This morning was to be a fairly quick run through the San Clemente Singletracks in order to get back home to see the Chargers vs Patriots game. (Yes, I know I’m still slacking on getting a page on this place put together) I was meeting some folks up there but failed to realize they were meeting near the beach end of the place. I went to the Dog Park start and did not figure out my mistake until it was time to roll. It worked out well as I had a nice solo roll through a good chunk of the park to warm up with before meeting up with the group somewhere along “no-turns”. After meeting up with the group it was apparent they were pushing a good pace. Since I’m still having to single speed things right now, that was exactly what I was doing. Either pushing or having a good pace. Considering my current state of physical fitness it was a little too much pushing. If I keep riding the SS that will go away soon enough. I rode with the folks for the better part of thier route which included some loop-backs onto stuff I had done earlier in the day. I’m still getting to know this place and they took some turns that I would not have done otherwise. By the time I split off from the group I figured I had done somewhere around 15 miles or so and I still had to make my way back up to the dog park from near the south end of the system. By the time I got back to my truck, my arms and lower back where fried. Ahhh the joys of single speeding!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Yesterday was my first day back on the bike and it went alright. The ride was to be mostly a show and tell with Rich concerning a La Costa to Elfin Forest connector that I would like to get legalized and improved upon. I currently have BOTH of my geared bikes out-of-commission with frame cracks which meant I had to bust out the single speed. The hills that are required on the ride today are not exactly single-speed friendly. Now for a borderline clyde who has been off the bike for a couple of weeks it was downright hostile. I put on my recently “Pushed” fork on the singlespeed and gave it a go. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the work Push did on this fork. It felt better than it has ever felt. I wanted plush, I got plush. I wanted the Terrorlogic gone….Poof..Done! The blowoff threshold on the new RLC damper was even better than the one on my other fork. When the threshold is dialed why down and the fork is locked, it operates like the terralogic was supposed to work. Mainly no harsh transitions when going from locked to unlocked. Being that I was on a singlespeed I cranked up the threshold pretty good since I spent a good deal of my climbing time out of the saddle. Money well spent in my book.
(Note: Fork is pre-push in this pic)
Rich and I made good use of the time getting a good close look at the lay of the land and getting a better idea of exactly where we want things to go. Part of that meant a good chunk of bushwhacking up a pretty steep slope or two. I did not think my legs got too exfoliated at the time, but the hot after-ride shower throughly convinced me otherwise.
If we can get this connector approved, it would make for a good day’s worth of riding in North County. I won’t use the word epic, but it comes to mind. We are going to discuss the connector idea more thoroughly with the most of the principals during or after the trail day this Saturday at La Costa. It is way freaking early in the process, and there are lots of potential landmines out there, but I’m excited about the idea. Here is some additional information of the Trail Day as well some of the on-going concerns and talk about the areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okay I’m getting a bit stir crazy with having to take some time off the bike as well as all the rain. Folks please give our wet trails some recovery time after these rains. Here are excerpts from a couple years of this topic being float around on some the various forums sites. Most folks think there should be some sort of disclaimer with this type of guideline. Stuff like the rating depends on how much rain we got. These ratings are based on a good rain. What we have have had this last week has been a pounding! Please be cautious and add a few more days at least to this recommendation.
Here is what I’m thinking of for a rating system for the San Diego area trails.
1 – Could ride there in rain or the day after.
2-5 – Two to five days
6-7 – About a week
8-9 – More than a week upwards to three weeks
10 – Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.
Here are the trails I’m looking at (Most here on the site)
Calvera Lake – 5
Daley Ranch – 3
Elfin Forest – 3
Flightline – 4
Lake Hodges – Northside -7
Lake Hodges – Southside – 7
Nate Harrision Grade – 2 –
Santa Margarita River Trail – 1 – Mostly sandy trails that are best after a good rain packdown.
Tenaja Truck Trail – 2 Mission Trails – 4
Cowles and Pyles Peak – 3
Spring and Oak Canyon – 3
Penasquitos Canyon – Most Trails – 5
Del Mar Mesa – 7 – Place gets some of that sticky clay that will freeze up your tires
Sweetwater – 10 – Probably the worst area in San Diego. Give it a freaking month.
Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch – North End – 4, South End – 8
TriCanyons Area (Rose, San Clemente, Tecolate)East County
Anderson Truck Trail – 1 – Probably the best in area for after rain riding
Black Mountain in Ramona – 4
Cuyamacas – 6
Lake Morena – 2
Laguna Mountains/BLT – 6
Indian Creek – 3
Noble Canyon -3
Oriflamme Canyon -4
This would also be a good time to gather up some “rules” about San Diego riding after rains. Like:
– Give the trails it due time.
– Use your brakes wisely, Don’t be a Skidiot!
– Ride through any puddles not around it. If you don’t like getting dirty, get a road bike. This caused quite a bit of discussion. The general thinking being that if the puddle goes all the way across a trail, trying to go around it is only going to widen the trail and make an even bigger puddle. Under these conditions it is best to go straight through the puddle. Now if the puddle does not go all the way and you have room on the orginal trail line, go ahead around it.
– Stream crossing – even a small fast moving stream can be very powerful and dangerous.
When in doubt call the land managers to find the full scoop. SDMBA has a links to them, or if you can’t get in touch with a land manager, email a SDMBA Liaison, link to SDMBA Liaisons.
Okay it is raining in Southern California and off the bike for a little bit so I might as well finish up on some projects that have been languishing on the hard drive for a while.
Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz is a really pictureque and fun place to ride, but hard to capture on video properly. Much like the Demo Forest video, the light was harsh on the day I shot this footage back in July of 2007. The sunny stuff came out good, but the shady areas like the Enchanted Forest Loop, turned out poor overall so you will not see too much of that in the vid.
Right Click to Download the 61MB video that runs 4 minutest and 29 seconds (WMV format)
Palm Canyon is one of my all-time favorite epics in Southern California. I ride it at least two to three times a year. This ride can be a deadly furnace ride in the summer so the winter months are generally the season to get out here. I generally organize a sizable group ride at least once a year here, but I prefer to do this ride in really small groups. This my first ride of the season and it was sort of a scouting trip for the large group ride to be done later. Rich (Taffy15), Bill (MrMountainHop), Steve (Aquaholic) and I were on the trail just before 9AM and were treated to a day of excellent conditions.
There was some moisture in the ground that made for excellent traction. The trail overall is in good shape. The three-mile dry wash climb was as good as I have ever seen it but it was still a pain in the butt. The Hahn Buena Vista trail was as awesome as always. The unmarked trail that connects Dunn Road to Fern Canyon trail is also in good shape and is much more defined than in past years.
We made excellent time today. We were not trying to hammer but finished in under six hours. We had no mechanicals or flats which for those who have done this ride, you know this is nearly magical.
There were a couple of things that ruffled my feathers on this ride. The descent off the meadow on the Indian Poterro Trails has been heavily sanitized and the final bit of singletrack going down by the water tanks in the Goat Trails has also been sanitized with a bunch of cheater rocks below the drops.
I don’t suspect this is the case, but if this “trailwork” was officially sanctioned then those people should be ashamed of themselves. Most likely this is caused by riders whose skill levels are less than their ego levels. If you can not ride this stuff — WALK IT! – DON’T MODIFY OR DESTORY IT! You do not get credit for “cleaning” the trail if you had to dumb it down to do so. If you want to be a better rider, try, try and try again until you either get it or have to walk it. The Goat Trail section really pisses me off because it is a totally optional trail. If you can’t ride it, take the fireroad down. If you want to do trailwork then get with your local Mountain Biking advocacy group for a legititmate trailwork day.
Ranting aside – Tis the season for Palm Canyon!
Update: Here are some more pictures on MTBR’s SoCal Forum
So I finally got around to putting together the video from the Soquel Demonstration Forest near Santa Cruz that I got to enjoy on my Norcal Summer Roadtrip this year. The lighting was quite harsh on the day of this ride so a good bit of this footage not ideal. I almost decided not to make the video at all, but what the heck there was enough for a shorter video. This was my second time there and I still did not manage to get on the Braille or Tractor trail. I’m riding those no matter what next time. The video is 4 minutes and 34 second long and is 58MB in size. Right Click on the image below to download.
The 5,312 acre Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, located in the extremely scenic mountains between Santa Yasbel and Julian about 40 miles northeast of San Diego, is one of the prettiest preserves in the county I have seen to date. While fire roads exclusively make up the designated trail system here, you will most likely not mind at all as the beauty of the place makes up for the lack of singletrack options. The rolling open grasslands and oak groves remind me a great deal of Northern California. You can get in just under 20 miles of riding if you do all of the loops and out and back sections. It is well worth a visit, but you will have to make it a weekend as the perserve is currently only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to Sunset.
See all the of the Review, Maps and Pictures.
So one week after getting thumped really good out in Alpine, I was back out there. This was sort of a test to see how my knee was going to be since I had a big ride planned for a few days later and it was a little tender. The climb when as expected but the knee was uncomfortable by the time we reached the top. (Actually, some part of me is nearly always “uncomfortable” by the time I get to the top). Enough yapping here are some pictures.
This thing is steeper than it looks. I swear it looks to be easier as a huck. Steve is always impressive out here.
I hit the “Cornroll”. It is not a bad roller at all but it does mess with you visually as you have to do a quick get up move over the crest of rock which requires you to get up on the front of the bike a bit before getting sliding behind the bike for the roll.
Frankie aka “Monkey Butt” joined us for the ride today.
More Chucnk Play
I played in some chunk as well (Photo by Steve)
I think this one goes into the “Stupid Human Tricks” Catergory.
I had not really planned on doing much of the stunts today with the knee and all but I ended up giving a few things a go. This bit is a roller or it can be launched. I had always rolled it before, but today I worked on launching it. It took me several tried to get enough balls hit with speed, but it felt really good when I did manage to pull it off. It was cool to make some unplanned progess.
Nice Evening Light
Final Words – Another Great Day on the Bike!