More Iron Mountain!

January 9th, 2017 by MTBBill

Steve and I were back out at Iron Mountain recently.   It was an awesome January day here in San Diego.

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Still working on get some “Iron” back in my legs but the climb did not kick my ass as much as it did last time.

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Nice view of downtown an Point Loma from the Iron Mountain summit.

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Starting the descent.

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We were digging all the greenery that has popped up since we have been getting some rain.

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Steve playing on one of his favorite rocks.

I also did some minor updates to my Iron Mountain page that included a search link back to this blog along with updating the GPS electronic file formats.

Blue Diamond in Vegas

January 5th, 2017 by MTBBill

Nichol and I started out 2017 with a bike ride out on the Blue Diamond trail system just outside of Las Vegas.

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It had rained a bit the previous two days which I am pretty such set this place up for near-perfect trail conditions.  It was a little brisk out (by us San Diego weather weenie standards) but long sleeves or a second layer fixed that.

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We basically followed this route from MTBProject with a couple of slight variations.  Another good site for trail info out here is Trailforks.  Of course chit-chatting with the folks at McGhies Bike shop where this loop starts from it always a good call. (16 Cottonwood, #B, Blue Diamond, NV 89004)

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The counterclockwise loop we did started out from town and connected up with the Landmine Loop trail up and over a saddle where we then turn mostly westward.  This was some quality cross-county desert cruising action.

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From Landmine we turned on Southcut and then picked up the Lawnmower Saddle trail where we did a bit of climbing before dropping down to connect up with the Rubber Ducky trail.

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After Rubber Ducky we were had a nice long stretch of barely needing to pedal buff goodness.

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We eventually connected back up with the Landmine Loop trail where the trail got a little more rockier for a while before we got back into mostly buff trails.

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We did have some clouds shadow things up a bit off and on but for the most part we beautiful blue skies with big puffy clouds for the bulk of the ride.

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If you look closely you can see some board members of the Pacific Crest Trail ASSociation out tromping around off trail.

We closed off the loop with a fairly mild bit of climbing with a couple of gullies to navigate.   This was a nice loop and I’m looking forward to getting back out here and exploring the rest of the trail network that is out in this area.  The only other riding I have done around Las Vegas has been The Cowboys Trails just up the road a bit from Blue Diamond.   At some point I’m going to check out Bootleg Canyon as well.

 

Iron in my Diet!

December 20th, 2016 by MTBBill

It was nice to get back out to Iron Mountain.    I had not been out here since what seemed like ages.  It did not disappoint.

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Views from the top.

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We even managed to get the band back together!   Steve back at doing stupid human tricks.  The last time I was out there the city of Poway had been doing a bunch of trail work that was sanitizing many sections of the trail.  The good news is that they were basically throwing dirt over the rocks and not really “fixing” the water flow issue.   The good news in all of this is that after a few seasons all of that dirt has away and much of the trail is back to the way it was.

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Hey I can see my truck from here.

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I need to work on my trail face.

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Brian showing both of us how it is done.

 

Tough December!

December 12th, 2016 by MTBBill

Man are we having a tough December!   After working in Philadelphia for a week it makes you appreciate the weather goodness we have here in San Diego.lacosta-30nov16-01

I have been working on getting back in shape after a pretty dismal summer from a fitness perspective.   La Costa has been the main trail system in the rotation.

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Catalina Island (pictured above) has been easily seen on most of the outings.   San Clemente Island has been seen as well.

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Ready to head back down the hill.   Yep December is tough in SoCal!

Black Mountain & SYTT

December 3rd, 2016 by MTBBill

Last weekend I managed to get back out to the Santa Ysabel Truck and the Black Mountain near Ramona.

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(Along the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail)

The weather guessers were call in for a storm to hit the area in the afternoon, so I packed up the rain gear before heading out.   Typically I do about a 29 mile loop that includes Santa Ysabel Truck Trail, Black Mountain,  Pamo Valley and a bit dirt road and pavement interconnects.   Today I was going to be doing an out-and-back variant of the ride.

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(A section of the area spared from the 2007 wildfires)

I parked at the east end of the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail near the bridge on Black Canyon Road and headed out west.   The climbing is very mild but considering how much of a slacker I had been as of late I could tell there was some rust in the legs.  The last time I had here was when I did this as a section of the Coast-to-Crest trail.

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(Pamo Valley from the lower parts of the Black Mountain Truck Trail)

Once I hooked up with the Black Mountain Truck Truck, I turned uphill and started the sizable climb.

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(Climbing Climbing Climbing, Pamo Valley getting smaller)

I was not sure if I was going to go all the way to the top or not.   I planned on turning around if the legs cried uncle or if I got caught in a sustained pummeling of rain.

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The weather was starting to deteriorate around me as I continued climbing.   I could see it raining in the distance on either side of me but my little patch of the world was dry.  About 3/4ths of the way up my legs were getting to wank but I was able to keep going.    It was also getting colder and the wind was kicking up.  I was too hot with the wind breaker on and my chest was a bit cold without it and just the short sleeve jersey.   I always keep a bandana in my pack and it came in pretty handy in this case.  I unfolded it about halfway  and stuff inside my jersey as an additional layer in the front.

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Now most of Black Mountain has been covered in scrub in the past put the top of the mountain has some pine trees.  These pines were originally planted as part of the ongoing Penny Pines program that started in California in 1941.   Some of those pines were burned in the 2007 wildfire but a patch of the them at the very top were spared.

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(View from the summit with Lake Sutherland in the background)

It was a bit chilly up on the summit and the wind was whipping pretty good.  I typically enjoying hanging out up here and enjoying lunch but the wind made it pretty uncomfortable so after snapping some shots I made my way over to spot back along the trail that offered some shelter from the wind to have my lunch.   While taking those pictures, it came pretty clear to me that my luck with the rain was going to run out soon.    I hurried up with the snacks and then headed back down the mountain.    It was quick work back down to the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.    There is some climbing to be done on the way back along that truck trail and my legs were pretty shot at this point.     With about 15 minutes left in the ride a steady light rain started.   My windbreaker/raincoat was doing its job quite nicely and I spun my way back to truck.   About 30 seconds after I was all packed up and sitting in my truck the “bottom fell out” and a pounding rain last for most of my drive back into Ramona.    I felt pretty lucky to have snuck in a ride before the storm and was happy to get back out this little corner of the county.   A great day to be out on a bike!

One Helluva Fall!

November 29th, 2016 by MTBBill

What a fall, what a fall!  Well actually has been a crazy last half of the year.    Sometimes work is well, a whole lot of work and this year was particularly so.  I spent way too much traveling this year to places I’m not particularly fond of.

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The work was certainly rewarding and the people I interacted are some of America’s finest, but I’m glad to put this years traveling for work behind.

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The MTB action as been pretty sparse as of late as well.    With limited time back at the homestead I put a priority on quality time with the family.

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Of course I was not off the bike cold-turkey, I was just hitting up some of the local goods for quickies vice big rides.  Sometimes it was more about relaxing out on the trail than the actual riding.  One of my favorite spots out at Daley Ranch is pictured below.

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And of course Lake Calavera is almost in my backyard so there were a few loops done out there as well.

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For those of you who have been paying attention you should have noticed a growing  prominence of pictures of this young lady pictured below over the last handful of years on the site. Nichol and I have known each other for 30 years.  Last year we got engaged and…..

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This month we went and got hitched!   Instead of having wedding and working the logistics of people coming to see us get married, we traveled back to Chicago and got married at the spot where we first met.

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We then went on bit of traveling wedding celebration road show.   We flew down to Virginia where we shared some tasty beverages and grub with friends there.  From there we drove down to North Carolina to celebrate with most of my family that live in that area.

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My oldest son joined us in North Carolina and I was stoked for him to be able to spend some time with my folks.   Will loves to fish so my Dad and his friends hooked us up with some excellent time out on one of the local lakes.

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We ended up with cooler full of fish and memories to last a lifetime.

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While there was no MTBing done back in North Carolina, I did a enjoy taking Will on a stroll through the same woods I tromped around in when I was a kid.  It was every bit as rewarding as a great MTB ride.

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We finished up the road show back in San Diego with a gathering at a Common Theory Public House with some of our local peeps.

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So it has been quite a ride over the last handful of months without a whole lot of riding.   I’m looking forward to the future along with getting the normalcy of two-wheeled excitement back into the rotation.   Live On…..Ride On!

Lower Rock Creek Video

October 10th, 2016 by MTBBill

I finally managed to get a video pushed out of some of the riding I did in August up at Mammoth Lakes.  Here is Lower Rock Creek.  Your video quality may vary based on device but don’t forget to try and bump it up in the YouTube quality settings.   It will go up to 1080p 60fps.

CHRT Recon in East County

September 9th, 2016 by MTBBill

I have an ongoing project of personally surveying the California Riding and Hiking Trail throughout San Diego County.  I have a page up on my site with an interactive map of San Diego’s counties’ GIS data on where the trail is/supposed to be.  I have been adding my notes on the actual placement and status of the various trail sections.   You have to point and click to see much of the pop-up data, comments and some pictures.  Its pretty much my online notes.  Last month after doing a ride out in the Cuyamaca Mountains I took the long way home that included some of the further out bit sections I had not looked at yet.   The first stop was to drive up to Julian and down Banner grade road to pick up the Chariot Canyon truck trail and then over to Rodriguez Canyon.   This is part of the Oriflamme Canyon loop route that I describe on my site.

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What I was looking for was the CRHT north of the Rodriguez Canyon truck trail.    I found it but is was not where the county GIS data said it was.   It was actually about a 1/10th of a mile west.  It appears that at some point in the past the trail was rerouted to avoid going through private just to the east the current actual trail.   The trail has seen little use but it well defined single track.  Once it rejoins the original track it looks to be an old fire road from my visual from across the ridge.

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The section of the CRHT just north of Rodriguez Canyon Truck Trail.

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Next I made my way back to Banner and then down into San Felipe Valley to scout where the trail crosses Banner Grade Road.  This area is part of the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area managed by the CA Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife.  This wildlife area encompasses around 17,800 acres.   The CDFW has established that the only appropriate recreation activity out here is wildlife viewing by foot traffic only, shooting the heads of quail and killing deer.    Evidently there is no room for equestrians or mountain biking to enjoy the historic CRHT that passes through this area.

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I was able to find the trail south of Banner Grade Road but it is getting a hard to follow.   The CRHT crosses Banner Grade road and proceeds across the valley on one of the dirt ranch roads.  I did find a wood CRHT makers just north of the Banner grade road and just south of the ranch road. (Its at CRHT-142A if you are following along with my CRHT page.)

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I then drove down to Scissor’s Crossing and went up San Felipe Road (County Road S2) to pickup the CRHT where it intersects this road.  I did find a post that should be a CRHT marker based on its location but the top of the post had been cut off so there was no distinctive yellow painted “cap” on the post.  This side of the property had a CDFW Wildlife area “No Trespassing” signage.   So even if you wanted to enjoy the CRHT as a hiker you would have a perplexing problem of you could enter from the south but somewhere along your northward journey you would be trespassing.    Along the north side of San Felipe Road, I quickly found CRHT marker posts paralleling the road.

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These posts were typically about 30-50 feet north of the road.    There had been a wildfire through here some time ago and I was having a tough time picking up and following the trail.  This section is also part of the San Felipe Wildlife area with the same foot traffic only or no trespassing access management scheme.  After about a couple of miles of heading northwest along the road I was unable to find any more posts.

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A few more mile up the road I started seeing the newer style CRHT markers right of the side of the road and those continued at quite regularly until where the CRHT turn away from San Felipe Road  (This is at CRHT-161A on my map) and heads up an old dirt road.   I believe this trail starts off as an easement through a bit of private property as it is well signed and easy to follow.  I did not proceed much further up the trail from there.   I will have to assess those bits further north at some other time.   The next significant road crossing is supposed to be near the junction San Felipe Road and Montezuma Valley road (County Road S22).   On a previous outing I had looked for the trail in this area but came up empty.   I came up all blanks this time as well from the truck.   Next time I’ll be out with the bike and explore in from the south were I know the trail exists.   I have done the trail north of the road junction before out through Warner Springs so that was it for this recon outing.

While I still have some miles left to look at in the county and I have not crunched the numbers yet, there is a convergence of threats for this trail developing.   It looks like the number one threat for public access and preservation of the CRHT in San Diego County is the California State public land management agencies.    Let that ruminate in your melon for a while!

Playtime at Mammoth

September 8th, 2016 by MTBBill

A couple of weekends I ago I spent some time with friends doing some chair lift assisted mountain biking.   I did not a take many pictures as I was playing with a new video setup.   Here are a few.

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Here is a Megan cruising on by.

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James and Dale zipping down Brake Through

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Dale cruising by

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Michael pointed in the right direction.

 

Lower Rock Creek Trail – Fire Damage

August 29th, 2016 by MTBBill

Last week on my way up to Mammoth Mountain for some chairlift-assisted mountain biking I met up with Dave and Michael for a run down the Lower Rock Creek trail on my way into town.    We met up at the lower trailhead and then made our way to the top for some great riding back down the trail.   I had so much fun that I did not take any pictures.   You will have to take a look at last year’s post for some pictures. Michael did snap a few pictures and one of those is below. I was however running a video camera.   A fire came through this area back on August 5th that burned 122 acres.    Now wildfires are pretty common but the cause of this one was interesting.  The USFS has determined that fire was caused by a mountain bike pedal strike against a rock.  I’m not one to argue on this one, plenty of pedals have steel bits that can create a spark if struck against the right stuff in the right way.    Whatever your thoughts here is a clip of us rolling through the burn area.

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Update:

Here are a few links to articles and forum post on this fire.

Cyclist incensed after being blamed for a forest fire.

MTBR’s NORCAL forum thread.   (Be prepared some comedy in the responses here)

SFist Article (Read the comments)