Hockey in San Jose

Okay here is a little non-MTB content for the blog.  My oldest son  (Will) and I are spending the better part of this week up in San Jose while Will’s hockey team, The San Diego Fear, compete in the North American Roller Hockey  Championships (NARCH).  The facility at the Silver Creek Sports complex is pretty impressive and is well suited to host the championships that includes over 400 teams in numerous age brackets from all over the Canada,  the US and Central America.  Will’s team is playing in the 12 and under Gold bracket against 22 other teams who made the cut through the regional qualifiers.

NARCH facility

The boys played their first game today and won against the Golden Ridge team from British Columbia so they are off to a good start.  

Game Play

After the game we did some tourist stuff and went down to Monterey for some sightseeing that included the Monterey Aquarium.

Fish Kisser

There is a bit of the MTB tie-in here.  Our plan is to take a couple – three days to get back home when we are all done with some camping and biking along the coast.  We have not decided yet, but Santa Cruz, Montana Del Oro and Mt Pinos are high on our list of camp/mtb stops.

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.

Busy Week and New Beginnings

I'm the dude on the left 

After 22 years of active duty in the US Navy, I retired this past Friday.   Actually, I’m not officially off the books until the end of July but I have stacked up enough vacation days over the years to take a few months off.   I had a really great career as an electronics/computer geek turned manager, but it was time to do something else for a living.  Shipboard duty in the Navy is quite hard on a family and I would have been separated from my family a bunch over the next four years.  My long term goals are to raise my two sons so be successful men, husbands and fathers.   With Will approaching his teenage years I believe it is really important for me to be close and involved (Wither he likes it or not) to achieve those goals.   

So this past week has been a busy one around the house:  Last minute retirement paperwork to,  a hockey tournament, parents coming in from North Carolina, extended family coming in as well, the ceremony…..  A lot of really cool and fun stuff going on.    All of which seemed to push “Get a ride in” down on the priority list.

Preexisting Biking Condtion
Sidenote for my wife – This is proof that biking was indeed a preexisting condition when we got together 🙂

The big question that I have been mulling over the last six months has been:

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Okay I still don’t have a good answer for that, but the good news is there are lot of opportunities for my next career, so I need to narrow things down over the course of the next few weeks.    I have always found that some of my best thinking gets done when I am at or near my maximum heart rate with lots of good clean air in my lungs.     

Hmmmm, I’m thinking that some Utah slickrock and narrow Colorado singletrack should help quite a bit with that effort.


Here is a few more pics involving the Navy.    If you think my dream career involves your company please contact me.  Starting on Saturday, I will be sporadically off the grid for about a week so expect some delay in responses.

Gutting It Out

Quote of the Day: “This would be so easy without the cramping”

 I was going to be climbing Nate Harrison Grade up to the top of Palomar Mountain for my weekend ride as I was to met with a lady who owns to chunk of property up on the mountain.  This is no small ride as it is an 11.1 mile climb with 4,700 feet of climbing.  Will heard me talking about it on Saturday afternoon and said he wanted to go.  He remembered this from a drive we had done in the truck a few times.   I stressed to him that this was a serious ride with an 11 mile climb.   In true young mind fashion that never ceases to amaze me he replies with “That means we get to go down the mountain for 11 miles…COOL!”.    I warned multiple of times about the size and effort required for this ride.  I also reminded him that I was not going to let him weasel out of hockey practice that night.   He was undaunted, so I woke him up bright and early Sunday morning and we headed out.  

Will at start

On the drive out, I talked to him about pacing yourself and how Nate Harrison Grade is a great teacher of pace and rythm climbing.   We were climbing by 7:30AM with a nice temp of only 60 degrees.  I knew it was going to be a roaster today, so the plan was to get up in elevation before the valley turned into a large scale brick oven.

Will early on

Will started out all charged up zipping ahead and talking some smack.   I snickered as I knew that would not last long.  Fifteen minutes later, the tables had turned and my boy was suddenly more interested in the “wisdom” I had to offer vice the “babble” I was spouting a little further back down the road.   So while acutely listening this time, I noticed he had grown enough as of late to warrant a few tweaks to the seatpost and saddle.   While I did not take a picture of it, his seatpost looks a lot like our dated height marks on the closet door back home.  Geez they grow quick. 

Stopping to smell the lupins

There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom along the climb and we took plenty of breaks along the way.  He was really finding “his” pace and a good rhythm.   The temps were climbing faster than we were and just about when I was going to declare it hot, we reached an elevation where things started cooling off.

I think I can, I think I can

At around the seven mile mark, Will started getting the first twinges of cramps in his quads.   We was not interested in turning around.  We did take breaks more often, and he was more open to the mocha flavored Clif shots, banannas, and electrolytes that he was turning down earlier.

Around the nine-mile mark the boy was suffering and the “This would be so easy without the cramping” statement came out, which I could only reply with (with a bit of laughter in my voice) “Yep, been there done that”.   At this point the thought of turning around did come up.   I told him we could turn around if he wanted to, but we were really close and getting to the top would be quite an accomplishment.   After a long break, he decided to keep climbing.   I was impressed. 

Near Top

Most of Nate Harrison Grade is a fairly smooth dirt road,  with the last mile or so at the top being pavement.   Just before reaching the pavement is the rockiest section of the whole road.  While normally it would be no big deal, when your fighting off cramps it can be a real pain.   He soldiered through it and once on the pavement he spun along nicely with the cramps mostly subsided.

We enjoyed ourselves at the top,  grubbing down on the remainder of our trail food.   I could tell that he was stoked to have pulled off the climb.  Will spent little time actually looking around and when I called him over to check out some particular sights he reminded me of our “mission” for the day, “Dad, I did not pedal up this mountain to see the view.  I came up here to ride down.  Lets Go!”   


So down we went.   Gleeful giggles were heard many times.   The Dad in me was scared a few times at his speed, but at the same time the mountain biker in me was going “HELL YEAH!

Down the hill

What took hours to climb took somewhere around 20 minutes or so to descend.  It was a stupidly hot 99 degrees at the bottom.   No big deal, when you have a 30+ mph breeze in your face.  After some Mexican food on the way home and a dip in the pool, he was ready to head out for hockey practice.   He did look a little flat on the rink, but I was pretty freaking impressed with how he gutted things out over the course of the day.   Oh yeah, he had no issues going to be bed early that night. 🙂


Back in the Saddle at Lake Calvera

After a couple of weeks being off the bike due to my face injury at Goat Camp, I finally got back on the trail.   I had tried doing a bit of stuff in the outdoors late last week but the “brand new” skin on my lips was quite sensitive and the slightest of breeze and direct sunlight was unpleasant to say the least.   Today I gave it another shot and decided hit up one of my local trails, Lake Calvera, which I ride to right from my front door.   Will has a two hour hockey practice tonight so I decided to take Jake out for some one-on-one Dad time on the trails.

Jake on Bridge

We had a great time out on the trails today.  I am always amazed at how easy kids put up new skills.   Most of the time I show them something once, they do it once and then it is locked in.   Man I wish I could still learn at that rate.    I have made a point of gradually progressing the length and difficulty of the rides I take them on each outing and today was no different.   I took him on a lot more twisty and rocky singletrack that he has done in the past.   I also made a point to get him to the “Back 40” of Lake Calvera which meant he had to do a good deal more climbing than usual out there.  

Jake Singletrack Cruising

For me I can tell it will take a few rides to get my MoJo back.   I still have some numb spots on my face which makes for a really weird sensation (or lack thereof) to feel the sun and breeze only on a portion of your face.    The good news is that the spots are getting smaller everyday.    In what little technical bits I did encounter today, I caught myself glancing at where I don’t want to go.  Not good.   I’m sure after a few rides I’ll get “it” back but it was an odd mental riding state today.    What I lacked today in riding prowess was more than offset by the high quality time I got with my youngest son who put in a solid 14.4 miles today. 


My Friends and Family are Funny

I had not really appreciated just how much laughter is generatered from my friends and family until this week.  With my injury it is dreadfully painful to smile right now and I have also been scared to stress that area with a smile.  Of course the smile is somewhat self limiting.  You start to smile and the pain shoots through the roof.  Bye-Bye Smile.    So what I started doing is when someone says something funny and I start to smile, I grab the left side of my face and keep my muscles from pulling the corner of my mouth back.   This of course is somewhat funny looking to see, which wants to start another round of snickering with the peanut gallery.    My Wife and I realized that laughter plays a significant part in our relationship.  She has been getting a little bummed with my forced stoic demeanor as of late and I have come to better appreciate the nature of our relationship as well.   I did not think I would gain a little knowledge about my marriage from the crash, but yeah, I guess you always need to be ready to learn.   I can however think of less painful ways to learn stuff.  Hopefully, it will be over soon.  I amazed how quickly the face area heals, but the trend of the nerves healing quicker than the wounds is truly a painful bummer. I did get 9 of 19 stitches out today which is a start.  (The other 10 are the internal kind that will disolve on thier own.) 

I don’t exactly know where these ramblings are taking me,   I’ll leave things with this – Take note and enjoy the smiles and laughter around you.

A great finish to a 3-day weekend – Daley Ranch

So my boys were pretty pumped up about the riding at La Costa on Saturday and they were itching to ride again.  I had plans to take them to Lake Hodges or Penasquitos Canyon since that would be fairly kid friendly.   When I woke up this morning to see that it had rained the night before, I shelved both of those trails since they do not fair well after rains.  We hung out around the house until almost 1PM catching one of the new releases on Pay-Per-View.     They were still itching to go so I offered up Daley Ranch which is one of the best places to ride in the county when it is wet out.    I warned them that there was a bunch of climbing to do at Daley. They were undaunted so we loaded up and headed to Escondido.

Daley Ranch

The weather looked questionable at the trailhead, but we opted to head out.   We took the right out of the parking lot onto the Creek Crossing trail and then out to the Sage trail for the typical (and substantial) starting climb.  I was thoroughly impressed with both of them on the climb as they never stopped due to being tired. (They did dab a couple of times, but they did far better than I did when I first came out here some years back)  Due to the moisture we opted to skip the Coyote Run and Rattlesnake singletracks and stay on the fireroads.   It worked out well as the boys really enjoyed catching bits of air off the rocks in the fireroad on the way down to the meadow.  We stopped at the first good view of the meadow and we could hear a pack of coyotes yipping it up below.  Will was even keen enough to spot them before they headed off into the trees.

 Jake Air

Once down in the meadow we did the Jack Meadow loop starting up the east side.   We took a break at a little kicker rock so the boys could get some “mini-air”.

Will Air

 Once we reached the north end of the meadow and headed down the west side it was mostly a gradual downhill affair from there.   I reminded them that they had a big ring on thier bike and it was game on after that.    With my gearing at 32:18, I had to put on some serious cadence to beat them to the Ranch House.  

The damp and cool air kept us from lingering long during our break at the Ranch House.   They were trying to talk me into going to Wings and Things after the ride so I made a deal with them.   If we took the East Ridge trail back instead of “wimping out” on the road I would take them.   (I was going to take them anyway, but they did not need to know that.)   The thing about the East Ridge trail is that there is one really nasty steep section and I wanted them to get a taste of some hike-a-biking.   I really talked up “The Wall” to them and when they first saw it ahead they both gave a big “Whoa!”   They both gave it a good shot making about a third of the way up each.

East Ridge Wall 

I got pretty lucky on that climb as the wet weather made the traction like Velcro and I managed to clean it, my first time ever on the SS.  After that we connected back up with the Creek Crossing trail and made our way back to the trailhead.  I had tired but jazzed kids on my hands who made quick work of their dinner at Wing and Things.




La Costa Trailwork Day

Today my boys and I joined nearly 40 other volunteers to open the new Vista Del Mar trail and deconstruct/rehab and old unsustainable trail at the Rancho La Costa Preserve in Carlsbad. 

  La Costa Trail work 

Markus, Patrick and Jesssica from the Center for Natural Land Managment did an excellent job of showing us how to do the rehabilitation work as well as making sure there snacks and water available throughout the event. The picture abovie is of Jessica showing us how to plant the young plants and install an irrigation supplement. These things are really cool. They are a big glob of gel that is mostly water. We buried a couple of these gels with each plant and over the course of a month or so bacteria in the soil will slowly eat away the gel and release the water suspended in the gel in the soil.

 Schwag Galore

The event was sponsored by SDMBA, Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami’s Bike Club and Squadra and my what a schwagfest they put on.   They made sure that even if you did not win something in the raffle, you still went home with something.  Very cool!

Will on the Wall 

Jake on the Easy Route

After the trailwork and raffle, we went out and tested out the trails.  This was the first time here for my boys and they had a hoot.   The rock wall technical feature was a major hit. Just before you get to it there is a really cool sign pointing you to either the easy or the hard route. This feature got throughly tested by both the young and the not-so young going in both directions. The really cool thing about the easy route is that it does not look so easy because it is made of rock, but in fact it is not much more difficult than a mound of dirt. It gives newer riders the reward of doing something harder without the actual risk of something harder. Jake (My eight year old son) rode it his first time up and giggled afterwards. Will (My 12-year son) wanted to take on the hard line. I was in catch mode, but it was not needed and he cleaned it on the second attempt.

A Big Hats off to Rich Julien from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association and Markus, Patrick and Jessica from the Center for Natural Land Management for working together to make the Vista Del Mar trail happen.

 Check out my Trail Work page for all of the pictures from the event along with a few more words.


P.S.   I should have a page on this trail system in the next couple of weeks.

Giving a little back to Indian Creek

Yesterday, my boys and I joined other volunteers for some trailwork out on the Indian Creek Trail.   Indian Creek is part of the “Tour de Noble” which each year provides many riders with an awesome trail experience.  Today it was time to say thanks to the trail with a little TLC.  With my Saturday mornings typically being locked-up with my boys’ hockey games, it had been quite a while since I was last out for an organized trailwork event.     Luckily we are in between seasons right now.

We met up at the lower Noble Canyon trailhead, where the USFS Ranger escorted our carpooled caravaned up to the trail.   Getting there was a bit of adventure on it’s own.

Carvaning to trailhead   

Once up to the trail, we had a nice hike hike up past the waterfall where we then started give the trail a haircut as well as little treadwork here and there. 



This was my boys’ third trail work event in the area and they put in a solid days work.  By the time they are up to riding Noble Canyon (Which maybe sometime this year) they should not be surprised by most of the lines. 

Jake with Loppers

Here is Jake getting a little creative with getting some leverage with the loppers.

Afterwards Charlie from CalCoast Bicycles raffled off a bunch of really cool swag that included hats, shirts, tires, pumps and more with the grand prize being a Camelbak.  

Swag Tossing!

I have more pictures from the event on my Got Trail?  page. 

If you are interested to helping out with future trailwork events checkout the San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s website.


Walking Wounded

So I am on the walking wounded list, but not from mountain biking.   For those who have been following the blog you will remember I took a good thump while getting some flight lessons near Alpine about a month ago.  Part of the thump was on my right hip that resulted in a huge technicolor bruise on my right leg and hip.   I had just gotten over that for the most part.   So after being gone all day on December 29th doing the Palm Canyon Epic, my boys were itching for some dad time.  So on the 30th, I took them out to our local inline hockey rink  for some skate time.   I was pretty beat from the day before so I decided that I would not be playing, but instead I would just screw around and keep feeding passes to the boys.    So instead of putting on the whole hockey gear package, I left the griddle in the bag.  Bad call!    

Will shooting puck 

So while messing around my oldest boy decides that it will “funny” to check Dad.   Of course it would be even funnier if Dad was not looking.   So my boy clocks be really good, and I swear I got completely horizontal prior loosing any altitude.   BAM!   It was all I could do not to call Child Protective Services to inform them that something really bad was about to happen to my kid and they were not going to get there in time.     I had landed exactly on the same spot I had hurt the month before.  It hurt like hell but in a different way than before, this felt more sharp that the bruising before.    

I ditched my ride scheduled for the next day and waited a couple of days to test it out on the bike.   When I did get on the bike I felt okay peddling on the road out to my local ride (Lake Calvera).   It even felt okay on the smooth stuff.  However when riding on rocky stuff, anything that requires body English, and getting off the saddle things got painful in a hurry.  After an hour I was uncomfortable and basically not a happy camper on the bike. 

 It is never a good time to get injured, but this was quite unfortunate timing as I was planning heading out to Sedona to meet up and ride with some friends from Colorado and NorCal in a little over a week.    I don’t see my hip being in shape for multiple back-to-back days of riding so I had to cancel.    Major League Bummage!

Arizona Riding

I’m going to get some X-rays done in the next day or so to see if I did something really bad.  


 UPDATE 11-JAN-08: I could insert bunch of Doctor verbage stuff here but basically the X-rays showed that I had not fractured anything, but I’ll need to take it easy for a couple more weeks.  Yipee!