The 14th edition of the Archipelago Ride is in the books. My has this ride grown since the first one I was a part of when it was very much an exploration ride. With a capped field of 750 riders this year this is a major fund raiser for the San Diego Mountain Biking Association that helps keeps projects going year round. There was a gaggle of volunteers and supports who made this awesome event happen. If you get a chance you should give it a go at least one.
I recently revisited the connector route between and the La Costa trail system and the Elfin Forest recreation reserve as well as little bit of exploration along the way. Here are few thoughts and pictures from along the way.
I had not been on the Escondido Creek single track in a really long time. When I was helping with the early phase of constructing this trail, I got my worst case of poison oak I have ever had. There was some PO along this trail on this ride but it was not really encroaching into the trail.
I tinkered with a few offshoot trails as long the way. When I got to Elfin I thought about putting together a loop using a series of trails a dirt roads to the north. I opted to check out a few more along the route I came out on. All together I put in 21 miles and change along with 3,000 feet of climbing. If you rode all of the Elfin and La Costa trails along with the connector you could pile up about 40 miles. I am going to tinker here some more for sure.
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.
Man, have I been busy since I got back from Washington. After a solid week of honey-dos and a couple of lingering projects that needed my attention I was finally able to get back onto some SoCal dirt. This weekend I’m helping out with SDMBA’s Archipelago Ride by providing some “Navigation”. There was one section in particular that I have been looking for an improved route from last year so some field research was in order.
The area I was focusing on was by the San Dieguito River Park and the Santa Luz area. I found some good stuff that fits the bill for real trails. It should be a good addition to the route this year.
Here is a mule deer buck I encountered on the trail. The buck is on the trail. Yes, there is a trail there.
Here is the trail from another angle. Good stuff.
After spending three weeks in the Pacific Northwest, 81 degrees felt down right hot! It was however a good afternoon in the Sun. I’m looking forward to leading the way to the goods on the Archipelago Ride.