This past weekend, I got out into the Cuyamaca Mountains. Main this place has some nice scenery and trails. We started from the San Diego River staging area just off of HWY-79 and took the west side single track up to the visitor center and then took the Green Valley fire road to the Upper Green Valley single track for a climb up to the La Cima trail by Sunrise Highway. We then looped over to the California Riding and Hiking Trail. From there we took Soapstone Fireroad over to Cold Springs trail and then loopback on the west side trail. We were a bit past the greenest time of the year but there were still plenty of blooming flora. Good Stuff!
Steve and Rodney climbing the Upper Green Valley Singletrack
The board members of the Pacific Crest Trail Association were seen out and about in Green Valley.
Plenty of water to cross on the west side trail.
The Cold Springs Trail
Bloom along the entire hillside
Rodney on California Riding and Hiking Trail. This is one of my favorite sections of this trail in the county.
Steve working his way up to the “Oak Trees”.
Lake Cuyamaca has both a upper and lower dam to help keep the “normal” water contained in the south end. You can see the upper dam as the thin line of land in the middle of the picture. There is water in the entire upper valley which is just incredible.
I believe Steve is trying to convey that this trail is the #1/Ichiban Trail 🙂
I am overdue for an update to my Cuyamaca Mountains page. I think I am going to split it up into two different pages to cover several of the routes you can take out here better.
A couple of weekends ago, my good MTB Buds Bill and Jeff joined me for an excursion on The Palm Canyon Epic. SoCal was in the middle of some Grade A crappy weather and it was raining nearly the entire way out to Palm Springs. As we expected shortly before we peeled off of Interstate 10 onto highway 111, the sun came out as the San Jacinto Mountains blocked the storms from heading further east.
We decided to start from Pinyon Flats. It had been many moons since I had started from here and I managed to get slightly turned around at the beginning. It was readily apparent early on that we were being treated to some fantastic conditions. The trail had enough moisture to have great traction but fast. We could see the could spilling over the top of the mountains to the west and dissipating or breaking up into puffy clouds without the menacing look of rain.
Where the Pinyon Flats trail connected to the Palm Canyon trail there was plenty of running water in the wash which is not a particularly common sight. The “hero” dirt got pretty amazing beyond this point. Places where you would have to watch your speed due to loose corners were of little concern on this day. The classic desert flow had us simply giddy.
The weather really sucks on the other side of those mountains. Nothing but smiles on this side of the mountain. We were not trying to be in a hurry, but we found ourselves making really good time. We took note of the signage reflecting no bikes on the Indian Potrero. I bet that trail is in really great shape right now.
Once at the bottom of the Dry Wash we grabbed some snacks and prepared ourselves for what can be a brutal loose climb up to Dunn Road. No one should have to do that climb completely sober. We were prepared.
Turns out the climb was by far the “easiest” climb of the wash I have ever done. Typically you have to contend with long stretches of loose sand that can be both taxing and demoralizing. That was not the case today. While it was a climb, it was pretty well packed and made for consistent spin all the way up.
Jeff working the climb.
At the top of the Hahn Trail. Much downhill awesomeness occurred after this point.
After the Hahn trail we climbed the Cathedral Canyon trail and then worked our way over the Fern Canyon/Clare Burgess/Wild Horse Saddle. We then took the Wildhorse trail down into the Goat Trails and then onward to the trailhead where tasty beers were waiting.
In addition to all of the rain we are getting here in San Diego this winter (Which is a good thing) life has been busy over the month. Nichol and I bought a house and we have been pretty well occupied with closing that deal and then moving in and setting up shop so to say.
Most of rides during this time frame has been what I would categorize as local “maintenance” rides. I have been out to Anderson Truck Trail a few times.
Now MTB Life has not been all about just the same ole same ole. I revisited some old places that have had a new batch of trail gnomes out doing to good things. I’m not a liberty at this point to provide details but don’t be afraid to look around near your own backyard.
There are is plenty of green out and about right now, and so should you. Ride On!
Steve and I were back out at Iron Mountain recently. It was an awesome January day here in San Diego.
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.
Nice view of downtown an Point Loma from the Iron Mountain summit.
Starting the descent.
We were digging all the greenery that has popped up since we have been getting some rain.
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.
Nichol and I started out 2017 with a bike ride out on the Blue Diamond trail system just outside of Las Vegas.
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.
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)
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.
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.
After Rubber Ducky we were had a nice long stretch of barely needing to pedal buff goodness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Views from the top.
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.
Hey I can see my truck from here.
I need to work on my trail face.
Brian showing both of us how it is done.
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.
Catalina Island (pictured above) has been easily seen on most of the outings. San Clemente Island has been seen as well.
Ready to head back down the hill. Yep December is tough in SoCal!
Last weekend I managed to get back out to the Santa Ysabel Truck and the Black Mountain near Ramona.
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.
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.
Once I hooked up with the Black Mountain Truck Truck, I turned uphill and started the sizable climb.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
And of course Lake Calavera is almost in my backyard so there were a few loops done out there as well.
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…..
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.
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.
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.
We ended up with cooler full of fish and memories to last a lifetime.
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.
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.
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!