Archive for the ‘Advocacy/Trailwork’ Category

A romp through Anacortes singletrack goodness

April 12th, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday, I ventured north of Seattle to the town of Anacortes, where tales of miles single track goodness seemed to abound.   My first order of business upon rolling into the sound-side town of Anacortes was to pickup a set of maps from a local bike shop.  For $10 I got three great maps of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. That was all I needed to get to the trailhead at Cranberry Lake.  

 

The weather forecast gave a 50% chance of showers with the temps in the low 50s.   It certainly looked like I was going to get wet today.   A few days ago someone said something interesting that stuck in my head.  “There is no bad weather, only bad gear.”  With that in my head, I packed up my gear and hit the trail.  Right from the trailhead I was on some cool single tracks that were combinations of loamy buff with some rocks and roots here and there.

Riding in an evergreen forest is just awesome.   Believe it or not these are multi-use trails.  Yes these twisty and flowing singletracks are open to hikers, equestrians and bicycles.   These are community trails and most of them are within the city limits of Anacortes.    The land managers and agencies of San Diego County could learn a lot from this place. 

Did I mention these trails rule?   The Anacortes Community Forest Lands has about 50 miles of interconnected trails with over 41 miles of those trails being single tracks. 

Got Beaver?  

Got Bald Eagle?

As the day went on the weather turned for the better and the sun even popped out.  I found myself openly giggling while I cruised and twisted through the forest.   On several occasions I could not help but to stop, grab a spot on a log and just take it all in.   I am one lucky bastard to get to ride stuff like this on a business trip. One thing is for certain, I am going back here at least once more on this trip as I have only scratched the surface of this trail system.

PSA – The Future of Carlsbad Trails

March 23rd, 2009 by MTBBill

Here is a cut-and-paste from some of the online forums that is important to you if you ride a bike in the Carlsbad area.

———————————-

All who ride La Costa, Calavera and want to open more trails to legal status, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME IN NEXT 25 YEARS in NORTH COUNTY via the CITY OF CARLSBAD “Envision Carlsbad” Growth Plan Update. The staff has hired a great national consulting firm to gather input from citizens on what they want from the City.

THIS IS HOW MTBRs GET A SEAT AT THE TABLE – BUT YOU GOTTA SHOW UP:

March 23 MONDAY 6PM to 830PM Faraday Safety Center 2560 Orion Way (map)

March 25th, WEDNESDAY 6PM to 830PM TriCity Wellness Center 5260 El Camino (map)

TELL THE CITY YOU ARE A CITIZEN, TAXPAYER (and if a Carlsbad resident) THAT

1. YOU WANT MORE RECREATIONAL ACCESS FOR YOUR KIDS, on
2. SUSTAINABLE TRAILS IN OPEN SPACES, as that
3. INCREASES SAFETY FOR ALL USERS, and
4. BRINGS MORE HEALTHY RECREATION TOURISTS DOLLARS TO CARLSBAD,
5. RESULTS IN NET HABITAT GAIN AND A HEALTHIER PRESERVE SYSTEM, by

BY DRIVING OUT IRRESPONSIBLE ABUSE by the
ILLEGAL CAMPERS AND
FIRE STARTERS,
WASTE DUMPERS,
GANG-TAGGERS, and
OFF-ROADERS

If you are an SDMBA member or have participated in any trail volunteer events, remind the forum consultants that SDMBA has consistently been far and away the biggest contributor of hours, for the hardest dirt work, and set the best example and proof statement that:

“MULTI-USE MEANS MORE WIN-WINS” – hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, bike-riders, horsers and conservationists all have the same desire for a healthy nature experience, and have worked well together elsewhere, and have proven references from the most wise bio-science adaptive land managers to prove it works.

In these tough fiscal times, everyone is reminded that the simple things in life are the most valuable, and whats more valuable than neighbors learning to look after the land together, and become better friends and stewards of it for our future generations?

GO TO CITY WEBSITE FOR MORE ON ENVISION CARLSBAD and the two dates in APRIL.

For more info contact Erik Trogden, N County Liaison SDMBA.

A quick spin at Spring Canyon

March 19th, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday, I decided to hit up the SDMBA advocacy meeting.  The meeting did not start until 7pm and since I work in San Diego and live in North County what to with all that time between work and the meeting.  Ah yes, the ole standby….go for a ride.   The destination was Spring Canyon just north of the 52.    This canyon is eventually going to be annexed into Mission Trails and link Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch to Mission Trails but right now it is well “social” in nature.  These trails have been for decades and it is such a poorly guarded secret that most of the public has no idea it is not a fully endorsed trail system.   More often than not people assume it is part of Mission Trails Regional Park.  The same folks also think these are by far the best trails “in” Mission Trails.

Okay enough with the history and issues, this is nice place to ride on real “Preserve Quality” trails, aka singletrack. 

The weather was pretty darn great and the greenery and the flowers blooming was just awesome.

I decided to take the single speed out today, and while it is generally a good choice for out here, there was one hill that put a beat down on me for a bit.  It is all good, as I need the beat down.

The return trip back to the trailhead was an all gradually downhill affair that was a bunch of swooping fun.  There was enough turns that I only spun out on the singlespeed in a few sections.  I’m no racer so it was just set back and enjoy the cruise through those sections.  Good stuff. 

While I could not stay for the entire SDMBA meeting (Had to pick Will up from Hockey practice) it was a good meeting with lots of exciting things brewing in SD County.  We have multiple cities interesting in MTB Skills Progression Parks, corporate sponsors getting more involved, and the IMBA trail crew coming out this coming weekend.  Lots more stuff as well so stay tuned to tby signing up for the thier free Trailnews letter.

On a more painful sidenote, after the meeting, I became aware that I have gotten into some Poison Oak on a “scouting expedition” the day before.   Yeah!!  At the time of this typing, I’ve got the stuff in a bad way and I’m down with the full regime of Zenfel and the various other products for dealing with the stuff.   Not so good times, but hey it sometimes is the price you pay when looking for hidden trail gems.

Oh…Almost forgot, I saw two rattlesnakes on this ride and managed to get an picture of one of them.  It is only March and I have already seen more snakes that I have in an entire year before.   

San Dieguito River Park Trailwork

March 8th, 2009 by MTBBill

Saturday I spent a good chunk of the day helping out with the construction of a new section of trail that will be part of the Coast-to-Crest trail.   This was a a short notice trailwork to get some things accomplished prior to March 15th when restrictions on access to the area take effect in an effort to give the threatened gnatcatcher bird a better breeding season.  

Before we could get started in earnest we had to relocate a couple of the “locals”.

I was pretty stoked with this shot above as I got this snake’s eye in focus and the light was good enough that you could see the flash of the camera.  While nobody but me can pick it out, there is a bit of my reflection in the it’s eyes.   I can’t help but wonder if I had one of those $5K 22MP cameras and some L-series glass would I have been able to pick that up better.

This was some exceptionally tough work done that involved almost exclusively rock work. This section of the trail is within the 20 year flood plan of the San Dieguito River so it will be a raised section of trail with periodic culverts. Our main jobe today was to frame in were the trail is going to go and start on the foundation of rocks that will eventually be filled with dirt.  

We used some sizable rock to make the frame of the trail. There was one rock large enough to be dubbed “The Asteroid”. When completed it will be cool to ride by that spot and say “Yeah, I help put that rock there”

This was the first time that SDMBA has worked with the SDRP folks and I think we left a good impression about the quality of work SDMBA can produce. One this was for certain, I was good and pooped.

Here are some additional photos.

Lake Calavera Trailwork

March 1st, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday, around 60 people showed up to work on a troubled section of trail that was in need of erosion control. More importantly in was a chance for SDMBA to work the Department of Fish and Game. 


Gardner giving the safety brief prior to heading out to the work site.

Even though it has not rained in a couple of weeks there were still some wet areas due to poor drainage. Several crews built the neccessary drainage.

“Sparticus” in action. This is a really cool tool that is basically a spider web of chain that allows for really large rocks to be moved efficiently. SDMBA has built five of these so far and several were in use on this day.

In addition to some of the usual faces you see at these events there were also plenty of new faces including plenty youngsters and teenagers. These are the future stewards of these lands so it was great to see entire families involved.

This event included one of the largest water diversion projects I have seen at a trailwork event. The amount of rocks and dirt moved for this was truly impressive. I’m pretty sure everyone how had a hand in this section slept very well that night.

A special thanks is owed to Erik Trogden (The SDMBA’s Coastal North County Liason) for leading the effort to put this event together. Thanks to Bicycle Warehouse for supporting the event with the copious amounts of schwag. More importantly, thanks to Warren Wong from the Department of Fish and Game for allowing SDMBA to work with his agency to improve this trail. Hopefully this will be the start of a good working relationship to improve both the habitat and trail resources of Lake Calvera.

Here are some additional pictures.

After the trailwork a few of us went for a bike ride at Calvera.  While out in the “Back 40″, we got to see some “game” on the Fish and Game managed land.

Good Ride and Old Friends

February 19th, 2009 by MTBBill

Now that we have had a little break in the rain enough to give the trails some dryout time, I went out to Alpine to ride Anderson Truck Trail which handles the moisture well.   I was joined by Cliff, Danny and Chip.  It was first time riding with Danny but Cliff and Chip are old friends.   I spent eight days down in Copper Canyon in Mexico back in 2005.  Cliff is not only one of my biking buds,  he is also my real estate agent who did mighty good by me a few years back when we stepped up to a larger home.    I have not seen too much of either of thes guys in a while so riding together was good for catching up.  Mother Nature has been doing some landscaping on the trail and there are some spots that are going to need some attention on the trail.    I only had my video camera today so no pictures from the day.   The ones here are from a week or so earlier.

The climb up went well really pretty scenery and and blue skies.   There was enough moisture in the ground that you could just feel a little more resistance on the climb.   We enventually made our way to the top and then enjoyed the fruit of our labor.   I did not hit some of the stuff I normally would since I had my XC helmet cam vice the full-face helmet.  If you are wondering why I use a full-face helmet when “playing” in and on serious rocks/chunk read this experience at Goat Camp nearly a year ago.

The return trip back down the main part of ATT was really freaking great with insanely perfect traction.  It was quite possibly my quite run to the bottom.   Afterwords I had a good chunk of time to kill before the monthly SDMBA meeting.  Lucky for me Chip invited me back to Casa Del “ChipandDale” for dinner.    While dinner was in the works, another one of the Copper Canyon crew,  Joey,  swung by for a bit.   For dinner they had some family friends come over so I added some folks in the friends column over a really yummy meal.  I was about to drop off into a food coma, when Chip informed I was about to be late for the meeting.  Luckily they live just a few minutes away from meeting so I got there just in time.   The rest of the night was spent at the SDMBA meeting where Michael Beck, the San Diego Director of the Endangered Habitats League was the quest speaker.  It was interesting to see a different perspective on the land usage debate in San Diego and get a better understanding of what organizations like his are trying to do.   I can’t say that I liked everything I heard but I understood it.   One thing is for certain mountain bikers have more in common with these groups than we have different and hopefully they can see that responsible trail users can be dedicated stewards of the lands.

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.

SDMBA Day at Calavera – FEB 28th

January 23rd, 2009 by MTBBill

Put this on your calender folks.  If you not being riding/following Calvera lately, there is lots of activity going on, both good and not-so-good,  with this area.  The CA Dept of Fish and Game has not exactly be a “welcoming with open arms” kind of group towards mountain bikers so our community showing up in good numbers will go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with them here.  Come on out, do a little trailwork and then do a little riding.

The below information is from Erik Trogden, the North County Coastal Liaison with the San Diego Mountain Biking Association

February 28th at Calavera 

This is an important opportunity for mountain bikers, hikers, and others to come together for the common cause of taking care of our precious open spaces.  Let’s demonstrate that we are responsible stewards of Calavera by pitching in to make it a better place for everyone who enjoys it.

SDMBA is collaborating with the CA Dept. of Fish and Game to do habitat restoration and erosion control on a heavily used trail falling southwest away from the quarry; sometimes referred to as The Spine or Mordor.  The 200 yard long stretch of trail has widened significantly over time and needs some work to repair damage from rain and overuse.
9:00 to Noon.  Staging area TBD.  Same format as La Costa with food, schwag and lot’ s of education about how YOU can make a difference.

Erik Trogden
North County Coastal Liaison
SDMBA

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.