Martha's Grove

Martha's Grove

The day started late and we were rushing to get to the trailhead on time. We were meeting the President, after all! Well, the President of San Diego Mountain Biking association, that is. Kevin Loomis, graciously volunteered to give us a tour of Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve, which i did not even know existed before he mentioned one day that he thought i would really enjoy it. He was right.

This was a day of firsts. It was our first time in this area. It was our first time riding with Kevin. It was the first time Christina rode her new bike on an actual ride, other than at a bike park, and the first time i was using my new Rylo 360 camera.

Watch and take a look around!

This camera has added a whole other dynamic to my videos. It takes two 180 degree images simultaneously and seams them together. When editing, you can choose where the camera points, direct how it pans, and select objects to follow. Look for the camera angle moving around in the latest Weekly Ride episode. All my uncut trail videos are in 360 video now. If you watch on your phone you can move it and look all around. On your computer, you can drag the picture or use the direction key in the upper left. This gives viewers, especially adaptive riders, the chance to see more of whats happening on a given trail and be more immersed in the experience. The editing work flow is a little more involved, but i'm having some fun with it!

Now, the county of San Diego has some serious plans for the Sycamore Canyon Preserve. The area is dependent on fire roads, which are not all that fun for mountain bikers. The plan proposes a more usable system with new trails, reroutes and rehab of existing trails. The ridge line, above the canyon, will connect all the way south and bypass the need for a pass from Uncle Sam. A large section of the area is accessed by the historic Stowe Trail, which currently traverses Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. Remember Top Gun? Well, you'd be riding dangerously, in violation of a major rule of engagement, risking having your bike impounded if caught on this trail without a pass.

In the near future, a developer who is adding 3000 homes to the Poway area is slated to add 30 miles of trail to the system. This is huge and the county, with this Master Plan, wants to connect all the major open spaces and make Sycamore Canyon the mountain biking hub of the entire city of San Diego. I hadn't even heard of this place and now its gonna be Mountain Bike Mecca! I foresee a Heavenly place where the beer flows like wine and women in bikinis flock like the salmon of Capistrano.

This means that 100s of miles of trails will link together! My home turf PQ Canyon, Black Mountain, Lusardi Creek and Mission Trails...what am i missing...will all connect. I'm excited! San Diego Mountain Biking Association is calling on all of us to help. They will need us when it comes time to get things passed. Please contact SDMBA Executive Director, Susie Murphy (executivedirector@sdmba.com), and tell her you want to be added to the Sycamore Canyon advocacy list for trail work, meetings, walking trails, allignment, talking to rangers, etc.

The San Diego County Master Plan is all about access, and allowing more people to experience something beautiful is a good thing. We learned a lot on this ride and had a good time with Kevin. My skills were definitely put to the test. Watch Episode 9 of Weekly Ride and see for yourself. Don't forget to watch how the camera angles move around!

Bridges, Jumps and Wall Rides

Bridges, Jumps and Wall Rides

The way things work in Mammoth is that the blue trails cross underneath the features of the black diamond trails. On my first day, I came across some cool bridges and decided to make a point of riding OVER them by the end of the trip. It turned out to be a daring and fun adventure.

The Taj Mahal on Sooth Operator. Snap shot from my GoPro

The Taj Mahal on Smooth Operator, which is a double black diamond jump line, is probably one of the cooler features at Mammoth. Its definitely a work of art at the very least. This thing is much steeper and more cambered than meets the eye. Equals scary. On my first go of it, i had to stop on the drop to assess. Yikes! I let go of the brakes and rolled it just fine. Second time, i didn't stop (see video below) and rolled it smooth, but on the third attempt i took it too fast and ended up almost going off the jump. I had to slam on the brakes and ended up stuck with one wheel off the ramp. Xina thought i was just waiting for her and dropped in. When she realized i was not going to move, it was too late and she had to lay it down. Thankfully no one got hurt.

The Monolith on Pipeline

The Monolith is another long beautiful structure. Huge kudos to the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park crew! It is part of a run called Pipeline which is double black as well. It's one of my favorite runs on the entire mountain with all kinds of fun features to play with. Foxy grabbed a few photos of me riding this trail last last year.

The House Jump on Bullet

My insisting on rolling the House Jump sent me down one of the more advanced trails on the mountain: Bullet. Steep drops and rock gardens, it was not pretty, but i made it.  Foxy followed me with the GoPro and you can see some of the highlights in the video below.

Jeff Fox whipped it out and nabbed this good one of me and Styles at the end of Shotgun. I was flying actually. Look at my suspension compressing, swerving to miss Jeff.

Out here free amongst the trees. Foxy took this one too. Loc: Shotgun

Family Ride

I haven't written much about my girlfriend, Christina, to protect her privacy, but i just had to share (because i'm super proud) that she bought a bike and is absolutely KILLING it. Footloose Sports in Mammoth gave her a screaming deal. She is mountain biking for the first time in her life and keeping up with me on advanced terrain. Kind of a shot to my ego, but who cares! Hot riding partner!

Xina is excited about her new toy!

Here's the video about the adventure. Let me know what you think!

Note: I got a few unsubscribes after my last blog entry and i think its because i included trail information. This blog will be about my adventures, pitfalls, gear and feelings. If you are curious about what i run into on the trail in more detail and accessibility information, you can read about that here: www.theunpavement.com.

Thanks for reading! Please share!

Memorial Weekend

Memorial Weekend

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Man, i am so behind on my blog entries! I did three rides in three days over the Memorial Weekend.

The first was Santa Rosa Plateau. We've been talking about this place for a long time now and finally went. I can't believe how close this area is to town! It's super easy for hikers, bikers and picnickers (I didn't even know that was a word) to run up the road from Murrieta and enjoy this absolutely stunning area. For mountain biking, the trails are pretty short, so you'll need to find ways to extend your ride. Also, everything on the southeast side of the road is for hiking only and mountain biking is restricted to the northwest side of the road. For you adaptive riders, there is a huge dirt parking lot but no bathrooms. There might be some at the visitor's center though. No sure. Everything i rode was mostly flat and wide open with the exception of Tovashal Trail. I definitely recommend having a support rider with you (adaptive riders) if you are going to attempt it. Overall, this area is great for hiking and there are tons of benches in key spots for soaking in the views.

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This was an interesting day for me. I spent the entire week editing my previous Weekly Ride video and did not do anything active for FIVE days. I was super grumpy, to say the least. When i get in these moods, in all honesty, i just want to run. I want to throw on my shoes and just go. Getting out there helps, but really there is nothing i can do about it and i just have to work through it. The feeling is anger and claustrophobia. Usually the best remedy is to have a long surf session, take a shower and reflect on everything i am thankful for over a good beer.

The feeling extended into the next day when i rode Daley Ranch in Escondido with my new friend Thomas. He gave me a pretty awesome tour of the area which is super rocky, rutted and rowdy. Adaptive riders, you can do most of this area solo but there are spots you will get stuck in so a support rider is a must here. At least at first. The free lot is dirt with no bathrooms, but there is a pay lot with handyman parking and running water facilities. There is a grueling climb called Five Bitches so be prepared for that. Thomas did not have a chance to pre-ride the single track so we decided to forego it and downhill the main firewood trail which was super fun anyway. We also cut the ride short and skipped a whole section of trail called Crest Trail. Next time.

I met Thomas the previous weekend at Sky Park in Arrowhead. There were a couple features i needed help with and he jumped on it without hesitation so i immediately took to him. There's something about people who take initiative and just know what to do without any instruction or needing to be asked. Asking for help can be hard sometimes.

I caught Thomas on my GoPro helping me at Sky Park and it was my intention to cut to those clps during the Daley Ranch segment, but i totally forgot so here it is. Thanks Thomas!

The next day, i was mostly feeling better and went for a "hike" With Christina in PQ Canyon. She was on foot and i had the power assist on my bike turned off. This was an experiment that totally worked out. I didn't think i could do it but it turned out to be not so bad. I did turn the assist on the lowest setting for hills and inclines though. All in all, my heart rate was way higher than usual (which is good) and i got a really good workout.

 May Gray Tailgate Setup

May Gray Tailgate Setup

This was also the first time i did Tunnels without anyone touching me. Thats a big deal for me. This is the coolest trail in the area and to be able to add it to my usual route has increased the quality of my rides exponentially. Since then, i have done it several times and am now riding it with more and more speed, making it more and more fun.

Afterwards we tailgated and grilled turkey burgers for Memorial day. Here's the Weekly Ride episode about the weekend.