I recently revisited the connector route between and the La Costa trail system and the Elfin Forest recreation reserve as well as little bit of exploration along the way. Here are few thoughts and pictures from along the way.
I had not been on the Escondido Creek single track in a really long time. When I was helping with the early phase of constructing this trail, I got my worst case of poison oak I have ever had. There was some PO along this trail on this ride but it was not really encroaching into the trail.
I tinkered with a few offshoot trails as long the way. When I got to Elfin I thought about putting together a loop using a series of trails a dirt roads to the north. I opted to check out a few more along the route I came out on. All together I put in 21 miles and change along with 3,000 feet of climbing. If you rode all of the Elfin and La Costa trails along with the connector you could pile up about 40 miles. I am going to tinker here some more for sure.
I have been working on remastering some of my older videos to bring them up to new standards. My videos range from ancient lip-stick camera and 8mm camcorders to GoPros. All of various eras of equipment will have their own challenges to remastering and some of them I’m just not going to make the time for the effort required. But I am going to make an effort.
The video above is from 2007 where some of the usual suspects of the time rode from the Cuyamaca mountains over to the Lagunas by way of the Deer Springs and Indian Creek trails. It was about a 40 mile day of great fun!
This video was shot with a 1080i Canon HDV camcorder. It shot good video with the exception of the image stabilization. It used optical image stabilization which was consider really good for the time. However it was optimized for handheld work and not for the rapid bouncing around that occurs during use as a helmet camera work. I’m pretty sure that the optical image stabilization often made things worse not better. It certainly did not work as well as the electronic image stabilization that was on my previous standard definition camcorder setup.
I had previously remastered my Galbraith Mountain video from 2009 but did not try to do any software stabilization of the video. Many moons ago I tried software stabilization and did not like all the artifacts it created in the video.
For the Cuyamaca – Laguna video I gave the software stabilization another shot. I’m using Adobe Premiere CC 2018 and it has warp stabilizer effect/filter built in. After a bit of trail and error I found some setting that work well enough. There is a balancing act that has to be done with with the 1080i footage between smoothness and clarity. The filter will do a good job of stabilization but at the cost of cropping the footage. When the footage is cropped the clarity of the footage is decreased. I found that trying to keep the crop below 125% typical kept thing looking good. Some scenes I did not stabilize at all. Overall I’m satisfied enough with it as it is better than the windows media format stuff I was previously using. There will be some more of this coming in the future.
I had a really nice time up in the Laguna Mountains this past weekend. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association was putting on the 2nd Annual Laguana Trailfest. It was a Friday-Sunday event that included lots of organized rides, demo, food, music clinics and much more. You know, A Festival! The event was being held and the El Prado group tent camping sites and I wanted to have the comforts of our traveler trail. So I went up on Wednesday and got spot in the adjacent Meadow Loop campsites.
With the campsite acquired and setup it was time for a late afternoon spin through the area. I had a good time and I used up all of the day.
I ended up spending the night up in the trailer and headed off to work the next morning and was back on Friday for a weekend of festival.
Trailfest was an exceptionally well put on event and I had a great time. I’m already looking forward to it again next year. One thing I did not manage to do was take any pictures. Instead take a look at the SDMBA Photo Album of Trail fest.
I ran into Bengt with whom I worked with for a period of time in Bahrain. We did the bulk of the Poker Ride together. Here is his video that as well as some bonus footage of the upper section of Noble Canyon.
I got the campsite through Sunday night so we I would not feel rushed to get out of there on Sunday, so as the festival wound down I went out for another loop that included a climb up to Red Tail Roost down to and then up Aqua Dulce, a run down Gatos and a loop around the meadow with a diversion up to the kiosk.
After a post-ride refreshment it was time to pack up and move on out. It was a nice weekend to be out on a bike!
Okay it has been quite a few moons since I last rode the San Juan Trail. This past Monday I made a return trip. The trail is the trail over course but I was a little taken back by the condition of those bottom 10 switchbacks that you open up with.
Those switchbacks have always had thier troubles with errosion and they were pprobably the more maintenance intensive bits. That being said these switchbacks have damn near been replaced with lollipop turns. Here is an older picture of that section.
Take a look at the switchbacks now.
They are all rounded out. WTF? People were making those turns on downright arcane MTB rigs. With all of the modern bike tech that is out there right now why is this happening?
I have my theories. Most of them involve some type of rider/tech with “tard” or “hole” added to the end of it.
After mentally grumbling about how much easier and less rewarding these switchbacks now are to clean I realized another fact. This trail still goes freaking uphill. Its good stuff. This was my first “epic” trail and still a classic in my book.
I did not do the lollipop on this day. I was plenty fine with heading back down after chillaxing at Cocktail Rock for a bit.
The ride for the day was going to be a ride when I can not necessarily where and when I wanted to ride. To maximize my ride time I needed to get in a ride along my route between work and home. Lake Hodges fit that requirement nicely. I started out at the trail head on the north side by the self-storage facility and then cut over to the south side of the trail system using the pedestrian/bike bridge.
My original thinking was to just do the typical north-side out and back on the north side, but at the bridge I made the cut over to the south side. My general impression is the southside trails are a little more interesting, not as wide and not as beat up. The next round of thinking was that I was the southside stuff and then punch back over to the north side and do some of those trails.
Well on my way back from the side side as I came up to the bridge to cross back over I decided to go straight over the I-15 and then connected up with the Highland Valley Trail. Its a nice out and back bit of single track that is add just at two miles total to your ride. If you are out riding Hodges it is worth the little side adventure.
My day job was been rather pesky by infringing on my Saturday so I only had to time to squeak in a short ride. I had not been out to Black Mountain in Rancho Bernardino. In had been at three years and change since I last rode here.
I knew some development was in the works in the area but I was a little surprised at how much at been developed since I was last our there. I will definitely need to update my page on this area as there home where some trails used to be. The good news is the open space park is under good stewardship and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) have a good relationship with the management of this area. Some new trails are in the works and in progress.
I did a counter-clockwise loop from the baseball fields along the service roads to the summit, night hawk, miners ridge and the lilac trail. All of it was in pretty good shape. I am going to make a more concerted effort to update things with the latest on this area. More to follow on that.
MTB Life has mostly been about getting out on the local goods as of late. Recently I back out in the Laguna Mountains. We spent sometime playing on a few few rocks around the meadow. Later in the ride, while trying a tight little squeeze I managed to crunch up my derailleur a bit. I was able to get the thing aligned back enough to get the shifting back in order. Later on on the same trail, I have a rock kick up in a pretty freakish manner and get caught between my spokes, frame, cassette and derailleur. While I was able to get the bike back rolling again, I was pretty much stuck with a few gears in the middle of the cassettes range. Basically it was really easy to spin out on the flats and painful work on the climbs. The climb up Wooded Hills was brutal.
After that ride it was shopping time. I was running a one by 11 speed setup with a 11-46 tooth cassette in the rear and a 32 tooth cog in the front. With that setup there were two compromises I dealt with. The first was that the easiest gear was not as easy as the 2×10 setup I have on another bike. The other was the jump between the two largest cogs in the rear. The old cassette went from 46 to 37 and I often found myself in the one is to easy and the other is too hard situation.
The new setup is still an 11 speed setup with an 11-50 cassette and a 30 tooth chain ring in the front. It was a bit finicky to get setup on the bench but things came together.
To flesh things out on the trail, I decided Daley Ranch would be the proving grounds. There is plenty of varying degrees of climbing to see how the new gearing feels. I had to do some very slight tweaking on the trail to get things fully dialed when under load. I certainly enjoy the easier gearing and the better stepping of the gears through the larger cogs.
Surprised to see so much water in the ponds out at Daley.