Japanese Gulch – Washington State

I’m catching up on some of pictures and such from my recent Washington trip.   One of the places I could hit up right easy from work was Japanese Gultch located in Mukilteo. Plenty of singletrack right in town and a good way to burn off the workday stress.

One of the things I like about this area, is minutes onto the trail and it seems like you are far away, even though you are right in town.

Yep there is narrow singletrack to be had.

Both hardtails and long-legged bikes can be enjoyed out here.

One nice thing about this right is that just a quick jaunt from the bottom trailhead is the Diamondknot Brewery which has some mighty tasty creations to finish off the ride with.  The Industrial IPA is mighty yummy and always ask if the they have a seasonal batch of the Shipwreck IPA brewed up.   It is not to be missed.

Lake Calvera with Jake

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!

Long Time No See! or “Funk Busting”

So there has not been too much on the MTB scene that I have felt like writing about since I got back from Japan.  That does not mean that I have not been riding.  I just did not seem too inspired to write about it.   I have gotten in a couple of quick spins through Lake Calvera on my singlespeed and even caught the SDMBA San Clemente Singletracks Ride.  These rides while fun where just not doing it for me on the trail scene.   I have noticed I get like this for a week or two after epic riding trips.   I have come to think of it as “Post Killer Trip Depression” or “Epic Lag”.  Pick whatever shrink-babble works for you but I was coming off some awesome trail riding and was looking for some new dirt  to ride in SoCal.

I had not ridden with Bill O’Neil in freaking ages.  Well maybe not ages but nine months is a pretty long time.  He busted up his wrist really bad late last year and had to deal with a long recovery.  Combined with my traveling schedule earlier this year and the better part of a year just slipped by.  It was time to kick this “Epic Lag” in the ass and catchup with Bill on some singletrack.   The person who organized this ride thinks it is best to keep the names of these trails “off-the-air” so I’ll leave things as that.  While you may find these trail segments on most of the older topographic maps of the San Bernardino National Forest, you will have to be a little adventurous to ride some of these bits. 


The rewards were certainly there and it was just what I needed to bust out of the Post Epic Funk.  


The trail was just what I had expected, fairly buff and flowing.  One thing I had not realized was that I had been missing the continuous moving that is so much easier to do back here in SoCal.  The steepness of the terrain in the area of Japan I was in often meant that your riding mileage was often broken up by short hike-a-bike sections.  It was pretty awesome to just be able to “go”.   At the same time these trails revealed my fitness level for the continuous “go” has been dropping off.  Way to many rides of stopping to navigate and take pictures.  I suppose there are far much worse ways to get out of shape 🙂

Ultimately we knocked off a good chunk of mileage on some pretty cool trails.   We even had time to stop and smell the flowers.  It is always refreshing to get on the trail less ridden and try something new.    Doing it while catching up with friends is a nice bonus.  Oh yeah, there was tasty microbrews waiting in the cooler at the end of the ride.

Desert Exploring

The title for this could also be “Another Chicken Soup for the MTB Soul Ride”.   I went out to Anza Borrego Desert State Park today and and did some solo exploring.  About 22 miles worth, and it was goooood! With the exception of a few miles I had done in my truck a few years back, this was all new dirt for me.  

The conditions were pretty darn perfect.  The normally pain-in-the-butt sand was well packed and with just enough moisture to make traction just right. 

Please excuse me for being skimpy on details.  Some of my wandering were “off the reservation” so to say and until I get a couple of things figured out it would not be smart of me to give out the goods, yet.   One thing is for certain, I enjoyed myself.  There was one moment in particular when the wind was perfectly still and there was absolutely no sounds whatsoever.  Absolute quiteness.  I mean you don’t even this level of quiteness in your house in the middle of the night.  The incredible thing was that I could see for 30-40 miles in some directions.  It was surreal.  Moments like these are just one of the many reasons I love being a Mountainbiker.

More Bonita Goodness

While Wednesdays are my normal weekday MTB day, I could not make it, but guess what?   The Bonita Bikers also have Tuesday and Thursday afternoon rides so I decided to head over there.   Know on Sunday they guys showed me about 20 miles of coolness.   Today we rode a long 15 miles or so and only overlapped about a mile from the weekend.  This place is freaking amazing.   I was cameraless on this day so no pictures, but if you like the looks of the stuff from Sunday that I posted, you can get idea of the trail goodness I had today.   In addition to see a good chunk of the Sunday crew, I meet a few knew folks as well as some folks I had not ridden with in quite sometime.  The old pal in question was Don with whom I had last ridden with in Palm Canyon about a year and a half ago.   I knew I knew him from somewhere until the conversation jogged my memory.  You see Don, had gotten a new bike since then.  I know I’m not the only one who does this but, helmet, bike, face and voice are my primary memory recall mechanisms for remembering my riders from the trail.    Swap out one of those and I have a tough time putting the pieces together.  Lame I know.   Anyway great freaking time once again out on the South Bay trails and I am told there is still much to see.

I have been emailed by at least half a dozen folks on trail directions…. I’m not BSing when I say I could not tell you it is a big maze.  I follow, I grind and I grin.    Stay behind Hoserr when hook up with this group.  That all you need to know.

Herkey Creek and May Valley

Springtime riding around Idyllwild is some of my favorite stuff around SoCal.  Unfortunately due to some ill-timed (like there is ever good-timed) injuries and a horrible bout of poison oak,  I missed the spring riding in the area.  Even though I knew it was going to be hot I met one of my regular riding buds who was in the area for a wedding this weekend.   Considering that he was going to be up late with the reception and all, we opted for a 9AM start time from the Herkey Creek Campground area.  We knew it would be even toastier with that start time.   Hot it was but a fairly consistent breeze kept it just hot vice blistering.  We brought plenty of extra water and electrolytes and kept to a “heat management” pace on all the significant uphills.

The trails can get pretty loose here during the summer.  I was quite impressed with how well the trails are holding up and I am pretty sure it is due to the care that most of the locals take when riding this system.   You can not rail this stuff like you can during the spring and moist times and it is impertive that you hold the lines and skillfully use the brakes.  The trails simply can not hold up to skidiots and turnblowers.  There was plenty of evidence to show that some of the people who do blow a turn took the time to stop, go back and make an effort to repair their damage, or at least brush out their off-trail tracks.   I hate to say it, but you just don’t see that generalized level of trail ownership by the routine-users in the more urbanized areas like Orange County and San Diego.  We should all take a lesson from the Idyllwild folks.

 Bill Gets Air
In addition to enjoying the flowy twisty singletrack goodness that this place is known for, we played around and a few rocks.

Bill O twisting
Here is one of the twister rocks bits that is nearly a maze.  Hats off to the builders of this.    

This was a great finish to a good week of riding, which included some of my local stuff, and the Santa Margarita River Trail (aka SMaRT).  I was slacking with my camera for those rides, but here is a ride report on the SMaRT ride on SocalTrailRiders.org.