Monday, February 28, 2011


Yes, We are alive and well in Baja!

This is a cool spot in the world, so close to the U.S. Its also cool enough that there is a lot to do so cell coverage and internet access don't matter that much. But I just wanted to say that you should go to Baja!

The highlights are: moonscapes galore, pacific ocean and Sea of Cortez, sand moto riding and a friendly windy hamlet for mtbing down south

and the best margaritas that I have ever had.

I'll update more specifics when we get back to our over connected normal life.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Above Hemet

San Diego is a sunny nice place. Its that weird mix of rugged ocean coastline, hip and healthy urbane living, highways, and dry high mountains. We kept getting mixed reviews of the mountain biking prospects. Some said it good and some said it is lacking. And of course after riding in Sedona for a while, the possibility for let down was pretty high.

Luckily we had our buddy, Yo Andy, to take us around. As we all know, you can't beat riding with a local. Andy took us out to Noble Canyon the first day. It was a cool day up there at 6,000ft. The traction of Sedona, long gone being replaced by ball bearings. The climbing was a fun mix of swooping singletrack and downright steep rocky stuff. The downhills the same with rocks jutting out and weird angles and little gaps between those weird angles. There was a devestating fire here 10 years ago. It left some eerie burnt out giant trees standing amidst the lush fire inspired undergrowth. In Noble Canyon there was this section of trail that we kept flushing out all these birds. There were birds coming out of everywhere. Then minutes later, we were in frog canyon. The frogs sounded loud and strong. It was so weird for us to hear frogs in February because they are a summer time thing for us.

Then the next day we did shuttle runs at Steel Bridge. Yea, Nate you didn't miss a thing. I mean it was fun to ride Andy's Turner Highline and all but it didn't float my boat as much as going out on a cool big mountain ride. But, I think it does help to mix it up. I still don't jump well and downhill riding can encourage that. And there is a lot to learn with cornering out here on a trail like that. The weirdest thing was that it was on National Wildlife Refuge. I could never see this being tolerated in Canaan where the rangers see bikes as motorcycles. I have a feeling California has some weird recreational user relationships.

The next day we did the Mission Trails. These trails are the closest to the city and are really fun. They have some awesome steep loose climbs straight up or ones that meander up the hills. The downhills were really fun. And again its all about how fast you can corner to go fast on the downhills.

We have been sleeping in our van in Andy and Laura's backyard under this huge tree. I'm not sure but I think its a Yew. Its massive and we have been sleeping so well. We've been sampling the urban fare and loved the Mission House and El Zarape taco stand. Some of the mexican food is not spicy, its weird. California has such great veggies and great choices for people who are vegetarians and vegans and glutens free.

We are heading out for a ride with a small group including Jamie Dollar who is from Winchester, VA. It is weird how sometimes you have to travel far to see people who live close. I think we are heading out to San Juan Capistrano for a nice xc ride. And then I'm jonesing to go to Mexico and ride our dirt bikes and see a new country.

Friday, February 11, 2011


There was a cold snap in Sedona and we knew are time was coming to a close there...for now at least. Our blood has gotten very thin with the warm temps, so 40 degrees felt impossibly cold. We did a last ride on Highline/Baldwin with super nice guy Jimmy who owns the Bike and Bean. It was cool riding Highline again first because its a great trail and secondly because it wasn't scary the second time. It was pure fun.

Tim dipped out on riding to take care of the hiccup with the van. Long story short, sometimes it takes an electrical guru to fix an electrical problem. And that electrical guru happened to live in the Black Hills on the way up to Jerome. It was a simple fix which are the most beautiful kind. So far, the hiccup has gone away.

Searching warmer temps we headed south to Phoenix. It was the band's last ride together as Collin was heading to San Diego, we were heading to New Mexico and Nate was heading back to D.C. Luckily we had a charismatic host in Gabe. Gabe is the head hunter and administrative guru at He is a big wordly kid and has a pump track around a pool in his back yard. The boys were in heaven.

Good thing for me it wasn't pump tracking only, but we got to get out and do some proper xc riding at South Mountain on the National Trail. What a cool park right in the center of Phoenix. I've ridden there before, but Gabe showed us some local secret trails.

Of course the boys showed their stuff and cleared some things that Gabe hasn't seen anyone clear before. They are good riders and even if they stayed in the hollers of the George Washington Forest and no one ever saw their riding, I would know that they are some of the best riders around. I did pretty good, but struggled making the transition to powdery gray rocks from Sedona's grippy red. I chicken out on some rocky drops.

It was cool staying in Tempe and being able to walk to stores and restaurants which was something I wasn't expecting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sedona bliss

We are continuing to enjoy our Sedona trip. The locals have been taking us on all their favorite rides. Tex said to Tim the other day, "When you first came here I thought you guys were freaks, but then I realized that you were with Sue Heyword" The truth is of course we are freaks and no way could I bring the normalcy factor up in our crew.

The riding is fun, but riding some of the stuff the first time can be high on the adrenaline factor. Like the Hawgs, the first time we rode that it seemed a little scary. The second time was pure fun. Highline was very difficult and I would love to go back to that and give it another go. That is the one that made Jennifer cry and turn around. It was tough.

Ken's trail had that effect on Collin. Ken's trail is a little used trail off of Airport. Later Jimmy said ,"yea, if you don't like that first drop in on Ken's then you won't like the rest of the trail" and I had to take the sneak line right away, so... I actually liked trying stuff that I never try like super loose gravel piles and jumps and big drop ins. I couldn't lower my seat any more, so it was a little sketchy and I did have to walk a good bit. But I did push myself and do some big moves. We rode with Jackie Harmony that day. She is a pro downhiller and it was cool to see her go at some big jumps with speed and go down some super steep loose stuff with some corners. In the end, the consensus was that shuttling is not for us in Sedona. We would rather ride up and down and get in the groove.

I'm loving riding everyday and love my bike so much right now. I'll get up a post of what I'm riding and what my schedule is for this year...its going to be a good one.