Sedona Weekend – Day 1

O-DAMN Early came at O-DARK:30 this morning.    Things seem to come together fairly quickly for this weekend getaway.   It was not until earlier in the week did was I able to give the green light to meet some friends from Arizona, Utah, and Colorado in Sedona for some dirt time.

Today’s rides was just going to be a few of us as the rest of the hoodlums would not arrive until the following morning.  I thought I was making really good time and when I pulled up to the trailhead about 10 minutes before the meet time.  Kevin and Greg then informed me that I had forgotten about that pesky little time zone thingy, so I was an hour late.  DOOOH!   Oh Well, we ride!

We spent the remainder of the day playing on some fun and often technical trails that were for the most part between Soldier Pass Road and Dry Creek Road.

I am always amazed at just how pretty this place can be.   It is one of those places were the scenery can be its own hazard.

I should have known by now, but whenever you ride with Kevin,  there is a pretty good chance you are going to get in some technical climbing. 

So while some may do a trail this-a-way Keving is gonna take you that-a-way. 

I love the way the Arizona flora helps keep the singletrack single. Come off line, or dab in the wrong spot and there is a fair chance the trail is going to complain to you.  

Once we reached our turn-around spot which was based more on daylight than mileage we enjoyed the fruits of some of our technical climbing efforts. We flowed, we bobbed, we weaved, and we had a really good time back to the trucks.  We did not use up quite all of the daylight, but we did not leave much.   Besides there was a hot tub and cold beers just down the road with our names on them. Why further delay things? While I did not have major party plans for the night, I felt a hangover was in my near future.

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 3 – Mount Pinos

Man, the things we do for our kids.   I got up at around 7AM and loaded up all my gear in the truck while Will was still sound asleep in the tent.   All of Will’s biking gear had been staged in the tent last night.    I drove down to the bottom of the mountain at 6,400 feet and started a 6.5 mile pavement climb back up to the campsite at 8,200 feet.  Will certainly has it in him to do this climb as he had tackled Palomar Mountain earlier in the year which encompassed 4,700-foot climb over 11.1 miles.  I wanted this ride to be more about fun than fitness today so I cut out most of the climbing for him.  The climb back to camp was not a steep one and I found it pretty easy to keep a pretty descent pace even with 2.6 Stick-E rubber tires.   I thought about taking the McGill trail up but I wanted both Will and I to experience a “new” trail together.  When I got back to camp, Will was already up and making himself some breakfast.

Views in the morning

I had left a few things back at camp so I would not have to climb with them, mainly my camera.  While I was getting that stuff in my camelbak, Will (who had already gotten geared up) commenced to start talking a little smack about Dad being a fiddle-fart.  So, I set him up.  I snippedly told him to “Go on ahead, you know I’m just going to catch you, even though I already climbed over six miles this morning”.   Well that was all it took, Will took the bait.  He casually said, “See you up the road” and pedaled off at a normal pace.  I yelled at him as he rode off, “Don’t start off too fast or you’ll be sorry!”  The hook was set.  Just when he thought he was out of view (but not quite), I saw him drop the hammer.   Nothing left to do now but reel him in a few minutes after the pace, grade and the thin air above 8,200 feet get done with him.

I finished up what I was doing and got rolling.   After a couple of turns in the road and Will still being out of site, I was impressed.   One turn later and I saw him, hunched over his handlebars on the side of the road.   The voice of Phil Lidgett came through my head, “Oh my, the young rider has cracked! There will be no hopes for a mountain top win for him today.”    Will got to rolling when I neared, but his pace was mighty slow and he complained of not feeling good.   We took an extended break for him to recover and I could not help but get a devilish grin on my face, when I told him to come on and stop fiddle-farting.  I wish I had my camera out to catch the look on his face when it dawned on him that he had fallen for a parental version of a Jedi Mindtrick.

View from Pinos

After he recovered, we soon left the pavement to continue climbing on a fireroad up to the Mt Pinos summit at 8,830 feet.   It was a fairly mellow climb and the views were pretty nice even with a bit of lingering haze from the NorCal wildfires.

Bill and Will

From here it was a mostly downhill affair back to the top of the pavement where we hooked up with some pretty nice and mostly buff singletracks that included the Harvest and Southridge trails.  These bits of goodness took us back by our camp and down to the McGill campground.

Harvest Trail

From the McGill campgroud, we picked up the amply named McGill trail which was an absolute heavenly bit of singletrack that worked its way down the mountain.  The grade was never steep and it was virtually buff the entire distance.   I rolled through hundreds of Kodiak moments and only captured a few.

Will in the trees

This picture provides very little justice to the view.

Killer View

Will had one of those moments of inattention that caused him to take a soil sample on a switchback.   After the initial uggh following the thump, he chuckled and dusted himself.   He then went back up the trail and nailed it the second time around.

Dusting Off

The blissful descent was over far too quickly and we were soon back up at camp and packing up.   Will has not learned much about repairing flats and other mechanicals yet so a solo descent down the McGill trail was not on the table.  I did let him ride the road down.  He thoroughly enjoyed the speed-fest coming down the mountain on the pavement.  We spent the rest of the day getting home and chatting about what a cool week we just had.   Once home it took all of about 15 minutes before Will was out the door to skate and hang with his friends and basically get back into his busy routine.   I’m sure as the teenage years roll in and along the competition for his time will get tougher so I am really thankful to have the time with him now.  ¦lt;/p>

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 2 – The Central Coast

We woke up fairly early this morning to some nice sunshine over the Laguna Seca Recreation/Raceway Area.   Will reluctantly said his legs were sore and he did not think he would be up for riding today.  I’m glad he told me as I would not have wanted to push him into riding and then not enjoying himself.  We were orginally thinking of going to Montana Del Oro State Park and get in some riding.  

Laguna Seca

The nice thing about working off of an idea vice a schedule is that you can change things pretty darn easily.  After a bit of breakfast, we broke camp and hit the road.   It was just earlier in the week that the Pacific Coast Highway was reopened after being shutdown for nearly a week due to wildfires burning in the Big Sur and other areas of the Los Padres National Forest.   It has been quite a few years since I had been on this highway and I had forgotten just how pretty this drive can be.

PCH

 We stopped at many places along the way early on to take in the sights.  This was a good thing as before long the coast became completely socked in with thick fog and we could not see much at all until we were near San Simeon about 90 miles south of Monterey.

PCH

One of the really cool stops we did was at vista lookout about five miles north of Hearst Castle right off of the Pacific Coast Highway.  Here you can check out a large colony of Elephant Seals.  These are some big critters and the males make some mighty deep and throaty noises when other males get around their babes.

Elephant Sea

This fellow reminded me of a disgruntled Walmart customer say a earlier in the week.

Elephant Seal

We continued down the coast until we neared San Luis Obispo.  Instead of going to Montana Del Oro State Park we turned inland and made our way to Mt Pinos near the town of Labec.    We ended up at the Mt Pinos campground that sits at 8,200 feet and we had the pick of the place as we were the only ones there.  Later that evening two more groups would come in, but for the most part we had the great views virtually all to ourselves.

Camp sweet camp

We had several hours of daylight left after we got everything setup and the next thing you know Will was bucking to get on the bike and mess around near camp.   I joined in on the action and played around on a log.

Log Ride

The South Ridge trail starts right from the campground and goes down to the McGill Campground a couple of miles down the mountain.   I had to see the camp host down there so when I drove down, Will took the trail.   He was pretty darn excited when he came off the trail and proclaimed it was the coolest singletrack EVER!   The trail is setup as a cross-country ski trail and has plenty of small rounded jumps that are just the perfect size to catch some XC sized air.  Will really dug those and I was stoked to see him stoked.

Will Air

Back at camp, we enjoyed the last night of being able to have a campfire as a ban on them would start the following morning, due to the dry conditions.   We climbed into the tent an hour or so after sunset.  When we are back at home, Will is always trying to fight off going to bed.  It is like the world is moving too fast and he is going to miss out on something if he is sleeping.  It was nice to have him so easily climb into his sleeping bag.  I was reading a book and I had barely turned one page when I looked up to see him already down for the count.    Tomorrow we would get in a good chunk of riding in.

Camp fire

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 1 – Santa Cruz

Will and I spent the earlier part of this week in San Jose where Will’s hockey team was competing in the National Roller Hockey Championships (NARCH) in the San Jose. While the teams bid for the championship ended earlier than planned we had other things ready to go. We would take the slow route home to San Diego and get in some camping and riding. We did not have a set schedule just some general ideas.

Our first day was a ride in Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. I have ridden here several time before and I knew Will could handle the place. We started off near the park headquarters off of Pacific Coast Highway and started working our way up to the top of the park using the Engelman Oak and Long Meadows trails (fireroads). Will has not been biking much lately so that and the recent hockey made for a good bit of effort on his part.

The Climb

Once we got up to the top of the park we ventured over into the UC Santa Cruz area. Since this included some gravity-assisted riding, Will was having a heck of great time.

UCSC Cruising

After the UCSC fun, we popped back into Wilder Ranch and worked our way over to the Old Cabin trail which is one of my favorites out here. I was pretty stoked to see that Will cleaned everything on this trail. While he might be getting pretty descent on a bike, he is a pretty horrible “model” in front of the camera. If given a chance he will make a silly face everytime. I pretty much have to sneak attack pictures of him.

Goofball

While Will was starting to feel a little tired, after describing the Enchanted Loop to him, he was game. Once again the boy surprised me with how easily he picks up new skills. On a tricky switchback into a rooty ledge he got up one of the smaller ledges without even blinking. We then sessoned it for a bit and he cleaned one of the bigger ledges after a couple of tries.

Ledge Up

After this we took the Baldwin Loop down to the ocean. Will complained that the trail was really bumpy and that is when I realized that Will had spent the entire ride with the rear shock locked out. This was his first real ride on a full-suspension rig and he did not realize it was locked out. Will is really tall for his age and has been growing like a weed lately. Having already gotten taller than his Mom, he can now fit on my medium Spider by swapping out the seatpost and stem.

Down to Ocean

Down along the ocean we followed the bluff trails back to the park headquarters. Will was getting pretty darn pooped by now so the breaks came a little more often.
Break time

I did manage to get in a “sneak attack” picture during the break
sneak picture

We finished off the rest of Ocean Bluff trails at a reasonable pace due to a strong tailwind which made it pretty darn easy to tick over a big gear. When we finished up we had logged in just over 20 miles and the boy was pooped. On our way through town we hit up a little hole-in-the-wall Falafel shop that I love and introduced Will to some new cuisine.

Will at beach

It was getting pretty late in the day and we knew we would not get too far down the coast this evening. I had a “Camping California” guidebook with me and while I drove south, Will would read out the description of spots down the road from us. The Laguna Seca Recreation Area ended up sounding pretty good so we swung by there and grabbed a spot. The Red Bull Moto Grand Prix was starting to ramp up for the weekend, but there were plenty of spots still open. I packed my smaller camping gear so that that it would not take long to setup and break camp each day so we had camp setup in no time flat. After some chillaxing, hot chocolate and a few snacks we hopped in the tent and were soon crashed out.

Camp at Laguna Seca

Utah – Colorado Roadtrip Pages

I’m starting to get the Utah – Colorado Road trip report put together.   I’m going to roll it out as I get each of the days done vice waiting until I get all eight days completed.   Here is the main page that wil link to each day of the trip.  I hope to get a new day of the trip up every other day or so.

Utah -Colorado Roadtrip 2008

Amasa Back with La Sal Mountains in Background

-Bill