Rainbow Rim Video

Getting out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to ride the Rainbow Rim trail is not an easy feat. For just about everyone it will be a camping trip. This is from my August MTB vacation were we camped on Locust Point for a handful of days and enjoyed the views and the riding on this trails as well a bit of the Arizona Trail. The video really does not do the experience justice. You need to get there to enjoy it for yourself.

I had to put the videos on hold while I went down the rabbit hole of squaring away data storage and backup system. I came back from the August trip with just about a terabyte of video and photos which put my overall storage at near capacity. I now have a more robust system that should scale a lot better in the future.

Roadtrip Finisher – Utah

Technically this is the Sydney Peaks trail but it part of the Bunker Creek route

Day 18 Bunker Creek. Coming off of Brianhead Peak this was a doozie. Starting just at 11,000 feet, you had long views, Alpine meadows, Aspens, Pines. Much of this area burned in 2017 and the trails have been rebuilt, improved and extended.

Virgin River Rim Trail – Navajo Peak Section

Day 19 VRRT – Navajo Peak. I started out with plans to do the Navajo Lake Loop, but half way around I chose to peel off and get my climb on. There was plenty of work to be done but much like the Strawberry Point segment the views were worth the effort.

Ridgeline on the upper end of the Blowhard Mountain Trail

On Day 20 I finished off the “Big 3” at Brianhead with the Blowhard Mountain Trail. I rode with a group of guys from the Giant Bicycle shop in Las Vegas. A great group of guys. The trail was every bit as technical as it was billed to be. Such good stuff.

Indian Rock Art at Paragon Gap

My body decreed that today would be a rest day so for Day 21 I tooled around the countryside a bit which included a stop at Paragon Gap to check out the Indian Rock Art.

Excellent view on the Excellent Trails of Iron Hills

For Day 22, I ventured off the mountians to check out the Iron Hills trail system in Cedar City. This is an exceptional designed and built trail system which was a hoot. I did 14 miles and change with 1,700 feet of climbing. After spending much of my time over the last two weeks around 9,000 feet the thick oxygen rich air down at 6,000 feet was a real joy!

Navajo Lake

After camp near Navajo Lake since being in Utah, for Day 23 I felt the need to knock of Navajo Lake Loop proper since I had only done part of it.

I’m pretty tired…..Think I’ll go home now.

Day 24 Time to head home. Ahh hell, time to go do some of that adult stuff. It has been a fabulous trip. I have gotten everything thing I needed and wanted out of this trip. I’m no sure what that need and want is exactly yet, but I found it out here. For now I’m looking forward to seeing both wife and dogs.

I have amassed nearly a terabyte of footage and photos to do stuff with that will take months to get through. I have melon full killer memories of this trip that I’m bringing back as well. I’ll share when I can.

For now, the RV’s shitter tank is not going to dump itself!

Roadtrip Part 3 – Utah

The big August MTB vacation continues! Part 3 of the roadtrip covers Bill O’Neil and I in Utah.

Day 13 Plan A – Thunder Mountain

Day 13 – We started the day heading out to Thunder Mountain. The weather in the area turned for the worst. With too much thunder on Thunder Mountain we had had to come up with a Plan B.

Day 13 Plan B – Virgin River Rim Trail at Strawberry Point

Plan B was the Virgin River Rim Trail starting from Strawberry Point. This was an amazingly beautiful and challenging trail. The combination of terrain, grade and elevation all worked together to make for some spicey climbing. Oh the downhills were good! That night severe weather swept through the region and we good numerous flash flood warnings/alerts throughout the night.

Day 14 – Rainout Day. While the sun came out, the local 411 was to stay off the trails for the day.
Day 15 – Thunder Mountain Take 2

After the rain out day, for Day 15 we took another crack at Thunder Mountain. We managed to catch a good weather window and for the most part we were rewarded some near hero dirt. We only had a couple of squishy spots that were created by some irresponsible equestrians who went out on the trail way too soon.

Day 16 – Dark Hollow

For Day 16, we did the Dark Hollow, Second Left-Hand Canyon Shuttle. With nearly 5,000 feet of descent this was one impressive route with a some amazing trail itself and phenomenal scenery.

Bill O’Neil had to go back to adulting so Dark Hollow was our last ride together for this trip. I still have some time left before I have to reenage the realm of adulting.

Solo adventures to be continued….

Roadtrip Part 2 – North Rim

The August Roadtrip continues on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. My longtime buddy Bill O’Neil joined us on the segment of the trip arriving a couple of hours after we setup camp.

Day 8 – The Morning Cup of Joe. The Rainbow Rim Trail three feet behind me.

Day 8 – We rode the Rainbow Rim Trail from Locust Point to Parisswapitts Point as an Out-And-Back. On our way back, at the best downhill section I had a pretty castistrophic tire slash. Somehow I got 1.5″ slash in side of the tire. I was able to boot the tire with duct tape, but it did not last. I ended up bailing and letting Bill drive back and pick me up near Fence Point.

Day 9 – Day trip to OTE Hurricane Utah

Day 9 was an side trip to Hurricane Utah to get a new tire. Hats off to Quentin an the fellows at Over The Edge Hurricane for getting me taken care of and back rolling. I also bought a spare tire so should such a thing happen again I won’t have to make another unscheduled day trip.

Day 10 – Rainbow Rim Locust to Timp OAB. Thunderstorms were the start of the show!

Day 10 – The Rainbow Rim Trail from Locust Point to Timp Point and back. Nichol had to roll out and go back to adulting so Bill and I were left to our methods of mayhem.

Day 11 – Another segment of the AZT in the books

Day 11 – The Arizona Trail. Telephone Hill to Highway 89A. Boy did we thread the needle with a weather window. We got sprinkled on a little on the ride, but not one minute after we got in the truck at the far end did the skies shutdown and pounding began. On our way back to camp we thought there was snow on the ground but it was piled up hail. Crazy!

Day 12 – Basecamp near Navajo Lake established. Elevation 9,150 feet

Day 12 – Moved to Navajo Lake. The forest service roads getting off the north rim held up well from the storms. While not terribly far of a drive, between some admin tasks like tear down, dumping tanks, getting more fresh water and setting up and the new location it took up the bulk of the day. A good rest day.

The Utah Adventure starts!

Roadtrip Part 1 – Flagstaff

So I am on three-week MTB vacation.  These posts are quite a bit time late as I typically have the choice of riding, enjoying tasty beverages, chilling or posting stuff on the internet. Guess which one gets bottom billing?   Here is a quick recap of the events of the first part.

Day 1 – The MTBBILL Mobile Command Module moves to Flagstaff
Day 2 – Fort Valley Goodness

Day 1 was the transit to Flagstaff with the travel trailer.  The first ride was on day 2 in the Fort Valley area.   I climbed up Chimney, Lower Moto, a bit of the AZT, connected up with Secret and then descended Schultz Creek.   Schultz Creek was ever bit as good as I remembered it

Day 3 -The Flagstaff MTB Skills Park

On Day 3,  I checked out the Flagstaff MTB skills park which was right next to where I camped at Fort Tuthill.   This is an impressive skills park with access to the regional network of trails.   After playing around at the park, I hit up Soldiers Trail and The Bridge trail to loop right back to camp.

Day 4 – A good chunk of the Walnut Creek segment of the Arizona Trail
I also did a side trip to check out Fisher Cave which is down in the valley shown in the previous picture.

Day 4 was Chicken Noodle Soup for the MTB Soul.  The Walnut Creek Segment of Arizona Trail is simply amazing.  I did about an 18 mile loop that included the AZT, the Flagstaff loop trail and other tasty singletrack.   Later that evening my lovely wife and dogs arrived to join in the vacation festivities.

My lovely wife joined me for MTB vacation time.

For Day 5 I cut my wife some slack and we did a shuttle up to the top of Schultz pass.  We then did the half of the loop I climbed in day 2 as a descent.  Secret to AZT to Moto to Chimney and the the lower bit of Schultz Creek.   She was most appreciative of not throwing a beat down on her out of the gate.

Day 6 The sunshine before the storm

For Day 6, I did a 24 mile dumbell looking route from camp that included Highland, Soldiers, Flagstaff Loop, Rogers. Gold Digger and Two-Spot. It was a glorious morning when I started.   Pretty much at the apex of my ride the thunderstorms rolled in.   I had 10 miles with a hill in the middle to get over.  I arrived back at camp a waterlogged mess.  It was kinda awesome in its own way.

Day 7 – MBB Mobile Command Module Underway

Day 7 was move day.   It sucked having to pack up all the stuff that got caught out in the storm.  Everything has “its place” with our little house on wheels and stuff being wet meant stuff had to go in different places.   I managed to get rolling by 10AM enroute to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Now I have been to Locust Point a handful of times but I had never traveled those 20 miles of dirt roads towing a trailer.  A handful of miles down the main dirt road.  I parked my truck and trailer and hopped in my wife’s Outback and we drove the rest of the way to access the remaining roads and potential spots.   After a successful scouting mission in the Outback (Dubbed the Lunar Lander), I was back in the truck with the Command Module in tow.   We got a primo spot with the Rainbow Rim trail about 30 feet out our door with the canyon a few feet beyond that.

The End of Day 7 – Our Campsite

The adventure continues…

Herkey Creek 2007 Video

One more of the old skool videos remastered. This video is one of first videos with an HDV camcorder and the optical stabilization was so not geared to handle MTB type action. I tried some stabilization with this video but the crop required is just no good. I plan to put together a video of a scouting I did out here back in May so I wanted to get this out for comparison later. I really hope this area can recover back from the fires to something akin to what it was in this video.

Big Laguna Camping

Over the July 4th weekend, we did some camping up in the Laguna Mountains.   We were there for a long weekend so several rides were had between chilling at camp. Here are some random thoughts and pics from the weekend.

Climbing up Aqua Dulce

One of the many nice things about camping there is you can roll right out camp so there is no pressure to try and get it all in as you did not do a big drive to get here.  You can a short loop around the meadow, have lunch and go back out for some more.   Or take a nap 🙂

Big Laguna Meadow

It got pretty toasty during the day so some dawn patrol rides were in order.

Nichol eyeing up the line 🙂
Fresh new stickers on trailhead markers.

One of the loops I did included Red-tailed Roost.   I was pretty stoked with the effort I did on the climb up to the top.   It was the best I have ever done. I knew that eBikes were not authorized on USFS lands, but seeing the new stickers on the trailhead signs drove home that I would have a tough time having an eBike as my only bike as I would not want to give up riding out here.

Upper bit of Noble Canyon

As much as I have ridden out here I have never gone up to the SDSU observatories.   Instead of doing my usual of climbing up Wooded Hills I continued up the old county road and crossed sunrise highway to the paved road that goes to the observatories.   Shortly thereafter I picked up a single-track that avoided the road.  It was nice bit of trail.  There is another trail off of this one that connects to Thing Valley road that I will be checking out soon as well.

The view from one of the observatories

Altogether I got in a handful of rides and really enjoyed ourselves.

Cuyamaca Big Loop

Off to an early start on the West Side Trail

I was ready to get in a sizable ride, but when record highs projected I decided a mighty early start with plenty of water was in order for my outing up in the Cuyamaca Mountains. I was at the trail-head at sunrise and was rolling shortly thereafter. The temps were nice at that time of the morning but I knew it would not last.

Upper Green Valley Singletrack

I made good time up the West Side trail and the Green Valley Fireroad and was on the Upper Green Valley Singletrack before things started really warming up.

Lucky Five Trail

I really enjoy the La Cima trail along with the Lucky 5 trail so at the top the Upper Green Valley singltrack I did the out and back on those two trails. I “imagine” that someday when MTB access to the PCT is restored you could make a good loop with it and the Pedro Fages Trail. Even if you could do a legal loop with those trails I would have a hard time passing up the downhill section of the La Cima trail over the the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT)

The CHRT is mighty nice through here. While on this section I saw a pair of Coyotes and one of them had a rabbit in his mouth. I really wish I had my real camera (DSLR with some quality glass on it) with me. My phone has a really good camera on it suitable for a lot of situations, but it is no match for a DSLR with a quality lens on it.

Marty Minshall trail going by Lake Cuyamaca

It was plenty toasty at this point. I started with a three liters in my bladder and 750ml in a separate water bottle with a couple of electrolyte tablets in it. By this point in the ride I had killed the water bottle and refreshed the tablets and filled with water from my bladder. I connected up with the Marty Minshall trail which skirts near Lake Cuyamaca before coming out across from Milk Ranch Road.

Middle Peak and the tombstones of the forest

It has been a while since I had been up Middle Peak and I was interesting in seeing how things are progressing since the fires back in 2003. Without the trees on the mountain, there was little respite from the sun which was cooking things at this point. I was pretty stoked at how well I was handling the heat compared to how things were pre-surgery but the climb was still plenty taxing. After a water check at the top, I decided that it would be unwise to try and complete the ride without restocking up on water. The descent down Black Oak was fun but the descent down Milk Ranch Ranch Road seemed like wasted elevation loss.

Water Stop with bonus items

Once back at HWY79, I diverted off the planned route over to the general store at Lake Cuyamaca to resupply my water. While there I found a giant frozen ice stick that I simply could not live without. I enjoyed it along with nice cold Gatorade. I completely refilled water bladder even through I doubted I would need to all of that to get back to the truck. Better to be safe that sorry in these conditions. If I had a mechanical in a bad spot I could end up being out here a lot longer than planned. I also figured that if I came across someone in distress I could help.

Good to see some of you out on the trail

After enjoying my treat and the shade on the porch of the store I made my way back to the Marty Minshall trail where I retraced my route back to the top of the Soapstone Creek Fireroad. I descend this fireroad and picked up the Cold Spring Trail. I was feeling tired at this point but was still stoked at the fact I was not destroyed by the heat.

Team Cow was Moooooving Today!

As I descended down the trail you could felt the temperature climbing. By the time I connected back up with the West Side trail it was roasting. No more stopping for pictures at this point, I was ready to be done. When I got back to the truck it was was 103 degrees. My truck reads a little high after sitting so I think 98 or 99 is closer to legit. The difference being DAMN HOT and REAL HOT! Either way it was a new milestone for me in dealing with the heat. I went through 5.0 liters of liquids on the day along with six electrolyte tablets (Nuun brand).

You can download my current recommended route or the Old School Classic Grand Loop for this area here or get the exact route I did on this day over at Trailforks.

Black Mountain (Ramona)

Evil leaf all over the place where I started from.

Since recovering from a heart valve replacement last year I have been noticing that the heat does not crush me like it used to do.   To test this theory, I decided to ride the Upper San Ysabel Truck Trail and ascend Black Mountain in Pamo Valley.

I purposely started a little later in the morning knowing that it was going to be toasty at the end of the ride.  

The temperature was fairly reasonable when I started from the east end of the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.   It is mostly a climb to the west to Black Mountain Truck Trail. The last time I rode this was on a bikepacking outing and it was much easier on this day than  back then with all the gear.

One of the few shaded sections of the Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.

Once on the Black Mountain Truck Trail I settled into the climb and I was feeling good.  It was nice to have my seat post working for this climb.

The temps were climbing only slightly quicker than I was.   I had a full 3 liters of water in my camelbak.  I only put water in my bladder.   I used to put things like energy or electrolytes mixes in them but I have learned that I’m not dilengent enough to prevent inadvertent science experiments from occurring.  Instead I have a separate water bottle that I mix that stuff in using the water from my bladder.   

Along the Black Mountain Truck Trail.

About 2/3rds of the way up the climb I took a break and made another batch of electrolytes in the water bottle (I use Nuun tablets).  It was good and warm but I was still feeling good. 

The top of Black Mountain

Continuing on I made it though a steeper section that previously would have put a hurting on me, but today it was hard work but not a crusher.  After that section, it felt like a cruise in comparison to the top. 

Plenty of climbing

I was plenty glad to be done with the climbing and felt really good about the effort I put in.

After taking in some sights at the summit, it was downhill time.

Pamo Valley below
Views to the east

The descent was mighty zippy and I could feel the heat cranking up as I dropped in elevation.   It was quite hot when I got back on the Santa Ysabel Truck Truck and had to start using the pedals again.  When I got back to the truck it was 95 degrees out.   I was tired but I did have the kind of heat beat down that I would have previously had. At least it looks positive evidence to the theory from my perspective. One thing for certain, It was a good day to be on a bike.