The Good Water Rim Trail

October 3rd, 2015 by MTBBill

Man, I got back from vacation and found a mountain of work had piled up while I was gone so it has been a bit slow getting my pictures and thoughts together on that last trip.  But I have managed to get a page put together on the first stop on my most excellent jaunt through Utah and Colorado.

The Good Water Rim Trail in “The Wedge” area of the San Rafael Swell was an awesome opener.




The Chasing Aspens Tour

September 28th, 2015 by MTBBill

I just got back from a 10-day jaunt where I did some riding in Utah and Colorado.   I meet up with some old friends, made some new ones and rode some bucket list quality trails that are already on my Top … list.  Riding in the aspens during the brief window that they are turning has been on my list for a long time.   So when a slow-down in my work schedule along with a tip-off on the aspens turning coincided I pulled the trigger.  I packed my truck with camping gear, two bikes, fly-fishing gear, every map and guide book of the regions I owned along with a cooler full of enough San Diego microbrew cans, bottles and growlers to keep half a dozen people chilling for a week .   After stuffing my laptop and GPS with tracks and waypoints I headed out.   I had some general ideas but my schedule was not set more than 2 days out and it was all subject to change.   This was going to be a very loosey goosey  vacation.   Just have a great time, see beautiful country and ride good stuff.  This trip really did turn out to be something I am going to be talking about for years to come.  I have many gigabytes of photos to sort through and hopefully I can gather up the right words to articulate in a meaningful way just what a life enriching experience each one these places were.  For now here is a quick recap of what my on-the-fly itinerary turned out to be.


Day 1: I did a full day of driving to the San Rafael Swell in the eastern part of Utah where I setup camp in a area known as “The Wedge” on the edge of The Little Grand Canyon.


On Day 2, I did a dawn patrol ride along the Good Water Canyon Rim Trail where I enjoyed some great scenery and some high quality on the edge singletrack.  Afterwards I broke camp and did another sizable drive to Winter Park, CO to met up with my old friends Kevin and JD and met Greg and Barb.   I would be crashing at Greg’s house for the next two nights.


Greg owns a trail design and construction business and the next day I was treated to some of the local goods that he played a major part in bringing to life.  This was also my welcome to high-country Colorado riding day and boy was the top elevation of around 11,000 feet a wake up call to my sea-level lungs.  The aspens were awesome!


On Day Four we did a point to point ride from the Vail Pass Summit to Minturn on the Bowman Shortcut trail and the Two Elks trail.   Oh my what a great trail and with some good technical riding. This trail really made you use pretty much your entire range of on-the-ground technical skillsets.  I was blown away by the beauty of this ride.   We enjoyed some tasty post-ride grub and beers in Minturn.


Afterwards we heading back up to Vail Pass summit and then further up a forest service roads to Shrine Pass where my and Kevin’s truck were at. When we got there I noticed there was a fire ring already setup not far from my truck.  The views were great so I did not even move the truck.  I pulled up out the gear and setup camp for the evening at 11,100 feet.  The rest of the trip would follow this same kind of short-tem decision making.


On Day Five, I traveled south and rode the trails around Twin Lakes. Part of the loop I did was also the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.   After the ride, and a review of the weather forecast,  I continued south and camped near Poncha Springs.


On Day Six, I grabbed a shuttle out of Poncha Springs and  did the Monarch Crest Trail along with Silver Creek and the Rainbow trails.   An IMBA Epic, this ride was 32.5 miles long with 2,200 feet of climbing and 6,600 feet of descent with the highest elevation being above treeline flirting with 12,000 feet.   The numbers are meaningless in comparison to the experience.


On Day Seven I took a rest day by fly-fishing in Salida on the Arkansas River.   It had been about 14 years since I last fly-fished for trout.  I should have checked my wading boots a little better before the trip because about 3/4th of a mile down the river the soles disintegrated loose from the uppers and floated away down the river.  This made for both a comical and gingerly return back to my truck.   I am reminded that it is called fishing and not catching so their was no trout dinner for me.  It was still a great morning of standing in a river waving a stick.   That afternoon I enjoyed a beautiful drive to Crested Butte and setup camp.


On Day Eight, I rode the 401 trail loop starting right from camp.   This is a mountain bike classic trail and it did not disappoint.  The fall colors were majestic and I have already put a return trip on the list to ride this trail again in the summer when the hillsides are covered with wildflowers.


On Day Nine, I rode the Doctor Park trail.  Awesomeness was the prescription of the day.  The long middle section of the descent of this ride through the turning aspens is one of the best bits of flowing single track bliss I have experienced.  A handful of the folks from Team B.O.B (Babes on Bikes) and I think of subgroup of the Shreddin Betties that I had met on the 401 trail the day before were also doing this trail.  Turns out some of them were friends with Barb, Greg and Kevin so we swapped some stories over beers at the lower trailhead for a while.  Good times. The afternoon/evening of day nine was going to be a drive to Flagstaff or Show Low Arizona but I did not account for the mountain pass driving and construction so I only made to Cortez.   On the morning of Day 10, I thought about riding Phil’s World there in Cortez but opted to knock out the drive.  I am going to make a separate trip at some point for the Cortez and Durango experience.  One thing that was interesting that morning on deciding to ride or drive, I realized that I was completely satisfied with this trip.  My MTB soul cup was full,  life was good and it was time to head home.


A couple of weekends in Idyllwild

September 14th, 2015 by MTBBill

On Labor Day, I got in some quality Father-Son time with my oldest son on The Hub Trails in Idyllwild.   The trail system has really expanded over the years since I first started riding up here.  I’m way overdue for update on this area on the site so I decided I would be going back the following weekend.


Here is Will riding on the Hard Sun trail.   We had a great time and we rode quite a few trails I had not been on before.

I started the next weekend off by finally catching the Hub Cyclery Saturday Shop Ride.


The shop ride focused on some of the trails over on South Ridge.   Here is Emily working on some tasty singletrack.


This gaggle is best described as some of the usual local suspects.   They guys were kicking my ass up every climb.


A killer spot for snacks and nips whiskey.


Dee styling up the hill


Emily cruising up a climb


While on the shop ride the trail went by a killer looking campsite so I dropped a marker in my GPS.


After post-ride tasty beverages, yummy tacos and plenty of MTB chattage back at the bike shop, I drove back up into the woods and found my way back to the campsite we went by earlier in the day.    This was Casa Del Bill for the evening.


The post-sunset view from camp with the lights of Hemet below in the distance.


After a leisurely wake up the following morning, coffee, breakfast and camp breakdown I headed over to The Hub trails.   The route I had planned for the day was not what I would consider a “Good” series of loops as my goal was to cover as many of the trails I had not been on before vice just doing a killer ride.  I knew I would be doing some of this trails in the non-preferred direction.


The opening set of trails included Uprising, Silver Crag, Onion and Mystic Creek that worked up the mountain to Toptimator and Project X.  I first rode Project X back when folks did not want you talking about it…Now its on the map, but I was not riding it today.


Toptimator is just forested singletrack awesomeness with killer views to boot.  I took Toptimator to Portal, Dreamtwister and Sleepwalker.   At this point I was seriously considering dropping down into the lower trails and heading back to the trailhead as I was starting to wane.   I managed to convince myself to close off the Sleepwalker loop back to Topimator.  A check of my water bladder put me to water rationing mode as I made my way back over to Mystic Dubbings for a cool descent back towards the trailhead.


I took a wrong turn at the bottom of Mystic Dubbings and found myself climbing up Bear Trap.  I had gone far enough up the trail that I decided to gut it out and take  it back to its upper junction of the Mystic Dubbings trail.   At that junction I turned around, polished off my last sips of water and then descended Bear Trap and then retraced my way back to the trailhead.    I rolled into the trailhead completely out of energy and all full of smiles. The water in my ice chest never tasted so GOOD!  I did 21.8 miles with 2,700 feet of climbing but man did that ride seem harder than the number convey.  I will be updating my page on this area in the next couple weeks but it will still be missing a few of the otherwise “published” trails.   To get the best and most up-to-date map you will need to swing by Hub Cyclery and pick one up.

Laguna Mountains Funtime

September 8th, 2015 by MTBBill

This weekend I joined Chip, and crew out in the Laguna Mountains for some good times in the dirt.  We started at the top of Redtail Roost and dropped the singletrack  down to near the meadow.  We then climbed up Aqua Dulce to the top of Los Gatos.  After taking Los Gatos down to the meadow we looped back up to the top of Los Gatos via Chico Ravine.   After descending Los Gatos a second time, we took a lap around the meadows before climbing back up to the Redtail Roost.  Good times!

Here a few pictures of the dirt hulligans on this outing.


Chip and Roger




The crew at the top of the Meadow. (Photo by Chip)




Jason and Amy


Chip playing with his new bike


At the top of Los Gatos with Jason, Jason and Tony


Me with Mr Gopher Snake (Photo by Chip)

Mammoth Mountain Playtime

September 6th, 2015 by MTBBill

So last week I got in a couple of days or lift-assisted MTBing at Mammoth Mountain.   Eight of us went in together on a Condo rental which made for some comfy living arrangements.


Mandatory photo at the top.      Over the course of the two days I hit most of the trails with the exception of some of the red triangle “pro” lines.   Some of those are freaking gnarly and I felt under traveled and under protected.  There are plenty of trails for all skill levels and genres here.  Good times indeed.


Steve on Twilight Zone




LeAnn rolling


Megan cruising


Dayle and Michael



Michael on Skid Marks.   I love taking the Gondola all the way to the top for the last run of the day and taking Skid Marks to Juniper to roll all the way back down into town.   The trail dumps out less than a quarter mile from our house and it is a fun and scenery descent.   Highly recommended.


Michael rolling on Juniper

Lower Rock Creek

September 3rd, 2015 by MTBBill

Last week I spent some time at Mammoth Lakes for some lift-assisted mountain biking.    The opener for this trip however was not lift-assisted.   Dave and I and checked out Lower Rock Creek located about 15 miles south of Mammoth Lakes right off of HWY 395.


To keep the logistics simple, we did this ride as a loop.    We parked at the bottom of the trail and climbed Lower Rock Creek Road.   It was about 7.8 mile climb that gained somewhere around 2,200 feet of elevation.   Considered that we started off around 5,000 feet of elevation was quite apparent that we were not beach cruising.  Dave and I eventually made our way to the top and then it was time to cash out that elevation.


The trail crosses Lower Rock Creek Road twice dividing the trail into thirds.    The upper section is nice and flowy with lots of buff goodness that weaves through pines and aspens.  It pretty much all downhill as well.


The trail is exceptionally beautiful and follows along Lower Rock Creek the entire time.  It was really cool to have the sound of creek along the entire route.   After the first road crossing you are in the section colloquially referred to as the “Middle” section.  This section also has some nice flow with the flora shifting to more pines than aspens.   If you do not smile at some point in this section just throw your bike in the creek, hike out and give up all outdoor activities forever as you are clearly too calloused to be out in mother nature.


After the second road crossing the trail gets much more technical as canyon narrows on both sides.


Dave working through the rocks.


More fun in the rocks


At several places where we stopped to figure out a line or session a move, we could see trout in the creek.  Awesome!


There was some tastiness waiting in the cooler at the lower trailhead for us.   This will not be my last time on this trail.


Pt Mugu State Park

August 24th, 2015 by MTBBill

So this weekend I went up to my buddy Bill’s house in the LA for a day of mountain biking,  some Scotch sampling and some socializing at a block party.  We will skip over the part the story where I get me and my stuff up to LA.  We’ll start with me beating on Bill’s door at the 7AM. This is apparently O-Damn Early in the space-time warp continuum surrounding Casa Del LA Bill as I woke him up.  There were promises made the day before about hot coffee and bagels upon my arrival.  Bill had omitted the part that “my arrival” meant “my arrival at the bagel shop just down the street”.   The comedic value of watching the sleep idled Bill try and get ready can not be adequately captured by words.   After much snickers from me (and a trip to the bagel shop) we were on our way to  Pt Mugu State Park.  We parked on PCH right on the ocean and made our way through the campground and up Sycamore Canyon to the Overlook fire road.  There was a pretty thick marine layer going on this morning so things were pretty challenging for taking pictures.  From what I could tell there would have been some pretty views of the Pacific on other days.


We climbed up Overlook for a little over four miles to the top of the Wood Canyon Vista singletrack (aka Backbone).  A wildfire in May of 2013 burned some 12,000 acres in this area.  One of the optimistic points that Bill pointed out was that now there are great sight lines on the trail.


Those sight lines came in handy so we could wait for these chaps to get by before we rippppppppppped down that singletrack back into Sycamore Canyon.   Oh what fun it was.  From there we continued up Sycamore Canyon by way of the Two Foxes and Sin Nombre trails that took us to Ranch Center Road.   Ranch Center Road is an old chunk of partially broken pavement that climbs to the west-southwest before dropping down to the top of the Wood Canyon Fireroad.


At this junction there were the ruins of a couple of ranch structures that we took a gander or two at before heading down Wood Canyon for a bit to catch the Guadalasca trail.  This trail would be a fun descent as well but for us it was a climb of about 950 feet in a little under three miles.


The Guadalasca trail took us back up to the Overlook fireroad where we quickly hooked back up with the top of the Wood Canyon singletrack for a second run down this trail.  Oh my was that some fun!


After that we took the Sycamore Canyon Fireroad back down to the park’s entrance on PCH and made our way back to my truck and the cooler with tasty beverages inside.  All together we did a little over 22 miles and about 2,700 feet of climbing.   We would finish the day off back at Bill’s casa where we enjoyed chatting up the neighbors over tasty snacks and beverages.   Not a bad day at all!

Part of Tunnels Open – Semi Rant

August 21st, 2015 by MTBBill

First:  This  from San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department.

Please be advised that the trails approved by the City Council on Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa will be open for use tomorrow. Maps will be posted at kiosks.

On the Del Mar Mesa map, as shown below, trails opened by the Council action are shown in black and white. Trails shown in black and red are NOT open due to private property and/or the need for Coastal Commission approval. Maps will be updated once further clearances are obtained.

For Carmel Mountain, all trails appear the same on the map and all are open.

The Council action also included biological habitat restoration on a number of areas previously used for recreational activities. Ranger staff have installed brush, signs, and fences at the access points to these locations. Please respect these access controls along with the ones installed at the Coastal Zone boundary and report any inappropriate behavior to Park Ranger staff.


Now a bit of opinion from me:  While this progress is the culmination of a lot of work by a wide array of folks working quite diligently it also shows off some of the bureaucratic buffoonery that is all to common when multiple agencies have to work together.  It better than it was but this trail plan is a setup to foster undesired behaviors.   Where are the loops?   Tunnel 4 is the only legal ingress/egress into the tunnels and then you can only go out and back on the Deer Canyon Trail.   The California Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is the primary players who would not allow for a trail to create a loop to get back from the eastern end of the Deer Canyon trail back to the Eucalyptus Grove.   This failure to manage the flow of trails users will most likely lead to undesired effects such as trail users figuring out their own way to create a loop with those trails which will further challenge the management of this area.   You can bet that when a group of folks do this they will be demonized by the very folks who help create the problem in the first place.    You know people, particularly trail users, are fairly predictable.  In many respects people are much more predictable that the array of critters these intelligent conservationist are trying to protect.  You would think they would have figured this stuff out by now.

Now my recommendation:   Like the city is asking, PLEASE do not go around any barriers, remove any of the brush, debris or tamper with the “access controls”  (What do that have squirrels with lasers attached to their head?)  that has been put up to close off the existing trails that are not going to be part of this trails system on the mesa.   I believe this would be exactly what some of the ANTI-BIKE ANTI-ACCESS folks/agencies would love to see happen.  DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!     I’ll be updating my page on this trail system in the coming weeks

Rainbow Rim Trail Video

August 16th, 2015 by MTBBill

Well it has been many moons since I did a MTB vid. Lots of reasons why but mostly because I was not particularly motivated to do a video. I have shot lots of video but had a tough time wanting to futz with it at a keyboard.  Well after looking at my footage from the North Rim, I felt like putting a video together. So here you go.   I’m hosting this on YouTube at the moment and I’m still working out the kinks on getting the video encoding to look its best through them.    You can select up to 1080 HD if your connection and device will handle it.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

August 10th, 2015 by MTBBill

A few days ago I got back from a vacation that included a few days in the Las Vegas that included seeing Aerosmith in concert.   Wow, can those guys still kick some ass on stage!  After the Vegas portion of vacation we continued northward and eastward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   This was my third time out here and Nichol’s first.   I first came out here on an Arizona in Summer roadtrip in 2006 and then again on a Flagstaff & North Rim trip in 2010.  You don’t come out here for technical riding, you come out here for the incredible scenery and the experience of riding on the only singletrack currently open to mountain bikes along the rim of the Grand Canyon.   The Rainbow Rim trail is in the Kaibab National Forest and is miles and miles away from pavement, cell phone coverage and any of the tourist trappings of the Grand Canyon National Park despite the border of the national park being just a few feet below the rim of the canyon in this area.   The place requires a commitment to visit but it is well worth it.


We made our way out to the Kaibab Plateau on a Monday and made our way out to the middle of five points that stick out into the canyon, Locust Point.  We had the entire point to ourselves.


The view into the Tapeats Amphitheater of the Grand Canyon from our campsite.

(Nichol looking out from Fence Point)

Now between an overuse injury and an illness I had been off the bike for a two solid months.   The injury was (and still is) tendonitis in my elbows.   I had been trying all kinds of things but rest and all I really managed to do was make it worse to the point where it was not only painful to steer the bike, but painful to do all kinds of daily activities.  Just about when I was ready to get back on the bike I came down with some nasty flavor of the crud and that kept me off the bike for another couple of weeks.   I’m going to call it a blessing in disguise for my elbows.  So the following morning when we headed out on the trail the general decline in fitness along with the trail undulating between 7,500 and 7,750 feet was quite a wake-up call for this sea-level slacker.


The good news for me is that the Rainbow Rim trail is not a trail to be bombed.  If you come out here to work on your Strava time you are an idiot.   This is a stop and smell the flowers kind of place.


We split the Rainbow Rim trail up into two days.   On the first day we did an out and back from camp to Parissawampitts Point for a total of 18 miles.   I was dragging by time we got back to camp


A killer little meadow


I think aspens are one of the pretty trees there are and I really like how they are intermingled along the trail with the large pines.


MEAT!   Big fat cowboy style T-bones cooked over a campfire about 20 feet from the rim.  Life is good!   There were only a few hours between sunset and moonrise but in that time the stars that could be seen were crazy amazing.


The following morning we did an out of and back from Locust Point to Timp Point.  The trail in this direction was just as awesome as the previous day.


Once again, I’m a sucker for aspens.


Lots of wildflowers out showing off


When had some of the locals out watching us.


When we got to Timp Point, I wanted to show Nichol the Thunder River coming out of the side of the canyon.   I thought I was looking in the right direction but was quite befuddled.


It was not until after the trip when I reviewed my photos from the 2010 that I figured out my mistake.  The photo above is from the 2010 trip.  Notice the slightly different angle of the “slot” of the canyon in the above shot and the one of it from this years trip.     I had forgotten that we hiked down a trail at Timp Point that goes further out onto the point.   It sheds off quite a bit of elevation, but you have to do this to get the right angle to be able to see further down into the canyon that reveals Thunder River.


Here is a zoomed in shot of Thunder River. Those are not bushes but trees!

There is an 8-mile extension of the Rainbow Rim trail in the works.   It will consist of 3 miles and change of new singletrack and a decommissioned forest service road will be converted to trail.    I rode about 1.5 miles or so of the roughed in new single track beyond Timp Point before heading back to Timp Point.   It will be a sweet extension when complete.   The cruise back to Locust Point was just as awesome as the outgoing leg and the chunk of the extension I did brought the days mileage up to 21 miles of coolness.   We had another lovely evening and we casually broke camp the following morning to start the road trip back to San Diego.    This was such an awesome trip and well worth the effort to get out here.   This will not be my last time out here.