November 7th, 2013 by MTBBill
Work this past week has brought me back to Japan on a short trip. I did bring along on my bike essentials and on Sunday I was able to take the rental bike out through some old stomping grounds on the Muira Peninsula. It was a cloudy overcast day and while the sun seemed to threaten to make an appearance it never did. The good news was it was not raining.
This started out with a bit of street riding from Yokosuka over to the town of Zushi. I had forgotten to bring my GPS and maps of the area on this trip so the plan was going to be to stick to know routes. When I first got into Zushi was when I had to make my first decision about where to ride. I could either roll over to the “Duck Pond” area ride that stuff and then link up with the Tennin trail system and drop down into Kamakura or I could turn south and hit the Fugato-yama area.
I opted for the latter and after a bit of street climbing and some steep cement steps I was into the woods. The rain from previous days made for some treacherous bike handling as the clay bases soil in the area gets a traction rating of “butter” when wet. Slick sections of clay and wet angled roots all added to the overall excitement of being back on the trails that I have come to enjoy so much. The loop I had planned in the Fugatoyama area included an out-and-back segment up to the peak. On my way back from the peak I stopped at the junction of a trail I had never taken. It drops you way down into a large basin area to the south. Several years ago I had explored down in that basin coming in from the other end. I was quite certain I had been at the other end of this trail down in the bottom of the basin. Taking this trail would not only be a bit of exploration but would also mean committing to the follow the basin trail system down to the west and out on the opposite side of the peninsula from where my hotel was at. I took the path I had never traveled.
The trail was somewhat I expected in that it was steep and followed along a watershed. The previous rain made part of the trail more stream than trail in spots and it was always fairly narrow. I was digging being on some new dirt while hearing the little voice in my head fretting a little that I might be wrong about where this trail is going.
Turns out I was right about the trail once down into the basin, I turned onto a trail that flowed a stream down to the west. The trail was extremely small and rugged with lots of water crossings at this end. The further west you go the more established and less rugged the trail becomes as this trail seems see more usage by hikers at that end.
After following the trails out to a trailhead I followed a series of streets out to the western shore of the peninsula. From there I turned south and followed the roads and streets south through Hyama. The route turned out to be a little longer than I remembered. I was happy to recognize the turn off for the dirt road up Ogusuyama, the highest peak on the peninsula.
I was due for a pick me up so a snack from a local store and one of favorite treats was in order. Canned coffee served hot from vending machines that are all over the place here.
After the caffeine hit I started the grunting up to the peak. I made my way up to the an observatory at the top. From there I took a trail my friends here have simply referred to as “Trail 2″ that will take you into the Kinugasa area.
This may be the first time I have stopped to take a picture of this section. Its mighty zippy through here.
Another fine section of trail. Not too far beyond this point I was back on streets and roads and headed back to my Yokosuka hotel. My legs were fairly cooked and mud splattered grin from ear to ear.
September 8th, 2013 by MTBBill
I spent the tail end of July and most of August working in Bahrain. For those who have never heard of the place it is an island in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia. The maximum elevation is maybe 100 feet and pretty much everything is sand so the mountain biking opportunities are mighty freaking limited. Of course a Surly Moonlander would help a little in that department. Hmmm I wonder if I could get one with some S&S couplings on the frame?
Even with a bike, I would have a hard time getting motivated to get out in the heat and ride. Everyday it was over 100 by 10AM. Several days in particular it was 108 with 74% humidity.
I did manage to get out and grab some sights while I was over there including the Grand Mosque
I took a tour of the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque on one of their “open houses” for non-Muslims. [aka Infidel Outreach Day ] Work involved a lot going back and forth between an office and the outside. After a few weeks of the cycling in and out of the heat and AC I came down with some chest and sinus crud that required some antibiotics to knock down. The project I’m working has several phases to it so I was able to come home for a couple of weeks in between one of the phases.
I was still not completely over the crud when I got home so I refrained getting back on the bike and potentially backsliding with the crud. My girlfriend and I did make a trip up to Palomar mountain for a bit of mild hiking. It was really nice to see some greenery in mild temps.
One of the locals we saw along the trail.
By this past Friday I was feeling well again so a dawn patrol ride out at Mission Trail Regional Park was in order. There was some weather moving through the area which made some cool rainbows. I had ridden on the west side of the park in quite sometime. So I hit up the Jackson, the Rim trail, S-turns and the Soycott trails. I had not checked out North Fortuna from the north slope so I looped back around and when up North Fortuna from the north slope. I had my long-legged bike so it was overwhelming a hike-a-bike in that direction but would be a very techy ride on the descent.
After getting up to the North Fortuna peak, I descended the south slope to the saddle and then continued on up to South Fortuna. It had also been a long time since I had taken the South Fortuna staircase. I knew there were many spots were you had to pick and choose your battles but there were quite a few more than I remembered from my last go at this trail. I want to say that the techy sections were in worse shape than before, but it is more likely that my skills and/or nerves have slackened up some.
Either way it was great to be back on the bike and again. I’m heading back to Bahrain tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to another stint of being off the bike. Work can be so pesky sometimes!
July 26th, 2013 by MTBBill
For those of you who have every been on some of Hoser’s Bonita rides leaving from Donny’s Café you know there are 5o,000 ways plus to put together some serious miles out in this area.
You also know that trying to give by turn-by-turn directions for some of these routes would be pretty damn difficult.
In the past I have just always tagged along behind other folk’s wheel and just enjoyed the various route without really caring where on how I was getting where.
Lately I have been putting in some solo miles in an effort to calibrate my own compass out in this area.
The Rockhouse area has been the latest section of stomping around and figuring out.
I have been traveling trails and adding new bits with every visit. There is lots of good stuff out here
Here are a few pictures from the area from the various rides so far.
June 25th, 2013 by MTBBill
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….
April 17th, 2013 by MTBBill
So I have finished migrating my website stuff from one server farm over to a new mo better one with new hardware and software stuff on the backend that will support the front-end better.
Not my stuff I swear!
Like all things touted as “seamless” in the IT world is often does not quite go that way. Early on in the migration the site was down for a few hours when some DNS records got update too soon and prematurely sent folks to the new server that was not ready yet. There were a couple of folks who either left comments on the blog or registered for an account, right in the middle of the cutover which will have resubmit there stuff. Besides that all has all been ironed out and things seemed to be going just fine on the new stuff now….for now. Time to go ride a bike
April 5th, 2013 by MTBBill
I have a mountain of pictures to sort through from this past weekend of camping and riding near Hurricane Utah. Here are a few I’m working on.
Friday we drove from Socal to Gooseberry Mesa where we setup camp and got in an near sunset ride out on the North Rim Trail.
Saturday we did the Hurricane Cliffs Trail System Loop of Goulds Rim, JEM and the Huricane Rim Trail
It was a great loop of about 21.5 miles in length and with a surprisingly sizable amount of climbing. We had plans for a late afteroon ride on Gooseberry as well but ending up enjoying tasty beers at camp instead.
Sunday we went over to Little Creek Mesa. I had only ridden the Main Loop on a previous trip so we had plans to hit up some of the other goods out there. We ended up doing the main loop and then getting out ot the North Point.
After the North Point we worked our way over to the Magic Carpet Ride trail to get back to the trailhead. We had plans to hit up a bit of Gooseberry before sunset but tasty beverages and semi-done legs dicated chilling at camp.
Monday morning we got fairly early, grabbed some breakfast and headed out from camp.
We hit up the South Rim trail
As well as the Hidden Canyon trail in both directions. I finished up the ride with nothing left in the tank and the legs completely shot. A great way to finish off a long weekend of riding. We soon had packed up camp and were making our way back to SoCal. More to follow….
March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill
I finally got around to updating my North and South Lake Hodges pages. I debated about combining the two pages since there a bridge and that connects the two that was completed in 2009. I decided the two pages seperate as they can still stand on thier own as seperate rides. Of course combining the two together allows for quite a few mileage and route options. If you have not been out there in a while it would be worth it to check out both sides of the lake.
South Side as seen from the top of Bernardo Mountain
The North Side of Hodges
March 26th, 2013 by MTBBill
This past Friday, I went and checked out a loop in South Poway that I had heard about that contained a mix of city approved/created trails and social trails. I really did not have much in the way of expectations when I set out on this semi-urban adventure.
The first chunks of “trails” that I went on were what I typcially expect when I hear of a municipality in San Diego county being involved with creating “Trails”. Dirt sidewalks and bullshit existing dirt roads trying to be passed off as “trails” which provide little in the way of a quality natural outdoor experience. After six or so miles of the this homgenized lowest common demominator tripe things picked up as I went further along on this loop.
Here is a bit of an offical new city of Poway trail that is a nice singletrack. Clearly somebody gets it in the city as it provides a nice natural outdoor experience, its sustainable and it is narrow to minimize the enviromental impact.
The next section of trails I was on roughly followed the route of the planned eastern end of the South Poway trail.
According to the current city trail map the eastern end is still just planned. I sure hope the intent is to use this trail pictured above as the eastern end of the of the South Poway trail because the trail above it is just an awesome chunk of cross country singletrack that had great flow and contoured well.
Once I got onto the “built” western portion of the South Poway trail, I was once again back onto the crappy “THIS IS NOT A F#$^^NG TRAIL“ dirt road junk. Note in the picture above only about half the width of the road being passed off as trail is in the picture. It is a wide barren strip of non-native gravel that is an enviromental blight that the city probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “create”. Everytime I have pulled the string on the “who designed this” question, it seems to typically point back to some trail standard the governing agency has that was written by people who have a background in civil engineering (aka building roads) vice either an enviromental or forestry background (aka protecting and managing natural resources). People (or contracted companies by the city) then blindly follow these antiquated standards to build these low quality, expensive hunks of crap.
This little gem (which I think is not an offical trail), was probably built by volunteers and did not cost the city a dime. Its enviromental impact is a mere fraction of the offical dirt road tripe that scours along the ridgeline above it. The rest of the route I did during the day was a mix of both the offical junk “trails” and a fair amount of well done social trails. Overall the awesomeness of the singletracks outweighed the retardness of the dirt/gravel road abortions (referred to as “trails” by the city) that had to be dealt with. I did about 15 miles total that day. I will be doing some more exploring out here.
March 21st, 2013 by MTBBill
This past week I got to Sweetwater Reservoir for an after work cruise. It was been quite a few moons since I had been out here and I had been itching to give the place another go.
Spring is in the air and the hill sides are nice and green.
Miguel Mountain in the back ground as I head out towards the Steel Bridge. (The Rockhouse trail is still on my to-do list)
The bridge is where I normally turn around, but today I was riding with some zip so I decided to explore further “up stream”
I did find some nice trails both in the valley as well as up along the hillside . I had a commitment later in the evening so I was watching clock trying to maximize my ride time. A flat tire shortly after my “turn around time” ate up some of my time buffer so after fixing the flat I had had to get on pedals fairly hard.
On the way back there are a couple of options on this otherwise out and back route. Staying to the right will keep you near the reservoir and over to the tiki hut and the left option will take you up to a saddle on the opposite side of the hill. On this return I saw a third (new since my last visit) option that looked like it might split the difference and do some nice contouring. Thinking I might be able to save some time, I took this option and soon found out that while this would be an awesome trail coming down, it was a bit of a bitch in the uphill direction. It was a bunch of work and I am certainly going to hit that trail in the proper direction up on my next visit. It did not save me any time at all, but getting on some dirt I have not been on before is always good in my book.
I was feeling whooped at this point and all the undulations were putting some pain in legs as I was still trying to press the pace.
Just as I rolling back into the camping/staging/playground area parking lot I spotted my first rattlesnake of the year. It was a baby without even a single rattle yet. Considering that he was in a area where an encounter with a camper or kid could easily occur I rolled over to the nearby entrance gate where a park ranger was and asked if they relocate them when they find them in this area. The ranger did confirm they catch and relocate the ones they find in the immediate area. This was not the ranger’s first rodeo and within a couple of minutes he was over with his snake wrangling gear and soon had the snake moved into container. In in the next few hours the snake was to have a new home out in the back forty of the park somewhere. I ended up being just a couple of minutes late for my appointment that evening but felt good about getting in a good ride and doing a good deed.
March 19th, 2013 by MTBBill
Last week I was able to get in a mid-week ride out at Anderson Truck Trail. I arrived quite a bit earlier than Steve today so I decided to do the climb solo and check out a few things on my way up.
Spring is just downright awesome and it was quite green out. Being solo there was no pressure to keep moving so I stopped here and there to take pictures and snoop around.
The first stop was just after the brook/creek crossing. This is normally dry during the summer but there has been plenty of water moving through it as of late. I could here the sound of water going over rocks uphil of the crossing so I did some scrambling to find a nice looking micro-waterfall.
Plenty of flowers in bloom to see along the climb up.
The greenage on the hillsides around El Captain Reservor was really pretty.
I meet up with Steve and Evan up near the top. With this being the first week of coming off of daylight saving time, it seemed like lots of folks were taking advantage of the longer daylight and coming out for a ride. We saw lots of folks out on the trail.
There was a handful of “Young Bucks” that were just killing it out on the trail and making it look easy.
It was not enough for them to make it look easy they we were working on maximizing there style points. Most of the guys grew up riding and jumping BMX so they were completely comfortable in the air. Makes me wish I had done that when I was a kid. I think it is just best to learn those skills we when you are young enough to have no sense of how hurt you can get and heal quicker. The final three miles of smiles was awesome and a beer at Alpine Beer Company afterwords while doing the post-ride debrief was a nice end to a longer day.