The toe bone is connected to your leg bone. Your legbone is connected to your hip bone… After gimping around for a week and being mighty gentle with my stride for a couple more weeks on a work trip, I got on the bike this morning. It was good to be back on a trail but man could I tell I have been slacking. My left toes were doing okay until I got into sections that required some mashing on the pedals. In the techincal bits I was surprised how just about any body english move made me unpleasantly aware that my toes play a role in executing that. I think I will need to be a bit more selective about where I ride for the next couple of weeks. But yeah its good to be riding!
So I have been meaning to bolt down the vise in my workshop for weeks as I did not like the idea of accidently knocking it off the bench. So of course while lining up the jaws to edge of the bench to bolt it down I accidently tip it off the bench and onto my foot. While the hemo-techicolor action has not kicked in yet I am sure I have at least one broken toe maybe two.
For now its time for some motrin, bourbon and ice.
The San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) has a Call to Action Alert regarding the California Department of
Fencing Fishing and Wildlife’s (CDFW) continued mismanagement of the Calavera Highlands Reserve (aka Calavera Lake). CDFW officials have been “aggressively” engaging with trails users
While Calavera is a sizable area with a large network of user-built trails that is a good place to get in riding with a descent outdoor experience it is definitely a shit show of redundant trails. No doubt about it, these are unofficial and illegal trails that the CDFW are wanking about. There is also no doubt about it that the CDFW does not manage this area. If this organization was doing its job, they would have been losing their mind a long time ago. Arbitrarily locking out the public from public lands by putting up fencing and signs and then walking away is not management.
From the periods in which I have interacted with CDFW, I have come to believe they think the land they acquire is “their” land and they are entitled to all of the protections and benefits that private property owners have. The primary benefit being they get to solely decide who may come on their property and who may not. It does not matter what their regulations state, the public knows that the land is public. The public will never accept Calavera Highlands Ecological Reserver as a pristine ecological reserve worthy of locking out the public. All one has to do is stand atop Calavera Hill and look around. The public is not staying out.
The CDFW track record in San Diego county seems to indicate that they do not possess the skillsets to properly manage lands that have an existing recreational baseline that includes people. Personally I think they depend on academic, non-profits and “friends of …” groups that do the bulk of the monitoring and management for them. The primary reason Crestridge Ecological Reserve allows mountain biking is because the Earth Discovery Institute is the de-facto land manager who recognized the benefit of responsible human-powered recreation . If the Earth Discovery Institute had not pushed so hard for the unique change for this reserve it would not have happened.
Despite the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) being on the San County Regional Trail Plan it is pretty much unattainable as a viable regional trail as long as the CDFW is involved with any of the land along the route. Numerous sections of the this trail in San Diego county go through lands mismanaged by CDFW and at pretty much everyone of those, the trail has fences and off-limits signs.
The county is most likely going to end up speeding hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new section of trail for the Coast to Crest Trail near Boden Canyon because the CDFW are not going to allow an easement along a 0.2 mile section of an existing old dirt road!
There are many other examples of the CDFW’s culture of “its my land not yours” mismanagement style throughout the county. Humans are part of the fauna of the San Diego ecosystems. Until the CDFW develops the skillsets and polices to effectively deal with the outdoor experience needs of this species the organization will continue suffer from a lack of land management creditability with the pubic. Until that changes the pubic will continue to give the CDFWs signs and fences a big double middle-fingered salute.
What a fall, what a fall! Well actually has been a crazy last half of the year. Sometimes work is well, a whole lot of work and this year was particularly so. I spent way too much traveling this year to places I’m not particularly fond of.
The work was certainly rewarding and the people I interacted are some of America’s finest, but I’m glad to put this years traveling for work behind.
The MTB action as been pretty sparse as of late as well. With limited time back at the homestead I put a priority on quality time with the family.
Of course I was not off the bike cold-turkey, I was just hitting up some of the local goods for quickies vice big rides. Sometimes it was more about relaxing out on the trail than the actual riding. One of my favorite spots out at Daley Ranch is pictured below.
And of course Lake Calavera is almost in my backyard so there were a few loops done out there as well.
For those of you who have been paying attention you should have noticed a growing prominence of pictures of this young lady pictured below over the last handful of years on the site. Nichol and I have known each other for 30 years. Last year we got engaged and…..
This month we went and got hitched! Instead of having wedding and working the logistics of people coming to see us get married, we traveled back to Chicago and got married at the spot where we first met.
We then went on bit of traveling wedding celebration road show. We flew down to Virginia where we shared some tasty beverages and grub with friends there. From there we drove down to North Carolina to celebrate with most of my family that live in that area.
My oldest son joined us in North Carolina and I was stoked for him to be able to spend some time with my folks. Will loves to fish so my Dad and his friends hooked us up with some excellent time out on one of the local lakes.
We ended up with cooler full of fish and memories to last a lifetime.
While there was no MTBing done back in North Carolina, I did a enjoy taking Will on a stroll through the same woods I tromped around in when I was a kid. It was every bit as rewarding as a great MTB ride.
We finished up the road show back in San Diego with a gathering at a Common Theory Public House with some of our local peeps.
So it has been quite a ride over the last handful of months without a whole lot of riding. I’m looking forward to the future along with getting the normalcy of two-wheeled excitement back into the rotation. Live On…..Ride On!
Makes Bill a Dull Boy!
Since the fall of last year, I have been spending way too much time working in the island country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. I certainly can’t complain about the accommodations.
It has been virtually one project right after the other and I am looking forward to getting it all of done.
The work is certainly rewarding but I am ready to get back home to be with family and friends and back on some dirt.
Not this kind of dirt.
This kind of dirt!
So with all of this time I have had over here to pour through all of the MTB resources over here, I have boiled down things into my number one tip for planning a mountain biking trip to Bahrain…..
DON’T! This place sucks for mountain biking!
I’m sure you could make some kind of lemonade with the bitter lemons of this place. Maybe with a Fatbike and riding at night when its only like 95 but really try Death Valley in summer first.
First: This from San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department.
Please be advised that the trails approved by the City Council on Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa will be open for use tomorrow. Maps will be posted at kiosks.…
On the Del Mar Mesa map, as shown below, trails opened by the Council action are shown in black and white. Trails shown in black and red are NOT open due to private property and/or the need for Coastal Commission approval. Maps will be updated once further clearances are obtained.
For Carmel Mountain, all trails appear the same on the map and all are open.
The Council action also included biological habitat restoration on a number of areas previously used for recreational activities. Ranger staff have installed brush, signs, and fences at the access points to these locations. Please respect these access controls along with the ones installed at the Coastal Zone boundary and report any inappropriate behavior to Park Ranger staff.
Now a bit of opinion from me: While this progress is the culmination of a lot of work by a wide array of folks working quite diligently it also shows off some of the bureaucratic buffoonery that is all to common when multiple agencies have to work together. It better than it was but this trail plan is a setup to foster undesired behaviors. Where are the loops? Tunnel 4 is the only legal ingress/egress into the tunnels and then you can only go out and back on the Deer Canyon Trail. The California Department of
Fencing Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is the primary players who would not allow for a trail to create a loop to get back from the eastern end of the Deer Canyon trail back to the Eucalyptus Grove. This failure to manage the flow of trails users will most likely lead to undesired effects such as trail users figuring out their own way to create a loop with those trails which will further challenge the management of this area. You can bet that when a group of folks do this they will be demonized by the very folks who help create the problem in the first place. You know people, particularly trail users, are fairly predictable. In many respects people are much more predictable that the array of critters these intelligent conservationist are trying to protect. You would think they would have figured this stuff out by now.
Now my recommendation: Like the city is asking, PLEASE do not go around any barriers, remove any of the brush, debris or tamper with the “access controls” (What do that have squirrels with lasers attached to their head?) that has been put up to close off the existing trails that are not going to be part of this trails system on the mesa. I believe this would be exactly what some of the ANTI-BIKE ANTI-ACCESS folks/agencies would love to see happen. DON’T TAKE THE BAIT! I’ll be updating my page on this trail system in the coming weeks
With all of the destruction that has happened in the Penasquitos Canyon area over the last decade due to land development coupled with the various land management agencies waking up with from decades of management slumber the whole area is kind of a land management circus show. The only groups that are making out in this deal are the developers and the folks making a living off protecting Fairy Shrimp (I’m still looking for a good recipe BTW)
My Los Penasquitos Canyon page has been absurdly out of date ever since the development started. I have decided to finally update the page so I have been riding out here as of late to refresh my GPS data and try to figure out the best legal way to ride out in this area that is not completely mudane and boring. It is fairly tough as the mountain bikers have very little in the way of legal quality trails. It seems the only things that are not endangered out here are no biking signs. (Just for the record that trail in the picture above is not single track, it is more like a baby stroller trail, ATV trail, etc…) You can get in some good riding with a quality outdoor experience but you are going to have illegally share with the hikers and the equestrians and blow by closed signs.
The Camino Ruiz trail is the nearly lone exception to legal boredom of highway wide fire roads in the canyon offered to mountain bikers. This is a nice chunk of single track.
Ok, ranting aside, the warm weather streak we have been having in February has both plants and critters getting confused. Flower are blooming and the everything is nice and green.
Chasing the sun greenery
It is pretty early for the snakes to be coming out already. This is a rather healthy looking whip snake.
It was in evening time so he was mighty sluggish and very easy to handle. He seemed more than happy to leech some heat off of me before getting anxious to head off.
Last weekend at the San Clemente Singletracks I saw my first rattlesnake of the season but he was uncooperative for the camera. I saw my second rattler of the year at Penasquitos Canyon this week and this fella was more amiable to getting his picture taken. The guys are going to be sucking when the weather shifts back to typical temperatures soon.
I spent the tail end of July and most of August working in Bahrain. For those who have never heard of the place it is an island in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia. The maximum elevation is maybe 100 feet and pretty much everything is sand so the mountain biking opportunities are mighty freaking limited. Of course a Surly Moonlander would help a little in that department. Hmmm I wonder if I could get one with some S&S couplings on the frame?
Even with a bike, I would have a hard time getting motivated to get out in the heat and ride. Everyday it was over 100 by 10AM. Several days in particular it was 108 with 74% humidity.
I did manage to get out and grab some sights while I was over there including the Grand Mosque
I took a tour of the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque on one of their “open houses” for non-Muslims. [aka Infidel Outreach Day :-)] Work involved a lot going back and forth between an office and the outside. After a few weeks of the cycling in and out of the heat and AC I came down with some chest and sinus crud that required some antibiotics to knock down. The project I’m working has several phases to it so I was able to come home for a couple of weeks in between one of the phases.
I was still not completely over the crud when I got home so I refrained getting back on the bike and potentially backsliding with the crud. My girlfriend and I did make a trip up to Palomar mountain for a bit of mild hiking. It was really nice to see some greenery in mild temps.
One of the locals we saw along the trail.
By this past Friday I was feeling well again so a dawn patrol ride out at Mission Trail Regional Park was in order. There was some weather moving through the area which made some cool rainbows. I had ridden on the west side of the park in quite sometime. So I hit up the Jackson, the Rim trail, S-turns and the Soycott trails. I had not checked out North Fortuna from the north slope so I looped back around and when up North Fortuna from the north slope. I had my long-legged bike so it was overwhelming a hike-a-bike in that direction but would be a very techy ride on the descent.
After getting up to the North Fortuna peak, I descended the south slope to the saddle and then continued on up to South Fortuna. It had also been a long time since I had taken the South Fortuna staircase. I knew there were many spots were you had to pick and choose your battles but there were quite a few more than I remembered from my last go at this trail. I want to say that the techy sections were in worse shape than before, but it is more likely that my skills and/or nerves have slackened up some.
Either way it was great to be back on the bike and again. I’m heading back to Bahrain tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to another stint of being off the bike. Work can be so pesky sometimes!
This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails. I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.
The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating “Trails”. Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience. After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.
Here is a bit of an official new city of Poway trail that is a nice singletrack. Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.
The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.
According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned. I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.
Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL” dirt road junk. Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture. It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”. Everytime I have pulled the string on the “who designed this” question, it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources). People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.
This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime. Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it. The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of well done social trails. Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails” by the city) that had to be dealt with. I did about 15 miles total that day. I will be doing some more exploring out here.
On Sunday Jake had hockey practice over at Kit Carson park in Escondido so I took the opportunity to get in some pedal time out at Lake Hodges.
I stuck to the North Side trails on this outing.
Updating the Lake Hodges pages on my website has been on my to-do list for quite some. Now that there is a pedistrian and bike bridge connecting the north and south side of the lake there are more ride options in the area on a single outing. Additionally, a few years ago I got a letter from some of the land owners and the western end of the easement road (known as the high road) that did not want anyone using the easement rsload for recreation and asked that I take down that information from my site. Well obviously I’m a busy guy and have not be able to get to that yet. It looks like it maybe all figured out by now since new signage has gone up. Of course that new signage has made things as clear as mud. Take a look at the picture above. The easement road sign says “No Trespassing” yet they installed a people tunstill beside the gate. New signs were put up telling you it is okay to hike and bike to the right, but no trespassing to the left. Looking at the sign above at the far western end of the easement road one would think it is okay to go through the gate and ride off to the right vice on the easement road that goes to the left. That is not the case at all. What the signs are trying to convey is that when you are on the easement road, everything uphill of the road is private property and everything downhill (towards the lake) is part of the park. This is also not entirely correct as the private property owners land typically goes some number of feet/yards downhill of the road. The park has put up private property signs at the bottom of the trails that connect the lower trails to the upper easement road. I find it odd that some of the land owners don’t want people on the eastern end of the easement road, yet nearly all of them have gates onto the easement road from their backyard. Presumably so they can use the easement road to get into the park. Hmmm so it is okay for those land owners to get onto the little sliver of the easement road they own and then trespass on their various neighbors property and then enter the park through unauthorized trails but it is not okay for the public to do so. Hmmmm, the best advice I can give is to do your best to make sense of the various “non-truth” signs you see and make your own judgement calls. Following the predominate and fresh foot and bike tracks is probably a safe bet.
The Benardo Mountain trail has no controversy involved with it. It just a nice trail that will work you over on the climb up to the peak. There are some tough grade sections and some technical bits as well that will test both skill and fitness. There was some nice purple blooms going off on the climb.
Snow on the mountains to the east.
After Bernardo Mountain I rode out towards the dam until it was time to turn around and get back to the rink. I made it back just as Jake was get off the rink so two sweaty Porter Boys to funk of the truck on the drive back to Casa Del Bill.