Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Del Dios Dam Loop

Yesterday, I spent a few hours online checking out some ideas for an epic ride out of my friend's house here in Del Mar. I found several sources for connecting a few of the preserves out here, although none really had a GPX file of the route that I could load into Topofusion and later on the GPS.

Here are the three areas (with bonus mileage in parenthesis) I was trying to connect:
San Dieguito
Lake Hodges
(climb San Bernardo Mountain)
Elfin Forest (go to the Lake Hodges Overlook)

I set out this morning to try out the route I find. Two dams, two huge reservoirs are a huge part of this route, as is the Del Dios Highway (hence the name). As typical with any solo ride, you gotta find things to use in your pictures.

Newly built trail, just below Lake Hodges greeted me as I continued over to Bernardo Mountain.

Only to find this at the top....

If you look behind the rock cairn in the picture below, you can see the Lake Hodges Overlook on the mountain in the foreground. It is the next stop on the route.

Another good shot of the route. If you look in the foreground, you can see a the tallest mountain. That is the development called Cielos.

I took some of the same trail back around Lake Hodges.

To get Cielos Estates, I rode up the super steep Mt Israel. Cielos States seems have a huge potentional, although the development is a ghost town now. Some 45 1-acre lots of weeds, an abandoned street sweeper, broken signs, etc add to the ghost town feeling. From the top, you can see the ocean and the Elfin Forest/Olivenhain Reservoir...

I took a fast lunch break, admired my new chain ring (Scott, you'll be happy to hear that the chain falling off problem has been fixed)

and headed down to the trail, Cielos that connects to the Elfin Forest. Descend about 400 feet only to ascend on the other side.

Pretty area below the dam on Cielos.

At the dam station, continue up Cielos (show below) and Manzanitas

and over to the incline loop. I met a mountain biker that said good things about a loop at the top of the Lake Hodges Overlook.

before topping out on the Lake Hodges Overlook, and a quick circle on the loop thereafter (after the ramada, forgot the name of the quick loop, shown below). Headed back down to Hodges via the Del Dios Preserve (a super steep road that drops you out near Elm Street on Del Dios Highway), returning on the same San Dieguito Path to the house again.

I have a GPX file of the route if anyone is interested to see it. Great day on the bike.

37 miles
4716 feet of climbing


Ty and I headed out to ride some more Char/50 Year

connecting cow singletrack to

slickrock and some pretty fun lines.

This was one of my favorite areas. Slickrock Heaven. The only problem is that it takes some creativity to get out here.

The "creativity" involves some pretty sections though.

It's great to get out and make your own lines. One thing I noticed while riding out in this area, it gives you a real appreciation for the work people have done in this area to make some of these trails/lines.

Blue Diamond

With this as your back drop, it is hard to really go wrong...hiking or biking.

Add in some singletrack and you have some pretty incredible trails within 30 minutes of the Las Vegas Strip.

I had a cousin's wedding this past weekend in Las Vegas (some family lives there, not a "Vegas Wedding"), the weather cooperated 1 of the 2 days we were hoping to ride. Kendall forgot some necessary bike equipment, thus she settled for some hiking and taking pictures (nearly all pictures were taken by her).

While playing with my nephew at the wedding, I realized how big that pain in the rib really was (from crash on the mountain bike a few days ago while on 50 Year). After talking to a few nurses and friends, I think we all concluded that I have a bruised rib. It hurts to sneeze, cough, or sit-up.

Biking is not too bad, just have to stand up during the technical stuff.

Plenty of technical sections on the Hurl and Black Velvet loops.

More info/map on Blue Diamond/Cottownwood here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Riding out to find some new slickrock lines makes me giddy.

So giddy that at times, I forget to bring the essentials: pants and long-sleeves. What a noob.
Despite this small oversight, it was time to play connect the slickrock and cow singletrack...

and that we did. Through the cholla fields and cat claw onto many slickrock sections. Some pretty country, no?

Not sure if anyone has ridden out here, but all signs pointed to a "no." Max and I played for about 3 hours, searching and at times even building to help with a few lines.

Max filmed a nice video clip of me riding down a chute, only to fly into Max and the camera. Good stuff. I hope to edit it with some more video from today, since Ty and I area heading out to scout more in a few hours.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sutherland and Baby Jesus

Max and I headed out for the Tuesday Techy Taco Ride....

in search of technical climbing. We found it on Sutherland and Baby Jesus in the 50-Year Trail network. Quite possibly the most neglected area in Tucson for mountain biking.

Since the Charleau Gap ride two weeks ago, I have found a new love for the geared bike.

We headed down the trail and over to Rubio's for some more cheap fish tacos.

More 50-year riding scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Giving back

I heard on NPR yesterday about how non-profits are having problems collecting money in this economy. It's common sense, non-essentials are the first to go when the economy tumbles. Fewer people are donating money to non-profit organizations. What better time to really show how much we (mountain bikers) appreciate the Arizona Trail Association than now....

When and Where: Saturday, January 9, 2010 8:00 AM at Pistol Hill
The Arizona Trail Jamboree is a charity ride benefiting the Arizona Trail Association. All monies collected will go directly to the ATA. 35 miles of sweet singletrack (one way), ending with free beer and schwag at Pistol Hill Road.

GPX, maps, more information available here

I challenge you to be apart of this ride or help spread the word. We have all ridden segments of the AZ Trail. I have been at the East Rim View in Kaibab, ridden for days without a person in sight, wandered over to Sedona from Flagstaff, attempted to ride 300 miles and looked down into the Grand Canyon all on the Arizona Trail (the list goes on and on).
It is perhaps the greatest trail in the southwest. Let's do our part by giving back.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

When was the last time.....?

On Sunday, a few of us headed out for a mellow group ride to Midgate and back.

Few people go beyond the chutes to Upper 50/Cherry Tank/Midgate/Etc. I know I am guilty of neglecting this area recently (although this is the 3rd ride up there this week).

It goes without saying that I leave you (the reader in Tucson or Phoenix)....when was the last time you have ridden Midgate/Deer Camp/Cherry Tank? It is beckoning you....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tuesday $1.25 Fish Taco Ride

The new weekly ride was changed to Tuesday. This week, Max, Duncan and I rode the 50-year (Pumpkin Race Route) to Sutherland. Having just rained, the normal sandy trail provided a good time. A few pictures from the ride.

Some sections we had to walk...

Others we cleaned...

Perfect combination of technical singletrack and views. I was a bit disappointed with the amount of snow that was supposed to fall on Lemmon.

Followed by some Fish Tacos at Rubio's. Next week's ride leaves from 3:30 from Rubio's on Oracle/1st.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Charouleau Gap

Scott has been dreaming of a new bikepacking route here in southern Arizona. When route searching, the conversation usually goes like this on any give call.....

"How about we go up and over..." or "If we want to add more miles..."

It's good to have another person on board to bounce ideas off of. Otherwise, you are not really sure how your crazy idea is going to be taken by others. This weekend, the ride was up Charouleau Gap to the Biosphere. Climbing steep terrain was the slogan of the ride

Good, technical climbing

Hawks watching as we climbed

and climbed

After reaching the gap, we descended

Only to climb again and later descend.

This process repeated for about 1.5 hours. Worst part was that we could see what we were going to climb as we descended.

Ah yes, the look of pain. Check out Max's face. It has been about 6 months since our last epic ride.

A quick break before continuing on the suffer fest up super steep sections.

Max eloquently commented on what section of the road... "This is one of the steepest roads I have ever been on." Pictures never really do justice...but trust me when I say it was brake, step, brake, step on some sections.

If you look close, you can see some snow on Mt Lemmon. Weather is predicting more snow tonight.


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