Oh My Otay

Yesterday I managed to pull off a mid-week epic that I think I’m going to call the Otay Loop.   Boy what a doozie.  I started at the Marina at Otay Lakes and rode along the southwest corner of the lake and then cut through Lower Otay County Park down into the Otay Valley and climbed out of the valley to the south on a fireroad.   I then worked my way over to the the Otay Mountain Truck Trail.  

Bottom of Windmill Canyon

 I had a nice big climb up Otay Mountain.   My GPS did had a couple of blips early in the ride but I had already registered something like 3,900+ feet climbing .  The Truck Trail took me up to the intersection of the Minnewawa Trail at an area known as “Doghouse Junction”

Downtown from Otay Mountain

 The descent from there down the Minnewawa Trail was mighty darn zippy and seemed to be over way too quickly.   The trail dumps you out right at the 1,000 Trails RV Park Otay Lakes Rd (HWY 94). 

Descending Otay Mountain

I crossed the road into the park on the other side of the road and proceed west through the RV park.   At the end of the RV park I picked up a segment of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT).  This area was burned in the 2007 Firestorm.  The rate of regrowth was pretty amazing forcing me to use “the force” to follow the trail in some sections.  In some of the steeper hillside sections, rocks had erroded down onto the trail make it technical in spots.  Combined with shin-high grass over the trail and things got really interesting.  


I followed the CRHT for a couple miles until Otay River crossed under Otay Lakes Road.  I hopped on the pavement for about 1.5 miles or so until I hit the eastern entrace to the Otay Lake Park.  


 I cruised out to a point on the lake on a bit of old pavement.  Once out at the point I picked up some nice pretty buff singletrack heading north up the east side of the lake.  From here the navigation was pretty darn easy.  Take any left you like and don’t go in the water.  I must have ridden at least 6 or 7 miles of single track as I worked my way back around the north and west sides of the lake to get back to my truck. 

Otay Lakes Singletrack

Once I strighten out my GPS tracks I’ll know for sure but it looks like this was about a 35 mile adventure with about 4,000 feet of climbing.   I really dug this ride and I need to do some more exploring around Otay Lake with the Bonita Bikers crew.

 Otay Lake

Look for a full review on the site in the coming weeks.


Rain… Rain… SPAM… SPAM…

Boy this last week has been a bit of a pisser.    Actually I’m just a spoiled SoCal weather weenie.  My riding days as of late have been pretty locked in over the last few weeks due to various commitments.    It just so happens that on all of my riding days ended up being rain days as well. 

Of course  I show up for work on Monday and the sun is out!


I whine on!

 On the BLOG side of the house, I have some Anti-SPAM filters in place that help to keep SPAM from getting on the blog.   Over the last couple of days the blog has been getting bombshelled with SPAM.  Now all of this SPAM is getting caught in moderation but it is becoming a pain in the arsh to weed through so I am making a configuration change that should cut down on that stuff.

As a bona-fide user you may find it  slightly annoying, but here it is:

To add a comment to the blog you must register (Only have to do it once)  and log-in to the blog first.

Registration is free and I am not going to be sharing your information with anyone.  This should cut down all of the bot-generated junk that currently hitting the blog. 


Up-Down-Up-Down……Bell Ridge Action

Wow! The Trabuco Canyon – Bell Ridge loop is a bunch bigger than the 20-mile distance would leave you to believe.   I have not crunched all the numbers yet but it looks like something like over 4,400 feet of climbing.   There was supposed to be three of us, but one our cohorts in grime whipped out a “little” 70-mile fixie night road ride last night and somehow managed to oversleep.  I have no idea how that could have happened 🙂

The ride started pretty rough for me.  I participated in a hockey skating clinic yesterday and I woke up with some funky kinks and soreness in my legs.  We had a five-mile dirt road ride to start things off before hitting the Trabuco trail.  The road did little to get my legs to feeling better.  It was not until somewhere around the turnoff  for the West Horsethief trail where my legs seemed to start feeling okay.  Of course this is also the spot where the Trabuco trail starts getting really tricky  to climb in spots with patches of loose shale rocks that requires a bunch of finesse while extracting some extra energy from your legs.

Trabuco Canyon in 2005

Once we made it up to Main Divide Truck Trail it was time to take the Los Pinos trail a ways before peeling off onto Bell Ridge.     This ride had some great views in all directions, but boy did we pay for the pleasure.   Most of the time my butt was either on the nose of my saddle climbing or nearly dragging on the rear wheel on descents.  

Down on Bell Ridge

There were at least three sections that were Hike-A-Bike climbs and one that most riders would Hike-A-Bike down.  I took a long hard look at the one gnarly downhill section in question and decided to hike it down.  I’m pretty sure I could have cleaned it, but I was not so sure about doing it on the first attempt.  Considering we were a long time away from help, I opted on the safer option.   Next time I’m going to bring some protective gear and give it a shot. 

Up on Bell Ridge

The steep up and down action of the trail kept on going until the last few miles when grades mellowed out to “moderate” and the sight lines opened up to allow for some bits of sustained speed.  We finished up the ride by dropping down into a neighborhood and take a bit of surface street action back to our truck.

Bell Ridge B&W Action

Bell Ridge was a great ride that was a bit more challenging than unabated fun.  Check back on the site over the coming weeks to see a full review and maps. 

UPDATE: The Full Review is now posted


More ZZZZs or the San Juan Trail

I woke up really tired this morning and was not really feeling a desire to ride.   I knew I needed to ride, but I just did not feel too interested to get going.    Over the last four days I had not been sleeping well and I spent most of yesterday at the hockey rink as it was opening and both of my boys played games.   So after setting on the couch for a while flip-flopping on wither to go back to bed or not, I decided to go for a ride “anyway”.   

 The San Juan trail was the trail of choice today and it was to be a solo effort.  As luck would have I ran it Mike and Larry who I had not ridden with in a couple of years.    I would tag along with them for the whole day.    It was quite comfortable  at the lower trail which I knew from experience meant it was going to get hot today.     I had my logged legged bike so I was going to be mostly a spinning effort up the trail.

On the climb up, Mike’s rear shifter went on the fritz keeping the bike in the 11 tooth cog in the back.   This is not exactly a gear you want to try pushing up San Juan.    Mike had a bit of thin rope in his pack so after a bit of MacGyver action when had in a gear the would be manageable.

MacGyver Shifter

I have always been slow to adapt to the heat so the 80+ temps and my fatigue were catching up with me near the top, so after reaching Cocktail Rock, I decided to just head back down from there.  Mike and Larry decided to come down from there as well.   The extra effort required to get the bigger bike up the hill paid off  with a very cushy and zippy descent back down.   

Heading down the SJT
Awesomely Beautiful Day

I ended up running to folks I had met a few weeks earlier out on a ride, and then further down the trail I ran into one of my frequent riding buds on his way up the trail.   After a few minutes of chit-chat he was back to climbing and I was back to having a ripping good time down the hill.

Larry on Descent
Larry on descent

Mike on Descent
Mike on the way down.

Once down at the bottom, Mike whipped out a cooler with some Deschutes Brewing Company’s Mirror Pond Ale.  Yummy!!   So this solo ride that almost did not happen turned out to be a really good social event


Simpson Park in Hemet, CA

I had some things to attend to in Temecula this morning and since I was already halfway to Hemet, I decided to check Simpson Park off of my to-do list.   What I had heard was the that place had a small but nice network of singletrack as well as some features that would require your “A”game.     I have to say that this place more than lives up to that reputation.   There were more trails there than I expected and the quality of the singletracks were outstanding.  They were often a mix of buffed tread with frequent undulations and rock features.   With great views of the snow-capped San Jacincto and San Bernardino Mountains coupled with green grass and Lake Perris in the distance this was a great place to spend and afternoon exploring.  

Simpson Park 

There are at least several trails that leave the Simpson Park area and go to the east and west along the ridgeline that park is situated on.   I did some exploring to the west of the park and found some really nice stuff.

 Techy Section 

I turned around once I had made my way out to the Ramona Cross about the Ramona Bowl in Hemet.

Ramona Cross

If you are looking for some techno-fun stuff make sure to check out the Lake View trail.  There are many rock-rolling line options of varying degrees of difficulty with the easiest being “tricky”.

Lake View Trail

I have bumped this trail to the top of my trail reviews in progress stuff to do.   Hemet can be blistering hot during the summer and I have a good feeling that these super nice trails will get sandy during the dry months so now is a really good time to check this place out.  

Until I get my stuff together here are a couple of rambling  bits of information:

  • Pick up a trail map at the visitor center.  There is also a big map by the restrooms.
  • Climb the Crest Trail, it will take you out of the park.   When you get to the top at a fireroad, take your first singletrack on your left (I think it is Canyon).  You will soon be back in the park. Hit the Redtail trail.
  • At the other end of the park, at the intersection of the Quail trail and Buck Brush,  take a single track off to the south that rolls up onto a small ridge.   Mucho fun as it take you west. Berms, jumps, and rollers are some of the stuff you will find out there.
  • From the restroom at the far end of the park pickup the Lakeview trail by the highest elevation picnic table you can find.   Take Lake View down, hang a right, go by the water tank and pick up Lichen.  Follow it until you come to a junction go left, cross the road and pickup the Black Sage trail.  Take that to Live Oak and Ribbonwood and head back to the parking area on the fireroad.

Getting there: Check out the Google Maps directions to get from Tecmecula to Simpson Park.

This place is cool so check it out while the conditions are great.


Singletrack for the Soul

I had not seen my buddy Jerry in what seemed like half a year.  We had just not been able to get a weekend to mesh up.  The planets had finally aligned and both Bill O’Neil, Jerry and I managed to get together for a ride.  As an added bonus, SoCal rider at large and all around great guy Jeff Sherman managed to put in some last-minute commuting mileage to join us.  I had not seen him in over a year.  Today would have been a good day even if we would had went straight to shooting the breeze over some beers.    I as it turned out we had a great day out on the San Clemente Singletracks.   (For those that have been inquiring about when I am going to get a page up on this place, I’m close, make a week or so away.)

The day was mostly cloudy with the temperatures being cool but not quite cold.  The rainy season we are having has made the hillsides quite green and the singletrack is getting quite single in most places.   I have a feeling this place is going to be going off with colors in the spring. 

Singletrack Hillside 

I took the single speed out today and it was an excellent bike out here with only a couple of hills causing great distress and/or hoofing it.   The traction was pretty good with only a couple of spots that are not draining well.   I was having a really good time out here today and I felt like I was railing most of the turns.    I did however crash twice but came out absolutely unscathed.  The first one was on the steepest descent in the entire place.   After riding along a contouring hillside singltrack, the trail abrutly turns straight down the hill for a short bit.   I came into the top of the turn at the top of the hill too hot which started a comical four or five step process of near saves that amplified the next error until about half way down the hill, the bike and I went flying off into the tall grass.    I had stopped earlier up the trail to take the photo above so my buds were all waiting at the bottom the hill with ring-side seats for the “Bobbling Bill and Bike Show”.    You know you are will buds, when they immediately ask in a concerned tone “are you okay?” and as soon as you say “Yeah”  they break out into uncontrollable  gut-busting laughter.   Even I was laughing over that one.    

UPDATE: Here is Jerry’s photo “Bobbling Bill and Bike Show”.   

Bill Go Boom

The other crash was a bit more interesting,  I came into a turn at the top of steep chute too fast and went offline enough to have my front wheel get grabbed by a small stump and over the bars I went in slo-mo fashion.   While I came out unscathed, a strap on my helmet gave up the ghost for the cause.  Taking a peek at my tires I realized they were not doing a good job of shedding off dirt and mud which may have contributed to my follies off the trail today.  The rest of the ride was filled with more hella fun singletracking until we realized that there was damn good beers with our name of them waiting at the end of the ride.

 Jeff a climbing

Here is Jeff climbing. 

We had all brought a couple of our favorite brews to mix and match with the group but Jeff was the big hit by bringing a couple of growlers of Kern River Brewing Companies finest creations.   We finished catching up on things on a patio of a local burger joint.  Great singletrack with some great friends followed up with some great beers.   This was certainly and outing were the experience was greater than the sum of its individual parts.