New Review Up! Crestridge

April 15th, 2014 by MTBBill

I have finally gotten off my butt and finished up new trail review on the website proper.   The Crestridge Ecological Reserve.   In the last year I have mostly been doing blog posts or updating existing pages.  I have at least a dozen other trail pages in the works so hopefully it won’t take as long to get the next one out.   Then again beer, bikes and life in general could foil that plan.


Lunch time at La Costa

April 11th, 2014 by MTBBill

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..

Double play in the San Gabs

March 30th, 2014 by MTBBill

Yesterday I drove up to the LA area to get in some riding in San Gabriel Mountains.  It had been nearly two years (May of 2012) since my last time out of these trails.  (Note: In the process of getting this post together I came across of bunch of pictures from that last visit that had went unpublished so this post contains a mix of pictures from both.  My cohort in grime was wearing the checkered shirt yesterday if you need to know which one are more recent.)


We did a modified shuttle/point-to-point ride on this day.  We meet up off of Windsor Street in Altadena near NASA’s JPL and left a truck there where the ride was going to finish up.   We then went up HWY 2 and rode in the Chilao Flats area where we got in some riding on Mount Hilyer and the Silver Moccasin Trails as well as couple other bits.     The weather was great and the riding was just as nice but the damage from the Station Fire really did a number on this area.


After knocking out a nice loop in that area, we got back in the truck and road over to Eaton Saddle on Mount Wilson Road.  From there we hopped on the old Mt Lowe Road where we did a bit of fire road climbing. This is really cool section of fire road that even includes a tunnel.


After about a mile on the fire road we turned off onto the Mt Lowe single track.  There were some challenging rocky bits on this climb that took us up to around 5,540 feet as the trail were around the eastern flank of the mountain.  This would be the highest evaluation we would see for the rest of the day as the truck was down at around 1200 feet.  Meaning we were in for some killer descending.


The Mount Lowe trail was tight and fast with some rocky bits to keep you on your toes.  There was some exposure on this trail as well but mostly the kind that is going to leave a mark versus the assuredly kill you kind.


The Mt Lowe trail  eventually dumped us back out onto the Mt Lowe road where we quickly turned off onto the Sam Merrill Trail.   Oh My what an awesome bit of trail this was.  I particularly enjoyed the opening section that has been spared by the first that was wonderfully wooded with tight single track on the rocky hillside.   Laughter could be heard through the woods during our transit through here.


The trail eventually dumps you back out into open scrub brush and views all the way down into the LA basin are to be had.   You can also see quite a bit of the trail that lay ahead.


The section down to Echo Mountain has plenty of technical goodness, tight switch backs and some exposure spots that could ruin your day or year.


Once we got down to Echo Mountain, we climbed the Echo Mountain Trail back over to the lower parts of Mt Lowe road.  This trail follows along the old track bed of the Mt Lowe Railway which operated between 1893 to 1936.  The cement foundations for trestles are still in place.


Just a 100 yards or so down the old road from where the Echo Mountain trail comes out is the top of the Sunset Ridge trail.


More downhill goodness ensued for about the next 3.3 miles (with a short road interconnect) where the trail comes out in the Millard campground.  After the campground there was about a mile of fire road climbing to keep you honest.   From there we hooked with the El Prieto trail.


This trail was just a hoot with some fast flowing sections, creek crossing and technical bits to keep you on your toes.  While we were overall shedding off elevation there we enough undulations to get some quick climbing grunts in.


The El Prieto trail dumps out onto a fireroad that feeds down to Arryo Blvd (closed to vehicles) where it is followed back up into civilization and Windsor St where the other truck was waiting.  After we drove back up to the top to grab the other truck we kicked back and enjoyed the view while shooting breeze before getting heading off for the rest of our weekend.   It was way  good times on the bike today.   (I’m planning a get a page with directions and GPS data up on this ride in the coming weeks)


BLOG Outage – Resolved

March 28th, 2014 by MTBBill

So the blog was down for the better part of this week.  My web-hosting service kind of screwed me by shifting my the database to a new server and did me no favors in the process.  Those issues are now resolved and this should be back to normal.  Think it is time to go for a ride in the San Gabs tomorrow to celebrate!

The Greater Big Laguna Trail Area

January 21st, 2014 by MTBBill


This past weekend was mighty nice up in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area also known as the Big Laguna Trail.  The cool crisp air was a real pleasure to be in.


Anytime you are out with Steve on a trail  impromptu log riding can break out.


We hit some routes that I have not done in a long time or had not done in that direction before.  Here Steve and Mark climb Lightning Ridge.  While I have descended this trail plenty of times this was my first time going up the trail.


I was digging pine needles and oak leaves under the tires.


A view down into Big Laguna Meadow.


A view across an area affected by the Chariot Canyon Fire.  Hmmm some Perfect Cycling Trail can be seen in the distance.


Grabbing some snacks at the General Store.


(Photo by Steve)

Next snack stop would be at Alpine Beer Company for some pulled pork and IPAs.

Playing around in Santee

January 19th, 2014 by MTBBill


Last weekend I joined hundreds of fellow mountain bikers for a  Protest Ride at  “Missing Trails” Regional Park. MTRP-ProtestRide-11JAN14-25

The article linked above gives a little bit about the story.  I plan on dedicating more to the trail problems in San Diego County in the near future. Santee-Mongo-11JAN14-01

After the protest ride a handful of us worked our way over into Santee to play on some of the real trails in the area.   By real I’m mean the city and county had absolutely nothing to do with their creation.


Evan playing on the rocks


I even managed to get both wheels off the ground.  (Photo by Sean)


In the category of “Stupid Human Tricks” I was trying to get a low angle looking up shot of Steve going off a rock jump.    I have probably taken over a 1,000 pictures of Aqua doing stupid human tricks in the past.  I’ve come to know the sound of his bike coming in as planned.  That was not the sound I heard on this occasion.


I already started my air raid rollout when Evan got the first shot.  Other than a handlebar in the back it was kinda nice getting in a little cuddle action in on the side of the trail.


This was the shot I was originally aiming for.  There were tasty post-ride burritos had and Steve even sprung for the burritos!

San Juan Trail

December 30th, 2013 by MTBBill

I needed to pedal off so Christmas cookies calories so Dave and I headed up to the San Juan Trail to get in some climbing.   I’m pretty sure there are some Thanksgiving Turkey, Halloween Candy, San Diego Beer Week and Octoberfest calories to be dealt with as well :-)


It was a bit cool at the trailhead but just a few switchbacks up the trail it was quite comfortable.   The day turned out of to be simply awesome with warm sun and superbly clear skies.  San Clemente and Catalina Islands were easily seen.  The further up we climbed the more impressive the views became.


I have been spending most of my riding time lately on my XC hardtail so taking out the my long-legged UZZI with it additional weight and heft on this ride was quite a bit more work on the climb.     I was quite happy to see cocktail rock when we got there.


We did the traditional loop at the top in the counter-clockwise direction.    I had not forgotten how fun this trail can be but I had been away from it just long enough for each to turn had a bit of “Oh I remember you” excitement to it.


The main descent back to the trailhead was a rip roaring hoot.   I have ridden this trail in what I would call perfect conditions before where the dirt could be best described as “Hero Dirt”.    That was not the case on this day, I would call it “Normal” which was also great.   It was the kind of dirt where you could easily overdue it in the turns and ending up loosing control.  But if you paid attention you could hear your tires and the dirt telling you when you were approaching the limits of traction.  I had big stupid grin on my face every time I was able to make the tires and dirt sing to me in the turns as my long-legged bike was shining in gravity direction it is optimized for.    We polished off a great day of riding with some tasty burritos in San Juan Capistrano before heading back to casas.


Getting to know Crestridge

December 19th, 2013 by MTBBill

Last I made two trips out Crestridge Ecological Reserve area to check out the trails.     This place has been on my get to know list for years now but I keep finding myself going just a little further down the road to Anderson Truck Trail and other trail goodness.   I found lots of fire roads and single tracks out here of varying quality along with plenty of elevation change.   Putting a good hurting on your legs and lungs is most certainly an option out here.   Getting in some flowing trails smiles can certainly be on the docket as well.


Flynn Springs Trail in the east end of the area.


Some single track bits in the east end.


There are plenty of fire roads in the area as well as some single track.  The trail pictured above was in what I was call  the west end and it was a nice contouring trail up and over a saddle.


Sweet little spot.


I have climbed uglier fire roads.

I’m going to add this area to my site in the near future after GPS out a few more corners of this place so stay tuned.


Santa Margarita River Trail

December 8th, 2013 by MTBBill

It had been about five years since I had last been on the Santa Margarita River Trail.  This trail systems was a victim of the 2007 wildfires in San Diego County but has made a remarkable recovery.


There had been quite a bit of rain in the previous days before I did this ride.   This place has quite a bit of sand and the previous rains had the sand nicely packed.   The flora had also quickly responded to the moisture and where flush with color.


There were some spots of dramatic change since the fires.  After the fires a lot of the retaining vegetation was destroyed .  When heavy rains swelled the river the following river mother nature grabbed a sizable chunk of the bank.  In the picture above, the trail is now right on the edge of the back when it used to be 10-20 feet away from the waters edge.


I love some of the variety you get out here.  The natural rock chicanes here make for some sporty flat land bike handling.


Then there are these flowing smooth single track sections under the trees that just make you grin. It is a great time of year to get out there so I you have not been out here before it is worth checking out if you live here in the county and looking to check out some new turf.




Quick Trip to Japan

November 7th, 2013 by MTBBill

Work this past week has brought me back to Japan on a short trip.  I did bring along on my bike essentials and on Sunday I was able to take the rental bike out through some old stomping grounds on the Muira Peninsula.  It was a cloudy overcast day and while the sun seemed to threaten to make an appearance it never did.   The good news was it was not raining.

This started out with a bit of street riding from Yokosuka over to the town of Zushi.   I had forgotten to bring my GPS and maps of the area on this trip so the plan was going to be to stick to know routes.     When I first got into Zushi was when I had to make my first decision about where to ride.  I could either roll over to the “Duck Pond” area ride  that stuff and then link up with the Tennin trail system and drop down into Kamakura or I could turn south and hit the Fugato-yama area.


I opted for the latter and after a bit of street climbing and some steep cement steps I was into the woods.  The rain from previous days made for some treacherous bike handling as the clay bases soil in the area gets a traction rating of “butter” when wet.    Slick sections of clay and wet angled roots all added to the overall excitement of being back on the trails that I have come to enjoy so much.  The loop I had planned in the Fugatoyama area included an out-and-back segment up to the peak.   On my way back from the peak I stopped at the junction of a trail I had never taken.  It drops you way down into a large basin area to the south.   Several years ago I had explored down in that basin coming in from the other end.    I was quite certain I had been at the other end of this trail down in the bottom of the basin.   Taking this trail would not only be a bit of exploration but would also mean committing to the follow the basin trail system down to the west and out on the opposite side of the peninsula from where my hotel was at.  I took the path I had never traveled.


The trail was somewhat I expected in that it was steep and followed along a watershed.   The previous rain made part of the trail more stream than trail in spots and it was always fairly narrow.  I was digging being on some new dirt while hearing the little voice in my head fretting a little that I might be wrong about where this trail is going.


Turns out I was right about the trail once down into the basin, I turned onto a trail that flowed a stream down to the west.   The trail was extremely small and rugged with lots of water crossings at this end.  The further west you go the more established and less rugged the trail becomes as this trail seems see more usage by hikers at that end.

After following the trails out to a trailhead I followed a series of streets out to the western shore of the peninsula.  From there I turned south and followed the roads and streets south through Hyama.  The route turned out to be a little longer than I remembered.   I was happy to recognize the turn off for the dirt road up Ogusuyama, the highest peak on the peninsula.


I was due for a pick me up so a snack from a local store and one of favorite treats was in order.   Canned coffee served hot from vending machines that are all over the place here.


After the caffeine hit I started the grunting up to the peak.   I made my way up to the an observatory at the top.   From there I took a trail my friends here have simply referred to as “Trail 2″ that will take you into the Kinugasa area.


This may be the first time I have stopped to take a picture of this section.   Its mighty zippy through here.


Another fine section of trail.  Not too far beyond this point I was back on streets and roads and headed back to my Yokosuka hotel.  My legs were fairly cooked and mud splattered grin from ear to ear.