A week of SD Weather Weenie Whining

Okay, so we San Diego folk are self-admitted “weather weenies”, particularly us coastal types.   You get us out of our typical weather of 65-75 and sunny for more than a few days we start whining like a jet turbine.   There was a lot of noise happening this week.

Wednesday, I met Steve for an after work MTB stoke at Anderson Truck Trail.   I knew it was going to be warm as this was our first really hot day of the year.    I was ready with extra fluids and electrolytes.    When I pulled into the trailhead the temp gauge in my truck read 100 degrees.    My first thought was that can not be right.   Within seconds of stepping out of the truck, I knew my truck was not lying to me.   Really rough but manageable was my overall assessment for the upcoming ride.    As I’m pulling out all my gear, I realized I had left my cycling short, shirt and socks at home.   I normally keep an emergency stash of  cycling clothes stashed for just such an occasion.   Opening up the under seat compartment revealed that I had not resupplied my stash after the last time I forgot my digs.    Crap, I was in my work clothes which would not do at all and my after ride clothes consisted of a heavy black cotton Tee-shirt and a thick pair of cotton shorts.   I did find a dirty cycling socks that I missed taking out of truck after the last ride so they were called back into service.     The cotton shorts and T-shirt would be the apparel for the day.

This was the only smile Aqua would make on this climb.

It was readily apparent that these clothes were not going to help me out much at all.  These was zero cooling happening with this outfit and it was blistering already.   The heat of this climb makes you suffer pretty good on its own but the my stifling apparel took it to a whole new level.   I thought about just not wearing a shirt at all, but even high SPF sunblock would not be able to help my glowing white-boy torso out whatsoever.  I would have been fried in no time so the shirt stayed on.   I have to take lots of breaks and had to spin in the granny ring for the overwhelming majority of the climb.   Even with lots of breaks, by the time I reached the top I could feel I was close to some heat stress coming on.      Amazing what the right apparel can do for you – More importantly what the wrong apparel can do to you as well.  

After cooling down as much as to be expected  I felt better and we set off on the descent.   Steve was doing just fine, but I soon realized that I was off-game.  My reaction time was off just a little bit and on this terrain that can cause problems.    I made a point to stay well within my normal limits.   

Brian soon joined us,  he started later in the day,  so he did not get as cooked as we did, but it was still freaking hot.      By the time we finished up the ride, it had cooled off to a “balmy” 90 degrees which felt pretty descent after what we had already suffered through.    I was pretty much a wreck and completely drained.

The following day was the San Diego Mountain Biking Associations annual Beer and Burrito ride.   I was still feeling a pretty beat from the heat the day before, but I had volunteered to help with pictures so I could not back out.  This was a work for your supper event where you do a ride and then got to kick back with a tasty burrito from Chipotle and some tasty brews from Lagunitas.  

Over the course of the day leading up to the event the temps start to drop and a monsoon storm started to peculate.  It was  cloudy with ominous rumblings in the sky in the distance.    This event was capped at 70 RSVPs and it looked like everyone of them made it out.   There were lots of new faces and lots of folks I had not seen in a really long time.  It was good times before we even started rolling.

At a regroup spot

In the middle of the ride, we actually got rained for awhile.    It nice to get the trail patted down right in front of us.  The rain did not last long but it was certainly enough to register as “rain” for San Diego.

Before long we had all did enough to qualify for dinner and the with rain gone, it was time for some kicking back and socializing for a couple of hours.   It was a mighty fine event.   A good chunk of the photos from the event are on SDMBA’s facebook page.

Friday and Saturday were back to the summer toastiness, so Mark and I planned on beating the heat with a crack of dawn ride and the San Clemente Singletracks (aka weekpatch).      Sunrise was at 5:52 so we met at 5:45 and were rolling at 6:00AM.   The morning temps were cool and the  marine layer held off the sun long enough that it was just starting to think about punching through as we finished up the ride.

It felt pretty wierd being done with my ride so early in the day.   I’ll finish of the weekend with a little bit of honey-dos and a lot of lounging (in the shade).

One Flying Dog and a Finicky Bitch

The thermometer in my truck read 89 degrees when I pulled into the Anderson Truck Trail parking area yesterday afternoon.  It was my first return to Anderson Truck Trail in a long time  (October of last year).  I should have known better.   I forget how many times I have been out here in the heat and just gotten pummeled by it.   As least I would not be alone.  Almost everytime I have done something idiotic out here it has been with Steve.  Steve has a way of bringing out people’s inner idiot.  (For some, it’s not so inner)   Steve is an Idiotic Whisperer if you will.

 We both knew it was going to be a brain boil on the climb as we had both done the climb in even hotter weather.   What we both needed was “I’m with Stupid”  jerseys.  Steve further added some beatdown potential to his ride by bringing out his custom Wolfhound singlespeed.  This bike is a thing of beauty build to Steve’s exacting specs.    The climb was indeed a brain boil as expected.  There are a couple segments of the climb that are known to have “Dead Air”  where the afternoon sun hits you from the left while heat is radiated from the rocks on your right and there is no breeze to move the air around.   It is like you are in a brick oven and your head is the pizza.   That was not a surprise as we knew it was coming.  What was surprising was how the lines had changed over winter.    In the past I knew all the turns and bumps like the back of my hand and basically had the descent wired.   That was not the case now as the lines changed enough that I would have to recourt this mistress on the descent.  I tried to make as many mental notes as possible of the new conditions.

I came into the day thinking about hitting a jump I had not pulled the trigger on before, the Halloween Drop.  Throughout the climb I was visualizing my takeoff and landing.   Short of any last minute mental flatters, it was going to happen today.  Despite the heat, we climbed fairly well.  It was not my fastest climb by a longshot but I have lagged much more in the past.    I was mentally prepared for the Halloween Drop by the time we took a break at the top.  Before long it was time to turn the bike’s downhill.  Some new lines had sprung up since my last visit that I was up for trying. 

A little bit of rock wall ride.


Steve navigating the Wolfhound onto the rocks

Part II of the new section was a gnarly bit of rocks.  Steeper than it looks and a bit tricky even on the full suspension rig.

Steve did some good rock surgery on the Wolfhound

Steve on “The Diving Board” letting the dog fly

I had not even thought about doing the Diving Board.  I have done this a bunch of times in the past.   My thoughts had been on the Halloween Drop.   I passed on the jump but later while grabbing the shot of Steve doing the jump, he went into went Idiot Whisperer mode and the next thing I know I’m doing the jump.   I did not stick the landing.  I was way too overconfident and as far as I can tell I had my weight too far back on the landing which allowed the front wheel to slip out on the off-camber landing and I did a nice little thump and slide on the hardpacked decomposed granite.  Ouch!   I had managed to exfolilate a nice patch of skin my left thigh and whack the meaty part of my right palm.   I always find it interesting how you can take the top layer of skin off of your body and the clothes between you and the ground remains intact.    These were pretty minor in the scheme of things but it was still somewhat painful.  (Glad I had protection on my other bits.)    Anderson can be a finicky bitch who does not take kindly to you staying away too long and courting too many other ladies.   She gave me a nice little bitch slapping.

So my little spill messed with my mental game enough that I decided to keep the tires on the ground.  Anderson has plenty of on-the-ground technical goodness so I was still not getting off easy and I hit all the rest of my usual stuff.      

The Flying Dog – aka Wolfhound

I was not the only one who had been visualizing a Halloween Drop launch, Steve had been mentally stewing over this with the Wolfhound.   Steve said this was not going to be a multiple run in thing.   One run in only, the trigger was going to be pulled or the anchor was going to be thrown out.    Steve pulled the trigger, landed like a cat and yelled and giggled for the next five minutes.   We are pretty sure this is the first time someone has hit this on a hardtail. 

A different angle of the 911 roll.  I was digging the moon rising.

On our way over to the final descent, to add insult to injury, some kind of flying insect went into my mouth and as I was spitting it out the thing bit/stung me on my lip.   It was not as full on painful as a regular bee sting but my lip immediately was tingling and I felt some puffing up starting.     Yes Anderson can be a finicky bitch that does not take kindly to being ignored for months and then thinking  you can just show  back up and make lots of heat in the sheets.

For the final descent I had learned my lesson, court the lady, stoke her through curves and let her tell me how fast you can go.  It was a blissful descent with lots of newness from all the changed lines.   The tradional post-ride burritos followed.   I’m sure I will have some interesting technicolor body artwork develop off the next few days but it was not a bad Wednesday at all.

Pulling the Trigger – Mojo vs Mangina

This past Wednesday, I went out to Alpine for another lesson in my continuing effort to get comfortable in the air.   It is was nice day out and the signs of spring were all around.


I was feeling pretty good that day with some Mojo flowing and was interested in trying somethings that I feel I should have been hitting already but have just not done yet.  So I started off by hitting the “Satan” jump right off the top.  The run in has always given me some grief as you are turning and there is enough stuff that keeping some speed can be tricky.  After hitting this, I was thoroughly convinced that, yes I was a big wuss in the past for not doing this.  I had to hit it a second time just for good measure.  A good way to start off the descent.

Next on the list was Corndog.  If you have been following my blog, (Or my buddies post’s throwing me under the bus 🙂 )you should remember that I taco’d my frontwheel on my last airing here.  I have balked at this jump a handful of times since then.  Today I finally hit this jump again, I flew well, landed fine,  and then got squirrely in the run out as I was off to the right put managed to ride it out enough to get to a stop without having a yard sale.  The good news was that I just rolled up and hit it.  No looking and thinking, just going.  It felt good.  I decided I needed another one and this time I ended up angled left.  In the air I could see that I was headed for the same spot I taco’d in a few weeks earlier.  The bike touches down, here comes the rut, and just before things were going to get ugly I managed to push the bike off the left while I lunge to the right.  End result, I’m a little dusty but otherwise a very successful bailout without so much as a scratch on me.  I have got to figure out my aim on this launch, I just have a hard time hitting the mark.  Not counting all the forfeits from not launching, the grand total for Corndog Launches is: 2 wins – 2 losses – 1 tie  

The Threesome.  This is a pretty big leap as it is not gravity feed.  You have to pedal as hard as you can to a very narrow, long and uphill tranny.  Adding to this you come off the rock long before the edge and you can’t see where you are going.  A real leap of faith.  The pictures do it absolutely no justice whatsoever.   Needless to say I’m behind the camera here.

This is called “The Threesome” as there are three lines.  The big huck, and big tricky roll, and a much easier roll.  The orignal idea was for the small roll to be a wall ride, but it did not pan out but the name sticks.   The tricky roll actually goes beyond vertical for bit so the easiest way is to roll and then give a little huck part way down.  Here is Steve on the way down, preloading before pushing off.

Gaps scare the crap out of me, even little ones.   Something about the upward trajectories required and the threat of casing that messes with my head.  The one above is one of those that I have looked at for quite some time but have never pulled the trigger on it, until today.  After hitting this I could not help but think, “I fretted over that for that long?”

The drop above is typically called the “Lake” or “Lake View” drop because you can see the El Cap reservoir from there.  I had hit this once before but had balked at least half a dozen times since then.  It is funny how something you have hit before and have never crashed on can mess with your melon.   I stuck this one and about 50 yards down the trail just as I started to mentally congratulate myself, I washed out in a rut and had to step off the bike.  Two steps away from the bike, I twisted my ankle.   It hurt pretty freaking bad and I ended up having to cruise down the rest of the way instead of getting “on it”.   It was still one heck of a fun descent. 

Overall, It was a  great ride and I was glad to finally get my mangina to shut up long enough to try some stuff.

Anderson Truck Trail Sunday Action

Sunday, I went out to Anderson Truck Trail to do some playing on the rocks. Normally I only ride here during the week, but since I had not been here in a few weeks I was up for it. In addition to the usual suspects, I ran into some new peeps and well as some friends I had not expected to see today.

I ran into Allison at the bottom getting ready for a couple of shuttle runs.   Normally there would have some smack talk a fligging at this point, but since she had done some big run the day before she was cut some slack.  Take note that Allison has the St. Pattys day color scheme covered.

DustyBottoms on the climb.

MacRider and Jeff working the climb.

The view on the climb started getting pretty nice.

We are all the way up, time to put the saddle all the down. 😉 

This kicker is known as the Satan Jump.

Me hitting the “Diving Board”.   I was shooting some video so I did not take many photos.  Some of the photos here were shot by other folks in the group.

MacRider playing in the rocks.

Mark and Jeff cruising through the rocks.

Fun Granite Ahead!

We had a great run down the mountain after playing up top.  There was no carnage on the day, but my brake lever took a beating. Believe or not, this lever was able to be straightened out.

Good Ride and Old Friends

Now that we have had a little break in the rain enough to give the trails some dryout time, I went out to Alpine to ride Anderson Truck Trail which handles the moisture well.   I was joined by Cliff, Danny and Chip.  It was first time riding with Danny but Cliff and Chip are old friends.   I spent eight days down in Copper Canyon in Mexico back in 2005.  Cliff is not only one of my biking buds,  he is also my real estate agent who did mighty good by me a few years back when we stepped up to a larger home.    I have not seen too much of either of thes guys in a while so riding together was good for catching up.  Mother Nature has been doing some landscaping on the trail and there are some spots that are going to need some attention on the trail.    I only had my video camera today so no pictures from the day.   The ones here are from a week or so earlier.

The climb up went well really pretty scenery and and blue skies.   There was enough moisture in the ground that you could just feel a little more resistance on the climb.   We enventually made our way to the top and then enjoyed the fruit of our labor.   I did not hit some of the stuff I normally would since I had my XC helmet cam vice the full-face helmet.  If you are wondering why I use a full-face helmet when “playing” in and on serious rocks/chunk read this experience at Goat Camp nearly a year ago.

The return trip back down the main part of ATT was really freaking great with insanely perfect traction.  It was quite possibly my quite run to the bottom.   Afterwords I had a good chunk of time to kill before the monthly SDMBA meeting.  Lucky for me Chip invited me back to Casa Del “ChipandDale” for dinner.    While dinner was in the works, another one of the Copper Canyon crew,  Joey,  swung by for a bit.   For dinner they had some family friends come over so I added some folks in the friends column over a really yummy meal.  I was about to drop off into a food coma, when Chip informed I was about to be late for the meeting.  Luckily they live just a few minutes away from meeting so I got there just in time.   The rest of the night was spent at the SDMBA meeting where Michael Beck, the San Diego Director of the Endangered Habitats League was the quest speaker.  It was interesting to see a different perspective on the land usage debate in San Diego and get a better understanding of what organizations like his are trying to do.   I can’t say that I liked everything I heard but I understood it.   One thing is for certain mountain bikers have more in common with these groups than we have different and hopefully they can see that responsible trail users can be dedicated stewards of the lands.

Tacos For New Year’s Eve

Tacos were sounding good today.  I went to Alpine to take some more flight lessons.

So I’m calling this a successful jump and landing, with a really bad bit of trail riding immediatly afterwards.  My biggest mistake was not really looking at the landing closely before jumping. I have done that jump before but did not take notice of a rut that had developed after the rains and was just chilling there in the shade. If I had I would have made more of an effort to not to go as far left as I did. I really thought I was just going to scrap the bushes a bit and keep on riding.

Here are some shots of the aftermath.

This one taco deluxe!

I thought for sure I would be walking out of there as it was firmly in the hella jacked range.


Surprisingly enough I found that after showing the wheel some luving Ike Turner style, it was okay enough to get rolling again.

One thing is for certain, I confirmed that I am getting the full 160mm out travel out of my front fork. I got a scrap on the my thigh just above the pads and I aggravited an old injury to my right shoulder a bit. I even managed to hit a few smaller things on the return trip back down the mountain but a latter inspection revealed showed that this rim is going to have to be put out to pasture.