Well, its complicated but the short answer is I have been busy. I have been doing a lot of utilitarian things with the site to make it mobile friendly and to allow for some other things I want to do in the future. The site is over 20 years old and some of the HTML needs some freshening up. Over the course of those 20 years I have had numerous revisions and code conventions that have changed resulting in genres of pages that need to be standardized before I can really move forward with things. While much can be done with scripts, I basically need to touch every page and I have over 200 hundred trails on the site.
One particularly time consuming bit is fixing thumbnails. Back in “The Day” the drop shadow effect was not an HTML/CSS function. I generated that using a custom Photoshop action script. The shadow and the background on that shadow were part of the the thumbnail image itself. Thus my site’s dirt/sand colored background is baked into the cake of all the thumbnails. Part of the project is to get rid of those baked in shadows and replace them with modern CSS/HTML functions. Once again scripts, actions, find/replace and batch processes help but I have to touch every page.
While all of the pages are now viewable to some degree on mobile, a little over 100 of them have yet to fully converted. It is an ongoing process and not one I do all the time. I still like riding my bike and I really enjoy spending quality time with my lovely wife. So that is the happenings with the site’s pages.
Now this BLOG. You may have noticed I have not done too much with it since my big trip last year. Social media plays a part in this and I have not figured out if they should supplant this or not. I have settlef on I think not. Social media has its place but I think the BLOG is going to stay around. I intend go do some “backfilling” of content from the last year. So I will be publishing some new content with old dates to when they occurred.
But hey, all of this takes time and I think it is time to go for a ride instead of banging on a keyboard.
I had a mighty fine time futzing around in the Cuyamaca Mountains that included a ramble up to Champagne Pass. I started out heading south on the Eastside singletrack and then up East Mesa Fireroad.
East Mesa was quite pretty, but I could tell it was a little past the prime of spring color.
On my way eastward on the Deer Park trail I came up a couple of the folks doing the Stagecoach 400 bikepacking event/race. So impressive the kind of mileage this folks are knocking one of the fellows (Mateo Paez) ended up finishing 3rd.
The climb up to Champagne Pass on the Indian Creek trail was a bit of work. From there I took the Pine Mountain trail over to Sunrise Highway at the Pioneer Mail trailhead. From there I made my way over to the Lucky 5 trail. From there I was on one of my favorite routes that included the Upper La Cima, CRHT, Cold Spring, Cold Stream and the Westside trails to close out the loop.
The day turned out to be around 32 miles long with around 4,600′ of climbing.
Some fresh video content from Iron Mountain. I also got the related page on my site cut over to the mobile friendly format. That new format project is taking on a life of its own. I have not be doing too much blog posting as of late other than the video updates. I will probably catch that up at some point but hey, ride bikes or slap code on key board?
But for now, enjoy the video. It was a good ride even if I did roll out of there with slight case of PTSD from from the chunk!
The Sweetwater Bike Park has been around for a few years now but I had yet to make my way down there to check it out. I was interested hitting up some the trails in area so this was a good fit.
I have say this Park is quite a bit of fun. There are a couple of jump lines, a couple of flow lines, a couple of walls and some other assorted MTB skills development bits. It is quite a nice asset for the community.
After getting my fill of the place and chatting up some of the locals I headed out to the Sweetwater trails.
I primarily worked my way up to the top of Rockhouse from the backside. (The front side trail was eat up with hikers). After the
From the summit I dropped down into main trails area and a few loops before making my way back to the park where I had started.
I had forgotten that this area (outside of the trails up to rockhouse) have a lot more climbing to them than the layout would lead you to believe. I did about 14 miles with 2,200ft of climbing. It was a mighty fun day on the bike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Messing Up my knee back in February was a blessing in disguise, maybe even a life-saver. My knee and ears hurt bad enough that I went to see my primary doctor, with whom I had not seen in five or so years. My knee hurt from the bike injury and my ears hurt from hearing my incredible wife wanking everyday about me needing to go have that looked at. Instead of looking at just my knee, my doctor insisted on doing a full workup as if I were a new patient. After reviewing my medical records, she took note of a diagnosis of a faint heart murmur about 20 years ago. She referred me to a Cardiologist.
After my initial visit with the Cardiologist and an EKG (A bunch of wires, pads and holes in my man sweater afterwards), I was called back in a few days later for an ECG (ultrasound of the heart). A few days after that my Cardiologist called me and informed that my faint hear murmur had degraded into moderate to borderline severe Aortic Stenosis with regurgitation. Basically, my Aortic Valve was not opening and closing properly and it was allowing non-oxygenated blood to backflow into the chamber where the oxygenated blood is at. This is causing my heart to work harder than it should. I was not having any of the typically symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and numbness in the extremities at the time. My Cardiologist was quite the straight shooter with me in that the only way to fix my particular condition was with surgery and it would most likely need to happen within a year or two max. He set me up for a six-month follow-up with a stipulation that I should call him if any of those symptoms develop.
Between then and now I became more self-aware that I was having some of those symptoms. Fatigue, well I’m not a spring chicken and getting old sucks. Shortness of breath, well yeah when I’m climbing a steep hill on my bike and …I’m no spring chicken. Now for chest pain, I cracked my sternum in 2004 in an MTB crash and I was chalking that slowly growing discomfort up to being visited by the ghost of bike injuries past. (Which is a thing…when you are not a spring chicken.)
In late September, I had that follow up round of testing with my Cardiologist and things had continued to degrade. I was not completely surprised when he told me it was time to take care of this. Failing to take action now could result in permeant damage to my heart beyond the valve and put me at escalating risk of an “unscheduled” cardiac event in the next 1-5 years.
On November 11th, I had open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve (with an bovine valve #prostethitic_heart_valves). I had already had a cardiac caterer procedure and no other work was needed such as stints or bypasses. I spent five days in the hospital and I am now recovering at home. Currently I’m in the “sucks to be me” level recovery at home which should glide slope into “does not suck as bad to be me” recovery for a total of two to three months. If all goes well, I’m expected to be able to resume normal life (to include mountain biking) around mid-February.
After the initial diagnosis back in March, I made a serious commitment at eating healthier and getting fit beyond just mountain biking. I feel like I was pretty close to the fittest and healthiest I could possible be going into the surgery. I was working on the premise that the “Stronger In…Stronger Out” mantra would apply for my recovery. Between all of my fitness recording devices (fitness watch, heart-rate monitor, Peloton) I have a good set of baseline metrics of where I was at pre-surgery to geek out on as I work my way back to where I was and beyond. Right now the focus is on letting the heart fully heal. The big stick in this recovery tent is going to be my sternum healing up.
I had to give my primary doctor a huge Thank You. I know myself well enough (now) to realize that if she had not sent me to that cardiologist, I would have continued to press on with my life and chalking up those sneaky symptoms to just having a tough time staying in shape as I age. I think we as mountain bikers are often limit pushers. We push ourselves to be fitter, faster, more skilled, or at any number of aspects of the sport that we love. I think along with that goes a bit of just suck it up mentality and push on through. I recommend that as your vintage starts getting interesting, you should not assume that fatigue, shortness of breath of just generally having a tougher time being able to do what you used to do is related to just the date on your birth certificate. It would be better to be on the safe side with a check up, because it is always better to out on the dirt than be under the dirt!
The knee is all better by the way. #AfterMarketHeartParts
So I spent that a little over two months working in the Kingdom of Bahrain. No quality mountain biking to be had there. You could make do, and I know some folks who have because they lived there, but not worth it for a visitor. Anyway, I got back and have been hitting up some of the local goods.
I can really say I have been in much of an exploring mood, just getting in some local dirt. After being away for that long, I kinda want to spend plenty of time with my wife. There is also a considerable amount of things that have to be taken care of as well.
I did however manage to grow as scraggly looking beard while I was gone. I don’t know how much longer this thing is going to hang around