Lagging at La Costa

So I spent last week working in Southern Japan.   I was hoping to squeak in a bike ride but the rental place was out of mountain bikes.  The weather was pretty freaking rough as well as I don’t think the humidity every dropped below 95%.  I think that even if I would have had a bike I would have had to muster up some serious motivation to get out in the woods when it is 99 degrees out with 99% humidity.   So I took in a bit of traditional and limited sight seeing during this visit.   I will be back for a longer period in the fall so I will get my time on the trails.JA-Sasebo-JUL12-04

Yesterday was my travel day back to the San Deigo.  With the International Date Line in the mix, I did Sunday twice in the course of my 27 hours of planes, trains and automobiles.   I was pretty freaking toast by the time my head hit the pillow yesterday.    I did sleep well last night but was still dragging a bit today.   I decided that a lunchtime ride would help to snap the body back onto my timezone.    I decided to ride Rancho La Costa a few miles away from Casa Del Bill.  I also decided to ride my bike to the trailhead as I could use the extra excercise on the several intervening hills along the way.


I was meeting Michael (aka YetiRider) that works near the trail system and routinely knocks out a lunchtime loop out there.   I knew I was going to feel a little tired but was quite surprised just how freaking tired I felt about five minutes into the commute to the trailhead.   My body was quite certain it was a little before 2AM its time.   I made it to  Michaels work shortly before his lunch break and we were soon hitting up the last bit of asphalt to get to the trailhead.    I was feeling a bit better in that I did not feel so fatigued by the time we got to the trailhead.


I climbed alright on the way up but I certainly felt off in the way of not firing on all cylinders.   On the way down I realized my reflexs were more than a little off and I found myself dabbing in spots I would not normally dab in.  It was good to be out on the bike but it was a little disconcerting to be all out of wack.


The pavement return back to my place drained the rest of my energy so I don’t think I really helped out the jet lag out at all today because after a shower and snack I knapped away the rest of the day.   It was still a good experiment.

La Costa Stroll

Rancho La Costa Preserve is really close to Casa Del Bill so it is often on the menu you when I only have time for a quick fix of dirt.    Despite its close proximity it had been sometime since I last rode out here.  It seems like Elfin Forest, Lake Calvera or Daley Ranch had been getting more play as of late.

Some nice new trail markers can be found throughout the trail system.

Strolling up the switchbacks trail

Flag at the top.    There was some drama a couple months ago as the flag up here (which was put up with permission of the land manger) kept getting stolen by some unpatriotic Jack Ass.  It is awesome that we live in a country where even the idiots are free to express thier views in any manner they are willing to accept the consequences for.    Too bad the Jack Ass was also a monumental coward as I’m quite certain the general public would have expressed themselves in a manner that he would not enjoyed.  I’m thinking getting your ass whooped with a flag pole is adequeate consequence.   

Dumbassness aside the trails were in fairly good shape and fun as always.    Vista Del Mar Trail goodness above.

Trailwork at La Costa

 I was long overdue for giving some loving back to the trails so Saturday morning I got managed to carve out some time to help out with some trailwork out at La Costa. I would like to bring my boys along, but they both had hockey games later in the day and I’m sure thier coach would not appreciate them showing up to the game dog tired.  Maybe next time.


There was a good showing of folks out at this event, I think I saw 45 at the start and another half dozen showed up a little latter on.

Much of the work was routine treadwork, with some corrective work had to done due to some folks just riding way too soon after our heavy rains earlier this month.

There were folks of all ages out and for some it was an entire family affair.

In addition to working on the trails, there was also a revegitation work being done up on the peak.  Some hard ground was broken up and some seed was laid in hopes having some more green on the summit in the future.

NASCAR also saw some TLC along with a good to-do list getting started for future efforts on this trail.

All in all some good work was done and afterwards it was time to burn and flip a few burgers and dogs before some swag from the SDMBA Sponsors were tossed about.  A Saturday morning well spent.  Wanna get in on the action?  Check out the San Diego Mountain Biking Association’s website, sign up for the Trailnews or better yet, join.

A Week of Meadows, Lakes and Peaks

I had an exceptional week on the bike.  There was plenty of work, family and riding which did not leave much time for the keyboard.  So here are a few pics from the week.   For the mid-week stoke, I met Steve, Eric and Todd for some fun in the Laguna Mountains on the Big Laguna Trail and surrounding area.  I forgot my camera at  home so these pictures are courtesy of my fellow riders.

Some log riding on the Los Gatos Trail

Some playing was done on the rocks.

Not your average dry and dusty SoCal trail.    We had an exceptionally good ride and clocked in around 17-18 miles of good alpine meadow goodness.  

Friday, I got in a lunch time quickie at La Costa which is always a good place to get in some short but quality mileage.   No Pics

Sunday, I finally got around to doing a ride that I had been curious about for a number of years.  The Highpoint Truck Trail that goes up the north side of Palomar Mountain.   My bud Clayton, with whom I first rode with in Japan in 2004, just moved back to San Diego so he was up for a ride.   I was surprised to see him show you for this ride with his singlespeed.    While I be putting up a page on the site in the coming weeks, the quick numbers on this ride are it is a 12 miles long climb that gains 4,400 feet up to the Highpoint Lookout Tower. Needless to say, Clayton earned major climbage points today as a one-geared wonder. 

Grunt, Grunt, Groan, Groan

Killer Views from the top.

I see the observatory rather often from the various SoCal highpoints I ride to as a small white dot, This time it was a wee-bit closer.

The Highpoint Lookout Tower,  elevation 6,118 feet.   I’m sure there are worse ways to spend a workday.

When it was time to turn the wheels around we enjoyed cashing out the gravity points we had earned.    Some people hate fireroads, but 12 miles of downhill with some sketchy turns is pretty freaking fun.  It was a good way to finish off the weekend, Bring on Monday!

Pre-SDMBA meeting La Costa Playtime and Photo Geekage

Last night was the monthly San Diego Mountain Biking Associationmeeting that was held at REI in Encinitas.  Before the meeting a handful of decided to get in a quick spin at the Rancho La Costa Preserve.  I got there quite a bit early so I tinkered with a new camera gadget that I have modified for use with a mountain bike.  It is a RF remote shutter release that has a range of over 100 feet.   The remote is a bit on the bulky side for using while you are riding as it could not be mounted on the handlebar in an easy to reach spot.   After some geekage, soldering and a bit of trial and error I made a remote micro-switch for the remote.  This “remote remote” allows me to put the camera on a tripod and then take pictures by just barely moving my thumb on the handlebar.    


Here is one of the first test shots.  I’m snapping the shot using my left thumb.   It was a good test as pressing the button did not detract from the riding.

During the second test shoot, I wanted to test out the range of the system.  The camera is at least 100 feet away when I snapped this first shot of the sequence.    I am going to do another test later at a further distance to see just how far you can push the range.   I also had the autofocus set to servo mode to it refocused as I moved along the trail getting closer to the camera.   Continuous shooting mode also works with this setup.  The main intended use for this setup is when I traveling and riding solo.  While I like taking trail photos, so of them would be so much nicer with a rider in the shot.   Now at least can use myself as photo fodder.    I may have a couple of tweaks left to do with the setup, I’ll put up some additional details on the gadget mods when everything is dialed.

After the photo tinkering, I zipped back down to the trailhead and hooked with the folks for the ride.  It was good ride, but I took next to nothing for pictures as I was doing a lot of chasing.

Here is Gardner Grady, aka SDMBA Vice President and member of the National Mountain Bike Patrol showing how is done on a section know as “Meet Your Maker”.    If you think you might me interesting in becoming a member of the SDMBA chapter of the National Mountain Bike Patrol, touch bases with Gyan Penrose-Kafka who can give you all the 411 on the program.

We finished up the ride with enough time to chill for a bit before heading off to meeting.  There was a really good turn out and there are lots of stuff happening around the county and particularly in North County.  It was well worth a few hours of my time to see what is going on in person without having to sift through all of the talking head chatterbox BS that seems to be so prevalent on the various online forums.    If you can out about upcomign SDMBA events by signing up for thier Trailnews mailing list.

The 2009 Archipelago Ride

This is the second year a group of advocates and friends got together to do a ride that has become known as the Archipelago Ride.  Open Space in coastal San Diego County has become very fragmented over the years into a patchwork of “islands of open space”.  The Archipelago Ride concept is one to demonstrate how these islands can be linked together into a rides of epic length.

This years ride started at the La Costa Preserve and went to Probuilt Wheels on the western end of Penasquitos Canyon.  Getting there was by way of Elfin Forest, Lake Hodges, San Deiguito River Park, Lusardi Creek, Santa Luz, and Black Mountain.

The day started off early in the moaning with most folks grabbing a shuttle from Pro-Built up to La Costa.

Once we got up to the La Costa the gaggle of riders was even larger.  I think the total rider count was 37.  I thought for sure with this many people that the regroup logistics would make for slow going. 

Slow going would not be a bad thing for me today.  Jake had an ice hockey game going on that morning so the plan was to help get the ride started and then catch the game and grab onto the ride around Lake Hodges.   I decided to grab some shots of the group from Harmony Grove Road as they went of the Escondido Sewer Easement and I was quite surprised at the pace the group was making as they got there quite earlier than I had expected. 

Roughly about this same timeframe, I got a call for Jake’s coach that the game was later than what was orginally published, so there was little chance that I was going to catch all of Jake’s game.

I did however manage to get the ice rink for a bit before I got the call from the ride sweep letting me know the group was rolling into Hodges.  I booked it from the rink and got setup below the Hodge Dam.  To lead the group for a bit on a different route from last year.

The general consenus was that everything was going along smoothly…and then I took over 🙂  So this “new” route had a little “technical hike-a-biking” in it. 

The climb-a-biking was a neccessary evil to get to a creekside trail that was pretty sweet with a bit of technical flow to it.  This was a recent find for me so I was stoked to show it off.

After the creek side riding we followed Lasardi Creek for a short ways and then we took a different route from last year up to the Santa Luz Loop.

I like the congo line of helmets through the flowers above.

Once up to the Santa Luz  Loop things went pretty quickly to Black Mountain Park and the waiting sag wagon.  In addition to snacks there was mighty tasty fluids suitable for rehydration.


After Black Mountain Park we continued on the Santa Luz Loop and then took the connector over to McGonigle and Deer Canyons.

 Our last major regroup was just before entering Deer Canyon.  SDMBA had tried to get the permission to use one of the tunnels for this ride, but with all of the controversy with the area we were relegated to “Tunnel Zero” aka the God forsaken powerline climb up onto the mesa.

Once up on the mesa, everyone knew the way “home” so the proverbal hounds were released and everyone seem to move quicker. 

There were tasty grub and brews awaiting back a Probuilt Wheels.  It was a great way to end this 42 mile ride that had 5,000 plus feet of climbing.   I was amazed at how close this group was in relative strength and endurance.  The group was never really strung out and the group make good time over the course of the day.

Here is a photo album with all of the pictures I took during the ride.

PSA – The Future of Carlsbad Trails

Here is a cut-and-paste from some of the online forums that is important to you if you ride a bike in the Carlsbad area.


All who ride La Costa, Calavera and want to open more trails to legal status, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME IN NEXT 25 YEARS in NORTH COUNTY via the CITY OF CARLSBAD “Envision Carlsbad” Growth Plan Update. The staff has hired a great national consulting firm to gather input from citizens on what they want from the City.


March 23 MONDAY 6PM to 830PM Faraday Safety Center 2560 Orion Way (map)

March 25th, WEDNESDAY 6PM to 830PM TriCity Wellness Center 5260 El Camino (map)




If you are an SDMBA member or have participated in any trail volunteer events, remind the forum consultants that SDMBA has consistently been far and away the biggest contributor of hours, for the hardest dirt work, and set the best example and proof statement that:

“MULTI-USE MEANS MORE WIN-WINS” – hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, bike-riders, horsers and conservationists all have the same desire for a healthy nature experience, and have worked well together elsewhere, and have proven references from the most wise bio-science adaptive land managers to prove it works.

In these tough fiscal times, everyone is reminded that the simple things in life are the most valuable, and whats more valuable than neighbors learning to look after the land together, and become better friends and stewards of it for our future generations?


For more info contact Erik Trogden, N County Liaison SDMBA.

A singlespeed doubleshot

I don’t ride my single speed much.  I like to think that I ride it just enough to remind myself how much I love my full suspension bikes.   When I went Lake Calvera on Saturday, I brought along the single speed for the post work ride.   Calvera does not beat you up too bad on a single speed, but it certainly adds to the effort per mile equation.  After the trailwork and the ride, I was good and pooped at the end of the day.

It did not take long Sunday morning to realize that I had not been liberal enough with the sunscreen yesterday.  I was not burnt, but a little toasty on the edges.  Just enough to really feel the sun on my face when I went outside.  It was an exceptionally gorgeous day and unseasonably warm in the 80s.  I got quite a bit of the house and family stuff taken care of and around 4pm, I decided to sneak in a quite ride before the day was gone.  So a quite 10 minute drive from the house and I was at La Costa for the second time this week.  I also grabbed the singlespeed on the way out as it was right by the garage door and not hung back up yet.  Ahh what the hell was the general thinking.

 The single speed put a bit of a beat down on me as I was just a little stiff from the day before. I ended up having a good ride and caught yet another good sunset to boot.

This photo was taken of me by my good friend “Ty Mer”.  He does some professional photography shoots on occasion.  You can reach him at

20D Canon Street
Circuit City, CA 92081 🙂

La Costa Tuesday

Yesterday after work I got in a spin at La Costa with Rich.  As always Rich is pretty zippy on the climbs and he has a habit of getting quicker when smells weakness.  Such was the case this afternoon has I found myself having to push myself to keep up.  We check out out some recent damage caused by some idiot who has a key to the backgate of the property.  The bonehead tried to drive his truck up one of the singletracks.  He went up a good ways before he bottomed out his truck and had to turn back.   What a jerk.  Rich the astute steward that he is had already repaired what he could but it will be a while before the trailside sage grows back.   Please call the police if you see something stupid like this occuring. 

Besides the spot the rest of the trail is in great shape.  We went up Vista Del Mar and down Switchbacks.   We then did it going the other way.   The visibility was pretty good today considering when had the marine layer in most of the day.  You could see both San Clemente and Cantalina Islands.  San Clemente is over 50 miles away so it was quite a treat.   Rich was really on fire going down the trails today.  I’m going to give him the trail builder advantage today since he knows every nook and cranny of this place.   Not a bad way to speed sometime after work.

Quick Spin at La Costa

This past weekend’s Archipelago Ride really beat the snot out of me.  While it was probably not the smartest way to get back into the saddle, it sure was fun.   I was stupidly sore on Monday and Tuesday.  I normally ride on Wednesdays during the week, but skipped and instead let the midweek ride slide until today.    I decided to catchup with my buddy Michael (aka Yeti_Rider) for a spin through the La Costa Preserve on his lunch break.   I got there a little earlier and as I pulled up I was treated to a bit of a hottie-fest.    Four great looking, fit, spandex clad ladies with knee and elbow pads on.   I tried my best not to look like a perverted leecher.  I’m not sure if I pulled it off our not.  Needless to say, creative domain names for a spinoff of this site started going through my head.    The show was quickly over and within minutes one of the other crazies from the Archipelago Ride showed up.  He was showing his buddy the connector to Elfin.   Good to see the word is spreading.   Finally Michael showed up and we did a loop.  Nothing fancy, nothing long, just some catchup chit-chat along the trail before he had to head back to work.   Just a great day to squeak in a ride on the bike.    

 Greenage at La Costa