Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Tuesday Spin at PQ

June 29th, 2011 by MTBBill

Tuesday, I opted for spin through Penasquitos Canyon with the hardtail.   After riding the UZZI around for that last while, the hardtail felt like a  flatland rocketsled out a PQ.  It felt really good carry a good grip of speed under your own power without the assistance gravity.   I knew I was going to be riding the following day, but I could not help myself, I rode like I was not going to ride the next month.  

Of course that was all fine and dandy until about 3/4th of the way the ride,  my body reminded me that I’m at least a couple dozen jelly doughnuts and a growler full of Imperial Stout shy of being “In Shape”.    It was just about this time that I ran into one of my friends out on the trail.   There must be some kind of quantum physics formula that shows that if you meet a friend on the trail and your legs are at least medium rare on the “cooked” scale, said friend will be a hammerhead who will crush your punie little girly man legs into jello.  (Make sure to read it with the “Hanz and Franz” accent)

So there was no cool down cruiser back to the trailhead for me.    I was able to hold on (for the most part) and I felt good, good and worked over,  back at the truck.   It good afternoon ride on a bike.

WEBSITE NOTE:  My PQ page is way way out of date.     With all the crap with the “Tunnels”, Del Mar Mesa, and the destruction of “Intestines”, I have opted to staying out of that politically charged mess (at least from the website perspective).   If the dust ever settles I will update will update the page then.

Celebrating the End of the Day

August 2nd, 2010 by MTBBill

There is nothing like a little celebration and the end of an awesome day.  It is great to reflect on day well spent with family and friends. One of my favorites is when there is a bit of great mountain biking in the mix as well.    I have been really fortunate to have lots of those days.    Today the celebration was for different reasons.

The day started off like some of my other work trips that have had some awesome mountainbiking through in as well.   Asunrise communter flight to LAX to catch a connector.  The connector in this case was Seattle and I have plans for a good bit of riding during my month long stay up here.   Once we got about the marine layer I was treated to pretty pictureque scene below.

 

 One of the other guys I will be working with on this project was going to drive up versus fly.  He has plans for some post-work vacation/roadtrip.   He offered to drive my bike up so I was more than happy not have tear in down, put in the bike box and lug it around the airports.   Shortly after getting off the plane in LAX and into the terminal things started turning for the worse.    I got a phone call from by work bud.  My Intense 6.6 had been stolen off the back of his truck.  Somebody in Kelso WA cut the fairly beefy cable lock and took off with my cherished rig.  I did have a long enough of a layover that all the phone calls were taken care of with the Kelso Police Department as well as make a few points online about the event.     Needless to say I was good and bummed.

My Baby when she was new (The shock has seens been replaced with a Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock)    The setup of this bike is fairly unique and considering that “Works” translucent paint allows the unique weldmarks to show through, the underlying marks on this paint is a vittual fingerprint for this bike.

Hopefully this along with frame serial number will help it recovery.  I don’t expect I’ll see the bike again.  

Needless to say that I was not in a good mood when I got on the flight to Seattle.    I was however fairly comfortable in seat 5C.   Short BEFORE take off, the little five or so year old “princess” in row 8 started screaming crying and wailing.      It was freaking blood curdling and I could see the tightening shoulders and clinched jaws of everyone within my view.  Mom made good effort to try and calm the little princess down….for all of about five freaking minutes, then she just became pretty oblivious to her little freaking scream box urchin.    We were given the okay to use the portable electronics you should have seen the mad scramble everyone was making to fire that those things up to try and drowned out that the baby terrorist cell.   The scramble was enough that the flight attendant actually smile and had to hold back some snickers.    Even with the music pumping you could still here the screaming.   Now I know the difference between a kid in pain and a kid being a pain.  There was not ear ache, no upset stomach, this kid was just an urchin.  Come on Mom, do something, NyQuil, Sleeping Pills, Pillow across the face,  sock in the mouth, something!    The descent was pure torture once we had to turn off our electronic mufflers.   I was fit to be tied when I got off the plane,   luckily I have a couple hours of driving to do and was able to chillax a little.

Because of the length of my stay here I was able grab a condo rental for the same price as a hotel stay.   I was pretty freaking stoked with the accommodations and location.  It was well into the afternoon by the time I was finally able to set down and relax for good with a tasty Pacific Northwest cold one.    Somedays you celebrate a day well spent, today I was simply celebrating the END of this day.    The good news about this Monday is there are a lot of people out there who had something truly tragic happen today and I was not one of them.     Thanks everyone who acknowledged the bummage of my day and offered encouragement and help.   You guys Rock!

San Marcos – Its not a F$%)ing Trail!

July 30th, 2010 by MTBBill

Tripe (noun)

  1. Lining of the stomach of a ruminant (especially a bovine) used as food.
  2. A slang term synonymous with rubbish, in the sense of something of little value, or nonsense. 
  3.  (see also San Elijo Trails)

Definition #2 particularlythe “something of little value” is the theme of this rant.

So for the last week or so I have been investigating some of trails not to far from my hood.  The San Elijo Hills area.   I was not expecting much and I was quite underwhelmed.  More than just underwhelmed, I was pissed at what the developer was allowed to get away with calling trails.

 

The Gardens View Tripe – Are you f$%^ing kidding me!  When two trucks can pass one another on it, it is not a trail.   It is a dirt road.

 

I laughed out loud at this sign.  “Give Life A Chance”.     What the sign from the San Elijo Hills Development Company should say is “YOU need to give life a chance, because WE have already bulldozed all the habitat in this area”

 

Take a look at the crap they have on their website.  18 miles of trails.   There is less than one mile of trail in this development.   There are over 17 miles of Dirt Sidewalk Pathway Tripe throughout this development.   Try a little truth in advertising.

The Double Peak Tripe.    The “trail” is the dirt sidewalk on the side of the pavement and then starts up the hill.     Where is the natural outdoor experience here?  You have either pavement or a cement gutter on one side and a wooden rail fence to keep from even contacting nature on the other.   Most of this climb is compacted and absolutely smooth decomposed granite.  It is a nearly sterile outdoor experience where you never escape development.   I have been on treadmills that were only slightly less interesting.   If you can drive a Ferrari or a Prius on it, it is not a trail, it is TRIPE!   

 

Do I even need to say it, “It is not a F$%^ing Trail!    TRIPE, TRIPE, TRIPE!  This is part of the 18 miles that San Elijo is selling as an attraction.

 

The Lake San Marcos Tripe.     PAVED!   I will not buy any blabage about American Disabilites Act Access with this “trail”.   What this picture does not show is how stupidly steep this thing is.  There is no Rascal, Humaround or any other battery powered mobility chair that is going to get up this thing.   The city has a formula for how many miles of trail the community should have for its size and population.   The mileage of this tripe counts towards meeting that trail requirement.  What does that mean?  It could mean less funding for real trails in the future because the city already has its mileage.

 

This is  part of the “Make A Wish Trail”.    I sure did make a wish.  I wish there were more trails like this in the area.   This IS a trail.  Part of it looks to be pre-developement but portions of it are obviously newer.

This is  the “Secret Trail”  aka Trail 90.    While it is fairly short this is good stuff that not only offers a high quality outdoor experience it is substainually less impacting on existing habitat.  This is the best legal and sanctioned trail out here.   It is also a legacy trail from before the develeopment started.  

Okay so maybe I’m being rash and a trail snob but this is some of the worst stuff I have seen in an urban area interfacing  to open space in San Diego County yet.   The dirt pathways have their place down between the homes, but running this crap all the way up into the open space is just dumb.   It does not meet the needs of the users who would venture up that far and it needlessly destroyed even more habitat by making the “trails”  three to five times wider than they need to be.   Arrrrrrrgh, What a nearly complete failure on the part of those charged with the oversight of this development.   I’m not sure if this failure is due to incompetence, ignorance, or just a simple lack of caring but it certainly did occur.  

You can download a map of all this Tripe  here and go see for yourself.   While it is a good workout it is not a high quality outdoor experience.   If you disagree, you need to start looking for some new places to ride as you are missing out on the good stuff elsewhere in the county.

Give the trails a break already!!!

February 10th, 2009 by MTBBill

With all of the rains we have been getting a good number of our trails have been soaked and need some time to dry out.   I see on a number of forums some selfish freaking idiots/don’t-give-a-shit-types going out on the trails right after the rains and rutting up the trails and going around puddles making our singletrack wider.  It amazing these jackasses are so hardcore they can go out during or right after a rain but have to go around ever puddle.   Anyone who does this crap is not hard core, rad or “gnar”.  They are a selfish jackass! 

Please give the trails thier due time to dry out and spread the word.  We only get to ride a mere 330+ days a year here in San Diego,  surely we can find something else to do for a few days after the rains.  

Here is a wet trail rating guideline that floats around every season.  It is just a guidline and after these current rains, the trails will need even more rain than suggested.

SDMBA Volunteer Appreciation Gala

February 2nd, 2009 by MTBBill

Saturday the San Diego Mountain Bike Association had it’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Visitor’s Center of Mission Trails Regional Park.

The event started off with an afternoon ride through the park.   A sizable crowd showed up for the pre-festivities ride that included three different routes for various skills levels.

I ended with the group that I believe should have been called “Should have known better group”.

We decided to climb Jackson to Suycutt Wash and then up to the saddle between North and South Fortuna Mountain.  There is some steep freaking fireroads on this route.  Somewhere near the top of the saddle, I remembered why I don’t ride much here.   Freaking fireroads everywhere trying to be passed off to the public as trails.  Just because you designate something a trail does not make it a trail.  I did chuckle pretty hard later in the day when someone said this place should be called  “Missing Trails Regional Park”.   The rumor/good news is that the management is starting to see the light on sustainable multiuse singletracks.   Okay rant aside,  after making it to the saddle we hung a right and climbed up to the peak of South Fortuna Mountain were we got in some cool views of downtown, Point Loma and the Coronado Islands.  From here we got in some mighty zippy descending that included some hike-a-biking down a portion of “The Steps” trails   Before long we were back to Jackson Drive and dumped a lot of hard earned elevation down the gravely fireroad.

Back at the visitor’s center, I along with a bunch of trails rats and dirt divas enjoyed a good time hanging, grubbing and conversating with each other.  Some of these folks I only see during trailwork events.   It was certainly a good time.  

Some people looked to be planning for world-wide singletrack domination.

It was a pretty lively crowd and there was a rumor that a gang sign or two might have been thrown around. (I think I caught the highly secretive “Sparticus” sign in use)

Later in the evening, there was some absolutely funny awards and killer swag handed out.  Many Shimano shiny bits, cool clothes and various assorted goodies found there way to good homes that evening. Nobody left empty handed.

There was one huge item left to the end for SDMBA’s Volunteer of the Year.    For that Dave Turner was on hand to present Mike MacGregor with a brand spanking shiny new Turner Frame!   Mike logged a grunch of trailwork hours at SDMBA events over the past year, established and headed up the new Trailwork committee and devoted a mountain of time off the trail to help out SDMBA and the MTB community at large.   

Congratulations Mike!    

Special thanks to Andy, Minette, the Social Comittee and rest of the folks that put this thing on.  I think everyone that was there would say it was a really great event.

Comments still a problem

January 24th, 2009 by MTBBill

I am once again having problems with users registering to leave comments on the blog.  I had it fixed for a while, but issues have arised again with my ISP and blocking emails.   Hopefully I have it fixed soon.   In the interim, you can email or PM me on the various forum siteswith the username you requested and your desired password and I can set it up.

UPDATE Monday Jan 26th, 8PM:  Okay it looks like it is working again.  My ISP explained that over the last several monthse they have been doing a bunch of ANTI-SPAM stuff measures that caused some conflict with my “non-standard” setup.  Thier current configuration is working and the tech support guys tell me I should not have to change my setup anytime soon.   I have my fingers crossed.

For those of you who have attempted to register in the past and never got an email with an activiation link, you can go onto the blog and when you go to log in, select the “I forgot my password” option and you will be given directions on how get it resent to you using username you orginally tried with.  For new users all should work fine.

Good Luck :)

-Bill

A Little Singlespeeding in the Tunnels

November 20th, 2008 by MTBBill

I took the singlespeed out for a little trail love these Tuesday out at Penasquitos Canyon and the “Tunnels”.   Tunnels used to be in the “secret-stash” catergory but has exploded in popularity with the destruction of Del Mar Mesa and the “Intestines” trails.   You won’t find much in the way of direct information about Tunnels on the site.   I have be purposely keeping it off the web due to the ongoing issues of access and trail designations in the area.  Do a search online on Tunnels, Deer Canyon and Los Penasquitos Preserve and you will find lots.     As far as how to get there.   Go ride, Penasquitos Canyon, when you get the top of the powerline climb, Hang a right and head towards the only three trees on the mesa.   Explore for hours from there, literally.    BTW, you will get turned around and confused to some degree or another.  Enjoy it.

I really love riding in this area.  It is a true gem of a trail system.  It has been here for many years and most of the network was orginally created by illegal aliens who setup and camps and trails to and from the agriculture fields.   The illegals have been run out and mountain bikers are slowly but surely cleaning up the mess that was left behind.

In addition to the trails down in the tunnels there is a series of trails that run along the edge of the “fingers” of the mesa above Deer Canyon.   This simply good freaking singletrack.   REAL TRAILS, not the doubletrack, drive-a-camero-on-it BS pathway crap that seems to routinely tries to be passed off as trails in this county.  Yep this is good stuff and the singlespeed was a great bike to enjoy it on.

I rode all around and through the tunnels until I thought I was going to run short on daylight.  The Tunnels can seem quite dark pretty early in the afternoon so I ended with more of the day left than I thought.  I decided to take a run up the Cobbles Trail to see the damage done to Del Mar Mesa.  I had not been up here since the construction started as I really did not want to see it.   Cobbles now just ends at the top and the top is a terrible thing to look at.  

I could not help but think of all the ninnies complaining about the impact that we mountain bikers create on the “Tunnels” with our waffle tracks.    I would like to take those people up to this spot and pimp slap them until they get “it”.     These so-called “stewards of the land” need to start thinking a little more holistically and start looking into the enviroment impact on one of the most endangered species in coastal San Diego County,  “The Human Trail User“.   

Okay I feel better after ranting.

Bike Luggage Bingo

September 2nd, 2008 by MTBBill

What a pain the butt, I had over the last couple of days getting by bike packed up and ready to go to the east coast with me on a business trip.  The original plan was to ship the bike ahead of me and have it waiting for me at my hotel when I arrived.   So I packed the bike into my Trico Sports Ironcase Bike Box.   I have used this thing in the past and it is great.  Through your bike as well as most of your other bike stuff in there as well.  Well the price checking this box in as luggage has gone up from sometimes free or $75  to $125.   UPS was quoting the weight as about $70 to ship it.  Great, I could save some money and not have to fuss with the bike box through an airport terminal.    I get to UPS and HOLY CRAP!   Seems that due to the size of the box it falls it falls into the irregular catergory and they want to ring me up for $153 each way.   No thanks, I’ll take check it on the flight.  

I live about 10 minutes from the Carlsbad commuter airport that I would be flying out of so I decided to swing by on my way home with the box and make sure I would not have any problems beyond dropping some coin to get it on the flight.  At first the guy was like, “sure no problem, a bike box is a bike box.  Pay your $125 and you will be good to go”.  At this point I questioned him because I read somewhere that I weight restriction had changed as well and I did not want any surprises the morning of my flight.   After a bit of keystroking, he confirmed that there is a 50lb weight limit is in addition to the special charge because it is a bike box.   This means that the airline wants $250 one-way to take my bike along for the ride.  I would need to get this bike box down to 50lbs to make it even worthwhile to bring.

So I took everything out of the box and weighed.   Ouch!, the box along weighs 27 lbs.   That does not leave much room for the bike.  Out goes everything but the bike.  Crap! Still over weight.   I finally take the tires and tubes off the wheels off.   Geez, just a fraction over.   Off goes the water bottle holder.  BOOM!   50 pounds 0 ounces.

50 pounder

Now I had the problem of dealing with all the crap I took out of the bike box.    Now I’m traveling for three weeks and I have to both some work presentable attire as well as chill out clothes, and I only want to do laundry once a week.  Then means I have a little more stuff than I would normally bring along.  So clothes, camelbak, helmet, shoes, pedals, tires and tubes all go into a chick-sized suitcase.  I weigh it, DAMN, 51 pounds!    So I transfer a pair of shoes into my carry on back and all is good.

crap to get in luggage

So time to travel.  When I checked in at Carlsbad, the ticket guy checks the weights, calls it all good and charges me as regular baggage, all total just $40 bucks.  Sweet!   We will have to see how the return flight works out.

The flight to LA was uneventful, but the rest of the trip was a different storry.   My flight out of LA is delayed because they are servicing the plane. I had a tight connector schedule so I hopped on the phone and had my connector into Virgina switched to a latter flight.  Two hours later, the call is made to switch us to a different plane and about an hour later we are shuffling onto another plane.  Once loaded on the plane, we are informed that the engine may have sucked up something into one of the engines while the plane was taxiing to the gate and the engine would need to be inspected.   After one hour of seating on the plane at the gate, we are shoved off.

Needless to say I did not even make my latter connector.   So I get a free stay at Hyatt O’hare.  I’m pretty sure noboby ever books a room at his hotel, it is all stranded  travelers.   The following day, I would finally get into Norfolk.  The rental car place would turn out to be a silver lining in this little storm cloud.  I get hooked up from an econobox speck to a respectable gas guzzling SUV.   Sweeet, big pimping and I get to help melt the polar icecaps…..I’m cool!   But hey lots of space for a bike with the seats folded down.   More to follow…..

All Hail High Gas Prices!

August 26th, 2008 by MTBBill

Or maybe it is “Awh HELL, High Gas Prices!”

Today I went to work a little later than I normally do, so the commute traffic was quite different.  There were a lot more people on the road in their mad-dash to go see “The Man” for eight hours or so.  There were typical half dead types like myself swilling coffee and most likely cranking some jams in a effort to jumpstart their melon out of a sleep-deprived coma.   Geez, there were way too many chatterbox girls yapping on their phones.   I think the new law in California requiring the use of hands-free devices while driving is a good idea for most part.  EXCEPT for these ladies as  now they get to talk with BOTH of their hands while driving instead of just one.   One of the more exuberant chatterheads looked like she was being attacked by a swarm of angry bees.  I felt sorry for the poor bastard on the other end of that call.   I would like to say she should have no more than six months to a year to live with driving like that, but stupidity always seems to find a way to survive.  She will probably live to be 105.

Enough of stupid ladies on the road.  Driving through my hood, there were a bunch of bikes on the road today.  Full roadie-kit guys, hybrids commuter setups, fixies, and even some Wallyworld Specials.  I saw at least four old-school 10-speeds with downtube shifters and suicide brake levers that were just killer.  I could not help but think these rigs had spent quite a few years hibernating  hanging upside down from garage rafters gathering dust.   My guess is spring arrived for these wintering steelies when gas hit around $3.50 a gallon.  If you were a bike how cool it would be to get a new lease on life.  I grabbed quick looks at the riders of these reborn rigs as I went by and they were not the types that strike you as a vintage bike connoisseurs.   No, these were average folks on their way to work, school or wherever they had to be.   Bicycles as your basic form of transportation in the US,  now there is a green concept.  At this rate maybe $6.00 a gallon will be the cure for the nation’s obesity problem.

By far the coolest bike thing I saw today is a story that is over a half a year in the making.   A little over six months ago, I first noticed “Melrose Ave Lady”.  She looked to be in her early to mid 30’s and when I first saw her she really looked to be new to cycling and a fitness lifestyle in general.  At first I lifted an eyebrow and pulled my head back as I was positive some federal or state laws governing the use of spandex were being broken.     After snickering just a bit, I thought “Good for her, I hope she sticks to it.”   Over the next few months, I would pass Melrose Ave Lady just about daily.  She was sticking to it and she did not seem to be laboring on the climbs like she had in the past.  A few months ago, my schedule changed and I stopped being on the road the same time as Melrose Ave Lady.  Just last week, while driving down this road I wondered how she was doing.

 For those of you that have kids in your life, you know well that you tend not to notice the growth that occurs in the ones you see everyday.  However when your nieces or nephews come over you are generally shocked by their growth.     Such was the case today when I saw Melrose Ave Lady.    WOW!!!!!   I was absolutely amazed at the transformation this lady had done to her body.  Lord knows how many pounds she lost.  She was toned and tanned and could easily be 20 something.  She also cruised up the hill like it was a flat.    Melrose Ave Hottie, who ever you are, you have been totally inspiring to watch and I am so proud of the commitment you have put into your new lifestyle.   Hundreds of cars have passed you everyday and I am sure I am not the only person to have followed your progress.   It would not be surprised if some of those additional bikes on the road today are a result of the inspiration you gave on Melrose Ave.     

I think I’ll check the tires on my commuter bike.

iTards on the Trail

August 13th, 2008 by MTBBill

I’m generally okay if folks want to rock out on the trail with an iPod.  It is when they do both ears and have the tunes up high enough that they can not hear the world around them.    There is a whole list of mini-rants that I could go into about missing turns on group rides and not being able to interact with other trail users and coming across as jerks.    Blah Blah Blah….

 Here is a case from a ride a couple of days ago that involved a hiking “iTard”.   I’m riding along and spot a rattlesnake on the side of the trail.  I stop and check him out.   He is a good sized snake but has not reacted to me yet.   I like to get this critters away from the trail as some boneheads will kill them if they encounter them.  After getting a couple of shots I’m about to get the snake’s attention so it will go away when I hear a couple of hikers coming.    The snake and I are near a curve, with the snake being between me and the approaching hiker.    From the sound, I could tell they were trail runners.   I yell for them to hold up.   Nothing.    The first runner in all of his iTardness rounds the corner in all of his white-corded bud wearing glory.   I yeah “snake” really loud now and his girlfriend (just rounding the corner) stops and joins in the yelling fest.   The dude is on a collision course with this snake.  I wave my arms frantically and yell one more time and iDumbAss finally stops and looks at me with a bewildered look like “What”?   I simply pointed at the snake that was about two strides away from being in striking distance.    iTard freaks out at bit in full reverse.   After that I snake gets a little concerned and makes some noise and goes away.   

 Rattler

Shortly after the hikers pass me, I hear iTard’s girlfriend running him through the ringer about not being able to hear what is going on.  I snickered as I got rolling again to complete some North County trail goodness. 

Trail Goodies