots of critters out here on these trails.  Deer, snakes, coyotes, rabbits and all kinds of birds.  On this ride I ended up with a critter encounter of completely different sort.

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While riding the “high road” single track on the north side we came across an obviously distressed little coyote pup stumbling across the trail like a drunken sailor. After a quick look around the hillside to see if mom was anywhere nearby, I scooped this critter up.  It was tiny and whopped and did not resist in the slightest to me picking it up.  A quick scan showed that this female pup was not injured but had pretty big tick in one ear.  Dave went up the canyon to see if there was an unattended den but could not find anything.  We guessed that this little gal had been away from momma for a least a full day or two.

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Talk about camouflage.  Look how the coat is a spot on match to the hillside in the background.  While Ranger Dave made phone calls I gave her some water.  I took the top off of my water bottle and turned it upside down and used it as a small bowl. She drank quite a bit of water and it seemed to help as after about 5 minutes she would have a spat of being squirmy.  I’m thinking instincts were telling her to get away.  I found that if you held her close to my chest she would stay  calm. (Much better than the one-handed holds for posing her for the camera)

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(Whooped but still a cutie)

While Ranger Dave was getting all of the arrangements made quite a few riders came by so the this pup because the star of trailside show and tell session.

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(Check out how long those claws are for its size)

Soon the rangers had a plan.   I rode/walked the rest of upper singletrack with this pup nuzzled up between one hand and my chest to a meet up spot with another ranger with a truck. While Dave and I waited for the other ranger to arrive the pup feel asleep in my hands.  There was a point when we wondered if she had “checked out” but then I could feel her chest going in and out so things were good. Once the other rangers arrived we handed off the pup to them and they were off to a nearby wildlife recovery facility.

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After that we went off to finish out the rest of the patrol.   We did encounter a rattlesnake on the trail and I did a slight bump stop into the back of Dave.    Normally seeing a rattlesnake is kind of a big deal but considering that this was the 14th rattler I have seen this year (I typically only see 2-4 a year) along with the coyote pup just a little while ago, this rattler sighting was kind of ho hum.  It was a beautiful day but after the coyote pup and the rattler then return trip back the ranger office was uneventful.  This was a most excellent day to be out  on a bike and  reinforced to me that your next life enriching event could be right around the next bend in the trail.

Mule Hill – San Pasqual Valley

I added the Mule Hill and San Pasqual Valley trails located near Escondido to the site.  You may also hear these trails referred to as Raptor Ridge as that is the top of the climb.   While this is for the most part a non-technical trail, the farmland scenery not typically associated with San Diego it offers is worth a look-see.

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Coast to Crest Bikepacking Trip

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I did my first bike packing trip this weekend.   A group of six of us set off to do the Coast to Crest trail leaving from Julian with the plan to end with our tires in the ocean on Del Mar’s Dog Beach. The Coast to Crest trail is a long way from completed and our route is basically follows the general corridor of where the trail should someday follow as best as we could follow it.

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We pedaled out on Main Street/Farmers Rd for about 2.5 miles out to the start of the trail at Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve.   Full disclaimer here, we did not climb all the way up to the top of the mountain as it is a steep out and back on double-track.   The top Volcan Mountain is the “Crest” of the trail.   From the Volcan Mountain Preseve we zipped down the paved Famers Road to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East.

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It has been quite some time since I had ridden out here.  I had nearly forgotten just how pretty it is out here.

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The first climb was rather steep and all of the bikepacking gear quickly found myself out of clicks on my shifters.

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The crew taking a break  (Left to Right: Kevin, Carl, Greg, Chad and Ken) at our highest point along the trip.   We did quite a bit of descent and a few short bit of steep climbing before we came out at the lower staging area of the preserve.

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There is a massive section of trail that is not built from here.   Our path from here was a quite bit on Highway 79 north and then a good long chunk of pavement climbing on Mesa Grande Road.

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From there we left the pavement for some dirt road riding on Black Canyon Road.   This was my first time on this section of the road.  It was really awesome that this thing just seemed to descend forever.  (Carl is in the photo above)

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When we did reach of the bottom of the road, we turned onto the San Ysabel Truck Trail which is familiar dirt to me as it is part of the Black Mountain (Ramona) Loop near Ramona.  This is part of the official Coast To Crest trail.  There was some work to be done here as we worked over the south slope of Black Mountain before we had a very zippy descent down into Pamo Valley.   We then pedaled south on Pamo Valley Road (mostly dirt road) before hooking up with Forest Service Road FS12504.

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We chased down a spot to setup camp for the evening.   We did a touch under 35 miles for day one.    Tasty sprits seems to find there way into most of our packs.   Since every ounce counts we felt it wise to lighten our load for tomorrow as much as possible 🙂     All of my gear worked pretty much as expected and there were certainly some lessons learned.  I slept really well that night and awoke to the sounds of turkeys gobbling in the distance.   Not long after that a lone gunshot rang out that reminded me it is turkey season.  I did not hear any more turkeys after that.

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I had under estimated my fuel requirements for my alcohol stove but I did have just enough to get a couple cups of coffee made to go with breakfast.   Coffee just tastes better outside.  We leisurely broke camp and were back on the trail.   Forest Service Rd 12504 is referred to as the Lower San Ysabel Truck Trail by the San Dieguito River Park.   After just a bit of climbing, we were treated to a very mild grade descent. Carl and Kevin are pictured above heading down a particularly nice covered stretch of the truck trail.

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Kevin was doing this ride on his rigid single speed and was just killing it.  He also had a killer ultra-light setup.   The Lower Santa Ysabel truck trail took us down to the Orasco/Gueito Truck Trail.  This truck trail is not part of the official Coast to Crest trail at his point.    We did take this truck trail  up to Highway 78.    We had to cruise down the highway for a couple of quick downhill miles where we hooked with some farm roads along the orange groves.

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These farm roads took to the Bandy Canyon trailhead of the San Pasqual Valley trail that is part of the Coast to Crest trail.   The trail goes along the edge of orange groves, sod and dairy farms in the valley before it starts climbing.

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Climbing up to Raptor Ridge was a good bit of work with the gear on the bike.   After that we were back into the routine home turf  of Lake Hodges and we made quick work to the Farmers Market and the gas stations near the I-15 trailhead for some resupply.   Nichol joined us through the Lake Hodges segment.  (I think see liked this ride as the pace was slower than our normal outing speed).

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Nichol turned back at the dam while we continued on down the Del Dios Gorge and onto the Santa Fe Valley trail

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There was some climbing bits to be done including  a sizable set of switch backs. Once we got to the top of the switchbacks we were once again off of the official Coast To Crest trail.  We ended up dropping into the Lusardi Creek area via some singletrack and then working our way up to where the Santa Luz Loop starts.   From here we had to do a five mile stretch of pavement along San Dieguito Road and El Camino Real to connect to the next segment of the Coast to Crest trail.

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The final segment is along the San Dieguito Lagoon and passes by the Del Mar Fairgrounds

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Chad along the boardwalk.   We would cross the Jimmy Durante Blvd bridge and follow the Del Mar River down to Dog Beach

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Ahhh Bike Tires in the Pacific and the finish of 43.5 miles for day 2 for a total of 78.2 miles

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We were able to squeeze out another 1.1 miles to Pizza Port Solana Beach for some yummy pizza and tasty beers!    A mighty fine weekend to be on a bike.

UPDATE (April 22nd, 2105):   I have added a page to the site detailing this route with maps, GPS files and additional blabbery.  Coast to Crest Trail