Where The Hell Have You Been? I have gotten that question a couple of times as of late. Yep I have been slacking on the posting stuff of my Blog.
I have been getting in some quality Hockey Dad time in with my youngest son on most weekends as he is playing on two In-Line hockey teams. One recreational league team out of Kit Carson Park in Escondido and a tournament team (The San Diego Stingrays). This works out to practice and games commitments of four days a week.
With both teams practicing out of Escondido I have been getting in quite a bit of riding in at Lake Hodges and the surrounding area as of late. Besides the stuff already on my site I have managed to find some cool stuff here and there like this patch of woods between Lake Hodges and Poway.
I have also managed to find some complete crap as well. This tripe located in the city of Poway is simply insulting. They dumped 4-6″ of gravel beside a stupidly steep road and called it a trail. The unprofessional asses that did this debacle did not even bother to compact the gravel down. This thing is so F’d up that had to put signs up ever 50 feet to try and convince people that it is a trail. City of Poway—This is not a F$%^ing Trail! If you would care to improve your trail building knowledge why don’t you spend an afternoon on the playground at Chaparral Elementary School. Pay attention to the six year olds with the Tonka trucks, they get it more than your “trail builders” do!
Enough about city governments wasting money, I managed to catch a baseball game with my girlfriend. The Padres even managed to win on the night we went.
Of course San Diego is arguably a Craft Beer Mecca so there has been plenty of outings to check out what the latest awesome offerings are from the over 71 (and growing) microbreweries in the county.
Recognizing that mountain biking is a preexisting condition with me my, girlfriend he has gotten onboard with the program and is coming up to speed quite nicely.
I have also managed to get in some dirt time at La Costa here and there. If for nothing else than to check out some advertising dollars well spent on the Copper Canyon Bridges.
My work schedule as of late has been conducive to grabbing some after work mileage out in South Bay. I have ridden out here numerous times and there are lots of trails to push the pedals around on. In the past I have nearly always been with somebody showing me around through the maze of canyons with interconnections through parking lots, culverts, streets and backyards. It has been kind of fun trying to use the “Swartz” on solo efforts to retrace some of my previously guided steps. More to follow as I continue to get semi-lost with that ongoing effort.
So as far as where the hell have a been? I’ve been around on my bike….
So after getting back from Japan on Monday, I got in some quality time with my youngest son Jake on Tuesday and Wednesday. The boy has been growing like a weed and was in need of resizing/refreshing some of his hockey gear. HockeyGiant.com has a large store in Anaheim so a shopping outing was added to the day’s to-do list. The San Clemente Single Tracks (aka “The Weedpatch”) was right along the way so a pit stop in order. There a couple of ways to get into the area and we parked off of Cristianitos Road. This is real popular place for the local surfers hitting up Trestles to park so we looked like the odd men out without a surfboard in tow when we headed out.
We had not started out our morning planning on going for a ride so I had made the breakfast equivalent of a extra large all-meat pizza comprised of eggs, toasts, grits (the real all-natural stone ground stuff) and copious amounts of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon. (Just for the record, all-meat pizza itself a breakfast food group!) While breakfast had been mighty tasty we were still pretty stuffed when we started pedaling. Jake had kicked my ass on the climbs during our last outing but that was not the case today. My youngest buck soon learned that one of the skill sets that Dad honed while obtaining his official old guy qualifications was the ability climb hills with a belly full of bacon.
One nice thing about this area is that even when you are climbing there are plenty undulations here and there that break most of the climbs up. Bacon burps on the climbs and smiles on the descents was the theme on this outing. I always enjoy all the flowing swooping goodness out in this area. The trails conditions were also good out today. My favorite time out here is in the spring when everthing is green but there was nothing to complain about with it today.
We did about a 15 miles of trails out here before loading up the bikes and continuing on up to Anaheim to beat up on Dad’s wallet at the hockey store. Another good day out a bike made even better by spending it with one of my boys.
A wad of short blonde hair going in 27 different directionsu nearly buried under a pillow was all that could be seen of youngest son, Jake’s this past Sunday at 6:30AM when I went to wake him up. 13 year old boys are not fond of this time in the morning and he fully looked the part of a coma rattled teenager when I rousted him out of dreamland. We were headed out to Laguna Mountains for a different kind of bike ride.
A few week ago a good friend of mine Cliff Walker made an unscheduled dismount from the ride of life. I can’t use the word “close” and “dear” without feeling some sense of guilt. Cliff had lots of friends who were much more involved with his day-to-day life than I. Cliff was one of my “MTB Buds”. One of those friends that you primarily assoicate with while mountain biking. We have done a couple of road trips and races together as well as many rides and some epics together. A solid good person you just a joy to be around.
Jake and I were headed to the Laguna Mountains to join some of Cliffs other friends for a memorial ride. Twenty-nine riders gathered up to take a spin around Big Laguna Meadow and honor Cliff’s Life.
The ride was timed to end at about the same time that some of his family and no biking friends could gather up as well to celebrate Cliffs life. The gathering swelled to over 70 people who sit under the shade of the meadow’s pine trees to share and tell stories about how Cliff had touched each of thier lifes in some way. Cliff had a very diverse group of friends and the stories about Cliff I had never before really showed just how impressive a life he lived and how he had touched so many people’s life in a positve way.
There was more than a couple of stories that included Cliff’s perpencity to be the first person up the hill. More than a few of us recalled getting up to the top of the hill to find Cliff walking around in circles looking under the various bushes and behind the trees. Once we questioned Cliff would look at you with this devilish smirk and reply “I dropped a hammer have you seen it?” It was always good for a laugh and the celebration of his life gathering was no different. A special thanks goes out to Chip Brent for making the celebration event happen.
Afterwards, Jake was down for just a father/son ride. The memorial ride was just along the meadow and he had not down some of the other trails in the area before. We decided to add Wooded Hills and Los Gatos Ravine into the mix. A pretty significant event happened on the Wooded Hills climb. Jake was riding strong and then you decided to see how quick he could go. I saw him lift the pace and I was having a tough time matching it. It was not long before kicked up the pace enough more.
I saw the half-sly turn his head to see how far back I was. That was his moment. The moment when a Son knows he is beating his Dad something. Not just something, but his Dad’s thing. He knew he had me and he was not letting up. I knew he had me too, I was not going to catch him, the best I could do give a good showing for second place. I was weird mix of pride in my Son and a relevation that I’m slacking. Sure I could make excuses and rationalize things like the fact I weigh about 90lbs more than he does and I did a respectable climb after a couple of beers at the celebration but no matter who you slice it my son kicked my ass up that hill. I got to the top about 45 seconds behind Jake and he was already off the bike with his helmet off and was hoofing and puffing. After a bunch of praise from me, he looked a me with a very smirky look on his face and calmly said, “Yeah, I dropped a hammer. Did you see it?”