Herkey Creek and May Valley

Springtime riding around Idyllwild is some of my favorite stuff around SoCal.  Unfortunately due to some ill-timed (like there is ever good-timed) injuries and a horrible bout of poison oak,  I missed the spring riding in the area.  Even though I knew it was going to be hot I met one of my regular riding buds who was in the area for a wedding this weekend.   Considering that he was going to be up late with the reception and all, we opted for a 9AM start time from the Herkey Creek Campground area.  We knew it would be even toastier with that start time.   Hot it was but a fairly consistent breeze kept it just hot vice blistering.  We brought plenty of extra water and electrolytes and kept to a “heat management” pace on all the significant uphills.

The trails can get pretty loose here during the summer.  I was quite impressed with how well the trails are holding up and I am pretty sure it is due to the care that most of the locals take when riding this system.   You can not rail this stuff like you can during the spring and moist times and it is impertive that you hold the lines and skillfully use the brakes.  The trails simply can not hold up to skidiots and turnblowers.  There was plenty of evidence to show that some of the people who do blow a turn took the time to stop, go back and make an effort to repair their damage, or at least brush out their off-trail tracks.   I hate to say it, but you just don’t see that generalized level of trail ownership by the routine-users in the more urbanized areas like Orange County and San Diego.  We should all take a lesson from the Idyllwild folks.

 Bill Gets Air
In addition to enjoying the flowy twisty singletrack goodness that this place is known for, we played around and a few rocks.

Bill O twisting
Here is one of the twister rocks bits that is nearly a maze.  Hats off to the builders of this.    

This was a great finish to a good week of riding, which included some of my local stuff, and the Santa Margarita River Trail (aka SMaRT).  I was slacking with my camera for those rides, but here is a ride report on the SMaRT ride on SocalTrailRiders.org.


MTBR viewing tips

Not a whole lot of blog posts going on lately.  I have been doing up pages and video for the site. 

Have you noticed the increased bombardment of ads on the forums on MTBR.com?   They take up near 50% of the screen lately.  It never was too much of a bother for me before, but recently it just seems ridiculous.    Here is a tip that those of you using Internet Explorer without any third party ad-filtering software can do to cut down on the ads.

Navigate to Tools — Internet Options to bring up the Internet Options Dialog Box

Click on the Security Tab, then on the Restricted Icon.  This will enable the “Sites” Button.  Click on the Button

MTBr Viewing

This will be then bring up a dialog box that will allow you to enter a website address.  By default it will enter the address of the page you where currently on when started this effort.  You will want to clear out the information currently there and enter


in the dialog box and press enter.   


Then press “Close” and an OK or two to your browser.  Refresh your MTBR page and you should see a dramatic drop in ads on this site. 

The above address is the primary adserver that mtbr uses.  By blocking their adserver it will eliminate most of the ads on thier site.

 Happy MTBRing (or not).


Beat down at Iron Mountain

I should have known better.    One of those days when I was too stubborn to follow my own advice, and I paid for it with some suffering on the bike.   I decided to ride Iron Mountaintoday.  It was nice and cool with a thick marine layer at my home and Vista so I thought what it will probably be okay out in the Ramona/Poway area where the trails is at.   I got out to the Ellie Lane trailhead around 9AM and it was already warm.  I took Ellie Lane over to the Wild Horse trail and then cutover to the Iron Mountain trail.  I was not even up to the T-intersection with the other end of the Ellie Lane trail and Iron Mountain and the heat was already getting up there.    I had forgotten how the rocky terrain here just radiates the heat back at you.  At the saddle here,  I contemplated that 100 ounces of water may not be enough to do both the Ellie Lane and Iron Mountain trails today.   I thought about just hanging a left here and doing just the Ellie Lane loop.   (This was the smart side of brain thinking).  Instead I decided that I’ll push the decision to later and make my way up Iron Mountain.

Iron Mountain   

From this spot it is only 1.45 miles to the peak.  But it is a beater even on a cool day and today was not a cool day.   Until you get fairly close to the peak you spend most of your time on the east side of the mountain.  The key thing here is that the onshore breeze is blocked resulted in the bake factor being even higher.   This climb is a pick your battle kind of ride, and I hiked a handful of sections.   The heat was sweltering and sapping my energy.

The views at the top were nice as usual and the onshore breeze was taking the edge off of the heat.   I had also slogged up my pads and full-face helmet up the mountain on my pack in preparition the return trip. (I had worn my normal helmet on the climb)  This was my first ride with the new full-face helmet so I was interested to see how it would feel.   A couple of quick thought:  Good field of view, when you are moving there is plenty of airflow and it is a little harder to hear the outside world while you can hear your on breathing very well.  

The descent off of the peak went really well as I cleaned plenty of stuff I had not before.  It was not the chunk that was giving me the troubles, it was switchbacks.  Often times clearing the chunk leaving with little to nothing to work with for getting through the switchbacks.   I sessioned some sections, finally getting some while having to let a couple wait for another day.

Back down at the T-intersection I once again had to think about my options.  The smart choice would have been to skip the Ellie Lane trail as it was freaking hot right now.  I decided to be a big dummy and take the Ellie Lane trail.   I felt good about my decision early on as I got a bit of descending before the trail turned back uphill.   At this point I was once again blocked from the onshore breeze and the temps jumped up.  I was also reminded who bike unfriendly and poorly laid out the numerous waterbars on this trail are.  At nearly ever switchback there is a treated log waterbar that is placed right through the apex of the switchback.   This is no big deal if you are a hiker or an equestrian but these things have the biker approaching them in a nearly parallel direction forcing near-trials like moves to get past them.  Skills I don’t so there as plenty of hiking up to the Ramona Overlook and the saddle.

Yes this is the trail
Yes this is the trail

I was pretty much roasted back the time I got the saddle above the Ramona Overlook.    After slapping back on the protective gear, I had a good run down off the saddle.  Once again really tricky stuff, but I did not session much stuff as I was feeling the need keep moving towards the trailhead.   After this descent there was some more suffering to be had to get up to the tablerock area.  I moved into fully blow survival mode as my water was terribly low the terrain was basically a large rock bowl.  I felt like I was in a brick oven.    I hiked most of the climb up to the tablerock to avoid overheating which I could tell I was close to doing.   I started to be a bit more generous with my water rationing at this point as I was close to peaking out on the last significant climb.   I had the early stage of a headache brewing, not good.   At the saddle there was a little relief from the breeze, but it was not much help at this point.   The full-face helmet would stay in the pack for this section as I felt heat stress was a bigger risk than a header into a rock.

 I got down off the saddle fine, but I could tell my technical skills were not crisp due to my fatigue.  The rest of the ride out was okay and I drained the last bit of my water about a 1/4 mile from the trailhead.  I was beaten down, and hella-fatigued for the rest of the day.  The mileage count was only 11 miles, but I felt like I had done 40.   I think the riding season at the Iron Mountain/Ellie Lane combo is rapidly coming to a close as summer rolls in.

National Trails Day at Lake Calvera

Today was National Trails Day and the City of Carlsbad put together some events that included a hike and a bike ride.  The San Diego Mountain Bike Association asked for mountain bikers to support and what a great showing of support the Mountain Biking community did today.  My rough estimates, Mountain Bikers were over 2/3rds of the participants present.  With some city officials present, it was apparent that we got their attention.

SDMBA’s Coastal North County Liason, Erik Trogden give a quick brief. 

There was a quick round of briefings and waiver  signings that have to occur for these types of events and then we were off for a quick ride.  

Adult Group
Most of the Intermediate Group

There were two ride groups, an intermediate and a beginner ride.   I was going to led a third kid-friendly ride.  As it turned out all of the kidless adults went for the intermediate ride, so the beginner ride became the grommet ride.

 Free Rider
This gadget is cool.   This connect the seatpost of th big bike to the head tube of the little bike.  It lifts the little bikes front wheel off the ground so Dad can steer a little easier.  Both ends have quick disconnects so that either bike could be used as normal within a minute or two.

The kids were riding well ,so the loop ended up being just a bit bigger than planned.

Grommet Crew

The Junior League

It was really great that so many people took the time out to represent Mountain Bikers to the City of Carlsbad.  I know that Saturdays for many is often the only chance during the week they have to get in a big ride.  So THANK YOU to all who gave up the “big ride” to help further our interests here in North County.